Monday, January 09, 2012

Special: Battle of the Flo Tea Rooms

Happy New Years everyone!

AMY: A typical meal-time scenario between the two of us goes something like this: First we start off by asking each other multiple times "what should we eat?", which is usually followed up with a half-assed reply of "I dunno...". We then proceed to spend a good 20 minutes flipping through restaurants on Urbanspoon before finally making up our minds. This little ritual is how we decided to visit Flo Tea Room on Granville. We've only been to Flo a couple of times in the past, despite the fact that it has been open for a while now. 

LULU: Our love for Taiwanese beef noodle is a well-known fact, so it was no surprise that we went for it after seeing it on the menu at Flo. Having tried countless beef noodles in Vancouver, I have to say that Flo would be pretty up there in my rankings. Maybe we were too hungry, but I almost want to use phenomenal to describe their beef noodles. The soup and the meat had very strong beefy flavours, unlike other places that may just taste diluted or heavily seasoned. It seemed like they stewed it for a long time. 

It was a really pleasant surprise to me since I always thought Flo was more of a Hong Kong style restaurant. Apparently it is Hong Kong and Taiwanese style. Now that I think about it, it makes more sense since they did have a lot of Taiwanese dishes in their gazillion menus. 
AMY: Two words: Absolutely Scrumptious! One of the best beef noodles I've had in Vancouver. Now hold that thought...let's see if Flo Richmond can live up to the competition. 

AMY: When the beef noodle cravings hit, it's hard to ignore. On one particular day I was especially craving some of that beefy goodness from Flo Vancouver. Since I was in Richmond, I decided to hit up Flo Richmond. The interior of Flo Richmond is bright, spacious and relatively clean. As we were seated, the waitress promptly plopped a pile of menus onto our table. There were literally hundreds of items on the menu, ranging from Taiwanese, to Hong Kong, to Chinese style dishes. Since I was intent on having the beef noodle, I didn't go through the menu thoroughly...but I imagine it must be painstaking to have to do that. 

When my food arrived, I knew coming to Flo Richmond had been a mistake. Instead of a bowl brimming with beef, noodles and rich broth, I was presented with the above. The soup was bland, with no hint of ever being stewed with beef of any kind. The noodles were partly raw and partly soggy, not to mention they had used the wrong kind. The beef was acceptable. It was tender and somewhat flavorful, but still didn't resemble beef noodle beef. Lastly, where was my chinese sauerkraut (酸菜)? No beef noodle is ever complete without it! Usually I finish all my noodles and slurp away majority of the soup, but I got about halfway through this bowl before completely losing my appetite.

To top it all off, the drink that I ordered (冬瓜茶/Winter Melon Tea, not pictured) was, for lack of a better word, disgusting. It was served to me at room temperature with no ice. The first sip tasted like highly watered down sugar water. In the next couple sips it become increasingly sour, which was repulsive. Winter Melon Tea is not supposed to be sour, and if it is it probably means that it has started to go bad. It was so bad that I left majority of it behind. 

Overall, I had a very bad dining experience at Flo Richmond and will most likely not be visiting again.

LULU: To make it all the more exciting, we decided to make a chart to compare the two Flo locations in Vancouver and Richmond. (If you read those magazines at bubble tea places like we do, then the format of this chart should seem awfully familiar...)

AMY: It's quite clear who the winner is...

Taste: ★★★★★
Environment: ★★★★☆
Service: ★★☆☆☆
Price: $
Flo Tea Room (Vancouver) 
7994 Granville St.
Vancouver, BC 
Flo Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Taste: ★☆☆☆☆ 
Environment: ★★★★☆
Service: ★★☆☆☆
Price: $
Flo Tea Room (Richmond)
7771 Westminster Hwy
Richmond, BC 
Flo Tea Room 采 on Urbanspoon

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