RSSArchive for July, 2008

Neptune Sharkfin Seafood Restaurant on No 3 Road in Richmond

We had always thought that some of the worst time to go for dim sum is on a Saturday morning. Generally, Chinese breakfasts are simple affairs but if one wanted something more substantial then the only breakfast to go for is dim sum.

BTW, for those of you uninitiated to the intricacies of dim sum, I have you know that dim sums are always served in the morning. You can also get dim sums for lunch but never for dinner. I don’t know the reason why — it just is.

The Neptune Sharkfin and Seafood Restaurant is one of the known dim sum places in Richmond. You will never miss it on the No 3 Rd. It is on the Richport strip mall on Akroyd. Despite that prime location, we had only been there like once every two years.

As the name implies, it is basically a seafood restaurant serving really upscale dining options. They have $398.80 dinner for two on their menu which includes dishes like shark fin, abalone, giant prawns, bird nest and stuff. So, if you want to splurge, this is the place.

If you want to go cheap, they also have menu for six for only $128.

Neptune does not have push carts that delivers dim sum to your table. You order them and they deliver it from the kitchen. They were pretty fancy in that they have colored order forms. The English translations helped. Their specials and unique dishes are highlighted in red which makes selection easier.

For dim sum, their “happy hours” is 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM which a small selection is just $2.50 each.

Neptune is decidedly more cleaner and classier than most dim sum restaurants. I am not making this up but I swear their customers dresses better too. You know how it is in some dim sum places where the customer came without combing their hair, in shorts and looks like they just got out of bed. Well, I was looking just like that and felt immediately out of place!

The tab came just under $40 which is not too bad considering how much we ordered. We certainly will come back again someday.

The above is one of their special dishes. It is called Abalone Buddhist Delicious Dumpling which costs $3.98. It was alright … it’s just dumpling with better ingredients.

The Dried Oyster and Pork Rib Congee was good … much more better than the run of the mill congee elsewhere.

The Spare Ribs and BBQ on Rice is my favourite. It was perfectly executed … the rice was steamed just right and not soggy.

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Pho 99 Restaurant in Richmond

There is a new Pho in town. It’s called Pho 99. We saw it on the adverts they placed on the local papers.

Every now and then, when Nanzaro had one of his Pho cravings, he’ll demand that the entire family go with him. He always wanted to go back to the same old places and eat the same old things but I got a job to do. My job is to blog about new places and we cannot always go back to the same places can we? I mean, how many times would you all enjoy us writing about Kam Do!

It’s always a test of will with Nanzaro but I win most of the time because I pay the tab. This time I let him win because Pho 99 is a new place.

What surprised us was that Pho 99 is located in the same spot as one of our favourite eateries, Coco Chilli. We blogged about Coco Chilli here before.

So, Pho 99 is located along the far eastern end of Alexandra in Richmond. They apparently have 6 outlets in all and surprisingly, two of which are in Bellingham and Seattle in the US. Wow … an international Pho chain, so to speak.

Inside, it looks virtually the same as when it was Coco Chilli … the same fake coconut trees were still there. The operations were new and I could see that the waitresses were quite uncertain of their own menu. But they were very eager to please though and that is good.

The above is called the Hot Spice Rice Noodle, Beef Shank, Beef Flanks and Pork Ham. It costs quite cheap, $6.75 — not a lot cheap but certainly cheaper than most other Pho places. It is a lot more spicier which is great.

Their Pho is pretty good. We had the Noodle Soup with Eye Round Steak and Fatty Brisket. This Pho is listed under their “Adventurer’s Choice” section. I like this one better than the normal dry tough briskets that other places normally put into their pho.

I am not sure about you all but to me Pho must always be served in a huge bowl. Here they do that. All large bowl of phos are $6.65.

The free bean sprout is really small. We never touch the basil leaves but we do see many people plucking the leaves off the stems and threw it into the soup. Must try it someday.

Next was the Marinated Grilled Lemon Grass Pork Chops. The pork chops were quite big and most importantly they are very moist and juicy. It was perfect and I am sure a lot of you would like this as much as I did. This one costs $7.90 — not bad, huh?

