Restaurant: Maji Restaurant
Address: 8391 Alexandra Rd #1180, Richmond, BC V6X 3W5
Summary: Maji Restaurant is the only Taiwanese stir fry restaurant (熱炒) in Greater Vancouver. It offers customers a real taste of Taiwan through its authentic dishes and imported beers and drinks. The food is good and affordable, so I’d eat here again.
Every time I go back to the motherland Taiwan, which happens once every few years, I always like to eat local food, like street food (路邊攤), stir fry places (熱炒), and of course, my mom’s homecooking. Last year, I went back and my friends wanted to take me to sushi or Korean BBQ. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s not often that I go back, and when I do, I want to eat some authentic Taiwanese food that I just can’t find in Vancouver.
A few years ago, Maji Restaurant opened up in Richmond, and it is the first and only restaurant that I know of in Greater Vancouver that is a Taiwanese stir fry restaurant. I mean, there are a lot of Taiwanese bubble tea places, but not a Taiwanese stir fry place!
熱炒 (Re Chao), which means “hot fry” and sometimes known as 快炒 (Kuai Chao), which means “quick fry”, are what stir fry restaurants in Taiwan are called. Why? Because the dishes are literally stir fried and cooked under high heat; they use few basic ingredients to create a simple yet flavourful taste; and they are ready in a short amount of time, as quick as 2-3 minutes. These stir fry restaurants are typically thought of as drinking places, like Japan’s izakayas or North America’s pubs. Businesspeople go after work to relax and drink, but stir fry restaurants are even popular amongst students and families because of their cheap prices and fast service. More on Taiwan’s stir fry restaurants here. If you ever have a chance to go to Taiwan, I recommend you go try a stir fry restaurant!
In the meantime, Maji Restaurant is a good substitute if you’re stuck in Vancouver, and it is all about giving customers a taste of Taiwan. They even serve imported Taiwan Beer that was never available before at any liquor store. Not sure how they did it, but they did it. Nowadays, some liquor stores sell Taiwan Beer. If you’re not a huge beer person, Taiwan Beer has fruit-flavoured beers like Lychee, Grape, Pineapple, and Mango, which are delicious and taste like juice! And if alcohol is not your thing, they have soft drinks, like Apple Cider and HeySong.
Located by the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, Maji Restaurant is across a Chinese plaza and just around the corner of the entrance/exit to the parking lot behind it. The parking lot is always packed, so it can be hard to find a spot. You got to be patient, park further away, or just park in the plaza, even though you’re technically not allowed… shh.
On the inside, Maji has a very modern look, balancing the colour black with wood elements. Unlike the typical stir fry restaurant in Taiwan that can look ghetto and run-down, Maji caters its look to the Vancouver restaurant industry with a fresh appearance and a warm, cozy, and inviting atmosphere.
The name of the restaurant is derived from the Taiwanese word 麻吉 (Ma Ji), meaning “good friend”, and is based on the relationship of two friends who succeeded in opening their own restaurant. Maji also wants its name to describe the relationship it has with all its customers and staff.
I’ve been to Maji when it first opened up and numerous times afterwards – I’ve always found the food to be good, with the Taiwan Beer being the icing on the cake. When my boyfriend was in town, we went to Maji. As he’s Taiwanese as well and loves beer, what better place to go to than Maji? Like always, we ordered too much. It must be an Asian thing to order more than you can eat and pack the rest home…
Deep fried tofu with mashed salted egg yolk batter
The batter tasted sweet and was a bit crunchy – not as crispy as usual – but the salted egg yolk was delicious. I think the Deep Fried Shrimp with Salted Egg Yolk (金沙蝦球) is better, but because someone is allergic to shrimp, we got the tofu version.
Would not order again
Dongpo pork marinated with soy sauce, served with house-special brown sauce
The first cut of this was so soft that you can already imagine how delicious and fatty it would be, just melting in your mouth. Mmm… It definitely had more fatty parts than lean, but that’s what pork belly is, and I was lovin’ it.
Would order again
Combine any 4 braised food items
We chose Pork Intestine, Chicken Gizzard, King Oyster Mushroom, and Egg. Everything was good and marinated well, except for the King Oyster Mushroom. We thought that the mushroom could’ve been marinated longer as it wasn’t that savoury and needed more flavour throughout.
Would order again
Pork kidneys stir-fried with sesame oil, rice wine, and ginger
The soup was really good, combining the ingredients of sesame oil, ginger, and goji well, and bringing these flavours out. The kidney was cooked just right – it was not hard, but a chewy Q texture. This is comfort food for me and a reminiscent taste of home.
Would order again
Pan-fried beef slices drizzled with black pepper sauce, served on sizzling plate
Beef was tender but chewy. Sauce could have exhibited more flavour – it tasted of peppercorn only and was not that savoury. I didn’t like the raw onions, as they were pungent, adding onto the spiciness with the peppercorn.
Would not order again
We didn’t order this, but it came on the house! Maybe it was a mistake? It was peppercorn flavour and just tasted ok – I would have preferred soybeans to be just lightly salted or even marinated in soy sauce. But hey, it was free, so we’ll take it.
The bill including tax was approx. $60 for food + $10 for two beers, for a total of $70 not including tip. There are so many items on Maji’s menu that I just want to eat! While some dishes that we tried this time were just ok, their food is good for the most part. I love their Basil Clams (塔香炒蛤蜊) and Deep Fried Pork Intestines (脆皮肥腸).
Maji Restaurant: Review Summary
- Quality: Taiwanese stir fry restaurant giving customers a taste of Taiwan, with imported Taiwan Beer and soft drinks. Some dishes were good, but others just average.
- Deep Fried Salted Egg Yolk Tofu (金沙豆腐) – Average
- Dongpo Pork (狀元及第東坡肉) – Good
- Braised Food Platter (滷味拼盤) – Good
- Pork Kidney (麻油腰子) – Good
- Pan-Fried Black Pepper Beef (黑胡椒鐵板牛肉) – Average
- Black Pepper Soybeans (黑胡椒毛豆) – Average
- Quantity: Moderate, medium-sized portions. Dishes are for sharing and pair well with rice.
- Ambience: Medium-sized restaurant with a modern and fresh look, balancing the colour back with wood elements. Warm, inviting, and cozy atmosphere.
- Pricing: Affordable ($20-30 per person, not including alcohol)
- Service: Average
Eat Here Again? Yes. Maji Restaurant offers customers the Taiwanese stir fry experience with Taiwan Beer, Taiwanese soft drinks, and of course, Taiwanese dishes. With affordable prices, the food is good and tastes authentic. If Richmond wasn’t so far away, I’d be here all the time to relax and enjoy some good Taiwanese food and beer!
What have you tried at Maji Restaurant that you think is good? Or do you know of any restaurants in Greater Vancouver that’s one-of-a-kind? Let me know in the Comments below!