Yesterday was Alberta’s Family Day and there is no better day to have my parents help me review Golden Bee BBQ HK Cafe! Located in north Edmonton in the same parking lot as Lucky Supermarket, there really isn’t anything closer to my parents aside from a Good Buddy restaurant. As my parents prefer Asian cuisine, I suggested we go to the new cafe for lunch and they could help me write about it, to which they were pretty excited about!
Parking is sparse in front of Golden Bee BBQ HK Cafe and with a liquor store next door with only 15 minute parking, you’re pretty much forced to park amongst the Lucky Supermarket shoppers. On this particular day, it was packed! I would assume that lunch on weekdays is a little bit more tolerable, but expect to wait if you’re going during the lunch hours on a weekend. Specializing in BBQ, they do offer BBQ items to go, with a scale ready at hand. Seems like everybody was ordering some sort of BBQ item though as dishes were being piled up on the counter with the guy ringing multiple times for servers to come pick up the dishes.
There’s a separate menu for lunch and dinner. Skip the review and head to the full lunch menu gallery. For lunch, I’m almost always craving a noodle soup dish. The weekly special was a Taipei beef noodle soup and the photo looked enticing. My mom opted for the wonton and dumpling noodle soup, a standard fare for her and a judgement dish of any new Asian restaurant, whereas my dad went for a bowl of congee.
My dad usually orders the shredded pork and preserved egg congee, available on the menu, but the photo of the chef’s special Hong Kong style congee looked appetizing to him. Something new to try, he said. He was glad he took the risk, the congee coming out bubbling and filled with numerous toppings. From what we could make out: thinly sliced fish cake and squid, shrimp, pork, bits of fried Chinese donut, and fried salted peanuts. I thought the congee was pretty good and I’m not even a fan of congee normally. Seasoned well, which my mom attributed to a lot of MSG. The green onion and sliced ginger was appreciated, giving the dish some color. Both my mom and I were pleased that it stayed warm throughout the meal although my dad found it too hot to eat when first served. That’s how congee is suppose to be dad!
Next came an order of deep fried Chinese donut wrapped in rice crepe. Normally a staple dim sum dish for me, I never thought this dish could be made wrong. But it was. Not sure if the rice sheets were just undercooked, or cooked properly but left too long and it dried out… but definitely wasn’t a crowd pleaser. Something makes me think that the rice sheets were just cooked improperly, seeing that they were loosely wrapped around the donut as opposed to melding right into it like other restaurant’s. The sauces were good though but other than that, a little disappointing.
Mom’s wonton and dumpling noodle soup came out as pictured. Really? No vegetables, or even a garnish of green onion? I even add green onion to my instant noodle soups at home just for that purpose! Mom was unimpressed. The egg noodles are a different kind from what we’re use to, it must be a Hong Kong style. We all preferred the darker egg noodle of other restaurants. The bowl came with three shrimp wontons and two dumplings, both mediocre. The soup base itself, which is probably the most important for my family, was also lacking. So sad. Maybe that’s just actually how the dish is made in Hong Kong though, who knows. All I know is that we prefer our wonton noodle soup otherwise and Co Do Hue across the street does the job, albeit being an entirely different cuisine.
My lunch came out last and was both a hit and miss. The beef was well done, nice and moist, and well marinated. The broth was good, although more depth of flavor would have made it better. I’m not sure about how the noodles were made (i.e handmade, fresh, or frozen), but what I do know is that they’re not suppose to stick together. Whoever is on noodle duty in the back needs to reboil the noodles to separate them before pouring over the soup base! That’s noodle 101 at the very least. I have to say though, I was thankful for the bok choy and green onions this time around!
Service: I’ve put off going to Golden Bee BBQ HK Cafe because of reviews on the service: slow, unfriendly, forgetful, etc. From my visit, service was standard. Obviously nobody came to ask us how the food was (show me a Chinese restaurant that does…) but the servers did seat us at the next available table and was promptly back to take our order. I did keep an eye on the clock to see what was so terribly bad about the wait time and couldn’t find anything unusual. From time of ordering, dad’s congee came out in 15 minutes, the fried donut in 20 minutes, mom’s wonton dumpling noodle soup in 25 minutes, and my Taipei beef noodle soup in 30 minutes. The restaurant was at full capacity, and honestly, I wouldn’t expect any faster service although really, a noodle soup should be done within 10 – 15 minutes. Tables adjacent to us ordered a lot of BBQ items on top of rice and those came out within 5 minutes, more likely because they have their own staff and counter there for faster service. If everything was somehow timed to come out all at once, that would be great but otherwise, standard service in my opinion! I was expecting much worse from other reviews.
Verdict: I think this place could have potential. Clearly some dishes might be good, and some aren’t. Due to it’s convenient location, my family will definitely be back to give dinner a chance. Whether or not we would come back for lunch is another issue. My mom said she wouldn’t, whereas my dad considered it. We still have yet to try any of the BBQ items, which most other tables were ordering and looked delicious. It’s really too soon to judge from one visit! If nothing spectacular jumps out though, I would much rather just drive into Chinatown to get my fix or hop over to one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in the area.
Golden Bee BBQ HK Cafe
13909 127 Street