Note: The latest post about the Richmond Public Market is of February 2011 and is found on this link.
Suanne and I had a break from the boys today. Not knowing where to go for lunch, we ended up in the Richmond Public Market. The Public Market is located along the Westminster Highway and is another great place for authentic and cheap Chinese food. The food court, located at the upper level, are always very busy.
Because of the many food stalls in the public market, we are naming this blog the Richmond Public Market. Here is the first of the series:
Xin Jiang Delicious Food
Suanne went to the Xin Jiang Delicious Food. Xin Jiang is a remote province in north western China and is the province with a large muslim community. We just learnt that the people in Xin Jiang prefer to refer themselves as the Chinese Turkestan. That is why you see that there’s a Halal symbol on the signboard above. Suanne opted for a dish we have never tried before. It is called the Xin Jiang Flak Crystal and is serve is rectangular pieces. The owner told us that it is made from mung bean powder. Mung bean is better known as green beans or “kacang hijau” in Malay. The Flak Crystal is perhaps prepared the same way like the transparent noodle such as Tung Fun (Cantonese) but that it’s made into a cake and cut into pieces for cooking.
The dish is very spicy and we felt it is also a thad too salty for our taste. The price is $7.25 for a large serving. Continue reading
Finally! As promised, a blog on chicken. Suanne roasted a pair of chicken for dinner today.
We normally buy roasted chicken from the deli section in places like Safeway, Superstore or Save-on-Foods. We used to buy them for dinners and when Suanne does not feel like cooking. The boys particularly liked the chicken and the fries that comes along with it. It was a good deal for about $11 which also includes two sides and buns.
Just prior to Christmas, we found a really cheap roasting pan from Linen-n-Things. It was only $15 after rebates and it comes with a free 4-piece gourmet carving set. Since then we have roasted our own chicken.
Life is an onion that you peel crying.
~ French Proverb
Suanne came by my office today during lunch time while on an errand. We decided to go out to lunch together nearby my office in Burnaby and landed up in the Crystal Mall along Kingsway. Crystal Mall is an Asian Mall and is a great place to get really good and cheap food. He he he … Crystal Mall is also known as MSG City! We wanted to try a new place and chance upon this small place called S&W Pepper House. We decided to go in because we saw a few people having noodles eating out from a huge bowl.
The S&W Pepper House is a mainland Chinese type of joint with almost everyone speaking in Mandarin. It’s not a big place, with seating for about 30-35 people max. You could easily give it a miss. If you are the adventurous type and liked trying new and authentic mainland chinese food, you simply MUST try it out. S&W Pepper House in located on the ground floor.
Suanne ordered the “Guo Qiao” Rice Noodle in Special Soup. “Guo Qiao” meant Crossing Bridges in Mandarin. This $6.75 dish is served in four different portions. The main part is the soup in which we were told we need to put the ingredients in order and eat from the large bowl of soup. The raw quail eggs, sliced meat and prawns goes in first. This is followed by mixed vegetables and finally the noodles.
Suanne told me that there’s a story behind “Guo Qiao” in old China. The story goes that there was once a very poor scholar who need to study for the provincial exam in a place far away from his home. His wife had to bring him lunch everyday over long distance and needing to cross many bridges to get to him. The food got cold by the time she brought the food over. So, she had an idea to keep the food warm by keeping the ingredients separate and keeping the soup piping hot in a separate container. The soup has a layer of oil to conserve the heat. Anyone heard of this story before?
Cheese and bread make the cheeks red.
~ German Proverb
This is Suanne’s invention — a good one I must say. Suanne always had a problem making thin crust pizza, you know, the type that is crispy and crunchy. Until today she has not managed to get the dough just right. So, she substituted the dough with Naan bread. Here is what her Naan Pizza looks like:
The beauty of this pizza is that it’s very fast to make and it taste just great-n-crispy. Most important of all, there are no dishes to wash. This takes only 20 minutes to make. Suanne makes this for breakfast every now and then. You may want to consider making this for lunch with more toppings like pepperoni, roasted chicken, etc.
To make this you need the following five items: Naan bread, pizza sauce, shredded mozarella cheese, parmesan cheese and some herbs. We buy all these from the Real Canadian Superstore and does not cost much.
The Naan bread costs about $3.59 for a pack of 12 pieces. For the herbs, we use Mrs Dash for flavouring. We like Mrs Dash and used that with eggs, spaghetti, etc. It’s healthier than using seasoning salt in our opinion. We estimated that it will costs about $1.25 to make each piece. The most expensive ingredient is the mozzarella (about 2/3 of the total costs).
All happiness depends upon a leisurely breakfast
~ John Gunther .
We had sticky rice for dinner today. Both Arkensen and Nanzaro said that they love this a lot because it’s tasty. I think that it not only tastes good, it looks good too.
The main ingredients for this dish are glutinous rice, Chinese sausage, shitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, shallots and garlic. Suanne got this recipe originally from her younger sister. Here are the before and after preparation shots of the ingredients:
For serving of 4:
- 4 Chinese sausages, diced
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted, diced
- a small handful of dried shrimps, soaked and chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
The above ingredients are just an estimates. You can always adjust the amount to your own preference.
Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
~ Mark Twain
A quick blog today on a recent Tom Yum noodle soup that we tried. This is so far the best tom yum noodle soup we have come across. It’s at the swanky new Food Court in Metrotown, Burnaby. The stall is called Thai “something” … can’t remember what it’s called exactly. Anyway, there is only one stall which serves Thai food. Here is what it looks like:
Looks delicious right? I especially liked the big prawns and the fried tofu. The soup is not very spicy but with just the right sourness. Suanne and I normally share just one bowl and she always insists that I leave the soup alone for her. I tak-tahan, because she always sapu all the soup.
