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Jun 19, 2010 10:41 AM

Nibbling around Three Road: Richmond Public Market, President Plaza food court, Parker Place, HK BBQ Master

On Friday, we held a meetup with six Hounds starting at Richmond Public Market. We ordered from the Xian stall and the halal stall (oh, and milk tea from HK cafe stall plus bubble tea). A couple of lamb skewers from each for taste testing (Xian's won -- bigger pieces, juicier, not gristly). We also had RJM and the pork with rice and fluffly white buns which were popular. From the Xinjiang halal stall, we had the Xinjiang flak crystal (mung bean cakes served warm), the bean crystal cool noodles (mung bean noodles served cold), the potato shreds (no ma, but one of my favourite renderings so far), the xinjing hemp leafage (!) which was a 1/2 lb mass of extruded deepfried dough that did have some good ma tingle but not from hua jiao and the fried bean curd/tofu. No duds in the bunch from my perspective and it all came to $33 (minus drinks which not everyone ordered), so pretty cheap. I ended up making most of the ordering decisions which was fun but nerve wracking, so it stands to reason I would like everything. I had only had the two "hamburger" items from Xian before so it was great to try a bunch of new stuff with adventurous 'Hounds.

Four of us then went on to President's plaza to try O'trays RJM and omelet, plus a bowl of lamb noodle soup and some deep fried rice cakes from the stall to the left of O'tray (forgot to write down the name). We also got pork and beef pan fried dumplings from the 2nd last stand on the west wall where we had tried them before. All of these dishes were good, though the buns were maybe a bit less flaky on the RJM than usual, and I thought the noodles in the soup were a bit soft. The rice cake was a surprise as it appeared to have been either marinated or the rice cooked in some kind of tasty stock before being deepfried. At 75 cents each, a good deal too. And did I mention they're deep fried?

A foray into T'n'T followed, where bdachow picked up a couple of items (hope she likes the lavendar milk tea!) and then she and her friend headed off. Betterthanbourdain and I toodled over to Parker Place to tour the mall and food court, picking up some crispy roast pork at the bbq shop there and sampling some jerky (I like Bee Kim Heng better though). Then we went to HK BBQ Master for more crispy pork and some char siu for dinner. The SO and I had our own little taste test -- he prefers the Parker Place roast pork because it has a "funkier" flavour, while I liked the HKBBQM version which is just a touch sweeter and has a thicker crunchy coating, but it was very close. We were both in love with the char siu, especially the outside pieces that were in places almost black with caramelization but somehow not overly sweet.

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  1. Great report grayelf! And I like how the photo set builds to the pork climax.

    1. That's a lot of food...good thing you had some of the Xinjiang hemp leafage first to help boost your appetite.

      20 Replies
      1. re: fmed

        I posted the pix of the menu so that people who haven't been to RPM (or other Asian food courts) could get a flavour of the signage. At first it is a little intimidating but if you resist the urge to just order something quickly, you can find some real treasures. I will admit that I ordered the "flak" and the "leafage" mainly to see what the hell they were. When everything is $2-$6 and many dishes are relatively small, you can afford to order lots and kiss a few frogs, though there were no reptiles in this bunch.

        els, I must say I'm quite proud of that final crispy roast pork picture. I was losing light indoors and had to take the last few shots on our deck. For the second chicharon closeup, the sun just hit that one bit perfectly, and I heard (briefly) choirs of angels :-). Looking forward to tucking the rest of the BBQ into a veg panini I got from Thomas Haas earlier and having it for a late lunch...

        1. re: grayelf

          LOL. . .I love the roast pork from HK BBQ Master: it's quite exquisite and not going to be out of place in that veg panini.

          1. re: _js_

            >> "not going to be out of place in that veg panini."

            I was going to say... it's one of the best ways to 'fix' a veg panini, actually.

            If you have leftovers (nearly unheard of here...but it does happen...) I have used roast pork in mung bean stews.

            BTW: the place to the left of O'Tray (Tianjin Flavours) is Ning Bo - a Shanghai stall. Ningbo is a city near Shanghai (in relative terms, anyway). I asked the stall-keepers if they had "Ningbo" specific dishes - no they don't really - it is a straight-up Shanghai stall. They did explain that the owner is from Ningbo - hence the name.

            1. re: fmed

              I was thinking of making soup with the leftovers but we just nuked it a tiny bit to take the fridge edge off and the char siu was superb. The roast pork didn't hold up quite as well but still darn tasty. I haven't quite got the hang of how much to order for two people, and of course we were doing the taste comparo so I ended up with too much, if there is such a thing with pork :-).

              Side notes: I don't normally order veg panini but T Haas has really improved his. It's a take on bocconcini and tomatoes but includes delicate arugula, roasted peppers and avocado. Muy delicioso. When I got home I noticed I'd been charged incorrectly for 1 item by $3 so I swung by on my way to do errands. He was chagrined, handed me my refund and a couple of shortbread cookies to make up for my inconvenience. Herr Haas is another local class act chef.

              Ning Bo was it all right. I like the look of a lot of their dishes but always seem to fill up at O'tray. The soy milk place was also open this time but we did not partake.