The above is the Vermicelli Bowl with Veggie Marinated Prawns and Grilled Pork Slices. The vermicelli is hidden below the heap you see.

I am not sure if this is the right way but we always pour the entire bowl of the fish sauce into the the vermicelli bowl. Hmmm … thinking about it, Suanne does not make fish sauce at home but am thinking this stuff could be great with many other dishes. Can you think of what this would also be great with? Also, please educate me … is fish sauce only common to Vietnamese cuisine? Or do other cultures use this too in their cooking or food.

Anyway, the bill came up to $25.70. Not bad, I must say.

Pho 99 Vietnamese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

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We’re On Vacation

Hi All:

We are now in DC. It had been a few days already since we logged on to the internet. It sure felt like foreover! I wanted to let you all know that we will not be logging in everyday. This means that some comments left on this site might not show up for a few days (for long time commenters, your comments are approved automatically). This also means that we will not be able to respond to questions and comments left here — sorry! Moreover, we will only have a few more days of blog entries left on auto publishing and then it will stop until we get home in early August.

DC is wonderful but is really hot and humid. There are so many things to see and do here but all the walking is killing our feet. We will have a lot to share with you when we’re back home.

We have a problem … we had not been eating well!! Most the places we went to for food so far are so boring. So, help us here now, Washingtonians! Can you guys suggest places we should check out … places that are accessible via the Metro. We are staying 3 minutes from the US Capitol and this place is dead after office hours. We went to the Chinatown, Metro Center, and Dupont Circle but can’t find anything we really fancy.

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Kona Mocha Blended Ice Coffee Mix

Summer is the time to enjoy a cup of iced coffee. My kids’ favourite is Tim Horton’s Iced Capp Supreme. However, I would prefer a McD’s ice coffee simply for the lesser calories. Here is a comparison of nutritional value for a small serving of both of them:

Tim Horton’s Iced Capp Supreme
Calories: 250
Fat: 11g
Saturated fat: 6g
Trans fat: 0.4g
Cholesterol: 45mg
Sodium: 50mg
Sugar: 33g

McDonald’s Iced Coffee
Calories: 110g
Fat: 6g
Saturated fat: 3.5g
Trans fat: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 20mg
Sodium: 35mg
Sugar: 15g

We bought this Kona Mocha Blended Iced Coffee Mix from Costco for about $8. It has become one of Nanzaro’s favourite home made drink in summer.

This is a fairly good iced blended coffee which has the creaminess that resembles Tim Horton’s Iced Capp.

Comparatively, it’s nutritional values is between McD’s Iced Coffee and Tim Horton’s Iced Capp Supreme. The only thing I’m concerned about this product is the sodium is quite high, not good for people with hyper tension.

Making the Kona Mocha Blended Ice Coffee is simple. You just need a blender, some ice and milk.

Nanzaro will always volunteer to make it as he always gets a cup for himself and share the other cup with his brother or father and leave the clean up for me :-(.

Here is the finished product, a creamy ice coffee for a hot summer day. You can make 17 servings of 473ml blender drinks from the tin of 1.36kg (48oz) of Kona Mocha Blended Ice Coffee Mix. That average to 25cents per cup serving, way much cheaper than Tim Horton’s small Iced Capp ($2.49)or McD’s small Iced Coffee ($1.39).

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Sockeye City Grill in Steveston Village

After the picnic at the Steveston Park, Polly, WB and I proceed to Steveston Village for lunch. Steveston Village is a historic site where the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, the Britania Heritage Shipyard and the Murakami Visitor Center are located. It’s a popular visitor destination in Richmond.

One can also purchase the fresh catch from the sea at the Fisherman’s Wharf or go for whale watching adventure.

Sockeye City Grill is just located on the pier of the Fisherman’s Wharf. There are several fish and chips restaurants here but Polly and WB said Sockeye City is the best.

In this time of the year, the outdoor patio is usually full.

But the little girls prefer to sit inside instead. The interior is cozy and has a nice view overlooking the pier too.

