Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lucky Noodle Chinese Restaurant 湘味濃

Lucky Noodle has been around for a couple of years and having drove by at least a hundred times, I have never noticed the restaurant. However, since a few new restaurants have been popping up along Kingsway Street, I assumed Lucky Noodle was one of them. Was it a craving for noodles that lured me in? Nope, it was the alluring photos of Hunan cuisine posted outside the restaurant! In addition, the restaurant also offers Cantonese as well as Taiwanese food, and a dry style hot pot like Shun Xin's (which we unfortunately did not get to try since crab was not available at the time).

The restaurant is a small family run operation and the staff is extremely friendly (ten times friendlier than another Hunan cuisine restaurant, Alvin Garden!). As for the interior, I like it. There are paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and vines running across the top that wraps around faux tree pillars. Furthermore at the back of the counter, there are hanging pinata-like food such as ginger, potato, red chilli, eggplant and cucumber. 

BOILED CHICKEN (BONE-IN) IN SPECIAL SPICY SAUCE ($13.95). Starting with a favourite dish of mine, the mouth watering chicken is served cold and is an absolute favourite, when properly made. The free range chicken has a nice tender stiffness and the sauce tastes medium spicy. However, the sauce does not taste very flavourful and is missing that nice tingly spiciness. The dish would have tasted a lot better if some sichuan peppercorns were used.

CHINESE BACON WITH BAMBOO SHOOTS ($15.95). The chinese bacon has a nice smokiness and tastes slightly chewier as expected. In addition, the dish tastes mildly spicy and creeps up to a medium which I enjoy. As for the marinated bamboo shoot, the restaurant uses fresh rather than canned, and does not taste too salty. The next time I go for Hunan cuisine, I will probably stick to my usual pork belly and green pepper dish, than this.

STEAMED JUICY BUNS, XIAO LONG BAO ($6.95). The XLBs taste alright and although not dry, they are not juicy enough for me to take a photo. Well, I tried, and dropped one, so got annoyed and stopped LOL. As for the meat, it could have had more fatty pork for that nice smooth taste, and ginger.

CHINESE SAUSAGE FRIED RICE ($9.95). The fried rice is pretty bomb. Properly fused, emphasis on properly, and is not half-assed. There are no white lumps of rice nor a lack of seasoning, and is one of the best that I ever had in an extremely long time. As in months. The fried rice has smoked pork belly (chinese sausage/bacon), carrot, pea, egg and shrimp. As for the taste, the fried rice has a light smokiness, does not taste greasy, and is fluffy. This is honestly the highlight of dinner. I also appreciate the shrimp placed at the very top for presentation purposes.

HOT AND SOUR SOUP, SMALL ($6.95). Kind of hoped for the soup to come first rather than second to last… but oh well. The hot and sour soup tastes more spicy than tangy, as well as salty. As for the ingredients, there is a good amount of bamboo shoot, red chilli, green onion and pork. If anything, we would have really enjoyed the soup more if it was tangier.

STIR-FRIED TIGER PRAWN IN SPECIAL SPICY SAUCE ($19.95).  The butterflied prawns taste meaty with a nice bounce and spicy, the way I like it. Aside from the prawns, there is also fungus, green daikon and rice cake. Normally I am not a fan of rice cake but because of the spiciness, I quite enjoyed the soft chewiness. If anything, the dish overall tastes alright because of the spiciness but for the price, could have had a more flavourful sauce.

TOTAL: $78.96 + TIP $12.05 = $91.00.
Overall we tipped 15% (despite not needing any service) because I like supporting family restaurants, especially ones with friendly staff! As for the food, I find everything average at best except for the fried rice, and may not revisit. However if I do, I will definitely try some fattier pork belly dishes, a dry style hot pot… and order the fried rice again! Meh, I will probably end up revisiting some day based on convenience and because the staff was friendly.

- Chinese sausage fried rice is a must order
- Average eats
- Friendly staff

- Food could be better
- Xiao long bao is meh

- Another Hunan cuisine restaurant is Alvin Garden on Imperial Street in Burnaby

Food: 2.5/5 (fried rice 3.5/5)
Service: 2.5/5 

Luckynoodle Chinese Restaurant 湘味濃 on Urbanspoon

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