RSSArchive for December, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

May you have …

Enough happiness to keep you happy.
Enough trials to keep you strong.
Enough sorrow to keep you human.
Enough hope to keep you thoughtful.
Enough failure to keep you humble.
Enough success to keep you eager.
Enough friends to give you comfort.
Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish depression.
Enough wealth to meet your daily needs.
Enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday.

Happy New Year 2011 Everyone!

With love from Nanzaro, Arkensen, Suanne and Ben

20 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

Kumare Restaurant: About Time Vancouver Has A Fancier Filipino Restaurant

The Filipino community in Vancouver had been quietly growing over the years that not many of us realize. It might come as a surprise to some that Filipinos overtook China as Canada’s leading source of immigrants in the last couple of years.

This is a staggering statistic because if you compare the population of China (1.3 billion) and the Philippines (92 million), the percentage of Filipinos overseas is staggering. A total of 11% of the country’s population live and work outside of the country.

Yet with the such a large and growing community in Vancouver, the Filipino cuisine is so poorly represented here. You get lots of turo-turo (literally translated as “point-point”) restaurants all over town. But when one wants a nice, fancier sit down Filipino restaurants to entertain friends and guests, your best and perhaps only bet is Pinpin on Fraser.

Well, not anymore.

There is a new kid in town. And it is about time Vancouver deserves fancier Filipino restaurant like Kumare.

We stumbled on Kumare very much by accident yesterday. It also happened that they were opened for the first time yesterday too. We had earlier planned to go for dinner at S&W Pepper House on No 3 Road in Richmond because we did not have spicy Sichuan food for some time already and we had enough materials to blog about. It was supposed to be our “off-day”.

As I was on Park Road and about to drive into the S&W Pepperhouse parking lot, we happened to see lights at the end of the strip mall. I remembered Crispy Lechon telling us about the impending opening of a new Filipino restaurant around this area and thought this might be it. Well it seems like they were opened for business which we found out later on they were opened for the first time yesterday. So this calls for a change of plans. Spicy food got to wait and we need to make this a “working day”, much to the chagrin of our boys. :-)

“Why do you always have to blog? Why do you always have to blog, huh?”, asked Arkensen.

“Tough luck, buddy. Too bad you have food bloggers as your parents”, I smiled giving him the same answer to the same question whenever we go to a place not to his liking.

Nanzaro was just annoyed because he was gearing up for hot and spicy food the whole day and Filipino food is NEVER spicy. LOL!

BTW, take a look at the license plate of the car above.

Kumare is certainly quite unlike all the Filipino restaurants you see in Metro Vancouver. It has that bright, modern look to it. Well, it is not quite the level of the fancier Chinese banquet halls but it is a move in the right direction. Here is a place that you could bring your friends to entertain them in fancier and elegant setting.

We were surprised to find that even though they had opened just for dinner that day, the place was almost full. I guess word gets around fast and perhaps there is such a pent up demand for a restaurant like this. Most of the diners appears to be Filipinos and so this is a good sign too.

The dining area seats 36 people with some room to expand with more tables in the future.

Service was prompt, friendly and eager. There were six people working the floor that day which we thought was a lot of people. I guess all hands were on deck on their opening day.

When we got seated, we were handed the menu in a pocket binder which they told us is still temporary. They told us that besides Filipino food, they incorporate some Thai cooking in the menu. The menu is simple and has all the familiar Filipino favourites in it. You can order most of the food either as a set (i.e. served on rice in a single plate) or you can have it served family style with rice ordered on the side. The prices are good too with most dishes between $7 and $9.

They even have a limited breakfast menu which is basically the “-silogs”, you know, dishes like long-silog, tap-silog, bang-silog and such. The suffix “silog” came from the sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg). All the breakfast items are $8.50.

Even without looking at the menu, I already know what I want. The litmus test has got to be the national dish of the Philippines — the adobo. So I got this one called the Adobo Tostado which is $7.50.

