I had to pick up my passport from the Chinese Visa Office on W. Broadway. I took the opportunity to have lunch at Kaya Malay Bistro just a few doors a way.
I invited Lorna to join me as she loves Malaysian food too. Kaya is a Malay word which means rich. It is also the Malay name for coconut jam.
The restaurant was spacious. Hibiscus which is the national flower of Malaysia decorated the wall. We were there just before noon and the restaurant was not busy yet.
The server brought a sampler of guava soda for us to try.
We ordered an Appetizer Sampler plate to try. The appetizer for one is $8. It came with 3 sauces, sweet chili, peanut and curry. The curry sauce was very rich in coconut flavour. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
When I was running some errands in Vancouver with Nanzaro, I stopped by City 1 Cafe for lunch.
City 1 Cafe is a Malaysian restaurant.
The menu is not big. You can click on the menu to have a larger view.
We were there just after 11:30am. The restaurant was pretty empty. But, half an hour later, more customers drop in for lunch. This restaurant seats 26.
I ordered a Malaysian coffee to try. It is $2. Malaysian coffee has a thicker consistency than western coffee. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
When we visited Pho Han, we put a long forgotten hole in the wall restaurant, Prata-Man back in the our places to visit. We had visited it when we were new to the city. That was more than 10 years ago. We over heard the server telling a customer at the table next to us that Prata-Man has been in business for more than 20 years.
It was a Saturday that we came here. Only Arkensen came with me because Nanzaro wanted to watch a winter classic alumni hockey game that afternoon.
Prata-Man served Singaporean cuisine which is very similar to Malaysian cuisine. We noticed there were quite a number of Costco staff that came here for lunch because of it’s proximity to Costco in Richmond.
There is hardly any decoration and even the tables and chairs are mix and match.
The good thing is they have menu with photos for easy ordering. Their menu is limited, less than 30 items. So, ordering is made simpler rather than some restaurants which offer 100 over items and making choices seemed so difficult. You can click on the photos to have a larger view.
Prata-Man also offers combo for 2 for eat in only from Tuesday to Thursday. It looks like a good bargain. You can click on the menu to have a larger view.
For appetizer, we ordered half and order of BBQ satay. We ordered the mix version, i.e. 2 beef, 2 chicken and 2 pork to try. The half dozen satay costs $7.75.
The BBQ satay is served with sliced cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is not as spicy as we are used to. But I like the chunky peanut texture. Of the three types of meat, I still prefer chicken which is more tender. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
After 6 years of blogging, we had written over 2,200 blog posts. There are so many posts that s0metimes we can’t quite remember some of the places and recipes that we had bloged about before.
However, there is one post we always remember. It was the first post where we received the first negative comments. That first negative comment did bite. It was over 4 years ago and I still remember the words clearly. Someone left a remark saying:
“you sound like an arrogant fool for some reason. no. more like a petty-bourgeois douchebag. meh.”
It was at this post where I blogged about Hawkers Delight. I thought it was a balanced and honest review. I said the food is cheap and tasty. I also said that the place is also not exactly clean. The first time we got a comment like that, it did hurt a lot. Since then, we did get more such comments. The bigger chowtimes got, the more comments we get and along with it not all comments were positive. I guess this all came with the territory.
It is quite alright for people to disagree with chowtimes … but it is better to do so respectfully. One thing Suanne and I have always done is to make sure that we publish every comment even if it is negative. After six years, we have only thrashed six comments that we thought had grossly crossed the line and if we did that, we do announce that we had deleted comments. You can rest assure that we will never delete any comments even if it criticised chowtimes.
Hawkers is one of those restaurants that we had been back many times. It is just that we did not blog about it. We like it because it is cheap and most often than not, it is also good.
A few weeks ago, Suanne and I decided to have lunch in Hawker’s Delight and blog about it. After all, it was four years already since we last wrote about them. Time to refresh the content.
Hawker’s Delight is located on Main Street near the intersection with King Edward.
Hawker’s Delight is small. It seats less than 30 people and it is really cramped. The place had not changed much over the years.
Hawker’s is known for their … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
We are getting increasingly more emails from our readers recommending restaurants. Since we do not eat out everyday, it is getting harder to follow every recommendation.
However, there is one that came from Audrey that got my attention. It was the mention of Hokkien Mee with Jee Yow Jar. Jee Yow Jar is the Cantonese word for fried pork fat. That sure got my attention!