              1. re: grayelf

                One other thing I forgot to mention: the roujiamo at O'tray have at least some wholewheat flour in them, which I thought was unusual.

              2. re: fmed

                I use leftover Chinese roast pork (IF there are leftovers) in my famous (to me ....) cassoulet, with white navy beans, some leftover roast chicken parts (ie: a la Whole Foods), caramelized onions, few sprigs of rosemary and garlic. With some fresh baguette and voila, quick dinner made in 20 mins flat.

                Grayelf, what an amazing food court crawl that is. Was any pepto bismol consumed at the end ?

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  I like your Canto-let idea, LR :-). Now I'm hungry. The pictures probably make it seem like more food than it actually was (remember, there were six of us at RPM and four at PP), but it was great to have enough people to get a good variety.

                  The funny thing about RPM is that there are really only two reliable stalls there right now it seems, on the west side. Many of the stalls have steam tables (gak) and ownership changes abound. Still it is fun to check it out, and quite pleasant to sit in all the natural light of the court itself. No Pepto required for me anyway :-).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    @ GE re: RPM ........ I hope Yummy Malaysian Delights is still there !

                    I like the stall (forget name) on the west side, 2nd from the end closest to the coffee joint. Recall some good Taiwanese grub.

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      Yummy Malaysian is there but has I believe gone through two ownership changes IIRC and is no longer a thumbs up. This info is second hand but from a reliable source (betterthanbourdain, I'm talkin' to you!).

                      Can't comment on your second one as I'm not sure which stall you are referencing, and I don't recall a coffee joint.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Yummy is closing too...they are moving to Kelowna(?).

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Actually in Yummy Malaysia the cook is still the same even after the ownership changes.. I see him in the back cooking whenever I pass by their stall.

                        2. re: LotusRapper

                          The Taiwanese stall is no longer there. It is replaced by a stall specializing in marinated offals. (tripes, intestines, goose hearts, giblets etc.) They sell them by weight. You can also order 3 items on rice. I tried that once, ordering tripes, goose giblets and goose hearts. I wasnt really impressed. The marinade didn't come through. All I tasted was salty.

                          1. re: CrispyLechon

                            There is also a Szechuan food stall in RPM. At the farthest end on the east side. 2 doors to the right of the rice hotpot place. The name of the place is Chongqing Family Food. Its mainly steam table food but they have a good variety of Szechuan goodies. For me I use it to train myself to eat spicy food. I can now handle a bit of heat but I still sweat like a pig.

                            1. re: CrispyLechon

                              I have given that place a few chances now. I wasn't impressed with the food there unfortunately.

                              1. re: CrispyLechon

                                A Few Spicy Men: "You can't handle the spices !!" LOL

                              2. re: CrispyLechon

                                Okay, it was the stall I was thinking of but there is an HK cafe beside it. I've been to RPM four times now and only seen two people buy stuff from that offal stall...

                                1. re: CrispyLechon

                                  Their broth is weak. They sell the food in a way that it gets dangerously dried out. The noodles they sell are... instant noodles and lettuce, with some desiccated beef on top. They've also set up at the night market, and the big empty spot in front of their stall provides a nice place to stand and eat food purchased from other stands.

                                  I really liked the Taiwanese place that was replaced, too.

                                  1. re: CrispyLechon

                                    Ah, I had spied the offal stand and was intrigued til GE had mentioned she's never seen anyone there so given that offal isn't really a sit there for hours and hours (and maybe days, I'm glad I didn't partake).

                            2. re: fmed

                              Ah, with the eating I've been doing lately, it might be time for a mung bean stew diet for a few days. Sans roast pork, of course. :)

                              1. re: _js_

                                That's funny !! :-D

                                I'd do plain "jook", no pork floss :-/

                        1. re: cwangdom

                          Ningbo in President Plaza foodcourt is now closed. They sold that yummy fried rice cake and my favorite shredded pork with preserved vegetables noodle soup. The place is being renovated for another food stall.

                          1. re: CrispyLechon

                            Drat! I liked that rice cake. I wonder what will go in there instead. As an aside, that is one quiet food court (much as I like it) so I'm not surprised at the closure.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              I went to HK BBQ Master for lunch yesterday. Boy oh boy...I would like to be able to just buy a pound of the crispy pork skin only, never mind the pork! Glad I finally checked it out. Thanks to grayelf's photos, it finally made me go!

                              1. re: ck1234

                                I'm glad you liked it, ck, but I feel like I should apologize -- it's not nice to get your fellow Chowhound hooked on something so indulgent :-). I've only had takeout. How was dining in?

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  I got the BBQ pork (lean & fatty) & the crispy pork on rice for lunch, ate 1/2 there, then took the rest back to the office as I had to hurry back. I took a pound of crispy pork to go...for dinner I heated it up at 150 degrees for about 45 minutes and it was meltingly tender & still crispy. The chowpup loved it too!

                                  1. re: ck1234

                                    Nice! I'll try the oven tip next time. We put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes on low to take the "fridge" edge off when we have leftovers.