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Mar 17, 2008 04:04 PM

Peaceful Restaurant (Vancouver, Northern Chinese, pictures)

(Clearing out my Blackberry, so I thought I'd post some photos my family's dinner at Peaceful on Broadway at Cambie)

I think this is my new "go-to" Chinese restaurant in Vancouver for cheap eats. The hand-made noodles are always fantastic and their Beef Roll is not to be missed....probably the best in town.

The traffic is a bit crazy due to the Skytrain construction, but it is well worth the trip.

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  1. Given your good experience at Lins (and since they are just a block apart), would you rate this higher or lower? Or entirely different?

    4 Replies
    1. re: J and V

      Lin's is NOT the same place as Shao Lin Noodle House....just to be clear. Shao Lin is a half-block away from Peaceful. Lin's is on Broadway and Granville.

      Shao Lin used to be one of my favorite cheap eats until Peaceful opened up and just blew them away (IMO). So between Peaceful and Shao Lin - no contest for me...Peaceful wins by a long shot.

      If you wanted an opinion on Lin's vs Peaceful - I don't think one place is better than the other - they are both different. They have different takes on the particular cuisines (Northern & Sichuan) and they have different specialties (Peaceful's Beef Roll vs Lin's XLB, for example). I like them both a lot. I would like them both to succeed - luckily, there's plenty of room for both of them.

      1. re: fmed

        I'm with fmed (I seem to be agreeing with you a lot, FM!) on this one. We used to hit Sha Lin regularly as it was a friend's fave. The lines just kept getting longer and the food could be a bit inconsistent, but it was the lines that did us in in the end. As an aside, I found the atmosphere at Peaceful (we've only been once as yet) to be superior, and although we had a 6:30 reso on a Friday night, we could have walked in -- not the case at Sha Lin! I also felt like although we enjoyed everything we ordered, the beef roll was so good I would go back just for it. The staff at Peaceful were also super helpful and welcoming in contrast to rather more perfunctory service at Sha Lin.

        1. re: grayelf

          Hit Peaceful with a table of four for a late lunch last Saturday. We had the Peaceful (beef) roll of course, along with the wonton soup, hot and sour shredded potatoes, pan fried buns and an order of mushu. Everything was tasty, with the standouts for me being the beef roll and the buns, but I loved it all. It was also fast, and the service was great, apart from a slight resistance when we ordered hoisin for the mushu (maybe not the done thing here but we love us some hoisin on our mushu and it did appear after a bit of prompting). We spent $13 each (tax and tip included) with enough leftovers for 2 for a light lunch next day. Hard to beat for quality and value...

          1. re: grayelf

            Oh oh...I've got a hankering....I might have to go there today!

    2. I went to Peaceful several times, and their beef roll is excellent. It's the next best thing to Peking duck!

      5 Replies
      1. re: aburitoro

        Nice one, aburitoro! The Peaceful roll reminded me of something and you hit it -- the Peking duck dimsum we had in 2003 in your former city. Memories! The Peaceful roll is obviously a bit different but they are birds of a feather.

        1. re: grayelf

          I have officially become a Peaceful addict. After getting really wet and cold gardening in the hailstorm (!) we had yesterday afternoon, we bundled up the parental units and headed for the beef rolls.

