2019-05-25 Lamajoun & Richmond Industrial Park Adventures
Ever since I saw Fernando write about Lamajoun I've wanted to go:
Let me first set some expectations. Calling Lamajoun a “restaurant” might be a stretch. This place is actually a commercial-scale Armenian bakery set within a light industrial park on the north edge of Richmond, just a quick drive from IKEA. There are only three tables of two inside and three tables (possibly recycled from a fast-food joint) split between two parking spots out front. It is not your typical “date” or “destination” spot, but those who like to try new things will be rewarded. Indeed, despite the overarching oddness of its setting, Lamajoun makes some of the most honest and delicious food that can be had in the Metro.
So this weekend Rachael and I put it on our list to do some adventures in Richmond. We grabbed a car2go and set off for lunch.
Lamajoun is in an industrial park -- so you need to turn in and look for the right unit. This was a really good experience and we definitely want to go back.
Some house-made cured beef we were given to try just as we sat down. It is spicy, but with a really interesting slow burn that grows and stays with you.
Rachael didn't like these ("not pickly enough, tomatoes have a weird texture"), but I liked them and think it goes well with the meat and bread.
Pide aka "Dough Boat"
We got the Pide, or "dough boat", served with four kinds of cheese and the egg in the middle. The whole thing comes straight out of the oven, and it is as good as fresh bread always is. You break apart the bread, dunk it into the cheese, and eat it while it's all still steaming hot. The owner said to us "you know, some of our customers have a picture of this as their Facebook profile". It was very good! You can also get ones that are made with meat filling, which I'd also like to try.
These are like giant XLBs! Ground beef with cilantro and onions, and a light broth. You eat them by picking them up by their top knots with your hand, flip them upside down and suck some of the broth out and then eat the rest.
Like Turkish coffee, but in this case Armenian. Actually named after the pot, with a couple of different spellings like czeve (Wikipedia).
JC Roti Factory
Did you know that there is a roti factory in Vancouver? Neither did we! We found out about JC Roti Factory because it was mentioned on the menu at Fat Mao's -- we asked, and they told us this was the place they wholesaled their roti from. We looked it up on Google Maps, and it seemed to suggest that you could go there and pay cash for some beef filled roti.
First of all, the map pin on Google Maps is incorrect, but the address is correct. The map pin made it look like it was not far from Lamajoun, just off Bridgeport. But, it's actually much farther south. We decided to still go and see if we could find it. It's at this point that we were definitely in lots of winding streets filled with light industrial of all kinds.
But we found it!
But... it's not open on weekends. Well, the door opened, and the other two food businesses that share the space were there, but it's not really a space where customers can walk into at all. We did get a card to ask about wholesaling ... because we really love roti.
Mama's Dumpling & Coffee
In the same complex of units was Mama's Dumpling & Coffee.
We did go inside just to see, and it's a full sit down Chinese restaurant with lots of dumplings and steam buns and noodles. And coffee, I guess, because there was an espresso drinks menu. There was a sign that showed that they had won the Critic's Choice award in the Chinese Restaurant Awards 2019 for their Shanghai-style Fried Pork Buns, but we were too full to try anything.
Driving around look for JC Roti, we noticed another sign for a chocolatier, so we went back to check it out.
Wild Sweets turned out to be another amazing find. There is a showroom out front and production in the back, and the owners came and brought us a ton of different samples to taste.
The colourful one is a candy type shell with chocolate in it, the middle was a candy "bar", and the last is infused with liquor.
We came back with a ton of chocolate -- including some chocolate tea that sounds very interesting.