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Vancouver is 17% Chinese. Its nearby suburb of Richmond is something like 40% Chinese (59% immigrant, and the source says that the majority are from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China). So you can get Chinese food in pretty much the same variety and quality that you would in Chinese-speaking countries.

Connie's Cook House (好味店) pretty much rocks it old school. Though Connie herself is Cantonese, the menu offers a staggering variety of dishes, from Sichuan Bean Curd (四川薑汁豆腐) to Shanghai Thick Noodles (上海粗麵). Everything you would expect at a North American Chinese restaurant is there too: hot and sour soup, wonton soup, General Tso's chicken, but alas, not my favorite inauthentic "Chinese" dish, crab rangoon. Crab rangoon cured me of my snobbery when I was a young Sinophile. When I was about 16, 17, I was very bratty about "OMG authentic Chinese food ONLY and if you don't eat it with chopsticks then GO HOME." Then I realized that deep fried wontons filled with cream cheese and fake crab meat is too delicious to give up. So I became a lot more relaxed, which was good for me.

I digress! Back to Connie's! I have been here twice, both times for lunch. Connie's has a very reasonably priced lunch menu. $6.50 for one of a variety of main courses, served with rice, a cup of wonton or hot and sour soup, and a hot pot of tea. Can't beat that with a stick.

I really like Chinese-style chicken broth so I always finish all of my wonton soup. Connie's is very good, not salty. The hot and sour soup has a nice amount of bean curd.

On the trip where I took pictures, I had vegetable fried rice (什蔡炒飯). A sizeable portion, done competently. Not greasy at all. The vegetables included were carrots, corn, peas, broccoli and mushrooms. Tasty, but nothing to write and tell mother about. It actually tasted a lot like the fried rice I make myself.

Gordon had Sichuan Chicken with Green Beans (四川豆仔雞), and his was a lot more special. The sauce had a kicky hot mustard and vinegar flavor, the green beans had just the right texture, and the chicken was tender.

On our previous trip I had that Cantonese staple, beef chow fun (乾炒牛河). I can never make shahe noodles myself (they stick to the wok or break or burn!), so I like getting it when I go out. Connie's does it well. Gordon had the House Special Chicken and liked it a lot. I'm afraid I can't remember what was in it though. XD I remember it was spicy.

We've had the same waitress both times and she's very friendly and attentive. She actually recommended me some Taiwanese restaurants when I mentioned that that I loved Taiwanese food. Because of her, we discovered No 1 Beef Noodle House in Burnaby, which sells my favorite Taiwanese desserts! A place that recommends their competitors??? That's rare these days!

Connie herself makes frequent appearances, and asks how everything is.

Connie's Cook House is licensed. Delivery is free after 5pm ($20 minimum), but there is a 10% discount on pick-up orders. Connie's does not use MSG. Lunch specials are served from 11:30 until 4pm.

Name: Connie's Cook House
Location: 2135 W 4th Ave Vancouver, BC V6K (604) 484-6289
Prices: lunch for $6.50; dinner prices from $10-15
Service: Very concerned that every guest is having a good time.
Food: Large portions of tasty and ungreasy North American Chinese food. There are options for the fans of more or less authentic Chinese food.
Recommended?: This is a great kind of every day place, especially for lunch. On those terms, I recommend it. :)

Connie's Cookhouse on Urbanspoon


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May 2010


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