Warm food, warm friendships.
~ Czech Proverb
Polly and Xiao Qin came by this morning to make the buns Ben & I blogged earlier. We made two batches of buns and experimented with four different type of fillings. Polly brought her own (stir-fried) minced pork and Xiao Qin brought some peanut butter. I still had some pulled pork leftover and I also bought some lotus paste from the Great One Supermarket.
I had the dough prepared the night before. So, we started off immediate filling the dough. Polly and Xiao Qin did the filling for almost all the buns while I played paparazzi. It was pretty hard work as it took almost 1 hour to fill 24 buns. We baked the buns in two different batches.
While waiting for the buns to rise and bake, we had a good time chatting about the upcoming Chinese New Year, and about our kids growing up in Canada. We also discussed techniques of disciplining our kids. :-) We had a good laugh.
All of us, both kids and mums, had the buns for lunch. The kids enjoyed Polly’s minced pork bun while the mums had the spicy version.
Thanks for coming by and sharing your time with me, Polly and Xiao Qin. What did the rest of your family say of the buns? I hope they like it.
I had a great time. Let’s do this more often.
A good name is better than good habits.
~ Vietnamese Proverb
We went to a Vietnamese restaurant today for lunch. There are a lot of Vietnamese restaurant serving Pho’ in Vancouver. The Green Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine restaurant we went to is apparently new because we have never noticed it before. If we remember correctly, I think it used to be a Greek restaurant. It is located in 8180 Westminster Hwy, just next to the Richmond Public Market. Click here for the Google Map of this location.
We ordered three dishes to share among the four of us because vietnamese noodles always comes in very big bowl. All Vietnamese restaurants served the traditional Vietnamese noodles called pho — noodles in clear beef broth. Arkensen always ordered either the Beef Ball Noodles or the ubiquitous No 1 Special. This time he ordered the No 1 Special which comes with thin cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket), tendon, tripe and meatballs. Since Nanzaro liked spicy food, Suanne ordered the spicy version — Pork & Beef in Hot & Spicy Soup. The large No 1 Special costs $5.95 while the Hot & Spicy version is $6.95.
I ordered the Curry Chicken which costs $9.50. It was the first time I see that curry chicken is served in a claypot. The presentation was pretty good and come together with pieces of butter/garlic bread.
The bread was very good and is eaten by dunking it into the curry gravy. We had lots of gravy left over and ordered extra servings of steamed rice. It was a good meal.
Update on 04-Oct-2009: We picked up the following takeout menu from the Green Lemongrass today. We had Bahn Hoi for the first time. Interesting dish as it is pressed noodles. Here is the menu:
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 Wesminster 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:
Zin 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.
Beijing Shanghai Delicacy
According to my chinese friends, this stall is the famous siow lung pau stall. However, I opted for a dish called Deep Fried Oyster Cake which is very similar to the Penang Or Jian (oyster omelette). The ingredients looks the same except that this is deep fried unlike the Penang version that is lightly cooked with somewhat raw oysters.
Having gotten to used to the Penang version, we didn’t particularly like this a lot. It seems too starchy and “stretchy” (you know what I mean?). Not too bad, would say that it’s a three thumbs rating. The dish costs $4.50.
The Beijing Shanghai Delicacy is also famous for their Fu Zhou Style Fish Ball in Soup. While waiting for my order to be prepared, a lot of people came by and bought their fish balls by the pounds to cook at home. Anyway, we just order three fish balls to try — costs $2.50.
Although this is called Fish Balls, the fish ball is filled with beef inside it. We find that the fish ball is “mild and light” — i.e. not salty, very faint taste of fish and beef. It’s something that you would eat and eat without realizing how much you have already taken.
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.
The roasting pan is big enough for a large turkey. It’s also too large to roast just one chicken. So, we roast a pair each time … eat one of the them for dinner and keep the other for making dishes like curry laksa, chicken noodle soup, etc for the rest of the week. The pair of chicken below costs about $12-$13.
Suanne uses thyme, lemon, onions and garlic (not in picture) for flavouring. The butter is used to crisp the chicken skin. For taste, the usual salt and pepper are applied.
The baking takes 1.5 hours. We usually roast a few potatoes together too. According to the recipe, Suanne wanted to make gravy from the drippings but the onion at the bottom of the pan always get burnt out. Any idea how you could prevent this?
Anyway, here you go … a chicken dish … as promised. :-)
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?
We looked around and saw that people picked up small amount of noodles and dunked it into the soup and eat from there. We think it is a better idea eating that way so that the noodles are loosened and we don’t get noodles packed at the bottom of the soup base.
I ordered the Fried Lamb with Cumin on Steamed Rice. Scanning the lunch menu, this was the most expensive dish on the list and I thought this might be good. The dish costs $7.50. It turned out pretty well. I liked the strong spice and the light gravy goes very well with the rice.
The servings were HUGE. I think even if Arkensen and Nanzaro is around, the two dishes we ordered would have been enough for the four of us. We got so full that Suanne and I skipped dinner today.
Try out S&W Pepper House if you are in Crystal Mall. I am very sure you will not regret it.
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 mozarella (about 2/3 of the total costs).
The steps are very simple. First you spread the pizza sauce on the naan bread. You then sprinkle the herbs and parmesan cheese over the sauce. Lastly, layer a generous helping of shredded mozarella cheese and you’re set for the oven. You need to pre-heat the oven to 400C. The pizza is baked for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
You absolutely must try to make it at home. Chances are the folks at home will love it. It smells great, and is very crispy. One tip: this might trigger the smoke alarm as it did this morning at our home! So, make sure the kitchen is ventilated well.
It’s best served with coffee!
If you try to make this, please let us know what your family says of it. Also, if you have any ideas on making it better, please post a comment and share your ideas.
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, reconstitued, 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.
Suanne starts off by frying all the ingredients until they are fragrant for about 5 minutes or so. You will know that it’s ready for the next step when you can, well, smell the fragrance of the ingredients.
The (uncooked) glutinous rice and the seasonings are then added in to the ingredients. Before this, the glutinous rice need to be soaked overnight. The seasonings consists of oyster sauce, light and dark soy. Suanne fries the rice together until the rice are well coated.
The glutinous rice are then transfered into a steamer. The steaming process will take about 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, you stir the rice and add a few tablespoon of water. This is done so that you don’t get the sticky rice that is too soggy at the bottom and too dry at the top.
That’s it. It’s a simple dish to prepare and I think it’s a favourite with kids. To serve, you can add some chopped green onions and some fried shallots.
Here are our ratings:
????? Suanne (Self)
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.