As a student on a budget, I have been motivated to explore the byways of Vancouver’s less expensive restaurants in search of food that excites the taste buds without breaking the bank account. The Snow Garden, a Chinese restaurant located at 51st and Main, was recommended to me by a gentleman of greater means and recognized fine taste.
The Snow Garden is certainly not nouveau chic. The decor is plain with ’50s style chairs and tables, a floor covered with spartan linoleum and walls adorned with two clashing patterns of wallpaper.
The menu is divided along traditional Chinese lines with a variety of soup, seafood, meat and noodle dishes. I was particularly intrigued by the Drunken Chicken appetizer and the Beggar’s Chicken. At $21.80, the Beggar’s Chicken was a little beyond my means, and having taken a vow of sobriety, the Drunken Chicken was off limits.
I started off with the Tan Tan noodles (pronounced don don), which is a noodle soup with a rich peanut stock. At $4.95 it is a great deal as there is more than enough for two.
For the main course I had the Peppering Shrimp with Onion Sauce ($9.95) and the Diced Chicken in Chili and Hot Garlic Sauce served on a bed of fresh spinach ($8.25). The chicken with spinach is a winner as the spinach provides an excellent counterpoint to the hot garlic and chili sauce. The Peppering Shrimp with Onion Sauce is somewhat of a disappointment as the onion sauce is overpowering.
I was also able to sample three of the five lunch specials. At $5.95 they are a steal. All lunch specials are served with soup and a choice of fried noodles or rice. I tried the Deep Fried Cod served with mixed vegetables, the already mentioned Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce, and Beef with Green Onion. The fish was out of sight, the chicken great, and the beef decent.
The service is excellent and the staff friendly and willing to recommend specific dishes. I do not hesitate to recommend the Snow Garden for its fine food, reasonable prices and intriguing ambience.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. I do recommend the Snow Garden for its fine food, reasonable prices and intriguing ambience.