RSSArchive for December, 2006

Happy New Year Everyone …

Happy New Year, everyone! It had been a great year blogging on our food adventures. For those who had taken interest in our blog, thanks for all the feedback and support.

Here is wishing you joy and happiness as another year begins … with cheers and love from Suanne and Ben.


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Allie’s Farewell Lunch at Tropika in Richmond

So Allie had decided that her last day in beautiful Vancouver would be Christmas Eve. Helen and I promised to treat Allie to a farewell lunch before she leave for Korea. I wanted to introduce to her Malaysian food which she had never tried before. We went to the Tropika Restaurant in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond. Tropika is a chain of Malaysian cuisine restaurants in Vancouver.

Malay Curry Fish Head

I ordered the Malay Curry Fish Head Hot Pot. This is a curry dish with fish head, long beans, eggplant and tofu puff. It is very rich and creamy. The gravy goes best with steam rice. Helen was afraid to eat try the fish head but she liked the gravy. I know, not many people can stand the thought of eating a giant fish head. Allie liked it though. This dish costs $14.95.

Hainanese Chicken

Allie wanted a chicken dish. So, we recommended Hainanese Chicken and ordered half a chicken. Allie liked this a lot especially with the pounded ginger. Allie told us she never has this type of chicken before. In Korea, chicken is usually fried or baked. This dish costs $12.95.

Sayur Lemak Hot Pot

Helen ordered a Vegetable Hot Pot. Although it’s called Vegetable Hot Pot, this dish comes with prawns, potato, carrot, and daikon. I would have imagined that this is a vegetarian type of dish and never thought it would include prawns! We ordered this mild but you may have it however spicy you want. This dish costs $13.95.

We also ordered 2 steamed rice (costs 2.50 for both) and a Hainanese chicken rice (costs $1.75). Some places rice were free so I thought that $1.25 for a bowl of steamed rice is expensive. The total bill came up to $56 including tips.


We had a good meal and enjoyed ourselves a lot. We exchanged our addresses and emails and hope we will meet again, somehow, sometime, in future.

So, Allie, all the fondest wishes to you and your family. I am going to miss having you around and especially your delicious homemade kimchees. Your kimchees are simply the best. Life is going to be a bit more lonelier without having you around the neighborhood.

Tropika (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

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M&M Cookies from Cookies-In-A-Jar

Allie passed me a jar of M&M Cookie Mix because she said she does not like baking. She told me that most of her baking came out not so nice and that I make such nice cookies. She joked that she does not have an oven as good as mine! So, I took her cookie mix and baked the cookies for her instead. I am glad she likes them a lot.

Come to think of it, Cookie-Mix-In-a-Jar is a great gift idea. It makes baking cookies much simpler. Most of the ingredients are already in the jar except for the butter, egg and vanilla or other liquid. Moreover, the instruction is on the jar too.

You can Google for the phrase “cookie in a jar” and get recipes for the cookie mixes.



  • a jar of M&M cookie mix
  • 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


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Japchae (Korean Noodle)

Allie had been a good good friend of mine. Having stayed in Vancouver for a few years, she will be returning to Korea at end of this year. Before leaving, she invited Helen and I to her house for a authentic Korean homemade dinner. She showed us how to make Japchae, a very popular Korean noodle dish. The recipe is at the bottom of this blog entry.

Japchae (Korean Noodle)

Allie also served some black rice which her husband brought all the way from Korea during his last visit. I have never see or heard of black rice until now. It tastes the same as the normal rice, looks different (of course) but have a rougher texture. It is known to have high nutritional value.


Allie also made a Seaweed Tofu Beef Soup. Allie told us that this is very popular among Korean ladies. It did not occur to me to ask her then why it is popular among ladies only. Any Korean reader here knows why?


She also prepared an Apple, Tomato, Romaine and Chicken Salad. She used Balsamic Vinegar as dressing. The chicken used is roasted chicken. I like this, more because of the apples used in it.


Lastly Allie prepared some “Thousand Year Eggs”. This is not Korean but Chinese.


I love the Japchae the most. It is kind of similar to the Chinese Dry Glass Noodle except that it uses a sweet sauce. Korean dishes commonly uses corn syrup and sesame seed oil which gives that sweetness in the dishes. There is quite a bit of steps in making this but it is worth the work. Try it out.

