On Mui Garden and My First Taste of Spam.

In Richmond, it’s far too easy to judge books by their covers, but here’s a piece of advice: if the interior and/or exterior of a restaurant look like they haven’t been updated since 1987, that’s probably a good signMui Garden is a shining example.

The restaurant is located at Minoru and Westminster Highway, tucked in at the back of the same mall as 4 Stones, Wheat House Pizza, Flo Tea Room, and Monterey Greek Taverna.  My friend Stacey suggested we go, and I’m very glad I was with her.  I’d walked past this restaurant a number of times before, but always got too overwhelmed by the enormous menu posted inside the front door; it’s an HK style menu with a southeast Asian twist, and the list of dishes goes on and on.  Forever, I’m telling you.  But Stacey had been there before and knew just what to get.  Thank goodness for Stacey. 

The interior is pretty outdated, but remember?  That doesn’t matter at all!  Loyal customers have been coming to this restaurant and their three other locations for years.

The Hainan Chicken is popular at Mui Garden, but since I’ve already had it a number of times we instead opted for Kuitkow ($8.50), a Malaysian rice noodle dish you’re unlikely to find on other HK-style menus.  We also had the beef brisket curry with rice ($7.50 as part of a combo with tea), the luncheon meat + egg sandwich ($3.50), and one order of roti ($2.75).

When choosing our drinks, Stacey asked if I’d had a lemon coke yet.  Negatory.  It’s just a coke with lemon slices that you crush with the spoon provided, but here’s something very interesting: you can order it cold or hot.

When it’s heated up, it loses its carbonation and becomes kind of like a cough syrup, so people drink it as a remedy for colds or sore throats.  I drink Coke about once a decade, but figured I might as well try an HK classic.  I asked for it cold, though; hot Coke just does NOT appeal.

The Kuitkow was really tasty, though I thought the wide rice noodles were a little overcooked.  It came with a small bowl of chili oil that we drizzled on top, and was full of sauteed prawns, strips of pork, egg, and bean sprouts.  It was simple, filling, and satisfying.

The beef brisket in curry sauce was one the best bowls of curry I’ve had so far in Richmond.  Tis true!  It was very creamy, coconut-y, had lots of flavour, but not too much heat.  The chunks of brisket were fork tender, and when all mashed together with the rice, it was pretty much my Ideal Bowl of Comfort Food.  I have a very specific idea of what constitutes a perfect curry, and this was it.  Of course, my ideal isn’t everyone’s, but if you really, really love coconut milk and prefer your curry to be mildly spiced rather than fiery hot, this will make you happy.  So, so happy.

The roti was also phenomenal; flaky, buttery, and served with the same curry sauce the brisket came in.  This is a must-order at Mui Garden.

Finally, you might be wondering why we’d get a “luncheon meat + egg sandwich.”  The reason is that I’d never had Spam before, which I found out is referred to as ‘luncheon meat’ on the menus.  Since it’s an HK classic, Stacey thought I should give it a try.

The sandwich turned out to be a minced Spam and egg omelette between two pieces of white, crustless bread (the same kind my mom always refused to buy and which I yearned for as a child).  It tasted fine – very plain – but Stacey was disappointed with it because she’d wanted me to try Spam in its pure fried glory, not hidden inside an omelette.  So, I guess this means we’ll be ordering more Spam for our next lunch together?

If you make it to Mui Garden, embrace its fake-plant and Christmas light-decor.  It’s like a classic piece of literature hidden inside a poorly-designed 1980′s book cover, and with Stacey’s help, now we can all read it a little easier.  Thanks for a Spam-tastic lunch!

 

Mui Garden

5960 Minoru Boulevard, Richmond BC

604-303-7977

Vegetarian options available

16 Comments

  1. KJWPhoto

    In the UK, SPAM is called luncheon meat and is very tasty fried, on sandwiches straight out of the tin with a good sharp cheddar, or cubed in salads. Really wish we still had Marks & Sparks in Canada for their potted meats that are so good on sandwiches.

    Reply
  2. Robert

    There are at least three other Mui locations in and around Vancouver, and we’ve dined in most of them. The one in Richmond has a larger menu than others. We absolutely adore their roti and curry. They’re heavenly! But be warned, Mui Gardens is very popular, so there can be long waits at busy times.

    Reply
  3. Maureen

    Must try Hainan Chicken very delicious!

    Reply
    • 3rdRockTrotter

      Some people call it Hananese chicken, some “pak cham kai”. The truth is it does not originate in Hainan Island, but in the peninsula of Malaya/Singapore during the colonial times when local laborers aka “coolies” had their rare treats. Parker Place & HK bbq Master sell the whole bird with heads and feet intact, as some families use them on prayer or ancestor’s altar. Afterwards, the bird is cut up and use to prepare other dishes and soups. Not everyone likes “pak cham kai”. I for one, do not.

      Reply
  4. Doug

    Mui Garden is famous for the curry … we call it liquid gold … can’t let it go to waste !!

    The sweet and sour pork is terrific too – deep fried to perfection and super tender inside. It also comes with lychee as well !!

    Reply
  5. Laurette

    Spam! OMG this made me chuckle. Once in Japantown during their fesitval on Powell street they had Spam Sushi, yes I took a pic. Hawaii is famous for spam in diners as well. Have been to Mui-G once & found it not bad for dinner. Thank you

    Reply
  6. Jarod

    “The Hainan Chicken is popular at Mui Garden, but since I’ve already had it a number of times we instead opted for Kuitkow”

    C’mon be honest here. You only had it once at Cafe d’Lite Express and you didn’t like it. That’s why it wasn’t ordered here nor in your Prata Man post. Too bad the signature dish of these restaurants was not featured in this blog.

    Reply
    • Kelly

      Correct me if I am wrong… This is not the “signature dish blog” but 365 days of dining…

      I would be really surprised if I don’t see a comment “why do you review the same food at every restaurant” if she had chicken every time she goes out!

      Curry and Kuitkow are the 2 famous dishes at Mui so good job Lindsay!

      Reply
      • Jarod

        My point is she is not being trutbful when she said she had it a number of times when in fact she only had it once. Why make excuses?

        Reply
        • ella

          Hey Jarod – Have you been with Lindsay at every meal? Is there maybe a chance she had it and didn’t review it on the blog. It’s amazing how you know so much without having ever eaten with her.

          Reply
  7. John

    My family and I are regulars at this spot! :D I simply love their style of curry dishes!! Chicken Rice too! :D

    Reply
  8. Jean

    Great post! The Curry and roti looks amazing, and I will definitely try it out. Thanks again! : )

    Reply
  9. Wonderer

    You hit it right on with the beef brisket curry. My foodloving brother-in-law heads to this place for this particular dish straight from the airport when they visit us once a year. And it does make him SO SO HAPPY! This place will be a mainstay in Richmond for a long time.

    Reply
  10. Lee

    I don’t think what would serve would be called spam – but canned corned beef – which when you cook it up, melts like margarine into spreadable meat. Sounds bad – but tastes good!

    Reply
    • Tang

      Yes, you’re right. What she had was not Spam. It was canned corned beef cooked in an omelet.

      Reply
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