NU Shanghainese Bistro on McKim Way, Richmond

Marian suggested to meet up on Thanksgiving Day. So, I made a couple of calls to Lorna and Emily to see if they can join in. At the end, only Lorna, me and Marian can make it for dinner.

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Lorna suggested to meet at NU Shanghainese Bistro, a relatively new restaurant. We arrived at 6PM and we had to wait for 30 minutes for a table. According to Lorna, this restaurant does not take reservation for a party less than 5.

On this day, there were quite a number of big parties. Perhaps, it’s because it’s Thanksgiving Day.

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The decor is simple and quite classy.

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We love the menu which is loaded with photos; just like those we find in Beijing.

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Tea was served with a warmer, nice. The teapot is quite heavy and it’s cutleries were embossed with the restaurant’s logo. According to Lorna, that Chinese character meant praise.

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We ordered a few appetizers to start with. Marian picked black fungus which is also one of my favourite dish to order. The dish is slightly vinegarish and served cold as most Chinese appetizers are served. This is $7.95. Continue reading

Harbour Spirit Restaurant on No 3 Road, Richmond

Updated 9th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

The opening of the Harbour Spirit Restaurant was perhaps one of the most anticipated on over the last few months. One of the reasons is that they were taking an old location vacated by Sammy J Peppers which is a large space and highly visible along the No 3 Road.

They are so big that we were told by the restaurant that they will “specialize” on Cantonese AND Sichuan AND Northern AND Hot Pot when we went there (did not eat) on their opening day (see here). I can’t find that comment now but I distinctly remember someone saying that with trying be everything to everyone, they will either succeed big time or they will fail big time.

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The initial reports from this place were mostly unfavourable. I was not surprised because with such a big operations there are a lot more kinks to sort out. As much as Suanne and I would like to go check them out, we decided that against it. We sort of knew what the experience would be like — no different from all the early reports.

We finally went after they were opened for 1.5 months. That should be enough time to have things to settle down and well past the dry run periods.

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It does seems like the Harbour Spirit have deep pockets. They want to open up with a bang to awe people. On the surface they did quite a good job. The chandeliers and the heavy set chairs were highly visible. But on a second glance, they are still very rough around the edges. It is in the details that they fell short.

OK things like this bother me especially when they try to be classy but ignore the details. The white table cloth above, I find them distractingly nonuniform. That was not just it. The materials are cheap and too light that it shifts when you move the plates or teapot around.  And they are wrinkled.

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They must have spend some … Continue reading

Moutai Plus Szechuan Cuisine on Park Road, Richmond

Minoo, Marian, Lorna and I volunteered in the Activate! Wellness Fair 55+ at the Minoru Place on March 16th, 2011. The Activate Fair is to promote programs for the 55+ to keep our seniors active in the community and stay healthy.

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Our booth is to to showcase the seniors community kitchen.

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Besides the seniors community kitchen, we also display information on the multicultural community kitchens. We were able to get some people to sign up for the programs during the fair.

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Marian, Lorna and I volunteered until lunch time and we decided to go for lunch together. Marian wanted something spicy and we ended up at Moutai Plus Szechuan Cuisine on Park Road. When I told Lorna about this Szechuan place called Moutai Plus at Park Road, she was puzzled as she is not aware of a restaurant called Moutai Plus here. Apparently, she has always known this restaurant as “Dumpling Shop” as indicated in their Chinese name.

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The interior is made up of … Continue reading

Chowtimes Chowdown: Shanghai House Restaurant

I can’t count and almost made a mess of it!

Actually when I plan for a chowdown, it is actually Suanne who does the heavy lifting behind the scenes. She is meticulous. Me? I get utterly confused when numbers are thrown at me. You see, for once I thought it would be easy for me to just plan the dinner myself since Suanne has already a lot on her plate.

