What is it? 

Despite the countless walks along James Street North this year, I’ve found each stroll to be a little different. Whether it’s a new opening or discovering an old spot for the first time, James Street has become a consistent destination for last-minute dinner plans.

In particular, Great Red Peppers, a Chinese restaurant at the corner of James Street North and Rebecca Street, has become a go-to choice for a pick-me-up meal after a long day.

I have found comfort walking into the warm and quiet restaurant, leaving the chaos of the day and the city behind as the door closes.

Great Red Peppers has an impressive menu of Chinese dishes with a diverse selection of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetable, soup, noodle and rice-based meals.

While the extensive menu can be overwhelming, it also means that each visit can be a whole new experience.

True to its name, Great Red Peppers has a spicy selection, like Chongqing spicy chicken and hot and sour soup with shrimp.

I’ve watched on as friends turn red slurping down the last of their Sichuan spicy noodle, blaming the convection heater next to us rather than the real heat for their runny noses.

If you are like myself and prefer to avoid the peppers, there are tons of menu items to choose from.

How to get there from campus: 

Take the 5 or 51 heading downtown from campus to Main at Hughson.

Head west on Main Street East towards James Street, then turn right and walk along James Street for about five minutes before reaching Rebecca Street.

The Great Red Peppers is the grey corner building on your right.

Price range: 

All cold dishes are under $10, this includes dishes like steamed chicken with chili sauce and bean noodles in chili sauce for $7.99.

Meat-based dishes are typically under $14, while vegetable-based and soup-based dishes are under $10.

Seafood tends to be a little bit more expensive in the $12-$16 range.

Over 30 of the noodle and rice dishes are under $10.

What to get: 

I recommend getting a main dish for yourself and taking a chance on trying something new by splitting with a friend. The house special fried rice (labelled J26 on the menu) always makes the order.

If you’re feeling friendly, the $10.99 dish is easy to split with two other people. For my last few visits I’ve tried two noodle dishes, the stir-fried noodle with shrimp (J7) and mixed vegetables (J9) for $8.99.

The noodles are thick and soft while warm and are generously covered in savoury sauce, with a hint of sweetness.

For more protein, we recommend the sliced pork with hot pepper noodle (J3) and Sichuan spicy noodle with pork (J6), which are also $8.99 each.

You can’t go wrong with the braised beef noodle soup (J10) for $8.99, the broth is simple and filling. During my last visit I tried the deep fried sweet potato with candied floss (H22) for the first time.

The famous Chinese dish was an undeniably sweet and fun appetizer to eat. At $11.99, this is a dish you can split with a friend or two.   

Why it’s great: 

Great Red Peppers has some of the largest portions I’ve seen, especially for their noodle and rice menu.

I had their stir-fried noodle with shrimp for lunch and went the rest day without even thinking about my next meal.

Rice is almost always left over, packed away in a take-out container, and enjoyed as a late night snack or meal for the next day.

For $8.99, that noodles and rice are also super affordable and give you a little bit more in your budget to try new things.

Great Red Peppers is not too busy, the staff are friendly and the location is convenient. The food is simple, filling and wholesome. What more can a student ask for?

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