Bubble World 大頭仔

Like many of us suffering through the chilly Vancouver winter, I caught a cold that left me sniffling and miserable. In a ploy to return to me to my usual chatty self and revive my spirits, SB offered to take me out to dinner. I was in the mood for something hot, so I suggested Bubble World, since we were at Metrotown anyway. As with Sushi Garden, SB and I have visited this location of Bubble World too many times to count, but I never bothered to blog about it until now.

Bubble World has ten locations scattered all over the Greater Vancouver area, with locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, etc. As with any chain restaurant, Bubble World offers a consistent menu and a reliably consistent quality of food, although some locations only offer drinks. It’s not stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s fine for what it is, which is why I’ve visited it so often.

To share, SB and I ordered the Five Spice Beef in Chinese Pancake ($5.25). (I was quite out of my element since the English descriptions on the menu aren’t that helpful, so I let SB do most of the ordering since his knowledge of Chinese is far superior to mine.) The pancake was way too doughy, and wasn’t at all crispy. The green onion was in one long piece, and didn’t really add anything to the dish texturally. The beef itself was very sweet, though. We both liked the hoisin sauce that was served on the side, which was thick and added a much-needed sweet flavour to the bland pancake dough.

SB also recommended that we have the Wonton in Chili Sauce ($4.95) to fill our spicy quotient for the meal. It was fairly one-dimensional, being hot, spicy, and oily. Despite being one-dimensional, we were satisfied, since it was exactly what we were looking for. Plus, even though I was a little disappointed, SB ensured me that this was exactly the way it’s supposed to taste, so oh well. The wontons came out really hot, and I had to wait a little before I could eat them (after burning the roof my mouth on the first one).

Usually my go-to item is the Salty Peppery Chicken, but because of my sore throat, I instead chose to order the Beef Noodle in Soup ($7.95). This was a reasonable portion with the usual noodles, beef shank, and bok choy in a salty broth. The beef was neither tough nor chewy, but was strangely bland in comparison to the broth. Most likely, the two were boiled separately and simply put together moments before arriving in front of me. The noodles had good bite, but I would have preferred them to be a tad softer. The beef itself was also a little fatty. The broth looks quite oily (which it was), but it was perfect for what I was craving.

Onto SB’s entree, which he ordered more out of curiosity than anything else. It was listed as Taiwanese Squid Thick with Rice ($7.75) on the menu, and neither of us knew what that meant. It turned out to be some thick soup-like mixture accompanied by a bowl of white rice. This tasted really herbal. It reminded me of when I was little and would visit my uncle’s store, which sold traditional Korean herbal medicines, which have a very distinct smell. My initial sampling of this reminded me quite strongly of those smells. For SB, it reminded him of hot and sour soup, and he didn’t think this was anything special. He took a while to get used to the taste, but did end up finishing the whole thing, although he mentioned that he probably wouldn’t order this again. Besides the titular squid, it also included a lot of sliced veggies.

We also ordered the Condensed Milk Toast ($3.95), one of my personal favourites. What is there to really say about this? It is literally just a piece of toast with condensed milk on top, and terribly unhealthy…so why do I like it so much? Well, the toast itself was soft and fluffy, and very lightly toasted, so that there’s just a slight difference to the texture of the bread. There really isn’t much that could go wrong here, but yum. Just looking at the picture makes me want to go back.

The two of us very much enjoyed our meal at Bubble World. This place isn’t gourmet by any means, and the service is always indifferent at best (is it against the law to give a customer more than one napkin at a time?), but it’s a decent place for cheap eats, with a  sufficiently varied menu. I always forget that it’s cash only though.

Bubble World 大頭仔
4300 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC

Bubble World 大頭仔 on Urbanspoon

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No.1 Beef Noodle House 京園牛肉麵

Whoo, Reading Week finally! For me it’s more like Eating and Sleeping Week…wait, that’s pretty much all I do during regular school time anyway, haha. In any case, I had a midterm the Friday before Reading Week and ended up blowing off my last class to shop a little, watch a movie (This Means War--not quite memorable, but it was nice to see they’d filmed in Vancouver), and have dinner with SB. We’re both quite money-conscious (translate that to…broke) and ended up going down to No. 1. Sadly it was just the two of us and we weren’t particularly hungry so this will be quite a short post!

We were seated at a table so close to the door we might as well have been seated outside. I try not to buy into that “Asian restaurants have crap service” stereotype but yup, that was what happened here. There were three servers who brought us our water, utensils, and food with no comment. They didn’t even refill our water once. The place was semi-busy, and a lot of the time I looked near the counter to see the waitresses standing around talking or texting. They also watched us leave without any sort of thank you or goodbye… I realize most of the clientele probably doesn’t expect or even want (?) great service, but honestly, service like that does not make me want to come back, unless the food is phenomenal. And, well…

Considering the place is called No. 1 Beef Noodle House, I’d expect the beef noodles to be AMAZING. Well..SB had the Beef Brisket Noodle in Soup, and he was less than impressed. He let me try a little of the soup and all I could really taste was oil. He thought that it was a mediocre effort at best, with too much MSG, and the beef wasn’t brisket… the portion size was also a bit small for him, but then again, he eats more than most people, so that’s just as well. The noodles themselves were quite chewy, but the broth was lacking–for a place that calls themselves No. 1, they should probably step it up a bit.

I had the Crispy Salty Peppery Chicken and Noodle in Soup. And once again I was seriously underwhelmed. The chicken was neither crispy, salty, nor peppery. It didn’t seem like it’d been fried right away and was just limp and bland…no real flavour whatsoever. The chicken pieces themselves were tendon-y and a bit too heavy on the batter, and were served less warm than I would prefer. The accompanying noodles were alright, nothing too memorable, but they were cooked properly and the choy was fresh and tasted as it should. To be honest though, I would have preferred more chicken–I finished all of the noodles and most of the chicken, and I’m not really a big eater.

We were feeling quite cheap after watching our movie (why didn’t we go on half-price Tuesdays at Cineplex??) and didn’t have anything to drink but water. To summarize though, we were disappointed by our dishes and the service, and would probably go somewhere else another time.

No. 1 Beef Noodle House 京園牛肉麵
4741 Willingdon Ave
Burnaby, BC

No.1 Beef Noodle House 京園牛肉麵 on Urbanspoon