McKim Wonton Mein Saga

Restaurant: McKim Wonton Mein Saga
Cuisine: Chinese/Noodles
Last visited: February 22, 2012
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: 8788 McKim Way
Train: Aberdeen Station Northbound
Price Range: $10 or less ($10-20 for dinner)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!

Food: 3.5-4 (Based on what I tried)
Service: 2
Ambiance: 2.5
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • 2 locations
  • Local Cantonese favourite
  • Popular for wontons/congee
  • Authentic Cantonese cuisine
  • Handmade noodles
  • Made upon order
  • Chinese & English menu
  • Specials only in Chinese
  • Casual/quick
  • Family friendly
  • Budget friendly/cheap eats
  • Lunch specials $7.50 (M-F: 11am-2:30pm)
  • 11am-3pm daily specials
  • Fresh wonton/noodles to go
  • Cash only
  • Dine in/Take out
  • Open daily 11am-10pm

**Recommendations: Wontons, Congee, Steamed Sticky Rice Wrap (Zongzhi), Steamed or Pan Fried Rice Rolls with Green Onion

I’ve dined here on a couple occasions, but it’s hard to gain access to or even notice if you’re unfamiliar with the area. It’s on McKim Way hence the name McKim Wonton, which is also a coincidence because the words “Mak”, “Mc”, “Mac”, “McK”, “Mic”, or “Mik” are all synonymous with the “Mak” surname. The Mak surname in Hong Kong is world renowned for making the best wontons, so people will often market their restaurant with that name even though they’re not officially part of the Mak family or brand. Yes, leave it to Asia when it comes to “knock offs”. On the other hand, good food is good food despite the name.

They actually have another location in Vancouver and they’re quite famous for having the “best wonton noodles”. The type of kitchen and layout is traditional and expected of a wonton noodle and congee house. The absence of the BBQ pork, roasted duck and whole chickens hanging from a display window is a sign that the butchery is perhaps not the highlight. I haven’t tried their BBQ meats yet so I can’t be sure, but this is based purely on observation.

I came for a late afternoon lunch before heading down to judge the pulled pork competition at the BC Home & Garden Show. While most people would skip lunch to plan for the event, I took the opposite route. Go figure. Anyways the place gets busier during peak hours, but they offer great mid afternoon and lunch time specials. There’s a satisfaction I get when I can order a lot of things, eat like a king, and at the end I’m actually happy to see the bill.

The downside is that ordering can be a challenge here. They have an English and Chinese menu, but I always wonder what all the offerings on the walls are. The staff at almost any Chinese place will never be patient enough to go through it with you, so you can pretty much farewell the specials if you can’t read them. I know, it sucks.

The bright side is that the name says it all. “McKim Wonton Mein Saga” basically translates to “McKim Wonton Mein World”, so you’ll play it safe by ordering the wonton noodles, noodle soup bowls and congee. Those are usually the highlights at places like these. The food was pretty good depending on what you order, but in the context of Richmond I would rather go to Michigan Noodle House or Mak’s Noodle House for even better noodles. Both of those restaurants are actually associated with the real “Mak” surname from Hong Kong too, so there’s a little insider’s tip!

On the table:

**Pan Fried Rice Rolls with Green Onion – 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • It’s available pan fried or steamed. $5.50, or $3.50 between 11am-3pm
  • These are one of my favourite things and they bring back childhood memories.
  • It’s almost comfort food for Asian kids and it’s also considered “peasant food”.
  • They were made in house and the rice noodles were paper thin and rolled tightly.
  • They were soft and not chewy or gummy, but I prefer a bit of springiness.
  • The green onions should be rolled into the rice roll skin rather than just being placed on top.
  • They were pan fried, but you could barely tell, although they’re not supposed to be crispy either.
  • They were lightly dressed and fried in soy sauce and then served with Hoisin and sesame sauce for dipping which is my favourite part.

**Traditional Wunton Noodle Soup4/6 (Very good)

  • Small $4.10 Large $5.10
  • The small comes with 4 wontons and the large with 5 and the bowl is very slightly larger. The above is a large.
  • They’re quite famous for having the “best wonton mein”, so this is a must try if you come.
  • The wontons are very good, but the noodles lack structure and they were overcooked which was quite disappointing, especially since they had few tables.
  • They continued to cook in the hot soup so near the end they were really soft.
  • The noodles are fresh, but they were on the thin side and they were missing that crunch.
  • I prefer the noodles at Michigan Noodle House over these and the best thus far has been at Mak’s Noodle House in Richmond.
  • The broth had a very mild shrimp flavour and a bit of white pepper, but it tasted like it had a bit of MSG too. The majority of Chinese restaurants use MSG though, so this wasn’t a rare case – I just happened to notice it.
  • It wasn’t too salty, but next time I would make a special request for firmer noodles because the wontons were enjoyable.

  • The wontons aren’t huge and quite traditional in size.
  • The skins were paper thin and each one was filled with 2-3 roughly chopped shrimp and a bit of sesame oil.
  • The shrimp was still crunchy, juicy and firm and in whole pieces which is how it should be rather than all mashed up.

Szechuan Style Spicy Meat Sauce with Tossed Noodle3/6 (Good)

  • Served with free soft drink $6.25 (Noodle special 11am-5pm daily)
  • This is another one of my favourite dishes at a wonton noodle house.
  • It was good but not great, and I like the one at Michigan Noodle House better (see Lo-Mein with Shredded Pork in Spicy Brown Sauce).
  • It’s served with a side of wonton noodle soup and you can eat it together, but I don’t.
  • It’s a “Lo-Mein” or “tossed noodle” dish from Northern China.

