218 Keefer Street, Vancouver
Date of Visit: July, 2017
I probably walked past Gain Wah three or four times before I noticed it. In fact, I was planning to eat at a restaurant next door on this particular but it was full when I arrived and I just happened to spy this place instead. It was a happy accident as I had a very nice meal…
The place is quite a bit larger than you might guess from the unobtrusive façade and probably seats about 60 or so. It is plain, really only decorated by signs in Chinese advertising specials, and it is a little untidy, with vegetables and other items stacked on tables near the kitchen. Still, it is a comfortable and inviting sort of place and the clutter didn’t bother me at all.
The regular menu is quite extensive but it is also supplemented by the aforesaid wall signs as well as handwritten pages at each table. There is a lobster tank and oysters usually available (although they were out on the day I visited). The very friendly woman who served me said the place specializes in Hong Kong cuisine and that they were licensed, but for beer only.
I didn’t notice until I was leaving but the place does Chinese BBQ too and the man who was working the BBQ station offered me a piece of duck to try, telling me it was the specialty of the place. It was absolutely delicious and I was sorry I hadn’t spotted it earlier and included it as part of my meal.
Soup with Preserved Cabbage, Shredded Pork and Noodles – The cabbage, in this instance, seemed to have been substituted for some other vegetable (daikon greens perhaps) and they didn’t have the sour or salty taste of the preserved variety. In fact, they tasted a little like seaweed, which was fine by me, but not what I was expecting. The stock was very delicate and nicely flavored (although I added a little chili oil), but I found that the noodle portion was far too generous for me. I liked this dish but I couldn’t finish it all.
Green Onion Pancake – This is something I really enjoy but I am often disappointed in restaurants as they often come out a bit doughy. This one, though, was very light and flaky and nicely crisp on the outside. There was no sesame oil flavor and I think that scallion oil must have been used as the taste of very sweet scallions came through superbly.
I really wish I could have sampled a bit more of the menu but the two selections I had were very substantial and incredibly inexpensive. I was also impressed by the friendliness of the woman who served me and the kind gentleman who treated me to a taste of his duck. I told both of them, quite truthfully, that I would return before I left town. I rate this place at a 5 out of 5.