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I know we give the suburbs a hard time when it comes to good food. But it’s for good reason. Most of it does suck. There are some decent restaurants, but they’re only good when measured against other suburban joints. The real question is, are there any restaurants good enough to draw out the city folk? I think No. 1 Beef Noodle would be a good contender. It’s located in a desolate complex on the corner of Willingdon and Moscrop in Burnaby, kitty corner to BCIT.
No. 1 Beef Noodle is a restaurant that serves home-style Taiwanese cuisine. As the name suggests, they specialize in Beef Noodle soup. Now, whether or not it’s actually the No.1 Beef Noodle spot is up for debate — but it’s definitely a contender. The menu is pretty simple. They serve an assortment of noodle soups, classic Taiwanese rice dishes, hot pots, dim sum, and of course the requisite bubble tea.
I’m a creature of habit. I usually order the Spicy Beef Noodle soup: tender, slow-stewed beef brisket in a fiery hot beef broth and al dente noodles. Case switches back and forth between the Fried Taiwanese Rice Noodles and the Spicy Tofu and Minced Pork with Rice. Nobody can make Fried Taiwanese Rice Noodles like my Aunt. Nobody. But, the Fried Taiwanese Rice Noodles here is a decent second place. Thin, Vermicelli Noodles (Bee Hoon) is stir-fried with slivers of pork, cabbage, carrots and mushrooms and tossed with garlic, scallions, a hint of soy and sesame oil. The Spicy Tofu is a combination of cubed soft tofu, minced pork and scallions swimming in a spicy gelatinous stew that’s served in an earthen pot. It comes with a side of rice and two small tapas dishes that vary daily: anything from pickled seaweed, marinated tofu to garlic-infused vegetables. Most of these dishes can be had for under $8, which beats your average McMeal anyday.
The atmosphere is typical of a Taiwanese restaurant. There’s an attempt to make the place hip with unusual lighting choices, faux post-modern wall decor and Ikea-influenced colour scheme. The result is always a little juvenile; naive even. But it’s generally pretty clean and the seating well-spaced. I don’t recommend coming here during peak times (i.e. dinner). There is extremely limited parking in the complex which happen to house a rotating shift of restaurants that never seem to be able to compete with No.1 Beef Noodle’s business. Unfortunately, because of its location — if you can’t find parking in the complex lot — you’re not parking anywhere.
4741 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby