By Tana Kosiyabong
A few months ago I came across O’Tray Noodles, a food court vendor located at the President plaza in Richmond. The stall attracted a steady stream of hungry patrons during the lunch hour. I wish I could give it a try, but my stomach had already been filled with my favorite Wo Fung chicken wings and other dishes from the Aberdeen Centre food court across the street. So I made a mental note hoping to check it out next time I’m in the area.
Last week, my crave for Wo Fung wings had become so outrageous I started to see my pet bird turning into flying chicken wings. Before an “unplanned tragedy” happened to him, I jumped on a skytrain to the Aberdeen Centre to get my fix.
The surroundings had gone blurred until I swallowed the last piece of the highly addictive chicken wings down my throat. My mind started to clear up. The mental note then reminded me that I had to check out O’Tray Noodle. So I walked across the street and got on the escalator to the second floor of the President plaza. O’Tray is the first one on the right. After a quick glance at the menu, a couple of items caught my eyes: No. 1–Tian Jin Wrap and No. 3 Tian Jin Burger. Unable to make up my mind, I asked one of the owners for her advice. “They both are good,” she replied. “Gee, thanks for your help lady” I thought to myself.
Eventually I chose the Tian Jin wrap ($3.75 tax included). While I was waiting, the owner told me that most people normally ordered it with the No. 2 soft tofu soup ($3.75 tax included). Both dishes complements each other well and they both are vegetarian dishes. Great, I just realized then that there were no meat in the wrap! But since she had already started cooking it and I saw that she cracked an egg on top of the crêpe-like wrap, I didn’t bother asking for a switch. However, I decided to hold off on the soft tofu soup because I just ate some wings earlier and I wasn’t sure about eating two vegetarian dishes in a row.
Shortly after, the wrap was ready. The egg beautifully covered the exterior of the wrap. The first bite was heavenly. The soft crêpe and crunchy deep-fried flour sheet were perfect together. Chili paste added a nice kick to each bite. Green onion and cilantro freshened up the overall flavor profile. However, after half of the wrap went down my throat, the oily stuffing started to bother me. I felt an urge for a bowl soup to ease up the queasy feeling I had. Even though I was almost full, I couldn’t help but order the soft tofu soup. I should have listened to the lady at the first place.
A few minutes after, the soup was served. The contrasting colors of chili oil and cilantro made the dish looked delightful. Some salty peanut sauce was also added to the top as well. To eat this dish properly, you must stir them up together first. Although this would ruin the mouth-watering appearance of the soup, it helped the flavors commingle better. The soft tofu soup was simply delicious. It was perfectly salted and had a little kick of chili oil. However, I didn’t really taste peanut flavor even if I tried to concentrate. Perhaps it supposed to be subtle the way it was. At this point my stomach had swollen up like a big balloon. I couldn’t possibly try even a bite of the Tian Jin burger during this visit, but I took a photo of its photo on the wall for you.
After the meal, the owner also told me that the wrap and the soup has been a part of Tian Jin’s traditional breakfasts for over a century. They are widely available at street food stalls and restaurants. The city of Tian Jin is located 70 miles South East of Beijing.
O’Tray Noodle’s Tian Jin Wrap: ©©©1/2
O’Tray Noodle’s Soft Tofu Soup: ©©©1/2
O’Tray is located at President Plaza Food court, 2285 – 8181 Cambie Road, Richmond, BC (T) 604.267.0571
Remaining Budget: $39.55
Budget Spent: -$7.50
Budget Available: $32.05
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