We went to Rainier BBQ with a big group of friends – perfect to try the many dishes they had to offer!
Tucked deep in Rainier valley, it was easy to get to especially with the new light rail system serving the neighborhood.
We were confused when we first arrived.
Rainier BBQ’s deli was next door to the restaurant at ground level.
We walked in and thought it was too small to be the restaurant.
Little did we know that the entrance to the restaurant was next door to the deli, down the stairway into the basement.
We ordered a bunch and the first dish was most certainly a bang!
Ong choy salad.
The vegetables were shredded thinly, probably to reduce the fibrousness of the stalk.
The resulting vegetables were crunchy and fresh.
Topped with well marinated and tender beef with onions and herbs, and the added flavor of peanuts, it was a fantastic mix of sweet, salty and sour on the tongue.
They added some fried bits in it to give extra crunch.
It was an excellent and unique dish.
No wonder they called the dish their “famous ong choy salad” on the menu.
While ooing and ahhing on the salad, my drink arrived.
I had to try the soda with egg yolk and condensed milk.
I was fairly sure that the egg yolk was raw which did not bother me.
The drink was very sweet due to the generous amount of sweetened condensed milk.
It was very smooth and creamy, similar to milkshake.
I was expecting more eggy flavor and it was less fizzy than I expected.
It was an interesting drink — not as decadent as milkshake and not as refreshing as a soda.
Next, we had their fried roll which was deep-fried goodness.
They were hot and crisp.
The pork filling was tender with strong white pepper and Chinese mushroom flavor.
I had a taste of my friend’s soup noodle.
I actually did not know which one she ordered, but it was delicious.
It had pig’s blood and fish cakes in it.
I only tried the fish cake and it was delicious.
My favorite had to be the Vietnamese sour soup.
I had to say this was better than Phnom Penh’s in Vancouver.
We went for the shrimp version, and the soup contained okra and the spongy vegetable bac ha.
The soup was addictively sweet and spicy.
It was not as sour as I thought it would be, nonetheless with amazing herb and lime flavors.
On the side, we had fried quail and soft shell crabs.
The quail was lean and crispy and nicely salted.
There was always lots of work involved eating quail to get the meat off the bones.
However, the unique gaminess and its flavor were well worth the time.
The soft shell crabs had a garlicky coating which was extremely delicious.
They were very fresh and natural sweetness of the meat and gut of the crabs came through beautifully.
La Lot beef was also in the order.
The leaves gave a chewier texture to the outside of the ground beef and imparted some green flavor to the beef.
The beef had some wonderful spices albeit a little hard in texture.
Last but not least, we had this special dish with crepe.
It was a lettuce wrap with a crispy crepe filled with pork, shrimp and optional mint.
I was told that the crepe was made with rice flour and coconut milk — it had a nice hint of coconut flavor and sweetness to it.
I really wanted to love this dish but I found the pork and shrimp filling overcooked, and the crepe was too heavy and greasy.
We finished off the meal with mango pudding.
The mango flavor was lovely but it had too much gelatin and the texture was too stiff.
It had these slimy coconut noodle on the side that was fun and challenging to eat!
The tapioca balls gave a hard crunch to the overall texture.
I would most certainly return to Rainier BBQ!
There were many other dishes I wanted to try including the anchovy soup noodle, soup noodle with conch, spicy frog legs just to name a few.
Time to organize another trip!