  • I prefer eating it without the soup mixed in and the noodles weren’t dry so it didn’t require soup.
  • The noodles are served “dry” and the meat is heavily sauced and marinated, so the soup ends up adding moisture and dilutes the richer pork mixture.
  • The pork mixture tasted quite ketchupy and it shouldn’t.
  • Ketchup isn’t really uncommon for Chinese people to use, but it shouldn’t be used for this dish, or at least not that much of it.
  • The pork is stir-fried in a fermented chili bean sauce/paste so it’s really pungent and quite salty and sweet with a garlicky flavour.
  • It’s sweet like a sweet BBQ chili sauce, a bit sour from the ketchup, and then aromatic with sesame oil followed by a nice mild-medium spice.
  • The pork is hard and almost jerky like and it’s supposed to be like that.
  • It really tastes like pork jerky and it’s incredibly well flavoured from being stir-fried until it almost reaches a dry state from absorbing all the sauces. It’s not dry in a bad way though.
  • The noodles were soft again which means they just overcook them because this one wasn’t even served in a boiling soup.
  • I still really like this dish even though they didn’t do it justice here.

Dried Smoked Fish with Peanut Congee2/5 (Okay)

  • Served with free soy sauce fried noodle $6.25 (Congee special 11am-5pm daily)
  • The congee was very good, but the kind of congee wasn’t for me so I’m biased.
  • My favourite is the Preserved Egg and Shredded Pork Congee, and this one was almost too traditional Chinese tasting for me.
  • The great part was that it was served piping hot, but there wasn’t much of the dried smoked fish or peanuts in it.

  • The tiny pieces of broken up smoked fish were chewy and hard and almost jerky like.
  • They weren’t that smoky or very salted and I wasn’t keen on them. I usually don’t mind them too.
  • The peanuts are Chinese boiled peanuts which I’ve never been keen on and they’re soft and almost mealy in texture.
  • The congee itself was very good, nice and creamy and infused with some dried scallop flavour. It wasn’t watered down and it had good texture.
  • It was almost infused with a sweet pickled ginger flavour to balance out the smoked fish, but the other kinds of congee won’t have it.
  • I wasn’t keen on the sweet pickled ginger flavour and it was infused throughout the congee.

Pan Fried Soy Sauce Noodle – 1/6 (Poor)

  • Complimentary with the congee.
  • This is a common side dish with congee.
  • It was definitely sitting there before they served it and simply reheated because the noodles were very dry even just from looking at them.
  • They were also very bland and the onions and green onions were a bit shriveled as well.
  • They’re not supposed to be crispy chow mein noodles, so they’re meant to be simple, but this was not a good representation of them.

**Steamed Sticky Rice Wrap (Zongzhi)4/6 (Very Good)

  • $5.50, or $3.50 between 11am-3pm
  • This is pretty much Chinese style tamale and it’s a common side dish to congee.
  • It’s a giant Chinese rice dumpling that’s very similar to a sticky rice wrap at dim sum, but much richer, heartier and filling.
  • It was served with a sweet soy sauce on the side to pour over top otherwise it can be bland.

  • The rice is glutinous sweet sticky rice and it was very moist inside and out. It’s not sweet like dessert though.
  • There was a good amount of filling in the rice wrap.
  • The inside was filled with salted pork shoulder, mung beans and salted duck egg yolk.
  • The filling is quite starchy and beany, but I love it. The mung beans are almost like lentils.
  • The pork is pretty fatty, but falling apart tender, moist and not chewy.
  • The fat pieces were creamy and the juices just released into the rice.
  • Overall it has a bit of a gluey or gummy texture from the glutinous rice being steamed, but it’s meant to be like that.
  • The fillings weren’t too salty and the rice was rather bland so the soy sauce does make it taste better.
  • I generally enjoy this dish and they did a good job with it here.

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5 Comments

  • LotusRapper says:

    When I used to work in Burnaby, I drove by their Vancouver store on Kingsway everyday. SAGA ….. ?!? Like, did they start out in Hong Kong with Episodes I, II and III ? [wink, wink] .

    Then I looked at the Chinese name, realizing the poor phonetic translation.

    Then a few years ago I happened to drive down Garden City and saw their Richmond store. Cool, McKim on McKim Way. So which came first ? Maybe their wontons are sooooo good that Richmond named the road after them, LOL.

  • LotusRapper says:

    Ha, you’re like me. I really enjoy comfort food like a piping hot zhongzhi (sticky rice dumpling/tamale), esp. on a blustery day. I too like mine filled with pork, mung beans and preserved duck egg yolk. Although I love peanuts too. I always ask for the soy on the side, fearing restos will drench the dumpling in soy (and some of them do), then as I open up the inside the juices from the meat leak out, and I take a small spoonful of the soy (and sesame oil) to drizzle and mix with the meat juices before dipping the next forkful into it.

    And the best sides to such a zhongzhi IMHO are a Chinese donut (on its own or wrapped inside steamed rice roll), and a bowl of “sampan” (HK boat-style) congee.

    Mmmm. Getting hungry thinking about it !

  • Linda says:

    Mmm like LotusRapper, I see the kingsway location mckim all the time but we usually pass by it and opt for come along or au wing kee… i will definitely look into now because the lunch specials look pretty good especially the szechuan style spicy meat sauce with tossed noodle 🙂 kinda hard to fight with such a low price point too lol

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – yes i love that noodle dish! To be honest, #9 actually makes a good one too lol

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