Old Buddies Seafood Restaurant 尚品海鮮麵館 (“Best wontons” in Richmond/Metro Vancouver, BC)

Restaurant: Old Buddies Seafood Restaurant 尚品海鮮麵館
Cuisine: Chinese/Noodles
Last visited: February 24, 2014
Phone: (604) 370-4833
Location: Richmond, BC (Central Richmond)
Address: #1120-8391 Alexandra Rd
Price Range: $10-20

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3 (based on few items)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Chinese Cantonese food
  • Noodle/congee
  • Same owners as Ho Yuen Kee (Vancouver)
  • Local Chinese favourite
  • Chinese/English menus
  • Casual, but nice
  • Affordable
  • Family friendly
  • Some bubble tea options
  • Parking at rear
  • Private room available
  • Open daily Mon-Sun 11am-11pm
  • Thierry – Visit/Post 1
  • Thierry – Visit/Post 2
  • Twitter: @thierrychocolat

**Recommendations: Wonton Noodles, Wontons

I wasn’t even planning on writing about this, so I didn’t get photos of the outside or inside. It is located on “eating street” on Alexandra Road in Richmond, BC. It took the old Kam Do restaurant spot, so it’s been here for a while.

The name “Old Buddies” doesn’t say much, but it’s a casual restaurant with affordable prices despite it looking somewhat fancy inside. It serves Hong Kong style Chinese food, but I only came for their late afternoon/lunch menu, so dinner could be different. It actually comes from the same owners as local favourite Ho Yuen Kee Restaurant (何源記) on Fraser Street in Vancouver, so this was promising.

It was an early dinner/late lunch and I wanted something casual. My parents had actually given me the recommendation for this place and dad raved about their wontons. He’s a “wonton noodle man”, so I was feeling confident. Mom supported the decision, so we were in 2 for 2.

The lunch menu featured Cantonese inspired snacks, and a typical wide selection of fried, tossed, soup noodles, congee, sautéed side dishes, hot pot, and even an unexpected menu for bubble tea. It is a bit of an “we do it all” place, but not a Hong Kong style cafe or bubble tea restaurant. It is more along the lines of Michigan Noodle House across the street, or Sing Yee, where the food is still traditional Chinese-Cantonese and the atmosphere is nice and comfortable.

Despite not trying much of the menu, I tried what I came here to try, and the wontons were nothing short of freaking awesome. They didn’t disappoint and I would even come here just for a bowl of wonton noodles. The other two items were okay to good, and I barely tried enough of the large menu to make a fair judgement about the restaurant overall, but I couldn’t wait to share the good news!

Yes, “breaking news”! Relatively undiscovered stellar wontons in Richmond! The local Chinese community likely knows about this already, so I can’t take credit unless you heard it here first!

On the table:

Old Buddies Wonton 1**Wonton Noodles5.5/6 (Excellent!)

  • $5.50
  • I can’t say if they are “the best” wonton noodles or wontons because food is too personal and I haven’t tried every single bowl there is to offer.
  • These are definitely in my top 3 favourite wonton noodles I’ve tried in Metro Vancouver thus far though, and I’ve tried a lot.
  • I also love the ones from Michigan Noodle House, McKim Wonton Mein Saga, and Neptune Wonton House, but this could possibly beat them all.
  • It comes with 5 humongous wontons. Most wonton noodle bowls come with either 4 or 5.
  • The wontons are enormous 2 biters which is American in style since the wontons in Hong Kong are traditionally bite sized.
  • I can overlook size though and the taste outweighs tradition.
  • It came piping hot and each wonton was stuffed with probably at least 3 roughly chopped fresh shrimp.
  • They had an excellent bite and crunch and were not mushy, chewy, or overcooked.
  • The shrimp filling was mixed with a bit of pork belly which is standard, but it wasn’t too much pork fat and the fat was tender.
  • The wontons had a very meaty bite and flavour and they were super juicy. Excellent quality and well seasoned.
  • The noodles were firm and al dente, but McNoodle House next door is fierce competition and is known for “the best” noodles.
  • The soup was flavourful, not too oily, and good, but still had more potential.
  • I could taste a bit of shrimp stock and then a touch of white pepper.
  • I liked that it didn’t have much/any MSG, but I wanted more shrimp flavour and was slightly watered down.
  • It also came with two pieces of Chinese broccoli and green onions.
  • The vegetables are a bonus because they are not standard with most wonton noodle bowls.
  • Also see my article on “must try” wontons and noodles in Hong Kong.

