218 Keefer Street
Do you ever have one of those weeks? A week that makes you want to just curl up into a fetal position for a while? What is your escape from such a week? Come Friday evening, some people may choose to drink – maybe a glass or two of scotch, some beer, perhaps. Not me. I go seek my comfort food at my usual spot: Chinese Roast Pork (sui yuk) and Won Ton soup at Gain Wah in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
Gain Wah has been around forever. I don’t exactly know when the first time I ever ate here (that’s all part of my primordial memories now), but I have been coming here regularly for perhaps decades. I don’t come so often anymore, mainly because I don’t work so close nowadays. Whenever I walk in, the servers always smile and say “the usual?” It’s actually almost embarrassing. But why change? I have eaten most of the other dishes on the menu…but usually have those when I dine with others. When I am dining alone, it’s always “A Dish of Roast Pork on Rice and a Bowl of Wonton Soup please…”
Of course this can’t possibly the “best” roast pork or the “best” wonton soup in town. We are blessed with having some truly world-class Chinese BBQ and Wonton here….so it can’t really be the food can it? Perhaps not… I feel some sort of unspoken camaraderie with everyone sitting around me….and it seems that everyone here is a regular and chatting with the owner and the waiters. There is a table of eight older Caucasian and Asian gentlemen – clearly regulars from nearby at the back. I’ve seen them here a number of times – a few of them are war veterans – a fact I know from when I was here one Remembrance day. There is a couple with two young kids right behind me…a few bike couriers near the front…a couple of well groomed guys in suits with one talking in Cantonese into his celphone…
That gestalt of eating these two dishes in such an honest and spartan place, with all these people, in the midst of perhaps the poorest area in all of the city and I think to myself – we are all equals here…and best of all I can honestly say – this food is delicious. So I keep coming back for my comfort food.