We had our drinks orders taken first. Soft drinks cost $2.75. Kid’s meal comes with a free drink.

Out of the above condiments, ketchup is the most popular among the kids.

Nanzaro insisted not to order from the kid’s menu. So, I had the kid’s meal instead as I’m not hungry yet after all the snacks at the picnic. One can choose between fish and chips, burger and chips, chicken and chips, pasta with cheese or grilled cheese and chips for the kid’s meal. The kid’s meal costs $6.75.

Nanzaro ordered Grilled wild BC Sockeye Salmon which costs $17.95. The salmon is fire grilled and comes with mango cilantro salsa, grilled seasonal vegetables and basmati rice. Well, I got to eat all the vegetables though.

WB got this Salmon Sandwich for $12.95. It’s a crusty bread topped with chunks of grilled salmon, cucumber slices, lettuce, tomato and onions. The sandwich also comes with a big portion of fries.

The service was quite slow perhaps due to the crowd during lunch time. If you are visiting Steveston Village, you sure have to try their fries. There is a take out counter where you can order some simple food for you to enjoy while you leisurely walking the board walk and take in the scenery.

Sockeye City Grill on Urbanspoon

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Snacks

Polly, WB and I brought our kids to the Steveston Park for a picnic. It is the time of the year where kids get to enjoy the outdoor life. Steveston Park had a new water park installed last year. This is the first time I visited this waterpark.

The water park is very popular with young kids. Of course there are also moms with very young toddlers. Nanzaro came with us to the park but he decided to spend time in the library as he is a teenager now. He hates it when people call him a kid.

Besides the water park, there is also the playground for kids to swing, climb, slide and all. Kids nowadays are very lucky to have such facilities provided free for them.

Polly also brought along some washable paints for the kids to do some painting. Well, someone forgot the brushes but hand painting seemed to be more fun.

We brought along some snacks to munch because we intended to go out for lunch later. Here are some of snacks we had.

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Click on the link below for more photos of the snacks. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Prawn Noodle Paste

Polly recommended me this Malaysian traditional Prawn Noodle Paste. Polly told me that when she tasted it, Nanzaro came to her mind as she remembered Nanzaro enjoys spicy food a lot.

Prepackage mixes and paste makes life easier for those who miss their hometown food. You don’t have to buy individual spices and herbs to grind or pound them yourself. But using such paste may have short fall like you can’t control the amount of salt in them.

I find that the amount of salt in this paste is very high. I would not recommend consuming this too often.

The soup tastes pretty good, very rich in prawn flavour. I had prawns and fried tofu puff to go with the prawn noodle because originally I intended to make curry laksa. The traditional prawn noodle should have garnishes like poached chicken meat slices or pork slices, choy sum, bean sprout, hard boiled egg and prawns.

Click on the link below for the instructions.

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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How Much Do You Tip?

Well, well, well. Mary Stacy was quite sharp. She noticed that we normally tip in the region of 10% when we eat out. Now that it was brought up, I think it’s a very interesting topic.

We had always thought (and still believe) that Canadians generally tip in the region of 10% to 15%. That is to say that we generally tip 10% and only 15% or more if the service is good. Well, that had always been what we normally do.

We do observe and practice tipping more when we are in the US. I believe the norm is to tip at least 15% and up to 20% and more if the service is good. So, when Mary Stacy mentioned that 10% was low and that I think she’s from Chicago, I am kind of not surprised she mentioned it.

I could be wrong.

So, here is the question for you all … I mean you ALL readers … I mean not just readers from Canada and the US … can you share with me (1) where you are from and (2) how much do you typically tip? Just take a few seconds and respond with a comment.

I will collect all responses and summarize them. It will be very interesting to know, I bet.


Update 18Jul: FYI, here is what I found on wikipedia about tipping in Canada:

Tipping in Canada is similar to that in the United States due to the close cultural nature of the two countries. For example, while tipping for waiters in the United States is 15-20% for good service, waiters in Canada also receive 10-20% for good service.

Whew! It’s good to know we were not so cheap after all. LOL!

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