Monday, September 20, 2010

Head East: Bo Laksa King Bubbles and Bits

I’ve been reading a lot of buzz online about Bo Laksa King and his set up in a Joyce-area convenience store, where he’s been pumping out Southeast Aasian dishes that some people have been calling the best in Vancouver. It’s been at the top of my “to eat” list for a while, but unfortunately, I rarely get to that area of town. Their Joyce location has become so popular, that Bo Laksa King has opened a new restaurant with more seating that is more restaurant and less convenience store counter. I owed Eunice (Asian super director) a birthday dinner, and I know she’s always up for any meal that involves noodles and squid- so I picked her up from work and we headed to East Hastings (not a typical culinary destination for either of us).
We ordered a small order of roti canai, spicy squid, laksa, and lahpet thoke. Food came quickly, and it’s a good thing it did because Eunice was starving and I think she mentioned something about “eating her own arm.” Eunice always does the ordering, but since I picked the venue and had done some research, she let me take charge and make menu selections.
The spicy squid came first- Blanched with onion, garlic, and cilantro, tossed in house made spicy lime vinaigrette (5.75). It was nice and light, with a nice kick of spice without it being too overpowering- and it was cooked perfectly…not rubbery or too chewy like I’ve found with many other places.
Next up, Roti Canai (3.99) Authentic South-East Asian pastry pancake served with curry chicken dipping sauce. This is some goooood Roti. Light and fluffy, it is perfection.
I’ve had Laksa only twice before, so I’m not an expert. But Bo has definitely earned the moniker, “Bo Laksa King”. We ordered it with the yellow noodles instead of vermicelli. The coconut curry broth is house made, flavourful, creamy and rich (but not too heavy.)This soup is jam-packed with chicken, tiger prawns, a hard boiled egg, fish balls, tofu puffs and bean sprouts (5.75). You can taste the love in this soup.
I had geeked out and read some reviews before our visit and many recommended the lahpet thoke (7.50), which is a fermented tea leaf salad. This is essentially a Burmese cole slaw with pickled tea leaf, tomato, cabbage, garlic chip, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, broad beans, all mixed together with fresh lime juice seasoning. It’s got a really mellow, smooth flavour. I would’ve loved it with a bit more spicy chilli kick….which I will do next time. After chatting with Tiffany (she and her husband Bo own and operate the place) she explained that you can order most of their dishes with different levels of spice.
And on that note, I will come back to BLK, not only for the tasty food, but to support this awesome couple. Bo not only worked his magic in the kitchen, but he also came out to the front of house, asked us about our opinion on all of the dishes and answered some of our questions about Burmese food. His wife Tiffany, served us and was absolutely lovely. Service was prompt and much like Bo, she was full of information and chatted with us all about the dishes we had order and made recommendations for future meals. Food was a fantastic value, portions were plentiful and we left absolutely stuffed. I’m drooling just thinking about my next visit….
2546 E Hastings St, Vancouver

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