I’m not good with directions. Never have, never will be. I get disoriented coming out of movie theatres, walking in malls, and just about anytime I’m in the Lower Mainland and can’t clearly see the mountains (the mountains = north, and that has been my saving grace since I moved here).
Yes, the mountains were visible when I tried to get to the Blue Duck Café, but I still managed to miss it and accidentally drive to the far eastern corner of Richmond (my friend lent me her car. Thank goodness this wasn’t on my bike). Remember Paulo’s Pizza? That ‘almost New Westminster but not quite’ area I went to once? Well, once I spotted Paulo’s, I sheepishly realized I’d gone waaaay too far, and with a hungry belly could only hope that there was another restaurant nearby to feed me. Fortunately, the universe helped me out! I spotted Sun Sun Garden Chinese Restaurant, located just a few doors down from Paulo’s.
It’s a big, green, old-school Chinese restaurant with a menu that’s more western-based than most of Richmond’s Chinese restaurants. That means chow mein, sweet and sour pork, beef with broccoli, deep fried prawns, and lemon chicken.
Sun Sun Garden offers inexpensive lunch combos, for which you can choose one, two, or three entrees + a complimentary rice, steamed rice, or chicken chow mein. I opted for the two entrees plus chicken chow mein, that classic of Western Chinese cuisine. I think I’ve only had it once so far in Richmond, and that was on Canada Day! For entrees, I chose cashew chicken (which is something I grew up eating) and spicy green beans with pork, a Shanghai-style dish I was only introduced to this year and now love. My meal was ready quickly, and cost $10.95.
Knowing the rain would soon hit and I needed to take advantage of what sun I could, I decided to check out a park I’d seen as I came off the highway.
I drove west (look, I even know which way I was going!), and parked by the Hamilton Fire Hall. It’s at the edge of McLean Park, which has a wind installation,
a playground, open fields, and this lovely little knoll.
I walked up to the top of it, sat down, and ate my lunch. It was easily enough for two people, with chow mein on the bottom and topped by two huge portions of cashew chicken and green beans. For a takeout meal, it was decent! The cashew chicken was full of vegetables, cashews, and water chestnuts (another classic Western Chinese food ingredient).
The green beans certainly weren’t as good as what you’d get at a more expensive restaurant, but they were still crisp, and sautéed up with tons of freshly-chopped garlic and chilies. The chow mein was just so-so (overcooked), and I wished I’d gotten plain rice. For about ten bucks, it might not be fireworks, but you can get a meal that feeds two, and actually had quite a few vegetables in it. I may have gotten a little lost, but at least I still managed to find something green.
Hopefully I will someday navigate to the Blue Duck Café successfully. Just in case I pull this stunt again, however, can anyone offer some more dining suggestions in the Hamilton area?
Here’s another question for you: what’s the one type of shop I NEVER have trouble locating? Bakeries, of course! Late yesterday afternoon, after the rain hit, I checked out Janice Cake Shop on Capstan Way (next to Fatty Hi).
Even later in the day, it was stocked full of sweet and savoury buns, bread, cakes, tarts, apple strudel, and cookies. I brought home some walnut cookies, a pineapple cocktail bun (old fave), a chestnut bun, and a pancake coconut cream bun (both new to me). Unsurprisingly, the pineapple cocktail bun with its coconut filling was my favourite (excellent work, Janice), and I liked the shortbread-like walnut cookies; they reminded me of Mexican Weddings Cakes or Russian Tea Cakes, sans the icing sugar. Just the thing to have with a cuppa this rainy weekend!
Here are some photos of the goodies, + my Lucy the Cat who I’ve been looking after this week. She wanted in on the photoshoot, clearly.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available