On Michigan Noodle Shop and Sweaty Me.

Yesterday was humid.  I am most certainly NOT complaining about the warm weather, just stating a fact.  And the facts were that yesterday I was a hot, sweaty, panting mess.  I’m not of the “tropical temperament,” and between the humidity, my exercise class at the Oval, and biking around all day, I was looking more than a little frazzled.  Seriously, just say the word exercise and I’ll start sweating.  But even with yesterday’s heat, all I wanted a bowl of noodle soup.  How to predict my wants?  There is no way.

Fortunately, when one is in Richmond and wants noodles, there are endless options to choose from.  I’d heard good things about Michigan Noodle Shop, so I cycled over to Alexandra Road and tried it out.

For any of you looking to get Hong Kong-style food but are a little scared of places like Lido, Michigan Noodle is the restaurant for you.  The servers greeted me immediately, ushered me over to a table, and handed me a cup of hot tea.  They were kind, welcoming, and I felt immediately at ease.  Plus they were snacking on a large box of goodies from Anna’s Cake House in between serving duties, so I couldn’t help but feel a sort of kindred connection.

My friend Hannah was meeting me for lunch, but since I was early I decided to go ahead and order for us, not realizing just how quickly the food would come out.  All three dishes arrived within about 10 minutes, and I (still in my workout gear) looked as though I’d just finished a marathon and needed enough food for three people.  Except that I don’t look like a marathon runner, so until she arrived I just looked like a greedy girl eating family-style all by herself.

I went with the suggestions of my server:  the Wonton with Shrimp and Pork Dumplings and Noodles ($7.25), the Lo Mein with Shredded Pork in Spicy Brown Sauce ($7.25), and the Spicy Salty Bean Curd ($6.50).

The lo mein came first and lo and behold (yes, intended), it was pretty much the same thing we’d had Lido!  This completely made my day, since I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  Clearly it’s a Hong Kong staple, and clearly it’s delicious.  I’d like to point out that I felt soooo experienced as I tossed the noodles with the spicy sauce, only adding the additional broth when needed.  Truly, it’s the small victories that matter, and I heart learning.

The soup, with wontons and noodles, was really good, though my advice would be to order it without the noodles if you plan on having anything like lo mein at your table.  Otherwise, you just end up with noodles, noodles, noodles.  The wontons were fantastic, and as with the homemade fried dumplings at Suhang, made me realize the difference between a quality homemade wonton, and the pre-made, frozen versions I’ve been eating up until now.

Some of them were filled with shrimp, and the others with pork and chopped mushrooms.  Their wrappers were delicate and translucent, allowing the colours of the fillings to shine through; they were perfectly cooked and kept warm by the broth.

And here’s yet another reason why I liked the servers here: when it came time to dish up the soup, I dug in with my chopsticks and pulled, and pulled, and pulled until my long arms could pull no more, but was still left with an endless rope of noodles.  Along came a server with a pair of scissors and snip!  Problem solved.

Finally, the Spicy Salty Bean Curd was consumed enthusiastically by both Hannah and I.  The triangular wedges of curd were soft inside, almost custard-like, and fried to a satisfying, sea salty crunch on the outside.  They came with a sweet, clear dipping sauce, and were arranged atop a flavourful salad with lettuce, cilantro, hot peppers, and sautéed garlic, all tossed in a vinegary dressing.

Our bill came to $23.52, with not a single noodle of the lo mein remaining, and some fried bean curd to take for snacking on later.  Michigan Noodle House isn’t as cheap as places like Lido, but the atmosphere is more refined and the service more attentive.  If you’re a newcomer to the Richmond food scene, I’d suggest starting here.

After I’d fulfilled my noodle craving, I cycled back to the Oval and watched a press conference for local and locally-trained athletes heading to the London 2012 Olympics.  These athletes include a number of Paralympic men’s rugby, goal-ball, and basketball players, as well as most of the Canadian women’s soccer team.  For anyone wanting to catch some Olympic athletes in action before the games, you can come to the Oval between July 19th and the 26th to watch the 2012 Butterfly Canadian Senior and Junior Table Tennis Championships.  Richmond-born and London-bound table tennis player Andre Ho will be competing.

