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Sep 19, 2012 05:24 AM

Is this a Chinese (possibly Sichuan) or Korean place in Liverpool - or a mixture? Need help from the experts!

The other day I noticed a basic cafe which I've not seen before in Liverpool, by the university (Myrtle Parade, for any Liverpool people who may be reading this), and it looks intriguing. At first I thought it was Chinese, but the menu is far from being the usual stuff.

There's no name in English above the door, nor on the menu I took away with me. The menu looks interesting, but I can't tell where the chef/s is/are from, as it seems a bit mixed.

There are quite a few very hot dishes (well, they have three chillis next to them), such as "sliced pork tripe in chilli and garlic sauce", "spicy fried rice cake" and "fish in chopped pepper sauce". Are these likely to be Sichuan dishes? I don't recognise them from the relatively basic knowledge I have of Sichuan food. There is a "tan tan noodle" dish - is that a bad translation or spelling mistake for Dan Dan noodles?

Then there are dishes which look like they may be Korean or even Japanese - "Bibimbap" and some stew and rice dishes, as well as a miso soup.

Some of the more unusual dishes include:

- Cold piled bean curd skin salad
- Diced beef with potato in soy sauce over rice
- Stewed pork with taro over rice
- Handmade patch in casserole
- deep fried pork hock with soaked pancake
- hot and spicey mudsnail

There are also some dim sum and a list of congee dishes.

What is this place?!

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  1. Oh, yes, I'm really gagging for the mudsnail, Theresa.

    Sounds to me the sort of queer gear you'd see on a Sichuan or Hunan menu. But, hey, my knowledge of astrophysics is probably greater than my knowledge of Sichuan/Hunan food. And, no, I wasnt an astrophysicist before I retired.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      Yeah - gagging being the operative word ... While I am very tempted to try this place, I think that mudsnails have some work to do in the marketing department. I think that "cold piled bean curd skin salad" also sounds like it could do with a rebrand :o)

    2. I would assume it is very poor translation of the dishes into English so impossible to tell without eating them. If it is Sichuan the Korean ones may simply be what thy think the names should be in English. Can you scan the non-English name - it is easy to see what language it is written in.

      8 Replies
      1. re: PhilD

        I'll give it try later on - but I think our scanner is caput.

        I'm pretty sure that it is Chinese rather than Korean though - it was only the bibimbap dish that threw me - but that's the only one which sounds definitely Korean.

        I've done a bit more research on some of the dishes - there are a couple of "stewed spine" dishes, and that seems to come from Xi'an in the Shaanxi province of China. It shares one of its borders with Sichuan, and is in the central/eastern part of the country - still a long way from Korea, but not a million miles - so maybe they are from that region?

        1. re: PhilD

          OK - strangely, I googled one of their dishes, and only one option came up - and it's a link to the cafe's page on Eatmeal. It's called Lao Wei Dao - this is the link with the full menu in English and its name in (probably) Chinese.

          1. re: Theresa

            Don't suppose the reference to "Lao" in the name, suggests it's Laotian (sp?)

            1. re: Harters

              I wondered about that, but I think (courtesy of Google) that Lao Wei Dao means "a taste of nostalgia" in Chinese ... and it seems to particularly refer to food. So, following my research, I reckon they are from the Shaanxi province, and are aiming to provide traditional foods from there and perhaps the neighbouring province of Sichuan, along with one or two Japanese and/or Korean dishes ...

              We need that true ferret of the unusual - JFores!

              1. re: Theresa

                JFores - WHERE ARE YOU?!!!

                BTW, Theresa, why don't you just go in and ask the restaurant folks? I'm sure they'll be more than happy to explain.

