Peaceful Easy Feeling
   
6/19/2008   

 

Peaceful easy feeling

Eatery's northern Chinese fare tasty and cheap

Mia Stainsby, restaurant critic

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let me cut to the chase here: I love this place. It's a notch above a hole in the wall and run by a family eager to give you the most at low-ball prices.

This is Peaceful Restaurant's third incarnation. Charlie and Wai-Lee Huang opened their first humble restaurant in 1997 where Aurora Bistro is today; they moved to Kingsway and Knight in 2001 but closed the next year because of a licensing issue. After a break from running their own place, they're back, this time at Broadway and Cambie with daughter Amelia and son Eugene doing a great job at the front of house.

The food is generally northern Chinese, lively with spice, bright flavours and fresh tastes. Mostly, it's the food the Huang family eat themselves and it's very good, especially considering the cost ($50 will feed four, easily). The menu features more than a hundred items and sometimes that means quantity over quality, but what I've tried at Peaceful so far only makes me want more. (You can check out the menu on their website, below.)

Only one dish disappointed and that was the steamed cornmeal buns, which tasted not fully cooked. Dishes I've tried and liked were mom Huang's nan shiang steamed buns (so juicy inside); the cold buckwheat noodles with bean sprouts, cucumbers and sesame mustard (nice crunch in contrast with the soft noodles); three-spice claypot chicken stewed in red wine (the wine gives it depth); stir-fried Chinese rice cakes with cabbage and greens; lion's head claypot (nice meatballs); Mandarin chicken (seduces with honey sweetness).

Like Sha Lin a couple doors down, the cooks in the kitchen make hand-crafted noodles -- "dragged" and "blade-sheared." You can see them transforming lumps of dough into ropes and whips and making them into an amazing array of dishes.

Amelia is a one-woman cheerleader, full of positive energy, and her passion for food radiates. She studies environmental geography at Simon Fraser University and is going more and more sustainable at the restaurant, encouraging customers to bring their own containers for take-out and leftovers (and you can bet there will be) and switching to local produce and sustainable seafood.

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PEACEFUL RESTAURANT

532 West Broadway, 604-879-9878

Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. www.peacefulrestaurant.com