Sherman's Food Adventures: Harvest Community Foods

Harvest Community Foods

Clearly, the Chinatown we used to know in Vancouver doesn't really exist anymore.  Sure, we still have a few stores where the usual yells of "hey leng lui or gai lan ho peng" from the staff still exist.  However, we have seen the proliferation of non-Asian restaurants (or at the very least, fusion) within the boundaries of Chinatown.  Some call it gentrification, but for me at least, it is the inevitable transition since the epicentre of Chinese goods and food has shifted to Richmond.  One of the somewhat new spots is Harvest Community Foods that sits on the edge of Chinatown where it offers Asian-inspired noodles by Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co.

We decided to check it out after Sunday hockey since we were playing at nearby Britannia.  For myself, I thought the Hazelnut Kale Gomae Salad sounded interesting and indeed it was.  The lightly blanched kale was tender yet still mildly crunchy.  On top the sesame dressing was not too sweet while aromatic at the same time.   The crunch from the hazelnuts provided a nice mouth feel.  I thought this was really good and I would order this again.  For my main, I had the Udon with sake kazu chicken, watercress and shiitake mushrooms.  Portion-size, this was on the smaller side, but the broth was pretty tasty in a clean and mild manner.  It was sweet with some miso-like saltiness.  However, I did have to add a copious amount of their house chili oil (which was not very spicy) to elevate the flavours.  I found the noodles to be appealingly textured being chewy and slippery.

Milhouse decided to try the Ramen with pork shoulder, candied bacon, egg and radish.  If one was expecting a thick pork broth, this is not what they serve here.  Rather, it is an assari broth that is clear and lightly seasoned with a touch of meatiness.  Milhouse found the noodles to be nicely al dente while the pork was tender.  The candied bacon was an odd addition, yet crispy and sweet (who doesn't like bacon?).  As much as the egg was not overdone, an actual ajitama egg would've been more appealing.  JuJu wasn't interested in the regular menu and went for their special being the Ramen Noodle with miso-pork gravy, ground pork, marinated egg, napa cabbage, nori and green onion.  It was like a watered down dan dan noodle, but not nutty.  It was lightly sweet with a light saltiness from the miso.  He had to dump copious amounts of chili oil to create a more impactful taste.

Shockingly, Kaiser Soze went vegetarian with the Ramen with Squash and Miso Broth, nori, scallion, radish and sesame.   This was the prettiest bowl with a bright yellow hue and it actually tasted quite rich for a non-meat broth.  It was sweet with the salty base of miso and it complimented the noodles with enough impact.  However, just like the rest of us, he had to dump all of the chili oil into the broth.  I guess that was intentional since they supplied each of us with their house-made chili oil so we could customize the spiciness.  However, the oil wasn't that impactful.  Whatever the case, the meal was pleasant, if not leaving us hungry for more food.

The Good:
- Light and healthy except for the bacon
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Small portions
- Flavours are too mild for us


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