Another thing to note is that during the Olympics, the Oval will be broadcasting live coverage of the games on their huge LED screens in the southeast plaza, starting at 6am each day until the competition ends.

Richmond’s Mayor Malcolm Brodie speaking at the press conference.

Now that they’re so close, I’m getting really excited for the upcoming two and a half weeks of world-class sports.  I think much of this enthusiasm stems from my friend Jillian, who’s already organized a British high tea on the 27th to commemorate the opening ceremonies.  I think I shall make lemon curd….

I’ve also been thinking about how else I can commemorate the games here in Richmond; we’ve already had the Ice Cream Olympics, but what next?  Any ideas?  The only things I can think of begin with “who can eat the most ______,” and I fear my poor digestive system will revolt if I subject it to any kind of eating contests.

Wait, I’ve got it:  ”Who sweats the most, while doing anything.”  Hand that gold over.  Olympic glory is mine.

When I told these London-bound Paralympic rugby players about my own plans to win gold, this was their reaction. It feels good to have such support. (But seriously, good luck winning real gold, guys!)
604-276-0882
Cash only
Vegetarian Options available (including lo mein)

21 Comments

  1. Mannie

    Really craving lo mein now… Was it as good as Lido?

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      I actually liked it more than Lido’s.

      Reply
      • eatingclubvancouver_js

        Michigan is the place to go for wonton noodles. I love their wontons and dumplings. It might have been too hot for you to try their congee but they serve good congee too. Creamy-style. Something to eat when you’re feeling under the weather. :)

        (Wonton noodles (lo mein et al) ain’t the specialty at Lido. It’s really all about the pineapple buns and the HK-milk tea for me at Lido.)

        Reply
  2. Doug

    hmm… craving lo mein right now .. but being downtown there isn’t anything close (or is there ??)

    Anyone with suggestions for lo mein in the Pender/Thurlow area without going to Chinatown??

    Reply
  3. grayelf

    I just had that lo mein for the first time a week ago Sunday, delicious indeed. And I’ve always had a soft spot for the spicy salty bean curd at Michigan. Not to mention their awesome air conditioning :-).

    Another place worth considering in the same little mall is Big Chef. We had a fine meal there last night with crab in salty egg yolk and rice cakes, savoury egg custard called preserved egg on the menu, steamed minced pork with salted fish, a house special soup called Auntie Song’s fish soup, chicken with chili and pepper (which comes with deep fried spinach and scallops!) and the award winning soya sauce chicken which must be preordered. This is a great place to go with a propitiously numbered group of 8 diners.

    Reply
    • Tang

      Hi greyelf. Thanks for the reco on Big Chef. The dishes you mentioned sound really delicious. I was planning for a dinner at Ningbo but now thinking of doing it at Big Chef. May I know how much you paid per person in your group of 8? This will give me an idea how much to budget. BTW, I am surprised that you haven’t tried lo-mein being such a foodie that you are. :)

      Reply
      • grayelf

        Hey Tang, no worries. It was $35 a head all in and we had nine dishes including a 2.75 lb Dungeness for $56.20 ($16.80 a pound plus $10 for the dish prep). If you can afford it, I’d ask for a bigger crab to get the more succulent meat. I didn’t mention the other three dishes: sole with bitter melon (fish was great, I’m not a bitter melon fan but others enjoyed that veg), pea tips with garlic (slightly overcooked,could have used a bit more wok hei) and the one fail dish was the pan-fried beef tenderloin — tough meat, not much flavour. They were out of lotus root or we would have tried the red pork with it, which is a house specialty.

