Welcome to the Vancouver Lexicon. Its purpose is to pin down the patois of the City of Vancouver by recording its toponyms, nicknames, slang terms, personalities, places, and other Van-centric things. Full A-Z here.
Green Door | legend/restaurant | A fabled underground restaurant in Chinatown that served cheap Chinese food for over 60 years (1930s-1990s). It was accessible via – ahem – a green door in the alleyway behind 111 East Pender Street. The building – now home to Fuling Gifts & Housewares – used to house a gambling establishment and a trading store. During the counter-culture era of the 60s and 70s it proved magnetic to non-Chinese, particularly students and bohemian types (who would largely abandon it when the alleyway, once commonly known as Market Alley, started to draw hard drug users in the 80s and 90s). The door itself has long since been painted other colours; for a while it was blue and now (at the time of writing) it is red.
Note: There were a few other “Door” restaurants in Chinatown (eg. Red Door, Orange Door), but the Green Door lasted the longest and served the best food.
Usage | “My parents used to tell stories about sneaking beers into the Green Door and feasting big on spot prawns and fresh crab…”
I used to go there every Saturday for sumptuous food with a buddy of mine after classes.
Ate there quite often in the mid to late 60’s. Often weren’t sure what we had ordered unless one of the proprietors kids were there and could explain the Coca Cola chalkboard Chinese character menu to us. Four people could eat all they could hold for well under $20 bucks.
Used to deliver Chinese beer there (Zhujiang Beer) in 1999. That was the last year the restaurant was in business.
Ate there a few times in the Eighties. Great, inexpensive food. Just don’t look too closely if using the washrooms. 😀
Used to go there in the evening for cheap Chinese food when I did Engineering at UBC. Good food. Cheap price. Interesting ambiance.
My UBC friends and I would go there late at night. It had a an atmosphere of being very hush hush because of being in an alley. There seemed to be gambling going on behind a curtain as well.
Searching out more info on the Oranege Door, which I believe was in the same alley and one of my photos includes “107 EAST ”
I have B&W Orange Door photos inside including their kitchen – from 1974.
What were the noodle dishes called that they served, the one w larger wheat based noodles? Does anyone recall?
I remember going there in 1970 and having my lower legs instantly swarmed by biting fleas.
Expo 86, from Ontario – A local to Vancouver and his two buddies grab some wine and walked me into the green door past gambling rooms with half closed curtains to a wooden table… Not sure my buzz with from the wine, atmosphere or fabulous authentic food, but the owner couldn’t stop laughing at me as I was so memorized by the experience.
I remember the aley well….friends and I would regularly go to the “Duck Lee Social Club” which if I recall correctly was the door before the Green Door….a buck twenty five got you a plate of Egg Fy Yung, bowl of rice and unlimited greet tea. You had to point to the menu and yell out the number you wanted….I also recall a dsiplay case with old opium pipes in it.