After back-to-back kid's birthday parties, we were ready to pack it in. Honestly, one party is tiring enough! The first was out at Stanley Park and the second was at Build-a-Bear in Coquitlam Centre. I know this sounds pathetic; but we were getting quite tired watching 10+ bears being stuffed and dressed. 1.5 hours of that is enough to make any parent loony. The icing on the cake was the big dent on the side of my door courtesy of the T&T parking lot. I guess we don't need to be in Richmond to have some moron swing their door out with total disregard for other cars... Now that I was in no mood for anything really especially cooking, I just wanted some food. For some reason or another, Shanghai Restaurant (the restaurant we had in mind), did not seem to exist. Consequently, we ended up in front of Ding Hao resturant. Not knowing what to expect, I was about to just drive on by; but Viv convinced me to stay. Apparently this TBN/BBT joint has been around for quite a while and has been written up in the Vancouver Sun. It was certainly quite modern and clean inside.
As per my usual MO at TBN restaurants, I went for a plate of Assorted Marinated Items consisting of beef shank, beef tripe and pig's ear. I was quite happy that they served the sauce on the side. Normally, this oyster-based sauce can be quite salty which ultimately overwhelms everything on the plate. I was generally quite pleased with all the meats. The pig's ear had a nice chewiness to it while the shank was tender, if not a bit dry. We also went for a plate of home-made Boiled Dumplings which were also decent. I liked the slight chewiness of the dumpling wrapper. I could've done with less green onion in the filling though.
Predictably, I ordered the Spicy Tendon and Beef Flank Noodle. It seems like I always get this at a Taiwanese restaurant. There are 2 sizes available and guess which one I chose? The beef broth did not have as much depth as I would've liked and it wasn't really all that spicy either. However, it was still decent. With the generous amount of pickled mustard greens, there was a nice tang and crunchiness. I would've preferred the noodles to be more al dente; yet they were far from being mushy. I liked the soft tendon; but I found the flank a bit dry. For $10.00, I didn't consider the bowl of noodles to necessarily be a good value. After all, one could get a much bigger and better bowl of noodles at LSD (Lao Shan Dong). For the kiddies, we got a small bowl of Crispy Chicken Noodles. The noodles were a bit soft while the soup was quite good. It wasn't too salty while still being quite flavourful (hope it wasn't MSG). The accompanying crispy peppery chicken was quite average. Compared to the ones at Beefy Beef, these ones were heavier and more chewy. I also found them more peppery which is not necessarily a bad thing if you like pepper.
As mentioned, Ding Hao has been around for quite awhile. I guess being hidden behind Sushi Town doesn't help. Much like many other Taiwanese beef noodle joints, there is a wide selection of bubble tea. We weren't in the mood for any and didn't get to sample some... maybe next time. In terms of ambiance, the place is modern and clean. Service is friendly; but it is quite basic where you order food, get food, take away plates and get bill. Then again, some places don't even get that right. Overall, it is a decent place for TBN considering that there are not a lot of options nearby (especially since Pearl Castle in Poco is now closed).
- Most items are decent
- Clean and inviting dining space
- Friendly service, if not basic
- There is better TBN, but not anywhere close by
- A bit pricey