A source of excellent spicy food indeed. Well, when S and I made this foodblog, we wanted a good variety of eats, not just the “schwwwanky places”, but also dives that don’t seem incredible from the outside, but they are when you dig deeper. Chili Pepper House (they don’t have their own site so I linked it to Urbanspoon) on 3003 Kingsway (at Rupert) has been around for quite a while, and the owner is somehow related to the owners of Green Lettuce, which has a similar menu and style of cooking. From what I understand, the owner of Chili Pepper House was educated in Sweden, lived in India, and has Hakka heritage, so you can expect a diverse array of flavours when you walk in the door. Apart from the fact that they serve pakoras alongside hot and sour soup, or papadums right beside Hakka noodles (a delicious stirfry that comes up not greasy, but akin to a nice yakisoba), they make good food that can rival any better-known “traditional” Chinese restaurant; alas, the kind of cuisine they serve up here which can be found in some parts of Southwest China is underrepresented here in Vancouver, and it’s great that there’s an option out there where people can go to for a new taste.
Hot and sour soup with bamboo shoots, chicken, scallions and coriander ($3.95 sml, $6.75 med, $8.75 lrg) – A-
One of my favourite Chinese soups, it appeals to my taste for spicy foods and also the need for some sourness to put some zing into a meal. The small size can easily feed three people, and it packs a punch.
Black pepper beef with onions ($9.25) – B+
Can’t go wrong with this dish. The beef was adequately tenderized (chemically or mechanically is anyone’s guess…it didn’t taste like it was chemical!), and the onions lent a bit of sweetness to round out the flavour. Hint: this dish is GREAT if you pack some up for home and put it into stir frys or soupy noodles. Yum!
Singapore-style Vermicelli with chicken and shrimp ($8.95) – A
It’s got noodles. It’s got tumeric. It’s got a nice balance of chicken, shrimp and veggies. I think it’s all set. You don’t seem to notice the food dipping in volume because the portion is just so huge, but I bet you wouldn’t even mind…
Haaji Fish ($12.25) – A
I think this would be the representative of the unique Chinese-Indian flavour of this place. It clearly had a curry and tumeric tinge to it, and it was sprinkled very liberally with chili flakes. Lightly deepfried until golden, it balances the fishy flavour of the cod with a flavour that isn’t quite Indian, but also isn’t quite Szechuanese/Yunnanese… it’s in a league of its own.
If you’re wanting a good hidden place to try next time you’re looking for a change-up in flavours, head on down here. The dishes I’ve shown here are the tip of the iceberg, as the selection won’t leave anyone disappointed. Again, this would be a “dive” so don’t expect Michelin star quality presentation or ambience for a first date, but do expect solid results. This place never fails to deliver on that.
– Cheers, A