3337 Kingsway, Vancouver BC V5R 5K6
A lazy, rainy Friday evening calls for take-out so we placed an order from a nearby Xi’an cuisine restaurant I’ve been wanting to try since I came back from Hong Kong. It’s hard to find good, authentic Xi’an food in Vancouver (Richmond is better for this), and even harder to find my favourite type of noodles: biang biang. But Joojak had them!
I called the tiny 3-table hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Kingsway and placed my order for a lamb burger, beef roll, biang biang noodles, and steamed chicken. I was told it would be 15-20 minutes for pick-up by a very sweet lady, who didn’t take any other information from me.
We arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes later and I recited my order but she said it wasn’t ready and would take another 15-20 minutes. I was really hungry so this definitely tested the extent of my appetite. We wandered the nearby 7-Eleven as I indecisively tried to pick a snack while waiting. At the 20 minute mark, we left empty-handed to get our food. When we arrived, she had our food ready. She said tried to call me but didn’t have a phone number… I chuckled because I knew I didn’t give one. Oh well!
Let’s start with the lamb burger – it was cute and on a naan-like bun. The cumin was very apparent in this dish so if you’re not a fan, I wouldn’t order. Aside from that, the lamb was pretty tasty and held up nicely against the flavor of a stiffer, more wholesome bun.
The beef rolls were alright, nothing bad about them but also nothing spectacular. They had a nice chewy roti-like bread with a lot of (maybe too much?) hoisin sauce. I’m a huge fan of the Peaceful beef rolls which is a pretty high standard to live up to.
The hand-pulled biang biang noodles was the dish I anticipated the most. I love a flat, wide noodle – the flatter and wider the better. This one fit the bill and was one of the bigger ones I’ve had. The chili oil was quite spicy too which made it all that much better. I thought it was my highlight dish until…
The steamed chicken! This dish was definitely my favourite and not for the faint of heart. The sauce is delicious but it is quite spicy and very oily so prepare for heartburn city. I couldn’t get enough and drizzled more of the sauce onto my noodles and beef roll. If you haven’t had this dish before, I have to warn you that is it not served hot. The chicken cooked by steaming but served cold. This can weird people out if they weren’t expecting it.
Overall, I liked the food at Joojak. It would have tasted a lot better fresh and not sitting inside plastic containers for a while. The service while friendly was a little lacking. I think the owners are a husband-and-wife combo so they must be doing everything themselves and a bit overwhelmed. I’ll order from here again if I’m feeling like real authentic Xi’an food.
- Xian Lamb, Green Pepper & Cumin Burger $5.95
- Beef Roll $7.25
- Hand Pulled Noodles (Biang Biang) with Hot Chili Oil $10.95
- Steamed Chicken with Chili Sauce $10.99
Beats: Learn Chinese – Jin