        Reply
      • grayelf

        And BTW if you end up at Ningbo, don’t miss the cilantro and shrimp skin (shrimp skin parsley on the bill), really outstanding. Also the salt and pepper beans (favas) on the appetizers menu at dinner are killer. And the deep fried fish sticks (with seaweed) are the second best version I’ve had. I’d pass on their Ningbo-style spare ribs though. They look impressive but not very good.

        Reply
        • Tang

          Hi Grayelf, thanks for your reply and your tip on Ningbo. I still have Ningbo in mind and will go there for our next get together. For now, I will try Big Chef. I went there before for Da-Lang but not for dinner. I should really join your Chowdowns. You guys know which dishes to order.

          Reply
          • Tang

            I got an idea. When you have another Chowdown in Richmond, you should invite Lyndsay. It’s hard to get a good sampling of dishes if she is dining alone or with just one or two other people.

          • grayelf

            Lindsay doesn’t seem to be having any trouble finding great food or dining companions. She’d of course be welcome to join us if we have a Richmond chowdown. I’ll leave it up to her if she wants to get in touch though as I’m sure she’s swamped.

  4. Luke

    Hello Lindsay

    I enjoy you post, but am not clear on why you talks about sweating three times, maybe I not understanding Canadian humor yet. Any way, is good post, my wife makes very nice lo mean and I want to asking her to make some now!

    Reply
  5. Lulu Lady

    Hi Lindsay

    I am still enjoying your blog & look forward to reading it everyday!

    For the Olympics – I had some ideas to share with you.

    - Suggestions on take-out in Richmond. Need to bring some yummy food home so we can relax in front of the TV and enjoy the Games. Any ideas?

    - High Tea in Richmond! London Farm, Adorabelle, or ?

    - Inspirational Restaurants or stories. The Olympics makes me think about the human spirit. A long time ago I remember reading a story in one of the Richmond news papers about “Harold” – a customer at the former Richmond Inn. Why is Harold’s named after this customer? I think there is probably an inspiring story to retell there. Maybe there are other similiar restaurants in Richmond with other inspiring stories about owners or customers?

    - Where to eat at the Airport? Does your boundaries include YVR? If so, the Olympics makes me think of travel!

    - Greek restaurants in Richmond. Didn’t the Games originate in Ancient Greece? Where are some good Greek restaurants in Richmond?

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      AMAZING ideas!! Thank you!! I can’t wait to try some of these out!

      Reply
  6. Lulu Lady

    Hi again – another suggestion …

    - Where to eat healthy food in Richmond? Where can we eat lots of fruits & veggies? (How to use food to energize our bodies – like an athlete does.)

    Reply
  7. FM

    Great post!!! I love lulu lady’s ideas.

    Any reason why this restaurant is named Michigin Noodle House? Is Michigin famous for noodles? I drive past this place everyday and wonder!

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      Good question! I actually asked the server about that, and she wasn’t sure, but she said the owners used to live in Michigan. So I guess they liked it enough to name their business after it!?

      Reply
      • KimHo

        The source of the name is actually more convoluted than that and involves a bit of weird transliteration and interpretation. To save yourself from further confusion, Mijune actually has a simpler version:

        “Why Michigan? Until recently, I had no clue. However I was educated on the history of the name by a good friend, and now I can honestly say it’s a super smart name. Mak’s Noodle is a famous wonton noodle shop in Hong Kong that dates back to the 1960′s. It was started by generations of the Mak family and now the Mak brand is synonymous with having the best wontons and noodles in the world. For this reason is why so many wonton noodle shops have incorporated the words “Mak”, “Mc”, “Mac”, “McK”, “Mic”, or “Mik” into their restaurant’s name.

        “In Chinese Michigan (Mic-chi-gan) translates to “Mak Gee Gun” which means the root of all Mak’s, so essentially Michigan Noodle House is claiming to be the “Godfather of them all”. It’s a very bold and creative name, but after understanding this, my wonton world makes so much more sense.”

        (You can check her post here)

        Reply
  8. Melvin

    Am I the only one grossed out by opening a food blog to read about the writer describe herself as a “hot, sweaty, panting mess?”

    Reply

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