Venerable East Hastings Cantonese Noodle and Congee Joint. Cheap and fulfilling eats.
to seat n tea in 3 minutes... order in 3 minutes, meal in 15min.. was delicious too...May is always there, even if we dont live on mainland and just come in 3-4 times a year she is always decent to us. as well as victor. awesome staff, very respectful. very busy place but they try to take care of you as soon as they can.
Been coming here off and on for a number of years; basically a cheap old school Chinese place. The food can vary a lot, but most of the time it's decent. Service is hit or miss, but the place is busy, so that's a bit of an excuse. Come in December you can pick up a nice bamboo calendar.
this isn't a five star restaurant, but for a good deal and a quick lunch, this is a pretty good place to go. the lunch specials are posted on the right hand side when you first walk in the front door. these are the best deals.
However the physical part of the restaurant can use a good clean up / renovation. the floors are greasy and they don't have hot running water in the bathroom for handwashing.
the staff are friendly :o)
I know exactly what the food will look like and taste like so when it arrives as expected I give it a 4. Not the classiest of places but I've been here many times over many years and nothing changes. It's a get them in and get the out sort of place that survives on turnover and takeout. Service is quick and everyone is fluent in English. Kind of place you won't miss until it's gone.
We've been here for lunch a couple times and have tried the tomato beef chow meain and beef black bean sauce chowmein. The chicken congee is consistenly very thick (not watery) and has a nice flavour and they added a generous amount of fresh chicken to each bowl. The chow mein noodles themselves have quite a crunchy texture and the sauces are good. The decor looks like it hasn't changed for years, with really older style tablecloths but we went for the food, not for the atmosphere. We had our tea constantly refilled by this young fellow. Overall, it was a decent experience and the price was good. We will return...
Went here for a quick dinner with my better half as I read some good reviews in the past and some friends referral. So I thought I give this place a try. My first impression was that it look like a typical chinese diner/greasy spoon. I was impressed that they had a flat screen TV for viewing. The cleaniness was ok, I noticed that the table was a bit sticky on my side, other than that it was satisfactory. The menu selection was quite large and we ended up getting wonton noodle soup for my wife, wonton/beef tripe noodle soup for me and some curry beef brisket on steamed rice to share. The wonton/tripe noodle soup was ok. The wonton was plump and had a lot of meat in it but the tripe tasted different than what I am accustomed too with other restaurant. The broth in my opinion was too salty, maybe too much MSG. My wife agreed after finishing her soup. The curry beef brisket was just satisfactory as it did not have enough meat compared to the green pepper, onions and celery. The curry sauce itself was decent. The staff was friendly and talkative except for the one who was clearing off the tables. She seemed to be in a rush as she quickly picked up our dishes just when we finshed eating (LITERALLY). She seemed impatient and couldn't crack a smile if her life depended on it. I always listen to the staff at Chinese restaurants to hear what they are saying and at this particular day I noticed nothing bad was said towards the customers as previous reviews have stated. Overall experience was it was nothing special. There are several better Chinese diners out there and with the same thought, there are a lot of worse places too.
I have been going to On Loks for over 25 yrs, its not known for service, how it look, but we go there for the cheap deals & the food. Its a great spot to order some dishes, take it home and have your meal for lunch the next day.
I ordered for chow mein, the medium size prawns chow mein with bok choy, in rice, chicken in black bean sauce & green peppers and garlic spinach. I have enough leftovers for work tomorrow and my bill was under $20.00 due to having a special.
When I tell people to eat there, I do warn them, the service can be rude and unfriendly, today I didn't have that experience. They did renovations from last year, so when you enter the till area is larger.
If you're looking for great food, cheap prices, fun place to people watch, give it try.
I must have eaten at the On Lok a hundred times in the past 25 years. I return time and time again not because the Hong Kong diner food is particularily good since a lot of it isn't. My repeat visits are prompted by the knowledge that there are a few decent menu items amongst the questionable ones. Service is prompt, no-nonsense and on occasion cheerful. The prices are creeping up like everywhere else but its still pretty darn cheap for the substancial portions they serve.
Here's a few of the dishes that I've found pleasing-
1/ The #10 curried beef brisket noodle in soup. Its the perfect winter comfort soup. Big chunks of simmered beef in a tasty curry broth with a mound of dense, yellow egg noodles and boiled potatoes. Trust me, its excellent.