Old Buddies Wonton 3Spicy Pork with Lo Mien Noodles – Zha Jiang Mien (炸醬麵) – 3/6 (Good)

  • About $5-6
  • The English description is awful for this dish, but it’s always under “minced pork with brown sauce” or “pork with spicy brown sauce” at most Chinese restaurants, which is very vague.
  • Zha Jiang Mian or Za Jiang Mein (traditional name) is a Northern Chinese noodle dish popular in Shanghai and Beijing. This is the Cantonese version.
  • The dish literally translates to “fried sauce noodles”, but it is a noodle dish topped with stir-fried pork in fermented chili soybean paste.
  • The noodles, cut of pork, and soybean paste variety will vary from province to province, but the Cantonese version looks typically like the one here.
  • You mix the noodles and sauce together and it is served with a small bowl of hot wonton noodle soup on the side.
  • The wonton noodle soup tasted different than the soup in the actual wonton noodles though, so it could be different entirely.
  • The soup for this was a bit less flavourful with a hint of ginger.
  • You add soup by the spoonful, just enough to moisten and mix the noodles, and it is not meant to be a “soup noodle” bowl.
  • This version had fried pork pieces instead of fried ground pork, and I prefer the ground pork which is more Northern Chinese style.
  • I like the fermented chili soybean paste sauce mixture to have added firm bean curd and sometimes even raw julienne cucumbers, but again that is more Northern in style.
  • This one was pork only and the sauce is very savoury and pungent.
  • The sauce is savoury, a bit sweet, salty and mildly spicy.
  • Traditional Northern versions are much spicier, but Cantonese don’t really like spicy so don’t let the red colour scare you. It’s mild.
  • This one lacked a bit of spice for me and I found it more sweet than salty. I like spicier and even more savoury.
  • The savouriness from the soybean paste is almost like miso paste savoury, so it’s not just salty, but has lots of fermented flavour.
  • The sauce texture is thick and a touch gluey which is somewhat typical of Chinese sauces, but I prefer a bit less corn starch.
  • Za Jiang Mein is compared to “spaghetti bolognese” in a Western context.
  • For Cantonese versions I prefer the Za Jiang Mein at Michigan Noodle House or even No.9 (don’t judge, until you try).

Old Buddies Wonton 2Steamed 4 Treasures Rice Roll2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Around $7.95
  • This is a dim sum dish originating from Southern China, but I rarely see it in Metro Vancouver.
  • It might be presented differently, and at dim sum restaurants there are similar dishes, but I’ve never had anything quite like this.
  • It was basically a pork meatball stuffed rice roll with soy sauce and green onions sprinkled on top.
  • The “4 Treasuures” caught me off guard and I expected the pork to be made with 4 ingredients, but it is just the name of the dish.
  • The pork meatball is the steamed ground pork meatball with preserved Chinese radish which is a very homestyle dish typical made at home.
  • The pork was well seasoned with soy (?), moist and good, but I wasn’t keen on the rice rolls.
  • They weren’t steamed long enough so the rice rolls were undercooked and not quite soft and tender.
  • The rice roll skins were also a bit too thick and not rolled or spread thin enough.
  • I could have used one layer less of rice noodle, or more pork stuffing to balance.
  • I usually love rice rolls and rice noodle skin anything, but these ones weren’t made very well.
  • My favourite rice noodles rolls were at One Dim Sum in Hong Kong thus far.
  • Locally, I enjoy them from Top Gun J & C, Red Star, Ocean King Congee & Noodle and Empire Seafood.

2 Comments

  • Bow says:

    I find great wontons are fabulous but sometimes the soup is a let=down. Also the noodles have to be firm, chewy and toothsome. Nice review, I always eat at the Sing Yee or the Wonton Mein Saga…have to try this place.

  • Elaine Deng says:

    I’ve had the wonton noodles at this restaurant a few times and I agree, they’re awesome. Tasty and huuuuge! The wonton noodles here and at Neptune are my fave!

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