You can’t talk about late night eats in Richmond without mentioning No. 9 Restaurant at Lansdowne Centre mall. While you can also eat there during daylight hours, I mostly choose to save No. 9 visits for the occasions I’m out past my bedtime. Richmond has an abundance of restaurants but No. 9 is the only proper 24-hour place in town that isn’t a fast food drive-thru. On top of that, most places are closed before midnight. Past midnight, your options are reduced to a handful and between 4AM and morning, those options are down to one.
Luckily, that one option is No. 9, which personifies Richmond eateries like none other. It’s one of the oldest and arguably, most well-known restaurants in the city, as popular for the tasty and especially reliable menu, as it is for always being open. The place is almost perpetually busy, even in the middle of the night as people from all over the Lower Mainland visit after the bars close. After a long night out, there’s no better way to wrap things up than with food that tastes as familiar and comforting as the Chinese classics (as well as a smattering of surprisingly well done Western dishes) that No. 9 has been serving for the past 20 years.
I don’t have to tell you that No. 9’s most popular items, noodle soup and BBQ duck, are amazing. Even after a couple decades, they’re still a top pick for me when it comes to noodle soup and BBQ in the Lower Mainland. When you can’t decide, or just don’t want to peruse the 400+ item menu, the wonton noodle soup or BBQ duck on rice are solid bets.
My personal go-to at No. 9 is the Shanghai Style Pork Chop Noodle in Soup ($8.55, pictured above).
Eight bucks and change gets you a pile of crispy, deep-fried pork chops as well as a bowl of plain Shanghai-style noodles. The thin, tender pork chops are fried to perfection and well-seasoned to contrast the plain noodles. I find that this is best combo to have at the end of an exhausting night or during brunch hours when you’re trying to chase a hangover, but even when neither of those things are happening, it’s still a fantastic bowl of noodles.
No. 9 is also well known for their congee (rice porridge, $7.35) on top of everything else. This is a Minced Beef congee, which is wonderfully flavorful at No. 9 and just the right consistency.
Congee is perfectly paired with crispy Chinese Donuts ($3.98), which give you a bit of crunch to the porridge. Cut them up and add them to the congee for a textural contrast with every bite, or leave them long and dip them like you would with bread and soup.
The Soy Beef Rice Noodles ($13.30) is a tasty mix of sliced beef, bean sprouts, and onions pan fried with rice noodles. The “dry” preparation has less liquid and sauce compared to the “wet” dish so the noodles stay a little bouncier and everything has a richer, more caramelized flavor.
Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice ($14.75) isn’t for everyone. The salted fish has a strong, funky smell and taste, but for all the reasons why blue cheese is awesome, it makes for a delicious fried rice just bursting with flavor.
You probably wouldn’t think to order a burger at a Chinese restaurant but at No. 9 they’re actually really good! I was shocked the first time I ordered one as they’re surprisingly legit, like old school diner burgers. My favorite is actually the Chicken Burger ($9.65) , which is a pan fried, seasoned chicken thigh sandwiched alongside some lettuce and tomato. It’s simple but delicious, mostly due to the moist, juicy piece of chicken in the middle.
The onion rings are also unexpectedly good, served with a side of tartar sauce. They’re a buck or two extra but worth every penny.
I don’t think I have to explain how awesome honey garlic sauce is. It’s hard to find fault with anything covered in honey garlic sauce, let alone these crisp, meaty deep fried chicken wings. The thin fried coating on these Honey Garlic Chicken Wings ($12.75) seal in all the juices, so be careful with your first bite.
No. 9 holds a special place in my heart. It’s a significant part of Richmond’s culinary landscape, not only because it’s open when no other restaurants are but because even after a couple decades, the menu is as consistently delicious. Nothing’s really changed, apart from a TV upgrade a couple years ago. While the food might not blow you away, it’s very hard to leave disappointed. When I’m old and grey, I’m sure No. 9 will still be part of the stories I tell. For many my age, it’s “that” restaurant where we spent a good amount of our youth. More often than not, it’s where the most epic of nights go to conclude.
No. 9 Restaurant is open 24/7 and although most of the menu is available all day, there are some parts that are only available at certain times like the breakfast menu or the afternoon tea sets. However, the menu is enormous so there’s no lack of options no matter what time you visit. Like a lot of restaurants in Richmond, No. 9 only accepts cash. Not to worry if you’ve forgotten to bring some – they have their own ATM next to the cashier.
Richmond has evolved rapidly in recent years but No. 9 remains largely the same as the day they opened. It’s a taste of what Richmond was and still sort of is even as Hong Kong-style cafes like No. 9 subtly decline in the city, If you haven’t already, make it a point to try out this staple of Richmond Chinese food.