Dagu Rice Noodle replaced the old Y2K restaurant in Chinatown. I persuaded Ay Caramba, Office Dad and Asian Persuasion to check it out with me at lunch. For this post, let’s listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge.
The restaurant was packed when we showed up, but we were lucky enough to snag a table after waiting for only five minutes. We interacted with several servers, as there wasn’t a dedicated server for a section. I found the staff efficient and helpful.
Here’s a pro tip. If you see a server delivering a bowl, do them a favour and get the hell out of their way. The bowls brought to the table arrive at 300F. Also, Instagramers be quick taking your photos or video. Customers are instructed to cook their meats immediately, or else it won’t be cooked at the proper temperature.
Asian Persuasion thought it was funny that the soup spoons were gigantic. I found the spoons difficult to sip from. Instead, I used the spoon to scoop up the bits of goodness and then use my chopsticks to pick up the item.
All soups are made daily from pork bone, with the except of the tomato soup. No MSG is used. Apparently, every night, Dagu uses 100 pounds of pork bones for the broth, which makes it rich with collagen and nutrients.
I ordered Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodle Soup ($11.49), which came with fresh wuchang rice noodles, and two beef slices. Toppings include a quail egg, fish cake, corn, crab sticks, root vegetables, lettuce, and two odd pieces of meat that looked like salami and ham. I can handle my spice but I got to say, Dagu was the spiciest I’ve ever tried.
Asian Persuasion and I turned bright red and sweated profusely for an hour. Our mouths were burning. She had the sense to put some of the hot oil in a bowl, which helped to reduce the hot heat. She asked our server if we could get some hot water or more broth in our bowls, but he shook his head. He said next time to ask for half the spice.
Of all the toppings, I enjoyed the fish cake the most. The corn was chewy and sweet. The noodles were slippery and soft. I asked for a noodle refill because I couldn’t sip on the broth and I thought it would counteract the spiciness. I wish I didn’t order the extra noodles because I was uncomfortably full for hours after our lunch.
Office Dad’s Pickled Cabbage Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Slices ($13.99) was the winning dish. I loved the white pepperiness of the broth and the sourness of the pickled cabbage. Office Dad likes the chunky pieces of white fish. Asian Persuasion, Office Dad and I both liked the fish soup the best.
Ay Caramba ordered the Signature Rice Noodle Soup with Braised Bone-in Beef ($13.99) and added additional beef slices ($2.99). She raved about the broth and thought it was superior to the soup served at One Pot. Ay Caramba was so full from all the meat that she couldn’t finish her noodles or the fish cake.
Funny coincidence – Foodly_yyc posted this photo on Instagram. Turns out he was at the restaurant the same time. I can see my coworker and the back of my navy blue blazer. I also took a picture and judging from the angle of Foodly_yyc’s photo, I might have captured him as well.
My office mates are eager to return. Dagu is a welcome addition in Chinatown. Just a warning – if you have dietary restrictions or just particular in general, I would give this place a pass. The language barrier plus the hard coreness of this cuisine is not for everyone. Also, if you have young children, make sure they stay seated and don’t wander around the restaurant.