Bravo to Alvin Garden in Burnaby (and a Lao Shan Dong Bonus)

With all of my reports on Vancouver and Richmond, I’ve been remiss in reporting about one of my favorite restaurants in the area: Alvin Garden in Burnaby. This Hunanese restaurant is for serious spice lovers; I’ve learned not to take chili pepper-fearing friends who’ve threatened to end our friendship. (It’s not like I sabotaged them to go!) The spiciness makes me salivate, pulling me in. Or maybe it’s because Alvin Garden satisfies my love of offal? Some dishes I’ve enjoyed and recommend:

Alvin Garden's spicy pork ears

Alvin Garden’s spicy pork ears

"Pork heart with five spices"

“Pork heart with five spices”

Pork tripe with leek flower

Pork tripe with leek flower

Stir-fried garlic bolt with Hunan smoked pork

Stir-fried garlic bolt with Hunan smoked pork

Lamb with pickled green chili at Alvin Garden

Lamb with pickled green chili at Alvin Garden

Also in Burnaby is a little restaurant with a mission: Lao Shan Dong Homemade Noodle House. As a fan of beef noodle soup, I was anxious to give this place a try, comparing their version to Chef Hung’s and the one I make at home. It’s a very good noodle soup, slightly sweeter than Chef Hung’s. I prefer Chef Hung’s thicker noodles and broth very more depth of flavor, but wouldn’t hesitate to return—if I can’t get into Alvin Garden.

Braised beef flank and tendon with noodle in soup

Braised beef flank and tendon with noodle in soup

"Spicy sour mustard" (to which my server asked, "Do you really want that?")

“Spicy sour mustard” (to which my server asked, “Do you really want that?”)