DinnerXiang Cuisine

!Xiang Cuisine is now Alvin Garden.

Located in one of Burnaby’s slightly dodgier neighborhoods just outside of Metrotown is Xiang Cuisine, a Chinese restaurant specializing in cuisine from northern central China. The bright yellow awning sticking out on the lonely suburban block piqued our curiosity. The restaurant is normally packed with people, which is usually a good sign.

The interior isn’t all that appealing. It wasn’t what we were expecting looking from the outside; pretty plain, almost lifeless. The walls needed a coat of paint and the decor — well, there wasn’t one. As I looked around the dining room, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Run, or hope for the best. The place is a bit of a dive with its make shift curtain covering the pass through. I was wondering what was going on behind there. Maybe I’ve been watching one too many Anthony Bourdain episodes. But the aromas of the food was so tantalizing, it kept us from making a hasty exit out the front door.

As we looked over the menu, the waitress informed us it was cash only for orders up to $30 and MasterCard was the only credit card accepted — no Visa. Thank you waitress, we appreciate that — it’d probably be easier if you just stick a sign on the front door indicating the type of payments you accept. You know, like how other restaurants do.

Tre and I started off with spicy green beans with minced pork. This dish was really good! The beans had a slight crunch and the flavour was tasty. We liked how they mixed in minced salted cabbage with the green beans. Just like how my grandma used to make it. Next, spicy steamed fish with ginger. This dish looked really promising, but it kind of fell flat. The pieces of fish had a lot of tiny bones which were annoying as we made futile attempts to spit out a mouthful of bones with each bite. Some pieces of fish tasted fresh and some not so fresh — perhaps it was the Chef’s special mix? But the flavour of the broth was good. Both of these dishes were accompanied with steam rice.

Xiang has its ups and downs. We thought the food was ok, but inconsistent, and I’m sure they have some other tasty dishes. But the ambience and service was lacking. I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience, but I can’t say it sucked either. Future visits here will be reserved strictly as a backup plan.

The Details

4850 Imperial St. Burnaby

Xiang Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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