          We called just a few minutes ahead for a reso which was lucky as at 7 pm on a Saturday night it was indeed the only table left. We had the Peaceful roll natch, but everyone was kind of cold so we decided to augment two bowls of soup with a few other dim sum items (love ordering dim sum at night, so naughty!). We went for the wonton soup again, which has cilantro, spinach and dried seaweed, giving it a pan-Asian flavour that is most pleasing. M&D are big hot and sour soup fans so we tried Peaceful's version. Always interesting to see what a non-Szechuan resto will do with this iconic dish. M&D really liked it, SO said it was fine, I did not try as I am not a big fan and had other work to do! For the other dim sum items we ordered their version of XLB which are called Nan-Shiang Steamed Buns and they were beloved by all. We wanted to order the pan-fried pork and chive buns (sorry, not on the takeout menu I have and I forgot to write down the correct name) but they were sold out, so we went for the pan fried dumplings better known as potstickers. These were well cooked with the wrappers thin enough and the one side crunchy. SO was craving the hot and sour potato so we had that again and it also got a round of applause. The only thing we weren't super keen on were the corn buns, which were kinda like yellow char siu bao without the filling. We found them somewhat stodgy, although the flavour was nice and corny. As they were $3 this was not exactly a disaster. To end on a positive note, I was able to order one of my favourite things, the chive, egg and vermicelli pocket, since Dad is a big chive guy. At $5, this is a great bargain, because you get two and they are literally pizza pockets size wise but filled with tasty chives and noodles. For $14 each (tax and tip included) we were stuffed and had enough for 4 light lunches today, although the SO wasn't in top eating form as he had been seduced by a Liberty lemon cake over tea post-gardening :-).

          1. re: grayelf

            >> I have officially become a Peaceful addict.

            There's a twelve step program. Step One - Go to Lin's ;) But then you'll be addicted to both restaurants.

            >>For the other dim sum items we ordered their version of XLB which are called Nan-Shiang Steamed Buns

            They derive that name from Shanghai's famous Nan Xiang Mantou Dian (which derives its name from a Shanghai suburb where it was invented.)

            Attached is a photo (not mine) of an XLB monster served there.

            1. re: fmed

              Six of us hit Peaceful tonight for a soup'n'snack fest. We got a small (so not small!) each of the wonton and hot and sour, and the one-size of the Shan Xi noodle soup. All were good but the standout for me was the noodle soup, which comes with diced veggies and meat on top and has a slightly tangy, spicy broth which covers the delightfully chewy housemade noodles. Big hit all around.

              Next we had the much vaunted cumin beef with sesame bread which kinda looks like a burger. This was also very popular, although for myself I still say the Peaceful beef roll is king. A couple of us found the cumin a tad overpowering but suffice to say there was none leftover! Mum and Dad wanted to try the sesame bread on its own so we had an order of that, which they loved.

              We rounded out our order with three kinds of buns/dumpling: Tian Jing (#17), Nan Shiang soup dumplings (#16) and Mandarin pork (#25). We'd had the #16 before and it was good as always, whereas we were less enamoured of the #17, which had a puffy wrapper (kind of like bbq pork bao wrapper but not as sweet). We all preferred the ratio of potato to egg in the other dumplings. We were particularly pleased with the #25 which was crescent shaped, so potstickery, but steamed only and had a rich pork filling. It was served with a great dipping sauce that had diced garlic in it.

              We had room for a little bit more so we thought we would try the desserts. I haven't been a big fan of the Chinese sweets I've tried at dimsum for example so I wasn't sure what to expect. What we got was two different desserts, both pan fried in round, flat dumpling shapes. One was filled with housemade red bean paste, the other with a combination of coconut, black sesame and one other item that I forgot to write down. Both were tasty and fresh, with the edge going to the bean paste confection, as it had the flakier pastry (the other covering was rice based I think and quite glutinous). Very cool to try out some new 'erts!

              This repast set us back a grand total of $56.75, once the 10% coupon I found on their website was factored in. Yes, you read that right, $9.45 for DINNER! Needless to say we left a generous tip.

              Side note: When we commented on how amazed we were at the low prices, the server mentioned that the price of the flour they buy had tripled in the last couple of weeks... so I wouldn't be surprised to see the prices increase. I'll be back regardless.

              1. re: grayelf

                >>Next we had the much vaunted cumin beef with sesame bread which kinda looks like a burger. This was also very popular, although for myself I still say the Peaceful beef roll is king. A couple of us found the cumin a tad overpowering but suffice to say there was none leftover!

                Beat me to it! ;)

      2. I have been frequenting this place since it appeared on Broadway a few months back. The menu is huge, prices are very reasonable and there are many items that I have not normally scene on many mandarin restaurant's menu.

