Despite its sea of ethnic food restaurants, Northern Chinese Cuisine is vastly underrepresented in Vancouver.
What exactly is Northern Chinese food you say? Well the term itself is pretty vague. There are 8 types of Chinese Cuisine; Northern Chinese food is often known as dishes from “Lu”—the food of the kings, and one of the oldest cuisines in the world. They are known for their hearty flavouring and extensive use of wheat.
With two locations in the city, the Legendary Noodle House serves up big dishes of tasty Northern Chinese style hand-made noodles. We visited the Denman store; and as with all shops on Denman, it was a little crowded. The decorations are fitting of the place, maybe they are trying a little too hard on the “Chineseness” of it, but I could see its appeal to the general public. The kitchen is a semi-open style, which is great because you get to see the chef prepare your noodles made-to-order. It’s quite an art form; it takes a lot of pulling, slamming, and kneading to produce a fine firmness (think al dente pasta but better). Overall it reminded me of the street-side noodle joints in Tianjin.
What went in
I ordered the Wok Fried Cumin Lamb Dao Xiao Mian (noodles that are made by using a sharp knife to shave pieces off a large stick of dough). You can’t beat cumin lamb; it’s possibly one of the best flavour combinations in the meat-iverse. Traditionally Dao Xiao Mian noodles are not stir-fried with the sauce, but stirred in like pasta. This is a home-cooking method that you don’t usually find in restaurants. Authenticity aside, it was very tasty; this is the type of dish that mom makes at home, but better (shhhhhhhhhh…). The portions are generous, with chunks of meat. The Shanghai style pork buns (while delicious, they are not a Northern Chinese dish) we ordered certainly helped to get me from full to stuffed, impressive for a guy my size. For a place on Denman, Legendary has good value.
What came out
Personally, it seems so much like a home-cooked meal that the prices are a little hard to swallow. But for about 30 dollars to feed two people in Downtown, the dishes are reasonably priced.
Quick, efficient, and friendly enough.
Coming from someone that was born and raised on this style of cooking, it should say a lot that I’m still willing to recommend it to you. If you are tired of the 1000000000 Japanese noodle joints on Denman, why not give this a try? Variety is a very delicious spice of life.
(Max Score: 10; Base Score: 5)
What went in (+/-2, 0) = 1
What came out (+/-1, 0) = 0
Service (+/-1, 0) = 1
Mr.’s Bonus (+/-1) = 1
Total Score – 8/10
Legendary Noodle House
1074 Denman Street