The Metro Vancouver of today is decidedly different from the Greater Vancouver of my childhood. We had BC Transit, not Translink. We went to Chinatown and spoke Toi San; we didn’t go to Richmond and speak Mandarin. One isn’t necessarily any better or worse than the other. It’s just different. And that’s why it felt a little strange visiting the new Myst Asian Fusion restaurant in South Burnaby. To me, that building at 6400 Kingsway was Lester’s “family amusement centre.”
I seem to recall at least one instance where I faced the risk of bodily harm because my opponent felt I was “playing cheap.” Even so, this place held and continues to hold a special place in my gamer heart. But I digress.
The location hasn’t been Lester’s for quite some time and, most recently, it has been converted into Myst Asian Fusion. Not to be confused with the 90s adventure game, Myst is a Taiwanese restaurant that apparently shares a connection with No. 1 Beef Noodle House on Willingdon Avenue near BCIT. The menu shares several parallels, including common Taiwanese dishes like cold marinated offal and the popular salty-peppery chicken.
E2. MYST Beef Noodle Soup (Shank, Tripe, Tendon): $12.25
For our Taiwanese lunch, we got started with a fairly typical Taiwanese standard: beef noodle soup. By default, it comes with the regular thin noodles, but you can upgrade to thick noodles or sliced noodles for 75 cents more, or to rice noodles, rice vermicelli or egg noodles for no additional charge. Portion size was decent and the soup arrived piping hot.
Tender and flavorful, the marinated shank arrives in rather sizable chunks and carries a distinct reddish hue. The tendon melts in your mouth and the tripe offered a satisfying chew. The broth had an ever-so-subtle kick to it, so you’ll likely want to order a different bowl if you’re seeking some real heat.
I would have preferred if the noodles had a bit more toothiness to them, but it’s possible they simply continued to cook in the piping hot soup. My (almost three-year-old) daughter really enjoyed them and kept asking for more.
G1. MYST Deluxe Marinated Pork with Rice (Combo): $13.95
For something just a smidge different (that’s not really all that different), we went with this rice bowl combination. Atop the rice hidden underneath, you get a few slices of Taiwanese sausage, one golden shrimp paste roll, pork floss, two fried eggs, pickled mustard greens, Japanese oshinko (pickled radish) and cilantro. The white rice underneath is also dressed with some small bits of marinated pork and a little sauce.
The variety of toppings make for an interesting mouthful and I found it was best enjoyed by popping the egg yolk and allowing that to run through the rice underneath. This is the perfect kind of comfort food regardless of the weather, as it’s not too hot and hits several different flavors, particularly the savory and the sour.
When you order this as the combo, it is accompanied by a couple of side dishes: a frozen veggie mix and some cold sauteed greens. If you’d rather skip the side dishes, order the “single” for $11.95 instead. It is important to note, though, that some of the other items on the same menu page might not include rice if you don’t choose the combo, so it may be wise to clarify before ordering.
Iced Milk Tea: $3.00 extra (Regularly $4.75)
Unlike many other Hong Kong style cafes with their “set menu” offerings, the meals at Myst typically do not include a drink. You can add one on top for three dollars more, which is a slight discount over the regular price when these beverages are ordered separately.
We tried the standard iced milk tea, sans pearls, and it arrived in a wide and relatively short glass mug. I’d say the diameter was roughly that of a hockey puck and the mug measured about five or six inches tall. While I thought the tea flavor wasn’t as pronounced as it should have been, Susanne said it was fine. Take that how you will.
When it comes to Taiwanese and so-called “Asian fusion” food in the area, you’ve got options. There’s The One Restaurant a few blocks away, as well as a few more choices as you approach Metrotown.
While I can’t really fault Myst for doing anything wrong — the decor is much more modern and “hip” than its counterparts and the food is perfectly satisfactory — it’s also not as mind-blowingly awesome as some of the social media posts led me to believe. It’s also marginally more expensive, adding an extra dollar here and there. I may have to come back to try one of their fancy shaved snowflake ice and other desserts though.
The total bill, including tax and tip, came to $34. MYST Asian Fusion only takes cash and debit (no credit cards). They’re open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Parking is plentiful when they’re not especially busy.