We managed to slip out of town for a day last weekend, and spent a happy afternoon in Vancouver, B.C. It’s strange that we can live so close to Canada, but make it up there so seldom. Every time we go, we tell ourselves “We should do this more often!”
This time we took advantage of the opportunity to get some good Chinese food. Skagit Valley is a pretty good place for many kinds of food, but good Indian or Chinese restaurants are just not happening. Vancouver, on the other hand, has amazing Asian food of all possible kinds. I wanted to find a place with good noodles, and according to the Chowhound boards, Peaceful is one of the top spots.
When we walked in, it was still early in the day, and the place was mostly empty. We quickly emptied our first pot of hot, weak tea and enjoyed being in out of the rain while we studied the rather huge menu. Everything looked fabulous, which made things difficult. We finally settled on an order of the Peaceful beef rolls, a plate of cumin lamb noodles and some Szechuan stir-fried string beans, then settled in and watched the restaurant fill up.
By the time our food came, the place was packed. Several large parties of insistent customers came in, and the waitstaff was kept hopping shifting tables around. We had to move our table at one point to make room, and soon we were completely surrounded by small children and hungry adults. Fortunately, our food turned out to be so delicious that we were totally distracted from the mob.
The string beans arrived first, and we had demolished much of the plate by the time the other dishes arrived. They were spicy, garlicky, nicely shriveled, and speckled with bits of highly flavored mystery meat.
Then the noodles came. They were excellent, solid, handcut noodles, firm and chewy. They were dry, rather than in a soup, and they were heavily seasoned with cumin and enough hot chile to make our sinuses run. The noodles were mixed with slices of lamb, which was a touch muttony with gristle in places, but very savory.
And to top it all off, the beef rolls: green onion flatbreads, so rich they were like pie crust, rolled around finely sliced beef and hoisin sauce. They were tricky to eat without having the whole middle slide out onto your plate while spreading hoisin all over your face, but oh, were they worth it. I have never had anything quite like these, but I sure hope I have them again soon.
By the time we left, there was a line going out the door into the rain. We will definitely have to come back here, but I’m thinking we should try to come early. This restaurant is not a well-kept secret, obviously.