Well here I am, back in the lovely city of Vancouver once again, after flying off here and there for an entire month. You would think that after spending thirty days in Asia I would be tired of Asian, but nope here I am again wanting me some Taiwanese food. So, I did what I do best, hunt down new places to eat. I had almost lost hope after flipping through the first few pages of KLIP magazine since it featured the same places it always does…but half way through, there. it. was. Panda cafe. Okay, maybe that was a tad exaggeration of what actually happened, but the point is, I found a place to satisfy my craving. So after a long (well not that long) historical day at the Burnaby Village Museum, Grayson and I headed off to Panda cafe for some early dinner.
When we walked in, the cafe looked quite empty but I figured that it was just due to the fact that it just newly opened two weeks ago….or it could of been because we were there at 6:00, either way, not the point, I know. While I heard that the cafe had a bit of a manga influence (which is why I wanted to go in the first place), I didn’t expect to see such an extensive library. I also saw that they had individual rooms with paintings of from mangas, it was sort of exciting, even for a non-manga reader like myself. Castle in the Sky robot yay! For $4, you can read all the manga books you like, but since I’m more of a foodie than a manga reader, I chose to just focus on the food part of the cafe experience.
Grayson and I shared a black milk tea with coconut jelly, which is his favorite, he got to pick because he’s the one who wrote an exam this morning. It was milky with a subtle tea flavor, it wasn’t too overly sweet either. We didn’t end up finishing it though because towards the end it got much sweeter, but that’s probably because of the coconut jelly.
After much anticipation, my food finally came! I ordered a kimchi noodle soup with vermicelli ($8.95). There were other options to choose from like udon, ramen, potato noodles, and rice noodles as well. The bean spout side dish it came with was marinated with garlic, green onion and red chilies. It wasn’t spicy and the garlic flavor, although noticeable, wasn’t overpowering. My noodles came with fried fish cake, fish tofu, fish balls, imitation crab, kimchi and fried tofu puffs. I thought the fish tofu were the cutest things because they were fish shaped! The soup had a nice spiciness to it from the chopped red chilies, but I thought it was quite bland and watered down in kimchi flavor, so it lost a few points in my book, as a “kimchi noodle soup”. The portion size was decent, I didn’t end up finishing my whole bowl.
Grayson got the special of fried fish on rice ($8.95), he’s not good at describing food so I had to pry descriptions out of him. He said the batter on the fish was nice and crispy and the sauce although spicy was tolerable even for a guy who doesn’t admire a little spice. Although he didn’t think the portion was too big at first, but he was content in the end. He was being punny all day and decided to remark “there’s something awfully fishy about our dinner.” I laughed, but that’s just our strange sense of humour.
While we both left full, we probably won’t come out of our way to revisit since it’s a long ways away from our home and the food was mediocre. The food menu was quite limited compared to other Taiwanese restaurants as well. However, it’s a good place to go if you’re feeling adventurous and wanting to experience something new, or if you’re just wanting to read a bunch of new mangas you’ve been wanting to try, because I’m positive it’s on one of those shelves.