Whenever I'm asked to close my eyes and picture a happy place, I immediately put myself in the backyard of my grandparents' old house in North Burnaby. It's where I spent so many happy days as a child, eating delicious food, feeling safe and loved, and making memories that have proven to last a lifetime.
That special place in our hearts and minds for our family and a sense of place is exactly what's behind Memory Corner, a popular Richmond restaurant serving casual and traditional Taiwanese food. Earlier this summer, Memory Corner opened its doors to their new location, and with it, the owners have created an incredible tribute to their culture and family that's a real feast for the eyes...and stomach.
Memory Corner begins nearly a half-century ago, in a sense, when Yu-Liu and Hsuang Wu ran a restaurant specializing in lamb dishes in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. To honour their grandparents and carry on their legacy, the third generation of the Wu family opened Memory Corner in Richmond in 2013, at its original location on No. 3 Road.
Food alone was the draw at Memory Corner's first outpost, with crowds packing the no-frills restaurant for their lamb soup, bubble teas, and street-style classics like fried "popcorn" chicken bites.
However, with their late-June launch on Garden City in their vibrant new digs, Memory Corner is matching the comforting punch of their food with the atmosphere in a sensory-grabbing space packed with memorabilia and curiosities.
A pair of vintage Taiwanese mailboxes are set up right inside the front door - they're along the same wall where Memory Corner displays their numerous awards and accolades. The restaurant has major bragging rights; not long after their new location opened, Memory Corner was named the Diners' Choice for the best Taiwanese restaurant or BBT cafe in Metro Vancouver in the 2020 Chinese Restaurant Awards, too. (Because it's 2020, this is also where diners will get their forehead scanned for a temperature check before being seated.)
Now, perched on stools at physically-distanced tables under strands of hanging lanterns and flags, Memory Corner's longtime fans and newcomers alike can peruse the restaurant's extensive menu and place orders via mobile phone (to minimize interaction with staff). Be sure to drink in the artifacts and odds-and-ends that fill nearly every blank space on the walls and in the room - there is even a motorcycle parked in the dining room, just under an illuminated sign for a lamb restaurant.
The decor is not happenstance - the owners have gone out of their way to recreate the colourful atmosphere of the streets around where their grandparents' restaurant in Kaohsiung was located.
Make sure to order up their signature Taiwanese fried chicken and your tea of choice; when it comes to tea, Memory Corner has pages of their menu offering a number of styles (hot, iced, green, with a salted cream top, with pearls, slushies, and so on) so you can really choose your own adventure. Other popular dishes include their Taiwanese meat sauce on rice, deep-fried abalone mushrooms, dan dan noodles, and of course all of their lamb, particularly the hotpot.
Additionally, Memory Corner does have a number of desserts and sweet eats on the menu (a simple item like a piece of toast soaked in condensed milk hits the sweet spot) but they also operate Sweet Memory, a dessert-only destination at 8080 Leslie in Richmond.
Memory Corner is a fun and delicious way to get to know Taiwanese eats in Metro Vancouver, while for those well-versed in the cuisine it may take you on a nostalgic trip to Taiwan.