                Once, I was in Heidelberg, Germany, and my local colleagues told me they couldn't figure out if a popular eatery on the town's Hauptstrasse called "Mr Whang" (don't laugh) was Chinese, Japanese or Korean - because it offered dishes from all 3 countries, all done pretty well, too - to suit Teutonic tastes. All those years of patronage, and none of them deigned to ask. Anyway, I walked in there one evening, and old Mr Whang himself came up to me and spoke in Korean! I couldn't speak any Korean (except to name food items, and basic phrases) whereas Mr Whang couldn't speak any English/Chinese/Japanese, so we ended up conversing in German.

                Anyway, from your initial description of the food at Lao Wei Dao - it's North-Eastern Chinese cuisine. 'Dan dan' noodles (noodles are called 'mien' in Mandarin) is pronounced 'tan tan mien', so they used the old spelling - the way it should be pronounced phonetically, rather than the confusing 'hanyu pinyin'-style of spelling which is confusing to Westerners/non-Mandarin speakers who're unfamiliar with the script.

                1. re: klyeoh

                  Thanks for your input! NE China would certainly take it nearer Korea ... and Shaanxi Province is Eastern/central, so maybe a mix of food from several neighbouring areas.

                  I did try to ask them more about the food when I went in and picked up the menu - but the bloke I spoke to could barely speak any English. I'm thinking I'll get a takeaway soon and see if someone else there can tell me more.

                  1. re: Theresa

                    The characters are Chinese in the name not Korean. It is also worth remembering most restaurants in China don't have narrow regional menus, they may have a strong regional slant but they will still feature popular dishes from other regions. I was at a HK/Cantonese specialist place in Beijing recently, and the team ordered Sichuan and Shanghainese dishes amongst all the Cantonese food. So no surprise a UK place has a mixed menu.

              2. re: Harters

                From Theresa's link, the restaurant's name, "Lao Wei Dao" is 老味道 (look at the 'icon' at the top left just under the "em eatmeal") [Yale Cantonese: lou5 mei6 dou6] which basically means "old/traditional taste", what your friend essentially said. It does not mean Laotian, sorry. :-) ["Lao" is 老, which is "old"]

          2. A good e-friend from the Home Cooking board tells me "The name is "The Way of Old Taste", subtitled "Home village flavors". I'd venture to say it's Liaoning food, the province that abuts North Korea (or that neck of the woods).The dishes cited sound very northeastern to me, with some Sichuan thrown in for good measure..."

            Sounds well worth a punt, although maybe not for the mudsnail.

            1. It could be Korean Chinese from the Korean autonomous region or Dongbei. New York has a lot of those places now.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JFores

                Have you had a look at the menu? I'd be interested to know what you think, as you seem to have a good handle on obscure regional Chinese cooking!


                It's only a very basic cafe, so doesn't have a website, but it's recently signed up to this new delivery business, so the menu is up there.

                Thanks to all for your ideas and research - I'm hoping to try it out tonight. I'll report back.

                1. re: Theresa

                  Yeah. Bibimbap and spicy fried rice cake on a menu with Northern stuff like tofu skin screams Korean Chinese.

              2. Well, we got a takeaway last night, but I wasn't sure.

                We ordered spine stew with pickled cabbage, honey roast pork with rice and hot and spicy Chinese greens.

                I gave my husband a hard time for ordering what I thought was, basically, char sui pork, but he went ahead anyway... Both main dishes were a bit disappointing though. They were a bit bland, and the spine stew was very watery. The pork was belly, and the meat was very tasty, but the sauce which coated the rice was also very bland.

                Nothing was actively bad, but I was disappointed with the overall lack of flavour. The Chinese greens dish was quite good - nice sesame oil flavour and a slight chilli kick, but - for a 3 chilli symbol - was not spicy at all. It was less bland/watery than the other dishes though. When I compare it to the Sichuan place we often go to in China Town, the dishes just don't have the same depth of flavour.

                I maybe missing something though - are these dishes supposed to be like this? The meat on the spine was very tender and had a decent flavour, but the "sauce" was very watery. I want to go back and try a few other dishes, as I think it's worth another go.