        On this visit, we ordered the Cat Ear noodle stir fry (like a gnocchi) , the spicy cucumbers, and their legendary beef roll. Everything was really tasty and that beef roll is just amazing(a must order). The total for the three items was less than 22 dollars. This place is on my regular list so make sure you check it out. Talk to the waiter and he won't steer you wrong if you are looking to try some new things.

        Their noodles are handcrafted and I would definitely pick Peaceful Noodle over Shao Lin Noodle (three doors down).

        I have been to Lins and find Peaceful better, but i hear the deluxe don don mein is fantastic at Lins.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tom_edo

          Tom_Edo, I agree about the breadth of the menu at Peaceful -- almost dauntingly so! And thanks for the tip about the deluxe don don mein at Lin's; it's really close to my office and I've been wondering what to order next time we go at lunch!

        2. I had an exciting new dish at Peaceful - their new potato roll. Imagine their sichuan shredded potato rolled up like their now famous beef roll. Yes it is good. Vegetarians can now have a clue as to what they have been missing ;)

          I also had their Xi'an cold noodles for the first time (on ipsedixit's cue). Excellent. The noodles are perfectly chewy and has an excellent surface mouthfeel owing to the traditional steaming method used to cook it. The cold sesame dressing tastes creamy (from the sesame), bright, tart, garlicky. Try it if you like cold noodle dishes. Excellent.

          Pics Here:

          2 Replies
          1. re: fmed

            Damn you! :-)

            I'm sitting here, having just finished dinner, and am famished again.

            Thanks for the review.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              We are so going to Peaceful tomorrow night for one of them thar spud rolls (and a beef one, just to balance things out) -- thanks for the heads up fmed. With two of us a whole order of the shredded potatoes can be too much but this looks perfect.

          2. After reading so much about this place, I just had to try it out.

            Ordered the Beef Roll, Potato Roll, Szechuan Dan Dan Mian and another noodle dish (Xin Jiang Chicken Noodle?).

            The rolls were good, but did not WOW me. The Dan Dan noodle was ok, but the other noodle dish was disappointing.

            With the rave reviews this place (and Legendary Noodle) been getting here, I can only say this style of food is not for me. My one and only experience at Legendary Noodle (Denman) was terrible. I felt totally ripped off. At least this meal was good.

            BTW, is Dan Dan noodle supposed to be so soupy? My impression of Dan Dan noodle was dryer, or am I thinking of Zha Jiang noodle?

            11 Replies
            1. re: kwailan4

              >> The rolls were good, but did not WOW me. The Dan Dan noodle was ok, but the other noodle dish was disappointing.

              Goes to show that preferences are everything...and I know you have a very discriminating palette so I trust your assessment.

              I really like the Beef Rolls there...especially compared to all the others in town where the beef is often more like a stew and the bread is often chewy and flaccid rather than flaky and crispy.

              I didn't care for the Xin Jiang Noodle either...actually let me was "OK"...just not my favourite noodle dish there.

              >>BTW, is Dan Dan noodle supposed to be so soupy? My impression of Dan Dan noodle was dryer, or am I thinking of Zha Jiang noodle?

              "Proper" Dan Dan is dryer - more like a (depends on which type) sticky or oily thick sauce. This brothy kind is prevalent all over the place though....and certainly all over Vancouver.

              So the $60,000 Question....would you go back?

              1. re: fmed

                I wouldn't go out of my way to be back. When I'm back, I will not order the Xin Jiang Chicken noodle. My dining companion said the food is a lot better than Sha Lin though. I've not been to Sha Lin.

                The bread in the beef roll actually tasted and looked like roti. I think I will like it better if I could taste more of the beef - like the potato roll where you can taste the potato and the bread. Actually, this is my first attempt at beef roll. If other places are as you described, I suppose I am spoiled now :)

                Food preferences is very personal. Just like Vietnamese. I've never had Pho. I always order the Dry Egg Noodle and/or grilled meat!

