DTES & Breakfast @ Ovaltine Cafe

Since I take the 135 bus to get to school, I guess you can say I've spent quite a bit of time staring outside during the ride down Hastings. I've always noticed Ovaltine Cafe, since the name is not unfamiliar to the Hong Kong culture.  And I always noticed it had a huge sign promoting its $3.95 breakfast combo.  

Still, being located in DTES, I never really thought of going because I had no one to go with.  Kevin invited me to breakfast with Sally and Jeff on a Saturday -- how and why he choose Ovaltine... well, that's a long story.  The interior was actually much bigger than I had imagined. Despite its old furnishings, it was still pretty well kept and clean. 

After having wondered about the all day breakfast ($3.95, tax included) so often, I had to get it. It comes with two eggs, a choices of bacon, ham, or sausage, pan-fried potatoes, and toast.  Pretty basic home-style breakfast food.  I didn't really like the potatoes -- they were too oily and bland.  Instead of having a crisp outer skin, it was a bit more crunchy and hard since it was over-fried a bit.  I hardly ate any of it.  The ham and eggs were good though.  The two slices of toast were also good; they were very flaky and crisp... and loaded with a lot of butter.  I usually don't put butter on toast at home, so I enjoyed it a lot.

I was amused by the super thin edges of the eggs.  They were practically see-through!

Sally got her French toast (~$4.50) which she said was quite eggy (which she liked). I actually don't have a huge preference because French toast in general is good, be it HK style or other.

Jeff and Kevin, being the gluttons they were, actually weren't hungry -- the reason being they ate $50 worth of breakfast food at DeDutch. Jeff ordered an Ovaltine ($2?), which was quite expensive when my breakfast was only $4.  Kevin ordered an apple pie, which I didn't try (or maybe I did, I just forgot).

All the food that we tried were pretty basic and homey, but the prices are pretty cheap.  I was pretty disappointed by the potatoes though.  Still, I think half of the fun was actually being there since it is a bit of a novelty to eat in such an old school diner... and for that I bumped the rating up a bit.

Ovaltine Cafe 
251 E Hastings St 
Vancouver, BC 
Ovaltine Cafe on Urbanspoon Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


I will have to wonder why Kevin took you ladies to Ovaltine, out of all places. Then again, he could have taken you to Bon's Off (for an even cheaper breakfast!).

Having said that, I think Ovaltine has been the setting for some movies as well as TV series. I recall an episode or two of Fringe taking place inside Ovaltine...

I didn't want to seem like a cheapass, so I brought them out for a more expensive breakfast, y'know, to show some class and flash some cash.

Bon's comes after a couple nights after comfortability sets in ;).

props to you to eat at this DTES diner where I-Robot was filmed. Perhaps next time you may see Will Smith sitting next to you =P

I wonder how this place compares to Bon's... But i think Ovaltine Cafe definitely brings a sense of nostalgic and would be terrific for a photo shoot!!

Saw some old photos when this place was happening back in the hay days and it was pretty cool!


Yes Kevin, definitely class. So much class.

So what's the long story behind him choosing Ovalitine Cafe??

Well, Kevin, at least you didn't take them to IKEA for their breakfast... What is it, $0.99?

Still, at least you ended up in a place outside of the beaten path list of places. So, what's next? Kent's Kitchen? :)

@Kim: Yes! It was the setting for a few movies and TV shows!

@Kevin: Where is this Bon's you speak of. And tell Sally why.

@Nance: hahaha actually I can kind of imagine the part where iRobots was filmed there.... that's so cool/weird!

@Sally: I'm surprised Kevin didn't tell you; I thought he did since Jeff mentioned it. So you didn't know why we were going there and just went?!

Well you were brave. I remember when we went to Phnom Penh, you were so scared about walking down Hastings xD But of course perhaps that's because this time you had a couple of gentlemen with you ;)

And really? Fringe was filmed here? I never really notice these things. I can understand why though. The place is so stereotypical old school Chinese.

@krispy: This was before we went to Phnom Penh! I actually went to that area BY MYSELF and met up with them at the bus stop right at Hastings/Main. Are you proud? hehe.

Mind you this was after the time I walked through Chinatown at 10pm with my coworkers... who were really busy chatting and didn't really pay attention to our well-being.

@ Krispy: Yes, there were indeed a pair of fine gentlemen accompanying her.

Here comes the sort of obligatory comment: Krispy, Janice, are you sure you are not "princesses" who have never seen/experienced places like Vancouver's DTES???

I wasn't aware it was mandatory for people living here in Metro Vancouver to have walked through and experienced/seen DTES.

However, yes.
Janice is a princess, I've not met Krispy so I won't pass judgement yet..

It is not mandatory but I will certainly laugh at people's reaction (specially those living in their ivory tower - or the Vancouver equivalent, their $2M condo) when it is the first time they see something similar to the DTES. After all, you must see/experience one end of the spectrum to appreciate the other end! (This is, BTW, the "nicest" way to put things).

Of course, it will end up being a case of "enjoy it while it last". Considering that the area is going through a gentrification process, who knows. In a couple of years, what you know as the DTES might no longer exist and their equivalent might move out further into East Vancouver or who knows where else.

@Kevin: Yes Janice is a princess, and I would like to be but I'm not :( Hahaha
I'll let you make your own judgement if I ever meet you.

