We have meant to visit Sai Woo for some time. It's quite exciting when one of Chinatown's old-time storefronts is restored somewhat in the flavour of the original. Sai Woo's menu does not imitate the menu of Sai Woo Chop Suey that was around from 1925 to 1959 but the neon sign, original floors and walls recall the era.
The first time that we visited Win-Win at their original location in Steveston a little over 2 years ago, I was ebullient in my praise for what seemed to me to be the best fried chicken that we had ever tasted in Metro Vancouver! On our visit to their second, South Vancouver location, I still hold their chicken in the highest esteem (if you can esteem fried chicken) with a couple of provisos!
Under the umbrella of the Joseph Richard Group, there are about 20 establishments in the Metro Vancouver area. I kept seeing the same Dine Out menu as I browsed and realized that it was all from this group of restaurants. It sounded pretty good and there is a JRG place close to home on this semi snowy weekend which would be easy to get to!
We wanted to participate at least a little bit in this event and I kind of really like the name Donair Dude! Also, you can talk me into falafel almost anytime! It turns out there are quite a handful of DD locations around Metro Vancouver. We ended up at 96th and 128th in Surrey.
For some reason, this month seems to be a month of multiple food events! There is La Poutine Week which is a nationwide festival, which I can take or leave (I have expressed my poutine thoughts here often). There is the National Chowder Chowdown Festival which is also nationwide and which celebrates our sustainable seafood industry. Dine Out Vancouver is also happening from Feb 8 to March 7 and finally, our friend Vanfoodster has launched his Fried Chicken Sandwich Challenge which is easy to be excited about! And we haven't even talked about the first-ever, Feast of Fortune, marking Chinese New Year. The problem is that we would like to participate at least a little bit in all of these but to complete the circuit, we would need to add a couple of meals per day. Another strategy is to combine multiple festivals or events into single stops. That is what we have accomplished in our visit to Freebird Table and Bar (or at least that is what I thought).
Once again, I suggest that if you are planning to dine out, that you call ahead and confirm that your chosen restaurant is open. I did not follow my own advice and with my eye on Old Street near Metrotown, we wasted a trip as they are not open for dine-in on the weekend. This is not even evident from looking at the front door, let alone their website or Google. Restaurants are struggling and it's hard for them to keep up with the necessary information flow so make a phone call. Fortunately, there are many places to eat and we had no intention of going hungry! At Crystal Mall, we decided to try Yunshang Rice Noodle.
If I understand correctly, there is a reference in the name to the Yunan province of China which often means spicy but we noted that the menu gave us a choice as to the level of spice. I am not sure what the Yang's Braised Chicken Rice sign in the above photo is about. They do offer it on the menu but I'm not sure why it gets its own shingle. Maybe it is a separate business working in the same space?
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