                1. re: kwailan4

                  Interesting feedback, kwailan4. Although I am one of the Peaceful boosters, I can see where you might not be wowed if you ordered items that weren't to your taste. I think it was the third time we went (first with only two) and we ordered three or four dishes that all happened to be less than stellar, at least to us. If that had been my very first visit, I think I would have hesitated to return. With a menu that big, there are bound to be a few iffy dishes. So far I've been least impressed with the chili wontons (kinda sucky sauce), the cat ear noodles (overcooked, underrepresented veggies) and the corn buns (too dry) but of the more than dozen other things we've tried, we've been very favourably impressed. So not trying to push it but if you're in the nabe and have a yen, you might want to venture further onto the menu :-).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I hope I did not offend anyone here with my review. Over the years, I've come to realize I simply do not know how to enjoy certain f ood. Filipino food is one of those. I am beginning to suspect hand-pulled noodle could be another.

                    I work downtown. For now, if I were to cross the bridge for a meal, my first choice will be Lin's, despite the not so nice dining experience couple of days back. I know the 2 restaurants are not exactly direct competitors, but the menu at Lin's appealed to me more.

                    Having said that, I will certainly give Peaceful a try if I'm in the neighborhood again. Home Depot/Best Buy is just across the street after all :)

                    1. re: kwailan4

                      No worries kwailan4. We still like you anyway ;)

                      1. re: fmed

                        For sure! I like to hear anything about the places I enjoy, so that I can go for full disclosure when recommending to others.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          When I first went to Peaceful, I was hooked because of the beef roll (and also the cleanliness and service compared with Sha Lin)... but I've been back a few times since and find that they're pretty hit and miss - order the right thing and it's fantastic, order wrong and it's disappointing (such as super-salty and undercooked cat ear noodles). I've been pretty hesitant to go back lately. Maybe if I can figure out the "must-try" dishes and stick only to those.

                          1. re: twinkienic

                            I'm with you. My first visit was not good and although I want to go again (because of ongoing good reviews here) I can't make regular noodle companions come with me (the first visit to Peaceful was that bad). So sad. Should I manage to convince them to give it another try, what is the best-bet-sure-fire-can't-miss choice at Peaceful (and/or Lin's) so I can regain some cred?

                            If I were to try to sell you on Legendary (Main st.) I would recommend the peashoots and any pork/noodle soup (I happen to like pickled vegetables but realize many don't).

                            1. re: waver

                              The peashoots at Legendary are indeed legendary.

                              On first few visits were great. At our first visit, we had great service from the owner's daughter who took the time to explain everything. The Beef Roll was a revelation. The hand-pulled Shanghai noodles and the Sichuan Cucumbers were great. I couldn't wait to go back.

                              I had a bunch of good visits after that first one...then I had a not so good visit. I attributed that to bad ordering or ordering dishes that I personally didn't care their White Lamb Stew - I found the broth too thin...though apparently, this is the way it is supposed to be.

                              At Peaceful the following are dishes that I would order again (and have...):
                              Thousand Chili Chicken; Beef Roll ; Dan Dan; Potato Roll, Pan Fried Dumplings; Sichuan Beef Noodle, Xi'an Cold Noodles, Sichuan Cucumbers, XLB, Shanghai Noodles.

                              Give it one more shot...go alone if you have to. I really like this place...but I recognize that everyone has different tastes.

                              Next time I'm there...I will be trying their seafood dishes (eg Sichuan Braised Fish) and/or their Tea Smoked Duck (or maybe the Claypot Chicken).


                              I remember recently taking two colleagues to Phnom Penh...I ordered poorly (prehaps trying to appease their occidental tastes) and they walked out unimpressed - probably never to go back. It's still on my Go To list though.

                              1. re: waver

                                Do you remember what you ordered? Although my experience did not sound good (I was expecting to be blown away), it is not a place I will avoid (like Legendary).

                                1. re: kwailan4


                                  If you go to Peaceful again, try the XLB or some of the various dumpling offerings.

                                  Noodle dishes that you've tried, e.g. dan-dan, xin jian noodles, are definitely more of an acquired taste. It's not your typical beef noodle soup where the flavors are more familiar.

                                  The beef and potato rolls can definitely be hit and miss. Catch the kitchen when a new batch is made and they can be heaven, but order them in-between batches and you'll end up with a mouthful of what tastes like day-old tortilla wraps.