Street Auntie Aperitivo House is a new Chinese street food-inspired restaurant which opened up in late 2020 during the pandemic. The use of Aperitivo in its name is a little odd, and briefly got my hopes up that Vancouver was finally bringing over Italy’s glorious tradition of drinks and free pre-dinner (!!!) buffets.
Unfortunately this restaurant doesn’t actually have much to do with Aperitivo, as their dine-in offerings seem to consist exclusively of tasting menu experiences. Simply naming the restaurant Street Auntie would’ve had a better ring to it, but I digress.
The Take-Out Experience
Street Auntie has a totally separate takeout menu which seems to offer simpler and more economical options such as typical Chinese rice and noodle mains, versus the unique and more elevated items found on their dine-in tasting menus.
I ordered by telephone which was quick and simple. I notice they now have online ordering on Tock for pickup and the major food apps for delivery, but this is strangely not yet advertised on their website. The restaurant isn’t located in the nicest area of Granville, which seems to have declined further during the past year. There aren’t too many street parking spots directly out front, so keep this in mind if you’re picking up after dark. The restaurant actually keeps its doors locked, and there’s a buzzer at the front door.
I ordered during their Dine Out promotion which included seasonal appetizers (3 kinds), a dim sum trio and a choice of main for $20.20. The above photo consists of 2 sets. They seemed to have dropped their price for this, as an identical offering is now on their regular takeout menu for $18.75 as the “Little Bit of Everything” set. It’s an incredible value for essentially a 3-course meal, and I was surprised how heavy each takeout bag was. Loved how they packaged everything securely and stapled the bags shut; I tossed them in the trunk and was good to go.
Street Auntie’s cold seasonal appetizers were a delicious way to whet the appetite, consisting of green papaya (I think), wood ear mushrooms and a generous portion of salad. The green papaya was crunchy, spicy, a little sweet and provided a delightful explosion of fragrance from numbing Sichuan peppercorns. I would probably buy a jar of this if I could.
The Dim Sum Trio was also executed well and comparable to what you would find at a high end dim sum restaurant. The morel mushroom siu mai was stuffed with perfectly cooked sticky rice, while the dumpling had a nice firm and chewy skin. I couldn’t tell if the bun was minced chicken or pork due to the herbs, but it was delicious nonetheless.
The Hainanese Chicken Rice was moist, presented well and tasted pretty typical for this type of dish. I wish they provided more than just the chili sauce though, like some ginger scallion or soy sauce which is traditionally included with Hainanese chicken.
The meal started off great with the appetizers and dim sum, but the Beef Ho Fun was a huge disappointment. The ho fun noodles were really mushy instead of chewy like they should be. I’m not sure if they used fresh noodles, or simply overcooked them. The dish lacked flavor and “wok hei” as well. You can tell from the lack of color/char on the beef. The fact that this sat for 45 minutes during the drive home probably didn’t help, but I’ve had way better reheated leftover beef ho fun from food courts.
I normally hate fortune cookies, but Street Auntie’s was awesome. They took a regular Wing’s fortune cookie and dipped it in strawberry sauce… it tasted exactly like Strawberry Pocky with sprinkles!
It’s great that Street Auntie Aperitivo House has a separate takeout menu with pretty good value, but there’s no excuse for not nailing a basic main dish like beef ho fun. The appetizers and dim sum do overlap with their dine-in menu a bit, so the fact that they were the highlights of the meal shows that perhaps their takeout main dishes don’t positively reflect what the restaurant is really about.
1039 Granville St, Vancouver, BC
Price Range: $$ ($15-$30)
Rating: *** (3/5 – Average)