Let me take you back to the genesis of this chowdown. It was two months ago I blogged about the good lunch I had in Shanghai House. It was so good, authentic and cheap that I mentioned that I would love to go back again for dinner and this time order more food. Of course with a few more people to make it more “dai” (worthwhile). Somewhere within the comment thread, someone suggested that I organize a chowdown. And I said sure, I’ll do it.

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It was a quickie plan. I called for a show of hands of people who are interested. The post was put up on a Wednesday and I suggested a chowdown on Friday. Actually, I was thinking that we will have only two, maybe three couples who will attend given the short 2 day notice.

It then quickly got out of hands for me. Amidst my work and handling the emails and all, I guess I lost track of who is coming with who and all. I wanted to have a dinner on ONE table only. Spreading attendees over two tables defeats the purpose of having a good time chatting with everyone. So, I counted 14 people and I confirmed with Shanghai House that they have a table for 14 and 15 with a tight squeeze.

16 turned up.

I was in trouble! Good thing a few good sport did not mind sitting on a stool to make room for everyone. Sorry guys, it was my mistake. Next time, I’ll let Master Suanne handle this.

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The restaurant was full that Friday evening. Nope, the picture above was not from the Friday but from the first early lunch we had. I just want to show you how pleasant the dining hall was. One could be easily fooled thinking this is a restaurant with above average prices. It is not. The prices will … Continue reading

The Place on Granville, Vancouver

It had been a while.

After 5 years of blogging we find that the local Asian restaurant scene had changed a lot. Suanne and I don’t normally go back to restaurants we had blogged about before. Instead we wanted to try new places and seek new dishes.

However, we realized that a lot of our earlier blog posts are already dated. Some of which are no longer relevant. So we thought it might be a good idea to make visits back to some of them that we remember as very good ones.

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So what better place to go to but The Place. In Chinese, this restaurant is called 老地方 which mean the old place — a place you go back to for old time sake.

We were here and blogged about The Place in this post three years ago.  The Place is located on Granville Street in the south end of Vancouver.

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Yeah, the above was what we had three years ago. We particularly like the Family Hot Pot (center) which had a nice name in Chinese. It is called Chien Gar Fook which means …

Continue reading

My Lunch: Chen Shanghai’s XLB at Xu’s Wonton House

This is another blog post done entirely with the iPhone, including the pictures and video.

It came as a shock to many people to learn that Wang’s had closed. I found out only last week. The new place is called Xu’s. Apparently new owner. The new lady in charge look very familiar but I just can’t remember where I had seen her before.

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So here I am trying Xu’s XLB. They call this the Baiyulan XLB which is $4 for a basket of … Continue reading

Shanghai Fusion Restaurant on No 3 Road, Richmond

Updated 4Sep2013: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

How is this for taking one for the team?

This restaurant post has to be a record for a new restaurant ever on chowtimes. The previous record was new Kumare Filipino restaurant where we happened to visit them on their first day of business. That was quite by accident but it did turn out to be one heck of a restaurant.

Kumare was by chance. This one is planned.

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We went to the Shanghai Fusion Restaurant 45 minutes after they opened. LOL! Yeah, we learned that they were going to open on Saturday, March 5th at 11:00 AM and so we decided to come here for our brunch.

It is not that we ever thought that this restaurant is good. It is in the name. A Chinese restaurant with the word “fusion” in the name can’t be any good. Yeah, I am one of those people who thinks that Chinese cuisine must be pure. Those Sichuan-Canto or Beijing-Xinjiang sort of things just doesn’t work in my mind.

The Shanghai Fusion Restaurant is located in the recently closed Pho Viet in the Empire Centre. This is the strip mall where King Buffet, Bushair, Shiang Garden and Sunway is located.

They have a 12% grand opening discount now. So if you want to save on the HST, this is the time to go.

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It was quite a big dining area. They had removed the center partitions during the time when it was West Lake and Pho Viet. Both the previous restaurants here are now operating elsewhere in Richmond and the reason they move was because this restaurant is simply too big. So yes, this is a really big space.

