It’s lunch time on a Sunday. The boys wanted some comfort food and suggested to go to Yaohan Center food court.
It’s been quite a while since we last visited the Yaohan Center food court. The boys went straight to the Curry House stall for their comfort food. Arkensen ordered the Hainanese Chicken Rice while Nanzaro had the Char Koay Teow.
I walked around to look for something for myself. The Want Want Hot & Spicy House caught my attention. The name sounded familiar. Apparently, there is a similar name stall in Crystal Mall.
Upon checking with the server, I was told that this stall had opened for business in Yaohan Center for a year.
My attention was caught by the photos of noodles in hotpot on the wall, especially the red hot on the right.
But, I did not order that. I ordered the Lamb Noodle instead. I love lamb. The server asked me if I want it spicy and if I want cilantro with it. Of course, my answer is yes for both. The lamb noodle is $7.75.
When the server collected payment from me, she asked for $10.75. I looked puzzled … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
It’s another weekend dining out with my kids. This time, Arkensen refused to come out with us. So, it’s just Nanzaro and me.
We went to Cattle Hot Pot Restaurant on Alexandra Road. It was empty when we were there just before noon. At that time, there was a wait line in Kam Do Restaurant and Bakery which located just next door.
Cattle Hot Pot is a hot pot restaurant. You can see that each table is equipped with built-in burner. But we were not here for hot pot.
Cattle Hot Pot is affiliated with Cattle Cafe across the road. You can see both restaurants printed on the napkin.
Cattle Hot Pot now serves Fish Soup Noodle Combo and Cattle Meals during lunch hour. You can click on the menu to have a better view.
Nanzaro opted for their Fish Soup Noodle Combo. The combo is $7.50 and it includes a drink.
Nanzaro had lemon Coke for his drink. Like most Hong Kong style cafe, there is an extra dollar charge for cold drink.
Nanzaro’s Fish Soup Noodle Combo is made up of original fish soup base, Japanese ramen with cuttle fish ball and imitation crab meat as the ingredients. The bowl of noodle soup also comes with suey choy, mushroom and … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
We had always thought that U Good is a hot pot restaurant. That is why we had never quite had the desire to give them a second glance unless we want to go for hot pot.
Yeah, they started off as a hot pot restaurant and indeed they are known to be one. The other thing that we did not take a closer look was that, this being a hot pot restaurant, their windows are often misted up. So we could not even take a look as we drive past.
I don’t know when this happened but U Good had stealthily changed their name by dropping the words “Hot Pot” from their sign. I knew they were closed for a bit sometime last year. Maybe that was when it happened.
That day when we visited, Suanne and I were unsure of where we wanted to go for dinner since the boys were away again for their extra curricula activities. We thought we just go to the Union Square in Richmond and walk around to see if there is anything that will pique our interest. There are quite a few restaurants in Union Square that we have never blogged about before anyway.
We were not interested in having hot pot but we happened to park right in front of the restaurant. What we saw was … wow, this is not a hot pot restaurant only. As a matter of fact, they are now a HK Style Cafe AND a Hot Pot restaurant. We were not aware of that transformation and so I am thinking here that there could be a number of people who are not aware of another HK Style Cafe in their midst.
The restaurant is quite big. If I am not mistaken, they had expanded to take up two shop lots. It is like a two-in-one place. On one side is still set up as a hot pot place with built in burners and sprinkler systems. On the other side it is like what you see in a HK Style Cafe — booth tables and all.
When we were there, there were more customers having hot pot than there were on the HK Style Cafe side.
This is not a AYCE (all you can eat) hot pot restaurant. Click on the menu pages above and you will see what I mean. The hot pot is individual plate orders and they serve the plates in a nice gold multi-tier serving platters.
We did not have the hot pot but they do look like a higher end, better quality kind of hot pot. The soup base is $5.00 to $10.00. The meats are mostly in the $4.00 to $5.00 range. There are also more expensive (“current price”) meats on the menu too like … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
About a month ago, we experimented with having hot pot with a difference.