This is braised pork served with mixed vegetables and garlic rice. The sauce on the pork has a very light vinegarish flavour which was delightful. I know some like it with sharper vinegar taste but this is perfect for me. I was thinking that the sauce would be excellent with some kind of … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

54 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

Claypot Hotpot: Difference In The Broth, Free Range Chicken and Meat Balls

Sorry, I went offline the past few days. I had been spending the last few days revamping the home computer setups after one of the off-line hard disks crashed on Christmas Day. Hehehe … it was perfect timing because it gave me an excuse to finally do the right thing — create a NAS (Network-attached Storage). With four computers at home, the NAS will simplify a lot of the stuff we do on the computer. So we went to line up on Boxing Day at Memory Express and got myself 6TB RAID-5 unit. This is awesome because RAID-5 is “supposed” to be redundant … it can continue to work even if one hard disk crashed.

So yeah, I had been fiddling around the re-organizing everything and it’s almost done. That had been what I had largely been up to … and also eating out! Like in this restaurant …

I heard about it from Raymond on Facebook. He is one of my resources for finding new places because he sure knows his food. So when I saw the update from him about the new hot pot place and when I later learn that it was on Richmond’s glutton street (Alexandra Road), I already knew where he was talking about.

The Claypot Hot Pot Restaurant had been in this location for many years but for the past year or so it closed. They have now reopened. It is under a new management and backed by a strong name in the Chinese food industry. The new management had chosen to retain the English name (Claypot Hot Pot) but the Chinese name is new.

In addition they tagged on “And BBQ” to the name too if you noticed. Unfortunately they do not offer BBQ at this time. The manager told us that they wanted to focus on hot pot for now and will offer BBQ later on. Anyway, we were there just days after they had re-opened.

I like what they had done to this place. It is modern and shiny. It is certainly one of the more upscale looking hot pot restaurants around.

The dining hall is large. It even has a two table glass-walled party room at the end of the dining hall.

We were there early at 5PM, just as they had opened for dinner. The restaurant was empty at that time and we were surprised when the manager, who introduced himself as the owner, asked us if we had reservation. I think he was in auto-mode and simply blurted out the question. He later said that a reservation is not necessary as it is early and he expects us to be out by 7PM. That is not a problem for us. To us, two hours is more than enough time for hot pot.

The crowd trickled in at 6PM and by the time we were about to leave at 7PM, the entire restaurant was packed. I was thinking that this restaurant will do well considering that they had just re-opened for a few days and yet word is out so fast.

Service is very good. It was attentive and they come to clear the empty dishes very fast (I hate cluttered tables). They also come by very fast to refill the soup and drinks too, without us asking for them.

I like the manager. He is friendly and goes around the whole evening socializing with the customers. He connects with people well.

He told me that he had taken over this place to try to see if he can make a difference. Their specialty is the free range chicken and meatballs (click on image above if you can’t read it clearly). Now, chicken is not something that is common in hot pots but this restaurant is backed by a big supplier of premium free range chicken which is famous in Vancouver (Wingtat).

Likewise, click on the two menu pages above to show in larger size.

The AYCE hot pot is $19 per adult. In the future, they will offer BBQ in addition to the hot pot for $4 more.

I like the menu in many respect. For one, they do not ding you for the extras as much as some places where the condiments, sauces and drinks does drive up the cost of the meal.

I also like the variety of soup bases they have. They are $10 or $7 per pot. If you see the left page of the menu above, the first three soup bases are single soup while item #4 is the two-soup combo where you can only choose items #5 and below. Too bad. I so wanted to have a combo with one of their specialty soups.

There are a lot of varieties in the soup bases, some of which we had not seen before in other places.

Be careful about the quantity you order here. A “one” order is what you see above. So, don’t go about penciling one for each person or else you will end up with way too much of the same type.

So, if you scan just the section on meat alone (which has 11 items), you can imagine how much food that it is if you just pencil “1″ on each of the item. So think about it, they also have:

  • 8 items under seafood
  • 12 items under meatballs
  • 14 items under side dishes
  • 12 items under vegetable
  • 8 items under inards
  • 6 items under dumplings and wonton
  • 7 items under cooked food and dessert

So, there is no way that … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

20 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

Lou Han Guo Herbal Tea

When we were in Malaysia, there is a favourite stall that we like to visit in Petaling Street that sells Lou Han Guo Herbal Tea. There is always a line up at this stall.

Out of the blue, Ben asked me to make him some Lou Han Guo Herbal Tea. Coincidentally, I have all the ingredients (I think) to make this drink. I had bought the ingredients but just did not get down to make it.  Perhaps, I can sense his wants.

The Lou Han Guo Herbal Tea has a natural sweetness and fragrance to it. This makes a good summer drink when it’s chilled.