I can’t quite make out what this place is. Perhaps from my observation, I would call this a … Continue reading

Shanghai House Restaurant in Richmond

You know there are restaurants that intimidates us that we don’t consider going to unless it’s for a special occasion. Although we do spend quite a bit eating out, we feel uncomfortable going to expensive looking restaurants.

Sometimes we don’t even know if they are expensive or not. If it looks too posh, it has got to be expensive. If the captains wear suits, it is not cheap. If they have a chandelier, it might not be affordable.

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If they have a large vase outside the restaurant … gosh, I don’t want to think how much that cost. Yeah, frankly, it was this vase outside the restaurant that intimidates me. I had peered inside the restaurant before too. It was fancy.

I was taken by total surprise when JoyLuckClub blogged about this place. The food here is cheap … unbelievably cheap. I think you will too if you see the prices of the food we had.

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The Shanghai House Restaurant is located at the Brighouse strip mall. This is about as central Richmond as you can get. Located across the No 3 Road from this restaurant is the Richmond Center. It is also next to the Brighouse terminus station of the Canada Line. So for those of you from outside Richmond, getting here would be an easy train ride.

In such a centrally located area, parking here is sometimes a challenge. It is not as bad as in Yaohan Center but sometimes you will need to circle round to get a spot. So they are serious about parking here. I think 2 hour is the limit.

They enforce parking limits here by chalking the tires of the car. So, you know … next time you are here and you need to park more than two hours, you need to “top up”. To top up, you need a … Continue reading

YY Village on Anderson Road, Richmond

Shhh …

Don’t tell anyone I told you this. Let this be just between you and I, OK?

:-)

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Does this store front look kind of familiar to some of you? Well, YY Village is the incarnation on an old-time Richmond favourite.

A few months ago we were quite shocked to find Tai Yau Yick closed. At first we thought that they might have just closed for a family vacation or something. After all, it was a small family restaurant and such restaurants are known close for a few weeks in a year for vacation. But it later dawned on us that they were closed for good when we saw a sign outside the restaurant saying so. It was sad to see them go because we like Tai Yau Yick.

While around that area a week ago, I came across a new signboard. Where it once said “Tai Yau Yick Shanghai Food”, the new sign outside says “YY Village Shanghai and Taiwan Food”. Strangely the Chinese name of YY remains exactly the same as the old one. What does the Chinese name mean? Suanne thinks that it means “Spring Once More” … something like that.

We did not know what to expect but Suanne and I went ahead anyway to check out the restaurant.

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YY Village looked exactly the same as it was when it was Tai Yai Yick.  The chairs are the same. The tables are the same. The wallpaper is also the same.

Why even it is manned by a single elderly man. It really felt like the same Tai Yau Yick.

It is a really small restaurant. It can seat 20 people max. The biggest table seats only four people, five is you squeeze. So in essence, this is a mom-and-pop restaurant.

It was full when we were there at noon on Saturday last week. There are no one waiting for a table but every table was taken nonetheless. So, we are thinking that once we write about this place, there might be even more people in the coming weeks. They do take reservations though so perhaps that would be a smart move to make a reservation or go at a time when they are not so busy.

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Their menu looks very much the same as when it was Tai Yau Yick. Well, the system of ordering from a 1-page ordering sheet is the same. We were told that the change of ownership of the restaurant happened four months ago. The previous owner sold this and went back to Hong Kong.

The elderly man also told us that the menu is the same. Somehow the dishes that jumps out at us is not quite the same this time. Our mind was focused on other things … especially the very “heong” dish that EVERY table was having.

Service was good. The elderly man was genuinely friendly and chatty. It seems like he gets along well with every customer, chatting with people at one table and the rest of the tables listens in and chuckles at his wisecracks. Yeah, it is that cozy small restaurant feeling where people feel connected.

