Sherman's Food Adventures: May Rice Roll & Congee

May Rice Roll & Congee

While I was picking up some takeout at Mr. Pho Do on Hastings near Willingdon, I noticed that May Rice Roll & Congee was finally open.  Formerly Hakkaku Ramen, it was in the process of its conversion when I first spotted it.  Finally, a place where I could get rice noodle rolls without making the trek into Richmond (a dedicated spot for it that is...).  I gathered up the fam including the grandparents to check out this basic-looking restaurant.  The menu is quite focused and simple, but it is no-frills and affordable.

We came here for dinner, so we couldn't take advantage of their congee and rice noodle roll special for $15.95 during breakfast hours.  No matter, we still got a couple bowls including the House Special Congee as well as the Sliced Fish Congee.  In terms of texture and viscosity, the congee was quite good.  The rice had been cooked down enough that the congee was silky and smooth.  It had a good thick consistency down to the last spoonful, yet without being too heavy.  It was lightly seasoned where it wasn't salty.  The fish congee did sport a good amount of flaky pieces of fish.  As for the other one, there was plenty of tender liver and kidney.  I didn't really like the shredded pork though as it was a bit chewy and dry.  As you can see in the background, we also had the Fried Chinese Donut and it was crispy with an airiness.  Great for dipping into the congee.

Onto the Rice Noodle Rolls, we selected the Shrimp & Bay Scallop and also the Beef.  Much like Hei Hei in Richmond, these rice noodle rolls were ribbon-like with ingredients folded in rather than the usual Cantonese Dim Sum version with cannelloni tubes.  Now these were not as good as Hei Hei due to the overall thickness of the rice noodle and the elasticity was muted.  With that being said, the rice noodles were still good being soft and slippery.  I felt there was a lack of ingredients for the scallop & shrimp roll, but they were prepared properly.  There was a decent amount of beef and it was generally tenderized enough.  Some pieces were a bit chewier.

We also got the Beef Brisket Rice Noodle Hot Pot as well for a bit of variety.  This featured rolled rice noodles topped with stewed brisket.  Naturally, the texture for these rice rolls were remarkably different than the ribbon rice noodles.  Since they were tightly wound, the bite was firm and the noodles were more dense.  They were good though being soft and not heavy.  I found the flavour of the brisket (and the braising liquid) to be really tasty where it totally seasoned the rice rolls.  However, the brisket needed to be cooked a bit longer as most pieces were on the chewier side.

You just know that since there was beef tripe on the menu, I would go for the Radish Beef Offal.  This could be had over rice noodles like the aforementioned brisket hot pot as well.  I found this to also be quite good.  Once again, the stewing liquid was flavourful and full of depth.  It wasn't salty though.  The tripe was tender with a bite while the spleen was soft and not melting away.  There was also beef aorta which was on the softer side, but at least it wasn't chewy. The daikon was cooked through, yet still had texture.

Changing it up even more, we had the Spicy Wontons which were more bite-sized than typical wontons.  I thought they were fine with a good rebound texture and juicy filling.  As for the sauce, there was the usual chili oil that offered up some spice, but I also appreciated some numbing from the Szechuan peppercorns.  There was enough savoury elements to balance off the spice.  I would've liked even more heat personally.

Lastly, we had the Stir Fried Soy Sauce Chow Mein which was good.  Unlike many versions, this was not dry and had a decent amount of moisture while not being too greasy.  It was on the saltier side though, but not enough to be an issue.  The noodles still had a good chew while being cooked through.  Overall, the food at May Rice Noodle & Congee was acceptable and moderately-priced.  You can find better in Richmond, but since this is North Burnaby, it does the job.

The Good:
- Nice people
- Moderately-priced
- Decent eats

The Bad:
- Compared to Richmond, it isn't as good, but once again, this is North Burnaby


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