THIS IS A REVIEW:
Vancouver's weather lately has been oppressively, unreasonably hot, and because of this I was craving my favorite Taiwanese summer food: 涼麵 liangmian, or cold noodles.
I Googled for it, but I wasn't finding anything but Korean and Japanese style cold noodles. Then I had the brilliant (or obvious, or possibly a combination of the two) idea to search in Chinese, and I found a page talking about Wang's Beef Noodle House in Marpole as having great liangmian. This was about 1am, JUST LIKE IT IS NOW, because the heat makes it so hard to stay asleep. I immediately resolved to kidnap The Boyfriend when he got off of work and take him to this place.
We got there about 3pm, a slow period for most restaurants. I kicked things off by responding to the waitress's question of how many with “兩位" which means "two people", and after that I never actually spoke to the waitress in English.
I glanced at the menu only to find the liangmian and immediately ordered a bowl. The Boyfriend had been hoping to order salt and pepper chicken (鹽酥雞) but it wasn't on the menu. The waitress recommended him (through me) several dishes, so here's the scoop if you want it: the #1 and #2 rice dishes, which I can't remember what they are; the #3 and #5 dim sum, which was the scallion pancake beef rolls (餅夾牛肉) and I think a kind of dumpling; and of course, the beef noodle soup!
If you can't tell by the fact that I don't remember the names of the other dishes, we ordered the beef rolls. The Boyfriend also ordered a bowl of liangmian since he had never had cold noodles Chinese-style before.
Was it good? Was it good. WAS IT GOOD.
The picture is post-stirring and eating a few bites because I was just overcome with "DO WANT." It's a very simple and healthy style: cold noodles topped with a mildly spicy sesame-ginger sauce (and I think I also detected some peanut), topped with julienned cucumber, carrot, and cilantro. I am not a fan of cilantro so I scraped all of mine into my boyfriend's bowl; the waitress noticed and said I could tell them next time not to put it on.
I had asked the waitress upon coming in if the song that was playing was by Fahrenheit (a Taiwanese boy band) but she checked the iPod and found that it was Super Junior M (another boy band). Not long after we received our bowls, she asked me who my favorite singer was. I told her Landy Wen Lan (溫嵐). She immediately went and changed the iPod to play all Landy all the time! <3 So I spent half the time eating and half the time singing along, which amused The Boyfriend greatly.
I know I gushed about the liangmian but the bing jia niurou was EVEN BETTER. As a matter of fact, it was the best beef roll I have ever had, and I'm speaking as a girl who lived in Taipei an entire year, ate out at least two meals every day, and absolutely adores scallion pancake. It was the quality of the beef and the sauce that made it soar to unimagined heights of deliciousness. The absolute perfect combination of crispy, thin scallion pancake, tender beef, and rich, savory sauce.
Go ahead and drool at that picture a little. I'll wait.
Finished? Okay. While we were eating, I noticed that a family eating nearby had ordered a bowl of what was most certainly mango baobing. However, it hadn't been on the menu, at least not that I saw (it's quite possible I was blinded by "MUST HAVE LIANGMIAN NOW" though). I asked the waitress how much it was for a bowl, and she said $4.50. We said "Ummmmmmm yes bring that now plzkthx."
She went back to the kitchen to tell us our order, but then came out to say that the mango was sold out. Awwww. But that's okay because she'll go get some more! If we're willing to wait a little? Surprised, we agreed.
Sure enough, about ten minutes later I saw her come back in the front door with a plastic shopping bag containing two mangoes. Now THAT is service!
Also I have to point out here that in addition to our 超可愛 (super cute) waitress, there was another waitress who was freakin' hilarious. I spent any time I did not spend eating and singing along with the music translating her brusque scoldings and quips for The Boyfriend. For example:
Other Waitress: Where were you?
Our Waitress: We ran out of mangoes. I went to get more.
Other Waitress: These mangoes aren't ripe enough!
Our Waitress: I think...
Other Waitress: You don't know how to pick mangoes!
Okay it is not nearly as hilarious written down. Probably a lot of it was that it took me right back to certain balls-busting Taiwanese women I knew, who were undisputed masters of their domains and the terrified souls who cowered within them.
They were also gossipping about whether a certain Chinese singer were gay, and she snapped, "Well, of course he is! Who else would wear so many clothes?" LMAO.
Anywhoozle, back to the mango baobing! It was, to be precise, mangguo niunai bing (芒果牛奶冰), which means "mango milk ice", but here "milk" actually refers to sweetened condensed milk.
Once again, Wang's did not disappoint me. The most difficult part of making baobing is getting a good texture for the ice. It's not supposed to be hard crunchy granules of ice like in a snowcone. Chinese restaurants in North America that use snow cone makers for their baobing are the bane of my culinary life. It's supposed to be shaved ice, with a softer texture, something that won't hurt your teeth, and that melts relatively quickly on a hot day, forming a delicious super-cold liquid mixed with the condensed milk and fruit flavor.
Despite the other waitress's scolding, the mango tasted perfectly ripe to me. Another bane is restaurants that use canned mango in syrup. This was quite demonstratively not the case at Wang's.
The entire meal with tax came to a little over $20. The entire meal, as long as I didn't look out the window, I could imagine I was in Taipei. The music, the food, the sound of a Taiwanese woman bitching people out... ahhhhh. Nostalgia.
I want to go back. ;_;
But, while I can't go back to Taipei right now, The Boyfriend and I have resolved to come back here before I leave. Which is in two weeks, so that should let you know how much we loved this place.
THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Wang's Beef Noodle House (王記台灣牛肉麵)
Location: 8390 Granville St Vancouver BC (604) 266-7966
Prices: <$10 person
Service: Our waitress did everything short of carry our food out to us on her knees. When the restaurant ran out of an item we wanted, she actually went so far as to run to the market and buy the ingredient needed. See, Hapa Izakaya? That's how you do it!
Food: Not only is it authentic Taiwanese food, if this restaurant were in Taipei, I would patronize it above others. It ranks with the best of Taipei.
Recommended?: No, not at all. Haha, just kidding. C'mon, did you read the review or not? GO HERE.