2/ I really like their tan tan noodles. The broth is creamy and peanutty tasting. Its like 4 bucks and it fill me up. I could eat that stuff all week long.
3/ Decent won ton soup. I have it here so many times that when I try it elsewhere it tastes weird to me. Again, cheap and filling for a few bucks.
4/ Beef and broccoli. Fresh, piping hot and tasty. Great for a hangover to replace leeched out vitamins;)
5/ Singapore noodles. Consistently yummy and not too greasy. Good value.
On Lok has its loyal customers many of whom are not Chinese. I've heard it disparaged as being a resteraunt for white people who dont know what "good" Chinese food is. I'd argue that if you order well you'll get a decent meal for surprisingly few dollars. Its open late so its perfect if you're needing something to soak up the booze. An Hastings-Sunrise institution and for me...All roads lead to the On Lok!
My God!! Even the old stand bys are going down the pooper!!
THis used to be one of the places you would go to get consistant chinese food.
Holy freakin wow.
Service...You want to talk about language barrier?? I couldnt even get a diet coke ordered!!
And the food was crap.All around crap. Wonton soup had a strange taste to the wontons....broth was flavorless.Ginger beef was sour,and not remotely spicy.
None of us at our table finished our dishes..And I usually eat everything.
this place has become a stereotypical,dirty,dingy greasy chinese crap hut.
I don't know what has happened here.But that was absolutley the last time I will step foot in here.
Especially with all the competition in the hood,you think they would at least ry to clean it up a bit.
Went here for a quick bite on Friday night. Had the 2 dish for $18. Not bad. Came with soup (we chose chicken and corn). For the main dish, we had Sweet and Sour Pork and Chicken in Black Bean Sauce. Also ordered a small bowl of rice. Tasted pretty good. The waitress we had was super nice!! (Yeah, I couldn't believe it either!!) She always had a smile on her face and was very patient with us when we weren't ready to order TWICE!! Would go back for a quick bite if I was in that part of town.
Chinese food should not be this questionable take an outstanding place like hons, they are clean and always friendly, fast and tasty. This place is quite the opposit. Everything seems stale and a food hazard. One of the cooks was just going Awall in the back screaming about something in Chinese. I can still taste the food it was so bad and that was last week. The fortune cookies are so stale you could chip a tooth. Are food took awhile to get there the lady who served us looked like she wanted to hang herself and i dont think that was chicken in the chicken and broccoli!
What happens when a person gets old? They tend to get fat sometimes, and thats what has happened with On Lok. Same decor, same ambience for the past few decades - which can be a good thing for some of the long time partrons. And with the fat, I mean the grease, LOTS OF it. It can be felt in the air, the walls, under the tables...and a bit on the laminated menus. Still, this place is frequented by blue collars, and the local business owner looking for a cheap lunch. Open late for snacking too.
I used to work in the area 12 years ago & went to the On Lok 2-3 times a week. I was in the area yesterday and stopped by for lunch. I recognized one waiter & two regular customers and noticed the place hasn't been updated. I also noticed the prices haven't really changed. I had roast pork with bean curd, vegetables, ginger and onion sauce and unlimited tea and the bill was $ 5.70 and it tasted just great. I shall return !!!
I enjoy going to On Lok on occasion for the Stewed Eggplant and minced pork. The shrimp fried rice is awesome as is the beef and green pepper.
I like it because it is unpretentious and the people that work there are friendly enough,
The food is piping hot when you get it.
All races and religions go there to stuff there faces and everyone seems to understand that On Lok is one of the last of its kind. A Chinese restaurant that lives up to its loyal customers expectations, (which are not that high).
Its a Vancouver landmark. And I for one love to go there once a month at least.
Don't expect too much ambiance because they focus more on the food than the ambiance. If you go at lunch, expect crying babies and lots of traffic. But you can also expect tasty, steaming hot food for around 10 dollars a person that you bring. pretty cheap price for such yummy food.
The On Lok has stuck with me through 3 relationships, 5 jobs and 2 kids grown from babies to teens. They are still there and they are still the same. The give out the same calendars every year and their decorations will soon become artifacts.
For those people who are expecting great service, perfect English, spotless bathrooms and tea that gets poured perfectly every time, look elsewhere, i.e. elsewhere that charges more and is trying to impress you. On Lok doesn't try to impress anyone... they're just there to feed you... for less than what it would cost you to cook the same dish at home. This is fast, rather greasy Chinese and if you don't like fast, rather greasy Chinese, then just don't go there.
