Six years ago this week food enthusiasts Alex Dadzis and Ken Tsui took over Mt. Pleasant’s Gene Coffee Bar (aka Gene Pool) at 2404 Main Street and transformed it into hawker-style pop-up concept called Fei Bing Express that dished out delicious bing-style pancakes.
The little discs were loaded down with high quality ingredients and served grab-n-go on the quick. We’re talking either ethically-sourced pork belly (from Paradise Valley) spread with homemade apple jelly or sesame scented shiitake mushrooms and smoked tofu with hoisin and a kick of sriracha. Also on offer were tasty five spice yam chips and almond cookie ice cream sandwiches.
By all accounts it was a delicious evening, and a busy one. Clicking through these old photos this morning got me thinking how good it would be if it – or something like it – was reprised on the regular in exactly the same spot. It’s a special address worthy of our evening attentions.
As noted in a recent You Should Know column by Christine Hagemoen, Gene Coffee Bar is located at the prow of an architectural icon of sorts – the Triangle Building – which sits at the heart of the neighbourhood. It juts out from the peak of The Hill to peer down at the city and up at the mountains. Empty or full, there’s a special energy within its walls that still reverberates after Gene closes its doors. From 7pm on, it’s locked up and dark, which is something of a tragedy considering how alive the area can get in the evenings.
Anyone with a palate and sense of fun would want Fei Bing Express back. Short of that, why not something equally breezy and good? Granted, the kitchen facilities were and remain limited, but if one could figure a way around that like Dadzis and Tsui did in 2013, it would be worth a shot. I can’t think of a better location for regular evening pop-ups in Vancouver, can you?