Passion for Pork

Dine Out in Burnaby Heights – 3 pork dishes to try during Crave!

Mijune - Thursday, April 10, 2014

Follow Me Foodie to Crave – Dine Out in Burnaby Heights!

The 3rd Annual Crave in Burnaby Heights is April 22-24. The 3 day event features 3 course set menus at $15$20 and $25. I have my opinions on Dine Out events (see my do’s and don’ts), but at prices like these it’ll be hard to argue value.

I’ve been supporting this event since the first year and it’s like The Little Engine That Could. It’s been slowly growing every year and I wish there was more enthusiasm for the area. It often gets overlooked which is unfortunate because it has some hidden gems.

If you’ve never explored this historic area of North Burnaby, here is your reason to. It’s full of long standing family run eateries, ethnic restaurants, and affordable family friendly places. It’s hard to get bored here even though it’s a rather small area with a quaint village feel.

Since Crave started I’ve been introduced to Take SushiChad ThaiBroken Rice, and Sfinaki Taverna. All were very good choices and I’d recommend any of them for this year too.

Participating restaurants this year include:

Broken Rice Restaurant
Burgers Etc. BBQ House
Chad Thai Restaurant
Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie
Cristos Greek Taverna
Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery
King Mahal
Kokoro Japanese Restaurant
L’Artista Ristorante Italiano
La Villetta Ristorante
Oui Paris Cafe Couture
Sfinaki Greek Taverna
So Crab So Good
Stan’s Pizza Joint & Bar
Take Sushi
Thai Café
Yo Sushi

3 pork dishes to try during Crave in Burnaby Heights.

Restaurant: Chad Thai
Cuisine: Thai
Last visited: April 19, 2012
Location: Burnaby, BC (Burnaby North)
Address: 4010 E Hastings Street
Transit: EB Hastings St FS Boundary Rd
Price Range: $10-20 ($8-12 mains)

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

**Laap4/6 (Very good)

  • Warm salad of ground chicken/pork with lime juice, red onions, green onions, coriander, ground chili and pounded roasted rice $8.99
  • Laap or Larb is my “must order item” at any Thai restaurant I visit. It’s a staple for many Thai people too.
  • It’s best with pork and the portion was appetizer size, but shareable for two.
  • The dish didn’t come with many lettuce leaves and I prefer romaine over iceberg lettuce.
  • It’s essentially a Thai lettuce wrap and the the meat was served warm and well balanced with sweet, salty, sour and spicy.
  • There was only cilantro and no fresh basil leaves, so I missed the basil, but I could taste all the other ingredients.
  • The roasted rice was very finely ground and it gives that nutty background and subtle texture that made the dish aromatic without having nuts.
  • The meat was juicy and it was a good larb for Vancouver standards.
  • Bob Likes Thai Food does an I-San style one – see their Laab Moo, and just for curiosity’s sake this was an amazing one I had in Hong Kong at Tuk Tuk Thai – see their Larb Moo.

**Pad Gra Pao4/6 (Very good)

  • Stir fried ground chicken/pork, green beans, garlic, fresh chili and Thai holy basil $9.99
  • Holy moly! Yes! They used Thai holy basil. It’s extremely rare to find a Thai restaurant that will use Thai holy basil to make this and they did!
  • I actually prefer Pad Gra Pao to be served with a fried egg on top (how it’s often served in Thailand), and it’s how they would serve it for lunch, so I just ended up requesting it.
  • This is considered classic Thai street food or comfort food.
  • It’s a quick one dish stir fry and is normally served over rice.
  • They offered it with Maggi Sauce (authentically a Swiss ingredient that is often mistaken for being an Asian ingredient). Enjoying this with Maggi sauce is quite typical, but not authentic.
  • Pad Gra Pao is best enjoyed spicy and it’s authentically served with a side of spicy fish sauce rather than Maggi sauce.
  • This almost tastes like a Chinese dish.
    • Unfortunately the fried egg was almost well done so there was no runny yolk for me to photograph.
    • It was medium ground pork with a sweetened soy sauce and fish sauce. It was two kinds of salty – sharp and slightly sweet, but not too salty.
    • The meat wasn’t overcooked and had good wok aroma, but I could have used more garlic.
    • It was equal pork and beans and the beans aren’t always served with this dish, but I liked the addition.
    • I especially liked that the beans were diced to match the pork in size.
    • The beans and sweet red bell peppers were cooked perfectly and the Thai Holy basil added great aromatics.
    • Thai Holy basil is not Thai basil and it’s hard to source in Vancouver.
    • It has a slightly fuzzy texture and a mildly peppery flavour.
    • Usually the dish uses more Thai Holy basil than the amount used here.
    • The beans were squeaky and crunchy while retaining their colour and shape and together with the juicy crumbly pork it was simply delightful.
    • The only downfall was the fully cooked egg and the lack of dried chili peppers sautéed in the mix. The red peppers were unusual, but I liked them.
    • The only place I’ve had this even better is at Thai Basil – see their Pad Grapow, but this was still very good here and I would order it again. Just using Thai Holy Basil is half the battle.
Restaurant: Restaurant: Broken Rice
Cuisine: Vietnamese (Modern)
Last visited: April 16, 2013
Location: Burnaby, BC (North Burnaby)
Address: 4088 Hastings Street
Phone: (604) 558-3838
Transit: WB Hastings St FS Gilmore Av
Price Range: $10-20+

Broken Rice Dinner Menu (5)**Pork Belly and Anise (Thit Kho) – 4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)


  • Sous-vide pork belly and harboiled egg simmered in coconut juice and fish sauce, served with broken rice, fennel salad, and crispy taro ribbons $15
  • This is a traditional Vietnamese dish and it is often served during Vietnamese New Years and meant to be eaten for the first 3 days of it.
  • It looks like a Chinese dish, but apparently it originated in South Vietnam.
  • I question if it has Chinese influences because there is a Chinese dish that looks almost the same.
  • The dish is “braised pork in a light sauce” and usually the presentation is family style and not as nice as this, but the flavours and ingredients were authentic  to the original recipe.
  • The only thing they left out were the bamboo shoots which may or may not be used in the original recipe. The dish can vary slightly.

Broken Rice Dinner Menu (7)

  • The pork can be pork butt, pork shoulder or belly and in this case it was belly.
  • It is marinated overnight in some combination of traditionally coconut juice (they use fresh here), fish sauce, sugar, garlic, shallots, star anise and pepper.
  • The belly was sous vide and incredibly tender without the fat breaking off.
  • The skin was still slightly chewy, but almost melt in your mouth tender.
  • The meat was infused with flavour, very tender, juicy and moist though and overall it was a very good pork belly.
  • The cut of pork belly was quite fatty and I prefer a bit more meat to fat ratio, but traditionally Asian style pork bellies have more fat to meat ratio.
  • The sauce is sweet and savoury and it tasted like a very natural pork broth with excellent umami.
  • It was a fragrant sauce and the start anise was not over powering or very liquorice-forward, but subtle.
  • The coconut juice is not obvious, but once you know it is in there you can taste it and it gives it a floral sweetness.
  • The hard boiled eggs are a must in the recipe, but these were a bit overcooked with a grey rim around the yolk.
  • The sauce goes great with rice which is served complimentary with the dish.
  • It is a very homestyle dish that is considered Vietnamese comfort food, but this presentation was upscale and I liked it.

The pork belly is served with a side of pickled salad made with shaved radish, fennel and cucumber. The dressing is a mustard vinaigrette that is a bit sweet and tangy. It is supposed to balance the richness of the pork belly and sauce. Traditionally the dish is not served with this salad, but I liked the modern twist.