Pretty authentic, I must say. If you like spicy food and especially tom yum, you absolutely must try this out. It’s $5.62, inclusive of tax.
The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.
~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
The Vancouver Dine Out event is back again. This year the event will run from January 20th to February 2nd. It was a great success each year with most popular restaurants selling out. This event lets one enjoy a three-course dinner at 144 of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants for $15, $25 or $35 per person. Check out further details at www.tourismvancouver.com. Here is the link to a nice video on this event put together by Tourism Vancouver … you should check it out: Click Here for the video. Most of the restaurants booking is still open but if you are interested you better act on it fast as the best restaurants are expected to sellout pretty fast. We wanted so much to go to the Lumiere but it was sold out. Lumiere is the restaurant of Rob Feenie, one of the Iron Chef America! So, Suanne and I have booked a dinner at the Horizons on Burnaby Mountain for 5pm at the end of this month. We think the timing will be perfect because we can watch the sunset from the top of Burnaby Mountain. It’ll be one spectacular view of the mountains … I hope we can get a window table!
He he he … we have already sort of decided what we’ll order for the dinner. I am going to have the Gulf Island Mussels for appetizers, Grilled Tenderloin with blue cheese butter, red wine demi and Yukon gold mashed for the main course. For deserts, I think I will go with the Warm Apple Brioche Pudding. Suanne is opting for Roasted Tomato Soup with fennel & garlic for starters. For the main course, she thinks she will go for the Herb Roasted Game Hen with Fondates potato and apple sage jus. She will probably end up with Chocolate Mousse Cappucino with sugar tuile. This is making me hungry! Anyway, it’ll be fun to also go out with friends and so if you are interested, call me or Suanne and we can go together. It is $25 per person, and that does not include wine, taxes and gratuities. BTW, we are not bringing the boys along. We’ll try to blog the dinner.
Man shall not live by bread alone …
Today, we were invited by Bernie and his family to try out a Malaysian restaurant in Surrey. Bernie hails from the Pearl of the Orient, Penang. The restaurant we went to is called Malaysian Hut and is managed by Irene Chang, a baba-nyonya, from Sibu, Sawarak. Irene is a very friendly person who came out and chatted briefly with us. The restaurant has been operating at the 108th Avenue for more than five years. They were featured twice recently in The Province. Anyway, Irene is the tall one in the picture below.
We decided to order different types of dishes for sharing so that we all get the chance to try out varieties. So, we ordered Char Koay Teow, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa. The servings were pretty generous. Of all the dishes, the Char Koay Teow and the Hainanese Chicken Rice are the most popular. We ordered an extra serving of rice because there were more chicken leftover.
Arkensen and Nanzaro rated the Char Koay Teow a “five”. For me, I will rate the Char Koay Teow a little lower. It is because that dish does not have the two MOST important ingredients: crispy fried lard (gee yow jar) and cockles. Anyway, I have not come across Char Koay Teow so far in Vancouver that has these two ingredients. It is perhaps because Vancouverites are just plain afraid of Hepatitis and clogged arteries! :-) I will grudgingly give it a 4.5.
The best Char Koay Teow I have tasted was the stall behind the Selangor Emporium in Jalan TAR … I wonder if that stall is still around. Let me know your favourite place for Char Koay Teow, especially one that has “gee yow jar” and raw cockles!
Friends are chocolate chips in the cookie of life!
Believe it or not … Suanne’s chocolate chip cookies were so good that her recipe has landed into the Richmond School Board’s Grade 5/6 curriculum. He he he … not exactly … but this is how things happened: Just before Christmas, Suanne baked some chocolate chip cookies and gave some to Arkensen and Nanzaro’s teachers. Ms T, Arkensen’s class teacher, liked it so much that she told Arkensen she rationed herself to just one a day. She also asked Suanne for the recipe and decided to organize a class baking project using Suanne’s recipe. Well, the project was carried out today by Arkensen’s class in the staff room and the gym’s kitchen. The class was divided into two groups: the boys vs the girls. Here is a picture of the boys’ cookies:
The two teams were given the written recipe and were expected to make the cookies all by themselves. They are to learn how to read instructions very carefully. Suanne supervised the boys team while Ms T. supervised the girls.
Suanne can’t be at two places at a time and so she just took pictures of the boys in action. They had a great time and everyone took active part. Everyone wanted a hand in every step of the process that they did the math and divided the tasks equally between themselves. For example, when the recipe called for 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract, the boys divided the task into 8 half-teaspoon so that each of them had a chance to pour it into the mix. That is teamwork!! Continue reading
The four food groups: Fast, Frozen, Instant, and Chocolate.
OK, OK … I know, I know, I know … it’s another PORK dish! Sorry-lah bruder! Before you pass any judgement, just take a look at it … mouth-watering, right? Well, it’s another of Suanne’s fave. It’s a bun filled with spicy pulled pork.
Suanne uses a bread-machine to prepare the dough. It takes two hours for the bread-machine to prepare the dough — that includes rising time. I guess you could also manually knead it but it won’t be easy. Suanne knows of people who uses food processor or standing mixer to prepare the dough.
It is easy using the bread-machine because you just dump all the ingredients into the pan and set it to dough-cycle. The mixing, kneading and rising process is all done in the machine. You just got to wait for two hours. Ingredients includes milk, egg, flour, sugar, margarine, salt and yeast.