If you are expecting anything in the lines of service... again, go somewhere else. This is a place that will put the bill on your table before you get your food sometimes. If that disturbs you then don't go there. This is how they keep the tables turning and feed people for $5-$8, sometimes with leftovers to pack away.
Still, after everything I've said about the general lack of service... oddly, I get great service when I go there. The waitresses are nearly always in good spirits with genuine smiles and they are awake, working hard and have way too many tables. We go there about once a month and they know us and treat us with genuine kindness and quirky little personalities, giving my boys free pop, jello and lollipops. Sometimes I think the servers actually recognize the people who are going to be the ones who are demanding 5 star service in a no star establishment and they purposely give them bad service so they won't have a reason to return. So, if you are one of those people who can't seem to order a diet coke at the On Lok if your life depended on it... they are not that thick, they might not want you to come back... just a thought.
So, the food... our favourites: BBQ duck & Wonton noodle soup, all the congees are decent, most hot pots are good, Steamed chicken with ginger & green onion sauce (cold), Sweet & Sour Pork. The BBQ pork is sometimes excellent, sometimes too fatty.
Don't use the washrooms here unless you really have to. But then again my Mom used to tell us that about every Chinese restaurant we ever ate in.
Food is ok, sometimes bland. Fountain pop that is charged by the glass taste pretty much like water.
2 of us ordered set meal for 4 people and I noticed our dishes got progressively smaller. I am eating some left overs and found a piece of wire that's about an inch long in my food. Yummy.
Went in for a quick bite with my friends on a saturday night after a movie. My friend all ordered noodles and congee and I had the clam in black bean sauce. The service was pretty bad, they brought out our food very slow. But the when the food did arrive I could not believe the portions and the flavour was pretty good. This is not a take your date out restaurant but definitely great for a economical meals. Work on the service GUYS!!!
Oh, for the good ol' days when the On Lok had tables filled with people having a great time and a line up out the door waiting for take out. This wasn't the case on my last visit, and it should've been a sign that things have changed for the worse.
The Food: Bland, tasteless and barely warm. Any dish we got, from soups, to meats, noodles, rice and vegetables, all my favourites were beyond disappointing.
The Service: It took way too long for some dishes to come out and took an extraordinarily long time to order a few drinks.
The Ambiance: I don't care about the look of a place because what I find more important is the food on the plate. However, I do mind when there's a putrid (not grease) smell that eminates throughout the restaurant that is quite offputting.
The Value: Non-existent. For what our party bought and paid for, we did not get anything close in return for value.
There are better restaurants out there that not only produce better food, you get better value for money. The food is what will bring people back in the door and while it was good once, it isn't now. Perhaps one day, the food will be good again. Until then, it's time to look elsewhere.
I grew up in Vancouver and this is one restaurant which neither crunched the bills nor left the kids hungry or dissatisfied. Our clan has been there so many times over the last 20 years that the waitresses know us by name and ask about how many kids are there and always respond in surprise when we tell them one more.
To me, this restaurant is more than a cheap place to get greasy Chinese cuisine, it's like a magical ship that takes you on a voyage where the crew is always the same and the galleys meals are as good as always. There are waiters who have been there for 20 years!
As most other reviews here have said, don't go in expecting the Cannery, Tojo's, or Bishop's, because you won't get it. This is a restaurant where the food is cheap and wholesome and filling. You can feed your whole tribe on Chinese here and it will cost you less than if you were to make it at home. Sure the washrooms are unsanitary and the floors aren't clean, but this is a classic Vancouver joint.
It's one of those places that has been around, seen a lot, and can still bring that classic, sleazy Vancouver magic to the table. There are few vegetarian or diet options other than water and tea, however the food is really good bang for your buck. Since I've been going there the prices haven't changed. The food is still the same and they still give me free soda even though my childhood days are behind me. A few of my favourites are:
Wonton Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork, Lemon Chicken, Egg Rolls
To conclude, if you want a place where the price is right, the people are nice, and the food is great for those who don't mind fattening up, go to On Lok, (we call it On Loks) Best Chinese anywhere.
on lok has been around here for decades. Run by honest hard working chinese people, they aren't here to get rich off of you, they're hear to make a decent living and their prices reflect that.
Food is always solid, and everything is reasonably priced. I like the spicy fried squid personally.