Instead of the usual broth you normally find in hot pot restaurants, we tried it with laksa instead. And it was not just any laksa … it was with Bo’s Laksa. Many people swear that Bo’s Laksa has no equal in Vancouver. The Laksa Hot Pot was fabulous and you should try it at home. You can see our post of the Laksa Hot Pot here.
That successful trial set us thinking about other possibilities … what else besides Laksa would make a great hot pot? It has to be something you do not come across in hot pot restaurants.
Well, we found another winner! This time it is Bah Kut Teh Hot Pot.
There is a problem I want to address up front. I received complain from a certain individual that sometimes I do not credit him for being the originator of the idea. I had many lunches and dinners with this individual before. So this time I want to make it right. I was reminded repeatedly by him (almost everyday!) that when I write this post, I must call out the fact that idea did not come from Ben and the idea did not come from Suanne.
So ladies and gentleman … as requested … the whole idea for the Bah Kut Teh Hot Pot is … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
One of the customs of the Chinese New Year is the Family Reunion Dinner. This is usually held on the eve of Chinese New Year where every member of the extended family will gather at the patriarch home for a feast.
When I was still living in Malaysia, the Family Reunion dinner is always something we all look forward to. We would be planning it for days and my mum will sometimes take two days to prepare for the feast. And there would be so many people that we would have makeshift tables and chairs setup all over the house. Everyone would be decked in new clothes to usher in the new year.
After a very boisterous dinner, we would then go outdoor to set up fireworks and fire crackers. Yeah, fireworks is illegal but we all did not care … just as long as we don’t do it in front of the house because the police will come around looking for tell-tale signs of fireworks. Yeah, this is what Suanne and I missed every year. This is very much like the feeling of having to spend Christmas alone having instant noodle watching the burning log on TV.
Well, this is something we miss having every Chinese New Year because every single one of our extended families are not in Vancouver. Chinese New Year in Vancouver is also a very muted affair. There is no atmosphere and the build up of excitement.
Frankly, our two boys don’t really care for Chinese New Year. We understand that. However, Suanne and I do try to have our own Family dinner. It is not much of a “reunion” dinner. It’s just the four of us. Kind of sad. :-(
I guess we will have to wait till the boys grow up, get married and have children before I can have a real Family Reunion dinner.
We decided to make hot pot at home. Suanne was glad when I suggested that because it means that she does not have to think about what to cook. Anyway, I recently saw that the hot pot meat in the market in Crystal Mall was much cheaper than those we had during the last hot pot at home.
Some of you may remember I blogged about it and found out that it costs about $12.00 a person making at home. I thought it was still expensive and wanted to find out how JoyLuckClub managed to do it for less than $7.00.
The most expensive component of the hot pot was the meat. The last time I bought the sliced Lamb Shoulder and Beef Blade Chuck from T&T, it was $16.00 a pound. The meat that I bought this time from Crystal Mall is way much cheaper. They costs as follows: More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Chinese food is generally cheap. We can often get a good full meal for just $15 and that will be better than average. But there is one type of Chinese food that is uncharacteristically expensive.
It was just last week that I blogged about a hot pot restaurant and I suddenly realized how expensive it had been eating out at hot pot restaurants. So I did a bit of math out of curiosity. I wanted to see how much it really is for one person.
This is how much we spent averaged out per person (before tips):
- New Concept Hot Pot: $29.60
- Claypot Hot Pot: $26.80
- Mongolian Hot Pot: $25.70
- Spicy Legend: $30.10
- iSpicy Sichuan Hot Pot: $25.20
- So Hot So Pot: $25.70
So I was wondering how much it would cost to make it at home … like, much cheaper compared to eating out.
So that was our weekend project to get to the bottom of this question.
We did not want to go scouring around town for the best and cheapest ingredients. We took the easy way out. We went to T&T and try to get everything we need in one place.
We realize that some stuff in T&T are more expensive and that we don’t normally get some of the stuff we need here.
Hehehe … I did not bring my big camera into the store. Instead I brought a point and shoot so that I could steal a few shots of the inside. If I get caught taking pictures in the store, I would probably get thrown out.
