Located on Dunbar, near West 28th Avenue, Simon’s Kitchen is a western-style Chinese restaurant that has been serving its neighbourhood for over 10 years. We had noticed the restaurant a few times when passing it on our way to grab cheap-eats Tex-Mex fare at MexiCali. What stood out to us was Simon’s Kitchen’s large NO MSG sign – I’m always on the hunt for good Chinese food that lacks MSG. Is that even possible? Perhaps my quest is futile…Regardless, one evening we decided to give Simon’s a go for dinner anyway.
We were greeted at the door by a friendly staff member and seated at a window table for two. The restaurant was quite busy and they were doing lots of take-out orders — always a good sign. We started with some fried rice – Simon’s Special Fried Rice ($7.95) – Mixed with plenty of ingredients including shrimp, green peas, egg, and bbq pork. The dish wasn’t very greasy and we felt that it was a decently sized portion for the price.
Next up came Scallops and Chicken with Snow Peas ($15.95) – Thinly sliced carrots, crisp snow peas, sliced pieces of scallop and chunks of chicken breast. Also a well-sized portion but we felt the dish was a little bland in terms of flavour…maybe Chinese food really does require MSG in order to taste good! Sweet and Sour Pork ($8.25) – Boneless pieces of pork, battered and deep-fried. Doused in bright red sweet n’ sour sauce, along with pineapples, onion pieces, and green peppers. A pretty good dish with the pieces of pork still retaining their crispiness from the deep-frier even though they were swimming in sauce. My hubby enjoyed this dish; sweet n’ sour pork is one of his all-time favourite foods.
Overall, Simon’s Kitchen serves fairly average western-style Chinese food, but Vancouver has a plethora of excellent Chinese establishments to choose from. It’s not the nicest decorated restaurant, but on the upside, it is clean and tidy, service is prompt and friendly, portion sizes are large, and their menu items are, apparently, MSG-free.