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Jan 31, 2008 03:01 PM

Sichuan Dan dan mian in Vancouver

I am headed to Vancouver in a couple of weeks to fly up north to visit family. I have one night to eat, and I was wondering if anyone knows where I can get dan dan mian. I'm looking for the kind with ground pork on noodles in spicy szechuan peppercorn and chili sauce. (I understand there's a Taiwanese version that's soupy, and a NA version that's made with peanut sauce. I do not want those.)

Has anyone heard of/had good dan dan in Vancouver?

(also spelled tan tan noodle)

Also, does anyone know if such a restaurant (if indeed it exists) serves "dumplings in chili sauce"?

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  1. Sha Lin Noodle house on Broadway (IIRC) makes Dan Dan without peanut sauce. Try either Sha Lin or Peaceful just 5 doors down for the dumplings in chili sauce.

    14 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Strike that. Sha Lin no longer serves Dan Dan. It also has gone downhill fast. Peaceful is still very good (especially the beef rolls and the dumplings....not the best, but very good.)

      I have asked some Chinese friends to be on the lookout for authentic Dan Dan Mien (ie no peanut or sesame sauce.) I'll post when I get word.


      1. re: fmed

        does your "not the best, but very good" refer specifically to the dumplings, or also to the beef rolls? because if there are better beef rolls out there then please direct me. Just the thought of those rolls has cured my lingering post-holiday gastrointestinal distension and distress.

        1. re: alex8alot

          The beef rolls are amazing. The dumplings are merely very good.

          1. re: fmed

            I totally agree Sha Lin has gone downhill. And I have to fess up about my meal at Peaceful: it wasn't great. Both soups were very bland and the beef roll was cold. Although the latter was probably only a one-off problem, as the others going by looked good. I'll definitely give it another try though as I've heard so much about it. Legenday noodles (on main) is stil my fave and although I don't think its dan dan they do a rich (almost too rich?) peanutty noodle that is good, especially with a side of garlic peashoots! Oh my.

            1. re: waver

              Legendary on Main is excellent. (Legendary on Denman is not so excellent. I will try the one in Richmond soon). Try Peaceful's beef rolls again. It might have been a bad day for them.

              I know I've had an authentic dan dan in town somewhere a number of years back, but my memory fails me. It's not easy to find in town (or anywhere outside of asia it seems)

              To the original poster (miss_bennet): where have you had it?

              1. re: fmed

                As street food and in a restaurant in Chengdu, Sichuan, where it originated.

                I really don't understand why it is so impossible to find authentic Chinese food. Like, what the hell is Ginger Fried Beef? Not that I'm saying I don't like it, but it's just a made-up dish to attempt to Westernize food. I'm not that stupid. I want the real thing.

                1. re: miss_bennet

                  Doesn't it have more to do with where the local Chinese-Canadian population originated? China's a big country and most folks here don't come from Sichuan province. I think Vancouver has a lot of "authentic" Chinese food, it just depends which regional cuisine you're looking for.

                  1. re: miss_bennet

                    It easy to get authentic hk/cantonese, northern, shanghai, and taiwanese in Vancouver. It's more difficult to find authentic szechuan and hunan. (I think LA may have an edge there). It also seems (after asking a few noodle aficionados) that finding authentic dan dan is not easy to find anywhere in NA where the preferred peanutty style is so prevalent.

                    Ginger Fried Beef...I concur.

                    1. re: fmed

                      I just dont even understand how they can call that peanutty mess dan dan.
                      But You're probably right. We do have lots of good Cantonese-style restaurants. I think it generally has top do with spiciness. Hunan, Sichuan and Yunan are spicy, so they simply don't transfer well. But I just don't like that they fake "Szechuan" food.

                      1. re: miss_bennet

                        It may be more to do with migration patterns as waver posted earlier. If we were to discuss flavours and authenticity - I don't think its the spiciness (pepper heat) that is often sacrificed in those inauthentic regional dishes, I think it is the 'fermented' flavours that are often replaced, adapted or eliminated entirely. (Pickled vegetables, fermented bean/tofu, etc.)

                        (BTW "Sichuan", "Szechuan", and "Szechwan" are all acceptable spellings)

                        I must confess that I like the peanutty and/or sesamey dan dan - It's not authentic Sichuan, I know. I also like authentic dan dan, of course...but it's a rare beast.

                        Cantonese is great and I think Vancouver has perfected it, but I find the other regional cuisines that Vancouver does well much more exciting.

                        1. re: fmed

                          That's another one of my points. In Chengdu, all the signs read "Sichuan." Never "Szechuan" or "Sezchwan." We've adjusted the culture so much, we can't even spell it correctly.

                          This struck me when I was 12, and met a Danish girl. They spell it "Danmark," yet the English went to the effort of changing an a to an e. I don't know why. It's the same with the Sichuans.

                          1. re: miss_bennet

                            I had always assumed that the spelling in English was an attempt to approximate what the words sound like in Chinese... so I had thought that "Sichuan" was to approximate the Mandarin pronunciation whereas "Szechuan" approximates the Cantonese pronunciation. That it is so often spelled "Szechuan" in North America maybe reflects the fact that there were initially more Cantonese-speaking immigrants?

                            1. re: twinkienic

                              That's what I believe as well. Plus - There has been an attempt to standardize to the romanized pinyin spellings over the last number of years so spellings changed (eg Beijing/Peking; Laozi/Lao Tze; Daodejing/ Tao Te Ching; Mao Zedong/ Mao Tse-Tung).

                              Wikipedia entry of Wade-Giles vs pinyin:

                              And a conversion table from the American Library of Congress:

                              1. re: twinkienic

                                That kind of makes sense. I wouldn't dream of ordering "Szechuan" in my favourite Chinese restaurant. The owners are Cantonese, and they make that food so well.

        2. A friend has reported that Golden Szechuan in Richmond has it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: fmed

            We ended up going to Chambar. But maybe I will be able to try Golden Szechuan on my way back through Van.

              1. re: fmed

                We were there last night and the Pear & Proscuitto salad was to die for!

                1. re: islandgirl

                  I had the Carpaccio, Mussels Congolaise and Passion de chocolat.

                  I ablsolutely was not in love with any of the dishes I ate, but they were so well seasoned and prepared! I mean, they were executed impeccably, but I just didn't love them. Does that make sense?

          2. This is my first post and I couldn't resist posting because I LOVE sichuan food. There is an excellent Sichuan restaurant on imperial near sussex in Burnaby near Metrotown - I can't remember the exact address. Look for the restaurant with the tv in the window. Its a hole in the wall and very authentic, my favourite dishes are the boiled beef, cold jelly noodles and the twice cooked pork. Thinking about these dishes is making me salivate hah.

            At the food court in Crystal Mall, there's a food stall called Huaxi which also serves sichuan style food. The noodles are nice and chewy and the broth is delicious, has the sichuan flavor without being overly oily. They also serve dan dan noodles there which are not bad (written only in chinese on the menu).

            There is also a restaurant in Crystal Mall called S & W Pepper House which serves Sichuan food, not as good as the restaurant on Imperial but still pretty good.