On this recent trip to Vancouver earlier this month, I finally made it back to Peaceful Restaurant again. Their claim to fame is their signature beef rolls. I’d tried the beef rolls for the first time a couple of years back and completely fell in love with them. However, as with most restaurants consistency is a challenge. Since my initial visit, I’d been back a couple of times over the years for the beef roll. On some visits, the food was fabulous while on others the food was just ok. Also, the menu at Peaceful is quite diverse so it can be a bit of a minefield as not all dishes are their strengths. I’ve been meaning to go back to Peaceful again in the past year but have shied away since they were featured on one of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes. Because of the exposure from the show, they’ve become hugely popular and are often lined up out the door and down the street. I had wanted to wait for some of the hype to die down after the initial airing of the episode before going back again.
On this visit, I went back to the original Peaceful location on West Broadway just off Cambie. They also had second location which opened up in Yaletown last year, (but apparently this second location has changed ownership recently and been renamed to New Peace) . We arrived shortly before noon on a rainy weekday and the line up wasn’t too bad. We waited a couple of minutes and they managed to squeeze the three of us on to a two-top. Since most of the tables were two-tops and the place was packed, we were willing to make do with the two-top as we weren’t sure how long the wait would be for a larger table. By the time we were finished eating, the line-up was out the door and down the street.
In addition to their famous beef rolls, they are also noodle specialists. For all the soup, stir-fried and sauce noodle dishes at Peaceful, the noodles are housemade and there is a choice of either the hand-dragged (hand-pulled) or blade-sheared varieties. The hand-dragged noodles are thinner while the blade-sheared variety is thicker. For a noodle dish, my foodie friend Grayelf had recommended the Mu Shu Stir-Fried Noodles but my dining companions preferred soup noodles so we strayed from her recommendation and ordered the Chicken Soup Noodles ($7.95) instead. The Chicken Soup Noodles contained chicken, woodear mushroom, bean sprouts, and some Chinese greens in a light broth. I liked that the noodles were al dente and had a nice chew to them.
We, of course, ordered my favourite dim sum item at Peaceful, their signature Peaceful Beef Rolls ($6.95). The Beef Rolls consisted of thinly sliced five-spiced braised beef topped with sweet hoisin sauce rolled in a crispy green onion flat-bread. This roll is a perfect combination of contrasting textures and flavours. I really enjoyed the crispiness and flakiness of the green onion pancake. I was pleased that the beef roll on this visit tasted as good as I remembered it to taste.
Lastly, based on my foodie friend Grayelf’s recommendation, we tried the Cumin Beef & Flatbread ($6.50). It consisted of a sesame flat-bread filled with beef, cumin & fresh hot peppers. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first based on the name of the dish. When the dish arrived, I was surprised the sesame flatbread turned out to be what I’ve come to know as Shao Bing (燒餅), which is baked, layered flatbread topped with sesame. I hadn’t read the description of the dish carefully so the pieces of fresh hot peppers actually caught me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting something so spicy. I liked that the flatbread was flaky and crisp. I did however find the shredded cumin beef to be a bit dry.
Peaceful Restaurant (West Broadway)
532 West Broadway