You know the strange thing about this restaurant is the language they used. While the signboard outside says that it serves Taiwanese and Shanghainese food (both Mandarin speaking areas), the elderly gentleman speaks Cantonese very fluently. Everyone speaks Cantonese to him.

However, the food came very slow. I think they only have one person in the kitchen working.

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This is the dish EVERY table ordered. And I dare to say right now that YY Village makes the best of this dish I had ever tried.

Very “heong” (in Cantonese).

What is the English word for “heong” anyway? Whatever it is, it smells sooo good that each time they bring a plate out people look up. You can’t ignore it at all.

So we asked what that is and we wanted it too. On the menu, it is called … Continue reading

The One Chinese Restaurant on Granville and 41st, Vancouver

Updated: 24th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Let me get the confusing stuff out of the way first.

There are three Chinese restaurants called The One. None of them are related to one another. Thank goodness all three of The Ones are located in different cities or else you can just imagine the confusion it will cause.

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In Burnaby, The One (above left) is a Taiwanese restaurant which is actually an offshoot and more modern cousin of Lau Shan Dong.

In Richmond, The One (above right) is a Hong Kong Style Cafe which had opened just recently.

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Not to be outdone, Vancouver also have their own The One!  Like the other two restaurants, the Vancouver version of The One serves yet another type of Chinese cuisine — Shanghainese.

I mentioned it before earlier that there are actually a lot of restaurants with the word ONE in their name. The ones at the top of my head are:

  • Hot Pot ONE
  • No 1 Beef Noodle
  • No 1 Shanghai

This one is located on Granville and 41st. For those of you using Granville, I am sure you have notice this place.

Although the official English name of this restaurant is The One, their Chinese name sounded a lot better. It is simply called “Nong” which meant a thick sauce … something like that. I noticed that their calling cards, they have the alphabetized word “Nong” printed on it. I am just speculating that they are in the process of changing their name to Nong.

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JS wrote to us about The One almost two months ago. She was raving of the food she had that she went back twice. And it was such a long email too where she went into the details of eleven dishes she had. I was so impressed that I just had to try it … well, at least I wanted to do the trilogy of THE ONEs in Metro Vancouver. LOL!

It took almost two months to organize but JS eventually managed to get a group of the regular chowhounds together.

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The One on Granville looked a lot better than I expected. It is clean in a modern and bright setting. While it is not a high end restaurant, they managed to tastefully decorated the place — complete with small, nice chandeliers. The dining hall is quite big and spacious.

The waiters and waitresses are smartly dressed in suits and tie.

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Service is prompt. You know service is good when you are not aware of it and yet you had everything you needed at the right time. That was how I remembered that night in terms of service.

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Their Chef’s Special wasn’t what we are here for. But the interesting thing is that their Xiao Long Bao is just $1 for three. This has to be the cheapest XLBs in this side of the world. For all I care, it could even be cheaper than the frozen ones in T&T.

You know, I think people get a kick out of paying $1 for 3 XLBs than getting them free as part of a free-XLB-if-you-spend-above-$30 kind of deal.

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The above is in the front of their menu. It’s their signature dishes. That was easy to decide. We all immediately agreed to order all four of the dishes.

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As you can see above, their prices are not on the cheap side. Not that I expect it to be cheap here but the prices does jump out at me. With menus like this, I always have to keep tabs of what I order.

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Actually I left all the ordering to the experts at the table. With so much to choose from and at the end of a long week, I am just contended to just sit back and enjoy the food and the company.

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We got a few appetizers to start off with.

Jelly Pork. This is quite common in northern Chinese restaurants. I was not much of a fan of this but this one is different.

It is nicely presented and made to look exactly like meat with a layer of fatty skin on top. Most of the ones I had tried before are more jello than they are meat. So this is quite a nice change.

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The plate is $8. Just look at it … isn’t it a beauty?

You know what the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this is? Molecular Gastronomy! This is … Continue reading