Despite her busy schedule preparing for the move home, she found the time to share this meal with us. I am going to miss having her around the neighborhood.

Here is the recipe for making Japchae.


  • Potato noodle, boiled for about 6 minutes and rinse in running cold water
  • Rice cake, boiled and rinsed in running cold water
  • Green, Red and Yellow sweet peppers, thinly sliced
  • Shiitake mushroom, thinly sliced
  • Beef, thinly sliced
  • Spinach, blanched
  • Seasonings include soy sauce, sesame oil, cooking syrup and brown sugar

Please click on the link below for the instructions.

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Crispy Oatmeal Bars

Jenny commented on my previous blog asking what I made for the Potluck. Well, here it is.

I made some Crispy Oatmeal Bars for the Caring Place Community Kitchen potluck. We’ve got very short notice on the potluck, just the day before the potluck. I had to look for a recipe which I can make without going out for last minute shopping and I found this Crispy Oatmeal Bars where I had all the ingredients on hand.

Crispy Oatmeal Bars


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening (or margarine or butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts or raisins or other dried fruit or chocolate chips


Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Caring Place Potluck

It’s coming to the end of another year. The Caring Place Community Kitchen ended this year’s sessions with a potluck. No cooking demonstration this time, just everyone coming with food to share.


This is a small group but have one the strongest supporters. The numero uno and the assistant group leader of the entire Richmond Cooking Community Kitchen is from this group. From left, Shaker, Angela, Minoo, Jean, Betty, Yvonne and me.


Jean, who always cooks the most and creative dishes, made 3 dishes to share. I am always amazed with her ability to think of so many varied types of food to cook.

Chicken Pot Pie

The Chicken Pot Pie was flaky and had creamy rich sauce in the fillings.

Lemon Meringue Pie

The Lemon Meringue Pie is really sour. Jean used a lot of lemon juice with this. I like this a lot.

Apple/Cabbage Coleslaw

Jean made the Apple/Cabbagge Coleslaw before.

Potato Curry

Shaker made Potato Curry. It is mild and not too spicy. I had expected this to be spicy but this is surprisingly good.

Spiced Prawn

Yvonne made a platter of “All Spice” prawns with steam broccoli. The prawns were fried with the shells on and gives gives a very fragrant smell. The platter looks pretty with a good balance of colours.

Fried Vemicelli

Betty was in the midst of moving house. Despite that she did not come empty handed but managed to fry some vermicelli for the potluck.


Angela made some pancake with bacon. It was crispy and smoky. Seems like something that my boys would like. I should try this someday at home.

Fruit Platters

As for Lynn, she brought a lot fruits for dessert. The oranges were carved very nicely. We told ourselves that we should have a session or two on fruit/vegetable carving next year. Sounds like a great idea.

The Kitchen is taking a few weeks break and will commence in early January. This Kitchen meets twice a month on Thursday mornings. This is a great place to meet new friends and learn cooking. It is fun and I enjoyed it very much. Minoo and Jean were awesome leaders and made everyone feel belong. Let me know if you could come and attend our sessions. Send me an email at

So ladies, thank you for sharing your time and your recipes. I had a great time this year. Happy holidays and look forward to seeing you all next year.

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here is wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.


It’s indeed a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. A time for good food. It’s great to cap off a great year.


For us, we want to keep Christ in Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and the gift of God to all.


Here’s a little something we want to share with everyone: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

From Nanzaro, Arkensen, Suanne and Ben

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Mango Swiss Roll

Here is the second of Juanna’s demonstration — the Mango Swiss Roll. Refer to my blog yesterday for making the sponge cake base. To make this, it is important to get ripe sweet mango for the filling. Unripe ones will produce a sourish cake.

Mango Swiss Roll

The Swiss Roll, done right, is a very soft and moist cake with the sweetness of the fruit. I like this because it is not overly sweet unlike others where the sweetness comes from the icing. I think you and your family will like this. Try it, it’s not hard to make.


  • Refer to the Fresh Fruit Cake blog for the sponge cake base and cream ingredients.

Click in the link below for the instructions.

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