This is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding Lou Han Guo.

The fruit extract is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used as a natural sweetener in China for nearly a millennium due to its flavor and lack of food energy, only 230kcal/g (960 kJ /100g) compared to granulated sugar which has 387kcal/g (1,619 kJ/100g). It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Ingredients

  • 1 Lou Han Guo
  • 1/2 package of Sweetened winter melon
  • a handful of dried longan meat

Source:  Suanne

for 4 litres of herbal tea

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

6 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

Chicken 101: Chicken Pot Pie

In the second part of the Chicken 101 workshop organised by the Richmond Food Security Society, Ian demonstrated how to make pie crust to make a Chicken Pot Pie.

Ian demonstrated how to make a flaky pie crust which will shatters when cut into it for the top and a mealy pie crust for the bottom which holds wet ingredients better.

The ratio of flour:butter:cold water to make a pie crust is 3:2:1. When comes to pastry, weigh your ingredients for precision measurement. If you want to use spelt for the pie crust, you may substitute 1/3 of the flour with spelt.

Pastry making requires everything to be cold. Ian freezes the butter and grate it using a box grater (largest grate).

Combine cold butter and flour (unsifted) in a bowl. Salt it for flavour.

Ian illustrated that the flour is like elastic band and the butter cuts (shortens) the gluten strand.

Add cold water a bit at a time.
Ian swirled the mixing bowl to combine the flour/butter and water until it starts to form chunks.
Ian squeezed together the chunk (not knead), one small chunk at a time and place on a floured counter. You do not want to overwork the dough.

Add more water when it becomes too dry.

Once all small chunks are formed, Ian gathered them together and form a ball.
Ian then flattened the dough with his palm with a motion away from himself.
Pull back the dough and fold once.
You”ll see chunks of butter and many layers. When the chunks of butter are big, you”ll have a flaky dough.
If you work the dough further more, like a couple more times pressing and folding, you’ll get a mealy dough with smaller chunks of butter.

You must rest the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out for making pie.

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

4 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

Chicken 101: Chicken Cutlet

This is the third and last of the Basic Food Skills workshops organised by the Richmond Food Security Society. The last workshop is chicken 101.

This workshop revisits how to debone a chicken which was covered in Stocks 101 workshop.

The above video was the demonstration by Ian Lai on how to debone a chicken.

Following the deboning demonstration, Ian proceeds to demonstrate …

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

5 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

South Arm Christmas Potluck 2010

The South Arm Community Kitchen ended the year with a Christmas potluck. Minoo also invited members from other kitchens to this potluck.

alt

Among those who came are members from the South Arm Community Kitchen, the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors, The Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen and the Caring Place Community Kitchen. There were members from the current kitchens, ex-members and also potential new member.

alt

Needless to say, we had a lot of food to share. The above are the savoury spread of goodies.

alt

We also had a good spread of desserts, my favourite.

alt

It’s a season of celebration and we wished everyone a happy holiday and a great new year ahead.  Here are more on the food.

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

13 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.

Richmond Community Kitchens celebrate Christmas at HML Seafood Restaurant on No. 3 Rd in Richmond

Minoo organised a Christmas celebration at HML Seafood Restaurant during one of last cooking session of the Richmond Community Kitchen.  The South Arm Community Kitchen had been to this location, also for Christmas celebration in 2007 but it was Kingford Seafood Restaurant back then.

Does anyone know why is this restaurant’s English name is HML Seafood Restaurant? I tried to ask the receptionist on my way out but just got a blunt answer that she does not know.

HML is a big restaurant and it was very busy when we were there at 10:30 am. Minoo had reserved a large table that fits 12 to 15 people.

But, guessed what? 19 people turned up for this gathering. We had to pull another table in order to fit everyone. There were members from various kichens, i.e. South Arm Community Kitchen, South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors, Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen and Caring Place Community Kitchen.

Click on the menu above to take a closer look. The prices are average and the good thing is tea is free and it’s 20% off their regular dim sum items all day, even weekends and public holidays. The dim sum menu is on the right hand side.

We ordered a lot of food. In fact, I’m glad the captain came to us to alert us that we ordered way too much and cut down on the quantities of some of the items. Yet, we still have leftovers to bring home. What Minoo particular like in this restaurant is … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

15 people like this post. Click yellow thumbie on the left if you like this post too.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin