Unlike most mall restaurants , S&W Pepper House is an authentic yet small and sweet restaurant settled in Crytal Mall serving authentic Szechwan cuisine for Burnaby People.
Mrs. C and I were out with some friends looking for a place to share our last meal of 2007. SW looked good, so we gave it a try. I've passed the place a few times and it is always full. After a brief wait, we were seated at a slightly cramped table. The decor was a little plain, but we came to eat. The menu had lots of choices, so it was hard to decide.
We had the shredded pork with plum sauce and pancakes, lamb with cumin, eggplant with pork and chillies, and a braised pork hock, which was on sale. All the dishes were very tasty, with the eggplant being the best of the lot.
The service was okay, and the meal exceeded our expectations. The price was right too. We will be back.
What many people think of as "Chinese food" is really Cantonese food. And as much as I love Cantonese cuisine, I am even more fond of Sichuan / Hunan / Yunnan food, which are regions of China that eat some hella spicy dishes that you will not find in your average Cantonese restaurant. S&W Pepper House presents a pretty good choice of these, even if the heat is a bit toned down from the original (can't scare off any diners now).
This restaurant and Alvin's Garden on Imperial are probably the two best choices in Burnaby when it comes to sampling authentic spicy Chinese dishes. S&W does a pretty good fried chicken with chili peppers. As a previous reviewer said, they do come with a LOT of peppers, but the dish itself is also fairly large. I guess they could give it to you on a smaller plate without as many peppers for filler, but then the presentation would not be as nice.
Other favorites of mine at S&W include boiled beef (aka beef in chili oil) or fish. Some of the veggie dishes are pretty yummy too. I haven't tried a bad dish here yet! Prices are reasonable, but not overly cheap. They do have some really cheap lunch specials which I've yet to take advantage of.
One last thing - the black peppers that leave a "funny" taste as a previous reviewer said is peppercorn. Its use is authentic and that's how the dish is supposed to be made. Can't imagine what a Sichuan dish would be without the "numbing spiciness" of these lovely little black things!
The food here is so-so. We ordered chicken with red chili peppers. We didn't quite get what we ordered. Instead, we got chicken with red chili peppers. The crazy amount of red chili was excessive. Although I do understand this place is a pepper house, they do not need to be so extreme to give us twice as much peppers than chicken.
It was Boxing Day, hubby and I were shooping at the Crystal Mall. We were getting hungry and there's not a lot of restaurant open on this day. We walked pass this place many many times before but never tried it, so in we go. It is a popular place as far as I can remember. We were lucky to get a table in less 5 minutes. The food is delicious, and I was curious where is it originated from, so I asked. The guy who looks like the owner told me it is Yunnan Province's cuisine. Definitely recommend this place to friends.
Our family was out for a Saturday night dinner, and after waiting for more than 30 min. at Mei Shan (located around the corner), we gave up and decided to head here. I think they have pretty much the same items on the menu as Mei Shan, and as far as I know, these restaurants are good if you can handle the 'heat'! We order the boiled fish with assorted veggies, deep-fried chicken with dried chilies, and tofu with shrimps. The boiled fish was pretty good and although spicy and quite oily, it was done tastefully. The chicken dish was a bit disappointing as there was way too much dried chili peppers and the pieces of bone-in chicken were small and only made up a small portion of the dish. On the other hand, the rice was cooked nicely and hot while the tofu with shrimp dish was a good complement to the spicy meal. Dinner was reasonably priced, and service/ambiance is not too bad for a small Chinese restaurant. Overall, it was good experience and I would definitely come back on a winter day.
I decided to check this place out because of a recommendation by Chasiubow, whose ratings I look forward to reading.
But I was disappointed with this restaurant. Perhaps it's because I have a more "western" palate, I don't know... but the chicken did not feel like chicken in my mouth. It was a texture that I've never tasted before, a cross between chicken fat and who-knows-what. Ok, maybe it's my fault for ordering Kung Pao Chicken in a real Chinese restaurant. But it was in their chef's recommendation so I wanted to try it. Not so good... And the tofu in chili/bean paste was a big disappointment as well. I can handle spicy, but this was a different type of spicy, with a whole bunch of black pepper that left a weird aftertaste in my mouth. I've had this dish in other authentic restaurants before so I know what to look for....
But like I said, maybe my taste buds have become more westernized.
Our family was out for a Saturday night dinner, and after waiting for more than 30 min. at Mei Chan (located around the corner), we gave up and decided to head here. I think they have pretty much the same items on the menu as Mei Shan, and as far as I know, these restaurants are good if you can handle the 'heat'! We order the boiled fish with assorted veggies, deep-fried chicken with dried chilies, and tofu with shrimps. The boiled fish was pretty good and although spicy and quite oily, it was done tastefully. The chicken dish was a bit disappointing as there was way too much dried chili peppers and the pieces of bone-in chicken were small and only made up a small portion of the dish. On the other hand, the rice was cooked nicely and hot while the tofu with shrimp dish was a good complement to the spicy meal. Dinner was reasonably priced, and service/ambiance is not too bad for a small Chinese restaurant. Overall, it was good experience and I would definitely come back on a winter day.
me and my friends will come here whenever we crave food that is very spicy. i'll get the negatives out of my review first: the service is slow (especially tea/water refills), there's almost always a wait to get a table, the waiters/waitresses aren't great with english, and the place is a bit dirty like most typical chinese restaurants.
but despite all that, we still come back because the food is great. it can be a bit oily, but damn is it tasty and spicy. the spicy food (denoted in the menu by the number of red peppers beside the name) is probably the spiciest i've had in all vancouver. not only that, it comes with a numbing sensation which i've never experienced elsewhere before. this is due to a special pepper they use....the name is mountain pepper or flower pepper or something. anyway, its definitely worth trying if you're a fan of spicy foods. my three recommendations are the tofu w/ minced pork (fairly spicy), the deep fried tilapia (really spicy), and the deep fried chicken with hot peppers (the spiciest by far). all 3 of those are rated two peppers, which is the highest spicy rating on the menu.
The quality of food here is simply the same as the food upstairs in the food court. The only thing different is that here, you are expected to pay tips and if you pay less than what the old man wants, you'll hear from him. I am not sure if he's the owner or not, but he certainly seems to be from how he behaves. In any case, in terms of the food and food court type of ambiance, I will definitely not be back. Hope they smarten up and perhaps they'll get some more repeat customers rather than just new customers that accidently wander in.
We went to this Restaurant to try the Szechuan style cumin lamb.The food was good.
But the Waiter(Old man) is not good(Burnaby).He is very rude and always expecting lot of tips.He is not allowing the other waiter to collect the tips.I understand from the other sources that the Restaurant is paying the wages to the workers from the tips.It is very unfortunate that the restaurant is doing this kind of business.
Food is good , I love cumin lamb and other dishes too.
Service by the old man is poor . He wants only cash and no cards are accepted .
He was mad when we asked to split the bill by 3 .
If you are not happy with the service and not ready to pay tips , he will forcibly ask for tips
A friend recommended me to this place and it is one of the most authentic Sichuan food. Try the spicy oil fish as it is one of the signature dishes as is the cumin lamb meat. The place is located in Crystal mall burnaby usually quite busy. The service is decent as I have nothing to complain about. The main thing is that you get what you need. I will certainly be returning.
I've walked by this restaurant a lot of time and finally gave it a try. I order the cold potatoes to start, stir-fried cabbage and spicy tilapila. the potatoes and cabbage were ok but they have some weird taste to me, maybe because of a weird red spice on top of them. They're both too oily. I didnt like it but it was not the worst. When the tilapila came, it looks so good so I couldnt wait to dig on it. The first bite almost made me throw up. No offence, but it had too much garlic and again that weird red spice. Like the most garlicy food I've eated in my life. It gave me a kinda headache shock and the flavour didnt go away. I stopped eating and tried to drink water and chew gum after that but I still felt it for the rest of the night. Later I found out it was sichuan peppercorn. So if you're not familiar with " real" chinese food, you shouldnt try this restaurant. And the bill came pretty expensive too. So NO for me.
S & W Pepper House is a small restaurant tucked away in the middle of Crystal Mall and lacks most the typical cliches you'd expect from your regular Cantonese style Chinese restaurant. There is no sweet and sour pork or house special chow mein on the menu here. Instead, the flavours are bold, sauces are not made gummy with corn starch, and the presentations are very rustic. Chilies, Szechuan peppercorns, garlic and pickled vegetables are liberally used throughout the menu. Solid dishes to me are the boiled beef, beef shank and tripe in chili sauce, chopped chicken in chili sauce, shredded pork in chili garlic sauce & the beef with cumin. The only disappointing dishes I've tried here are the kung pao chicken and deep fried duck. Some of the dishes can be quite oily, but I'd recommend eating them with steamed rice to soak up the sauces.
Service is what you'd expect from a Chinese restaurant in this price range. Always need to wave the server down to get something, but on the plus side they are never rude and usually don't screw things up.
The restaurant is fairly cramped and kitchen supplies are pouring out into the dining area. I appreciate how there is a distinct lack of Chinese kitsch decorating the place.
This is a solid authentic Szechuan resturant. Don't go here if you want healthy food or more familiar Cantonese flavours.
One of the better place in Vancouver area for some great spicy chinese food.
The "strange" after taste that FineDiningMom described is probably Sichuan peppercorn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_peppercorn
And wiki for that tofu dish
Many places that sell Mapo tofu don't have that.
I love spicy food including the numbing taste :p Some of my favorite dishes (cumin lamb, the spicy fried chicken pieces that have lots of pepper in it) have already been mentioned by some earlier reviewers.
Some cons are the place is really small, you might have to wait quite bit to get a table. If you have a big party, it might be difficult to get enought tables during busy hours.