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.
If I understood correctly, Sai Woo has been in the hands of 2 owners since its restoration in 2015 (?), but the head chef has remained. Now sharing a common owner with Kosoo, a Korean place on Robson, the KFC has made its appearance on their menu.
So once we were comfortably seated in this beautiful place, we decided to try their Kosoo Fried Chicken in addition to the DOV menu (someone recently asked me why I am not considerably fatter and the answer is walking 10km a day!). Not surprisingly, the chicken was amazing being crispy and tender as is the goal. We ordered the soy-garlic version and the delightful garlic flavour stayed with us for quite a while!
So the DOV menu offers 2 choices each of appetizer, main and dessert. We love that because it means we can try 6 dishes. The servers always ask which dish is for which person but we always tell them that it doesn't matter because everything migrates at our table! The Root Vegetable Salad was excellent, slightly pickled beets, turnip and radish with puffed buckwheat, a yogurt dressing and herbs. Doesn't sound too Chinese or even Korean but it hit the spot!
The other first course was charred and raw Kale Salad with radicchio, feta, anchovy dressing and a brilliant variation on cracklings! Very nice!
More chicken, this time Sai Woo Fried Chicken Chow Mein. Not my Dad's chow mein at all. It was a little bit spicy with some Asian greens and crispy shallots. The chicken again was brilliant. A lovely dish.
The Pork Belly Fried Rice again returned to the Korean side of things with Gochujang grilled pork belly. Wonderful and again, just a bit spicy. The fried rice itself was rich with preserved mustard and Asian greens as well as preserved olive and egg.
You may have noticed that we are not really dessert people but DOV encourages us to try some things. The Sai Toast was a sort of bread pudding with cashews and was very nice. I loved the little taste of a lemon herb that was from the mint family.
And finally, there was Cassava Cake with caramel and coconut which was rich and comforting. The DOV menu at Sai Woo is only $30 per person which we find to be one of the best DOV deals out there.
Again we have to comment that this is a beautiful and comfortable place. The staff were excellent and friendly and the service was perfect. I loved the soundtrack which featured kind of cool jazz mostly instrumental and not imposing itself over our conversation.
Sai Woo is certainly one of our new favourite restaurants!
Food 4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort 4 1/2 out of 5
Service 5 out of 5
Value 4 1/2 out of 5
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