We got a few of everything. We got … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
We had been having a lot of hot pots these days. Too many. I am saying that because every time we had hot pots, we ended up regretting it because most hot pots we go to are All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) restaurants.
There seems to be a lot of new hot pot places opening these days. I wonder if there is a reason to it. I do wonder if it is because it is simple to operate and at the same time they bring in more sales per customer compared to other Chinese restaurants. Each hot pot AYCE meal will easily cost $25-$30 per person after you factor in everything as opposed to $10-$15 elsewhere.
JS and TS alerted us to this new hot pot restaurant called New Concept Hot Pot a month or two ago when there were two hot pot restaurants opened at about the same time in Richmond … and right about the same neighborhood too. We ended up going to the other one – Boiling Point which serves stinky-stinky tofu hot pot.
We forgot about this place after until Buddha Girl pointed out to us that this hot pot place has a THREE soup hot pot.
Yup, the only motivation for us to come to New Concept Hot Pot was only because they have THREE soup hot pot. We are not aware of any hot pot restaurants in Vancouver that has three soup pots.
The New Concept Hot Pot is located on New Westminster Highway in Richmond. They are in the small strip mall with a double story building just east of No 3 Road. It is just next door to Alleluia Cafe.
Talking about Alleluia Cafe. We had once blogged about it before (here) but it was long time ago. Five years ago as a matter of fact! We wanted to come back because it is certainly one of the better HK Style Cafes. What I wanted to come back for is their bottomless milk tea! I heard they refill milk tea. I need to prepare myself before I go because I know what bottomless milk tea does to my sleep rhythm.
For a hot pot restaurant, New Concept is small. They only seat 20 people at one time.
We went early at about 6:00 PM. No reservation is required at that time but it is chancy. By 7:00 PM, there was already a wait of 20 minutes for a table and we saw that they were turning people away shortly after. So to be on the safe side, it is best to make a reservation before hand.
Most of their customers speak Mandarin. Maybe it is just me. Do you find that even within the Chinese community, the Mandarin speaking and Cantonese speaking customers do generally congregate to certain restaurant? I know this is a confusing question. LOL! For instance, I go to the Golden Szechuan Restaurant and I see mostly Mainland China customer (from the tone of Mandarin). In Corner 23, it is mostly Taiwanese. In HK Style Cafe, it is mostly Cantonese speakers. Oh … don’t bother to answer me … ignore it, I just asked that question because I can sense some flames coming my way. :-)
First time I saw restaurants serving sunflower seeds as a (free) snack. Do you like this? Admittedly I like it … but I will not be caught seen in public eating this. It is too feminine. Guys eat this only at home watching TV. For girls, it is cute seen eating this.
[ Please don’t flame me. I am just trying to provoke a reaction from you. :-) ]
Their AYCE is $18 per person. This is excluding:
- the soup
- the condiments
- the drinks
- the taxes
- the tips
Every hot pot places will advertise the AYCE price but if you add up everything, it will come up to at least $25 and close to $30. So if you don’t have a healthy money tree at your backyard, it is good to do your homework or you will feel the pinch when it comes to pay.
The above is their order form. It is not big. We had seen much bigger ones. It seems like they are still expanding the menu because they hand write the new choices on it. We don’t know what these new ones are as it is all in Chinese only.
We paid attention to the “Our Specials” section at the bottom left (click on image above if you want to enlarge it). There are four items on it and naturally we ticked all four.
The condiments are $1 each. It’s quite OK at that price. I would be happy if it is 50 cents only. I can’t remember where now, but a recent hot pot place I went to was only 50 cents.
Oh wait … it is FREE in the Mongolian Hot Pot.
I just like brand new tableware. Hey question … where do you go to buy these types of tableware? They are thicker, whiter and better quality than the ones we see in Asian grocery stores. We had been using the same Corning Ware ones for umpteen years already. I think it’s time to get new ones.
Here we go … to get myself physically prepared, I loosened my belt by one notch.
Tada! The THREE soup hot pot.
This one costs … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
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