Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Private Home Chinese Cuisine 一點心意

Is it sad having to check Instagram to remember the restaurants that I visited during the week? When I started my post, I forgot the reason for visiting Private Home Chinese. I remember wanting to try something different and was in the mood for Chinese; however, don't I usually eat Chinese? So why am I craving for it? 

After checking IG, I noticed that it has actually been days since I have had Chinese food! Asides from hot pot a few nights ago. So, either my memory needs some improvement or I need to start visiting more memorable restaurants! Private Home Chinese is a family owned restaurant that opened their second location on Kingsway Street, in Burnaby. The restaurant serves Northern China and Szechuan cuisine. Also, seafood is available but requires preordering which is somewhat a disappointment for impulse diners. 

The restaurant is newly renovated and has two sides for different seating arrangements. One side has a few tables for larger parties of more than six, and the other has plenty of booth seating arrangements and tables in the centre. The interior has a black and red scheme and there are red plastic booth seats which are easy to clean, as well as black coloured tables and chairs. Furthermore, the restaurant has a relaxing atmosphere and a couple of TVs tuned to the mandarin channel, which gives the impression that customers will never be rushed. 

On a Saturday evening, the restaurant was fairly empty and we were greeted by a friendly waitress. 

The hot and sour soup has a mild spiciness and plenty of chilli flakes. However, some more black vinegar could have been used since there was not even slightest hint of a tangy flavour. As for the other ingredients, there are the usual bamboo shoot, wood ear and green onion.


The dish is known as the "mouth watering chicken" and is served cold. As for the taste, the cut of the thigh is served and has a nice meaty tender stiffness. Furthermore, despite the overwhelming appearance of chilli, crushed peanut and sauce, it is not too much at all.

If anything, the sauce tastes like pure chilli oil with a mild spiciness and could have tasted more housemade, rather than generic with missing ingredients. Also, since the dominate flavour is pretty much chilli oil, many may mistaken the dish as "oily". Usually this type of sauce tastes extremely flavourful and very unique, Yu Xiang Yuan's on Fraser Street is the perfect example. However, Private Home's does taste better than Ji Jiang Shanghai's though which also located on Kingsway Street in Burnaby.

I am not a fan of white shrimp but it pairs well with this dish. The prawns have a nice settled mild spiciness and taste meaty as well as a bit stiff (in a good way).

These are one of the highlights of dinner and a must order. The xiao long bao looks fluffy, has a thin layer of skin and an extremely juicy flavourful tasty pork meat filling. The juice tastes really flavourful and I am not sure what it is. Perhaps a bit of extra salt and another not so typical ingredient added to the ground pork? Either way, the juice resembles a tasty broth! Also, the meat tastes smooth, tender and really delicious. Private Home has one of the best XLBs and just made their way on my short list of favourites, knocking the other two out and being #1. Dramatic? Yes. Needed? Yes. My now #1 favourite for XLBs? Yes.

The pork belly is sliced a bit too thick and could have tasted more tender with thinner slices. As for the sauce, the garlic chilli has a flavourful mild to medium chilli spicy taste along with a hint of garlic. Also, again like the mouth watering chicken, despite the appearance of an overwhelming sauce with chilli flakes, it was not too much and paired well with the pork. The abundance of sauce and chilli flakes makes the dish really tasty. Furthermore, the sauce also tastes a lot better and more flavourful than the mouth watering chicken's.

The second highlight of dinner are the pan fried pork dumplings. In general, I am not a huge fan of pan fried dumplings but these are honestly the best. The dumplings have a perfect crispiness on the bottom as well as along the sides, and a nice golden colour. As for the meat, the pork tastes extremely smooth, juicy and flavourful; this is a must order. Also, since the dumplings are really juicy, the juice squirts out! Make sure to take a small bite like with the XLBs and to slurp everything up. 

The fatty portion of the pork tastes tender and delicious; however, the lean part tastes stiff as well as hard and quite chewy. Despite the chewiness, the sauce tastes quite good and there is a slightly sweet yummy brown sugar flavour.


Feeling a bit still hungry, the both of us decided to add an order of dan dan noodles. Private Home's dan dan noodles are not the traditional Szechuan kind, meaning; no spicy chilli oil, Szechuan peppercorn, ground meat and preserved vegetable. 

As for the taste, the soup base has a rich peanut buttery flavour along with a spicy level of a hint to barely mild, and the ingredients consist of noodles, crushed peanut, cilantro and a bit of green onion. Asides from the the sort of plain noodles, the noodles taste overcooked, soft as well as mushy, but edible. Any ideas on what variation the dan dan noodles are? 

Not satisfied with the noodles, we added an order of green onion pancake. Since the pan fried dumplings and XLBs taste amazing, I assumed the green onion pancakes must as well! Unfortunately, the green onion pancakes are deep fried therefore tasting dry as well as crunchy, with no moist flaky layers. If I knew that Private Home deep fries, I would have asked if pan frying was an option since the restaurant was not busy. Usually some restaurants choose to deep fry over pan fry because the cook time is faster. Also, the only restaurant that has made deep fried green onion pancake taste good is Chen's Shanghai Kitchen.

- Best pan fried dumplings and XLBs
- Approachable and friendly staff
- Newly renovated and clean restaurant
- Average to above average eats
- Controlled mild spiciness (although I would have preferred a medium)

- Some dishes could taste better despite being good enough 
- Ehhh... green onion pancake, dan dan noodles and homestyle sliced pork stew
- Mouth watering chicken sauce could improve

- Yup. I have to come back for the dumplings and XLBs, most likely for lunch though since I like to eat a lot for dinner and am not sure what else I would order again other than those two items. I can probably find something else that is tasty though

Food: 2.5/5 (dumplings and XLB 5/5.. I know, I rarely rate 5/5)
Service: 3.5/5

Private Home Chinese Cuisine 一點心意南北私房菜 on Urbanspoon


  1. Great review with words and not only pictures
    How does everything fit in your belly??
    Got to check out the dumplings and XLBS!
    On Wiki it says the peanut sauce noodles are American or Taiwanese

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think it's just the restaurants' way of making them

  2. Sesame paste and/or peanut butter is sometimes added, and occasionally replaces the spicy sauce, usually in the Taiwanese and American Chinese style of the dish.[1] In this case, dandanmian is considered as a variation of ma jiang mian (麻醬麵), sesame sauce noodles. In American Chinese cuisine, dandanmian is often sweeter, less spicy, and less soupy than its Sichuan counterpart.

    - Wikipedia

    1. anonymous: never had anything like this is taiwan or other noodle houses in van

      mvp: did the noodles taste good?

    2. Good to know! Never had noodles like these either. They were.. different, a bit too soggy for me

  3. How the !#$% can you eat so much? I have to check out this place

    1. I have a big appetite LOL. Hope you like it! I want to go back of the XLBs and dumplings



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