@Kim: There's really nothing wrong with being a princess and living in an ivory tower. Or I should say, some people are born into it and are raised that way. If they haven't seen/experienced places like DTES, it's not something to laugh about. It just means they were really fortunate and well-protected. Though I agree that it is good to be exposed to places/experiences outside of one's social circle.

I don't see anything wrong with being nervous in a places such as the DTES and I certainly wouldn't go to the extent of labeling someone as a princess either. While it may be for you, not everyone visits DTES frequently so it's no surprise that people may feel unsettled. I'm fully aware that most people in that area are harmless but I'm sure there are few who walk through those streets without any hesitation. If you can do so, congratulations! I remember I had a radio broadcast on Main/ Hastings once and let me tell you, unloading all that equipment certainly did not make me feel like I was in the safest of places. I don't consider myself a princess because of that either.

Yo when the fuck did this get to be about location and not about food anymore?

Kim I like you and although you may be stubborn as hell, sometimes your judgement and opinions are so bullheaded that it's just borderline stupid. The two girls (krispy and hipsterinhk) already called you out on it.

You talk about experiencing things at one end of the spectrum to appreciate the other, you should really do that with your opinions and thoughts as well, and not be so biased and strongly opinionated. You quickly jump to assumptions that people here live in ivory towers or 2m condos, but ..how do you know?

I have no problem walking through this area of town, day or night, which I have done before numerous times. For you to quickly slap on a label of princess and judge someone just because they have never ventured out here on a regular basis is just rude ... in my very humble opinion.

Cheers. ;)

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin... I do have an answer for you but it will just bore you guys to death - after all, you said I am opinionated. I do want to raise one point: notice I didn't make mention about the location in my initial comment. What does that tell you? ;)

As much as I do appreciate comments from everyone, this post is getting a bit out of hand. To address a few things, no, I wouldn't consider myself a princess. I'm sure Kevin and krispy were just teasing out of good fun. I work hard at school and at work and I'm sure none of my team members or coworkers would ever consider me a princess. I'm pretty much a keener / intern / work-slave..... which does not QUITE equate to "princess". One of my friends is pretty much a princess though, and although I agree some phrases she says has probably rubbed off on me, my attitude towards everything is still the same. The fact that I’m her friend pretty much shows that I’m not one either. I’m pretty sure two princesses can’t sustain a long-term friendship without ripping each other’s head off.

@Kim: About the fact of you not bringing it up, I do believe you were the one that brought up the "OBLIGATORY COMMENT" as to whether we are princesses or not and whether we have visited the DTES. Really? Was it THAT obligatory?

I haven't really done much except for eat with Kevin and krispy (and only a few times... less than I can count with two hands), so if you really take their word for it, then that's a bit unfortunate. To pass judgement and basically imply that I am a princess without actually KNOWING me is a bit of a joke. (Don't tell me you can determine what my character is just from my blog, I will seriously laugh.) Not to mention you have really called me princess once before this post. And no, I live in Richmond, but I don't live in a 2m condo.

As for the issue of being a "princess" and visiting the DTES, maybe our generation was brought up a bit differently compared to yours or maybe our parents have similar morals. Maybe it's because you don't have kids. Or maybe it's because you're not a girl. To many of us, like hipsterinhk said, it's fairly normal to feel nervous around that area. And by nervous, I don't mean that we're holding out pepper spray ready to defend ourselves. I recall one of my teachers in not letting one of the students go do a research paper in the DTES. Although I'm sure he would want the student to "experience that end of the spectrum", he didn't let him go. Maybe it was because he had kids himself and was worried for the student’s wellbeing. I don't know. But I do believe that my teacher was a good man and not a princess.

PS. If I were a princess, I would have PROBABLY already bitched at your previous comments, Kim. My tolerance is pretty high (which I don't expect of princesses) and even to the point where people have previously asked why I don't just bitch back at you, but this time it's just ridiculous.

Absolutely ridiculous the points of view here. Yes, you people ARE Princesses.

It's irrational to be nervous or scared of traveling through the DTES, acting as if it's the only place that could possibly be dangerous. If it's night, and you're alone and the area is deserted, it could be Surrey, Burnaby or Richmond and you would STILL have to be cautious.

I find it insulting that Janice is bitching about being judged, when she has no clue what she's talking about. I've either lived or had to travel through Chinatown at all points of my life, and you people are idiotic to quake in fear at the phantom strangers you think are lurking around every corner. Don't even bring children into this - do you know how many families with kids live around Chinatown - a LOT, if you bothered to take a look. Any grown ass person who actually advises someone to stay away from the DTES is a dumbass, plain and simple. Just because someone's a professor, obviously doesn't mean they're prudent or have class.

The responses to this post are so infuriating. It's like when someone starts of a statement with "I don't mean to be racist, but..." and then proceed to say something obviously racist. If you're weirded out traveling through Chinatown, that's fine - it's understandable, even, given your attitude so far. However, don't try to save face and attempt to justify yourself, because all you've done is offend and generalize. Just own up to what's really going on here: you can't stand the thought of being in the same vicinity as the poor, homeless, and mentally ill because you think they're going to come at you any second. Obviously, that's nowhere near the truth, and it's your own biased attitude that's making a big deal out of nothing.

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