Advantages Good food, good service, great prices, huge menu
Disadvantages It's a 10 hour trip to get there
INTRODUCTIONWalking around the downtown Vancouver area, myself and Ms Larsbaby were on the lookout for somewhere interesting to eat. Robson Street seemed particularly fruitful for Asian food but we'd been there already. Having spotted plastic displays of rice and noodle dishes in the window of Noodle Express, I was convinced that this was the mark of an authentic Japanese restaurant.
THE RESTAURANTThe restaurant is in the middle of yet another street in downtown Vancouver that is crammed with Asian restaurants. As we walked in, we spotted a bar area in an "n" shape around the kitchen area, complete with bar stools. The metal tables were complimented with wooden chairs with red leather seating. The place was half empty and I was kept amused by a Japanese family seated next to us, who seemed to be ordering huge gyoza (dumplings). I've only seen weenie gyoza before, like the kind you get in Wagamama, so this was a bit of an eye opener for me. There was a lone student type there swotting up with her books and having the occasional chat with the waitress. I got the impression this was quite an informal place, which is something I always favour. This usually means that the food is looked after and everything else falls into place.
The menu seemed to be in English, Japanese and Chinese. It was very extensive and seemed to be mainly composed of lots and lots of meaty noodle and rice dishes, every combination I could think of, anyway. The usual things you'd expect, such as teriyaki, udon noodle dishes and fried rice dishes, were all in evidence.THE FOOD
Ms Larsbaby had fried udon noodles with seafood and vegetables (mostly beansprouts). The seafood was fish cake, squid (complete with tentacles), mussels, and prawns (not many of those). The thick udon noodles had a nice rich brown colour to them, thanks to the sauce. I tried a bit and the noodles were firm and flavoursome, the fish tasty too.My dish was chicken curry with rice, which sounded interesting and I thought it might give some cooking ideas for when I returned home. It did! The golden curry sauce tainted the mountainous portion of rice with a pleasant hue. The fried egg morsels, little chicken pieces and peas mixed in with the rice were very nice. The taste of the curry was lovely; quite mild but full of flavour. Think of the curry you get with chips sort of flavour. My meal was served with s small bowl of miso soup. No spoon there, so I picked it up and slurped it from the bowl. This was standard miso, probably from a packet.
CONCLUSIONNoodle Express was a good example of excellent, authentic Japanese food in Vancouver, of which we saw several. The sizeable portions filled both of us up, and the friendly service kept us happy. The bill of $25 seemed fair enough to me. It looked like the sort of place that would be bustling at its peak time and it would be a great place to be then. In summary then, one to add to the recommended list.
Telephone: 604 669 1234
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