It is a Malaysian restaurant and for me I will find it hard not to check it out. Moreover this restaurant is just walking distance from my office.
Well, the sad news is that this new restaurant takes over the place vacated by Miki Ramen where we once held a chowtimes event. See what I mean? For every new restaurant that opens, it mostly mean that it is the closure of another.
JB Malaysian Cuisine is located on Kingsway by Royal Oak. For those of you who are familiar with the stalls in the Crystal Mall Food Court, it is the same people who is behind the Triple One Malaysian stall. Yeah, they closed the stall in Crystal Mall and re-opened as JB Malaysian Cuisine.
The word JB refers to the southern city of Johor Baru which borders Singapore. JB is popular with day trippers from Singapore because everything is cheaper there. Singaporeans will go over to JB to eat and shop. They will throng the supermarkets in JB and will buy all sort of things … like toilet papers, cooking oil, etc. Just like we Vancouverites go over to Bellingham for the same thing.
Malaysians always call Singaporeans as Kiasu (scared to lose out), Kiasi (scared to die) and Kia-jingfu (scared of the government). For being Kiasu, they will … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
I just want to start off by saying that “nobody is perfect”. We all make mistakes from time to time. What is important is how one deals with the situation when a mistake is made. Don’t ever lie to cover a mistake. It makes things worse. Mistakes, once realized, must be fixed as fast as possible. More about that later …
A couple of weeks ago, the whole family went out to dinner at the Mui Garden in Richmond. I wanted to go there because I ordered the wrong dish during the visit to the other Mui Garden on Victoria and 43rd in Vancouver. In that post, I complained that Curry Chicken which they are supposed to be famous for was terrible. It seems that they have different curry dishes and we got the wrong one. Yeah, there was a barrage of comments on that post telling us (again and again and again!) saying “Hey Ben, you got the wrong curry chicken!”.
The O-C (obsessive compulsive) Ben just gotta go and check the deal curry dishes out or else he keeps thinking about it day in day out. Arkensen is more than happy that dad suggested Mui Garden when I told him “yes, it is in Richmond” and “yes, it is like a HK Style Cafe”. He knows that HK Style Cafe means they have salted fish and chicken fried rice.
The Mui Garden in Richmond had been here forever. They are located on a street called Firbridge Way which no one, including Richmondites, knows the name of. To many, it is just that little side street which connects No 3 Road with Minoru Blvd behind the London Drugs building. It is hidden from the main thoroughfare but yet many people knows of Mui Garden and where it is.
Parking here seems limited but there is a roof top parking above the single storey structure that the restaurant is on. You need to drive round the back and up the ramp. We did not even realize it until we saw that inconspicuous words on the awning.
The dining area is big and it is split into two separate sections. One of the sections is on the upper level overlooking the rest of the restaurant.
There is nothing remarkable about the restaurant. Very typical Chinese restaurant with booth seats and smaller square tables.
The restaurant was … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Updated: 4th July 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
The response was beyond everyone’s expectation.
When we put up an event for chowtimes readers, we thought it would be great if we could get 20 people to attend so that we can fill up the small dining area in Mamak Cafe. The response trickled in hour after hour and when we surpassed 20 people I sent an email to Charles asking him if I should stop accepting more. He wrote back saying “the more the better, the entire place can take 120 people”.
Charles is the man behind Mamak Cafe. He opened this new Malaysian eatery in Gastown and ran it with his wife, Julie. They were the same people who used to operate another Malaysian restaurant called Jonker Street in Yaletown.
Since Charles were confident, Suanne and I went on accepting requests. We began to get concern when the numbers went past 30. I wrote to Charles again and this time no response. I guess he was busy and not an email kind of person. I was concerned because the Mamak cafe is not a very big operation and I was worried that they may not be able to handle such a large group. We had organized an event in a small ramen place with 25 people before and it was quite chaotic when the kitchen was not able to handle the group fast enough and the quality of food suffered.
When the count passed 40, we desperately needed Charles to respond. He was not aware that we are reaching 50 requests and that is when Charles said we better stop at 50. Even though we posted the message that registration closed on chowtimes, at the end we had over 70 requests which we had to put some on standby.
We realized that this is not a simple event even with a dozen people. So, Suanne and I went a week before to meet Charles and his team of volunteers to sort out the logistics, the menu, the program. It became a full fledged project – I was not expecting that!
Thank goodness we had Ada and her friends helping with all the heavy lifting. That makes my work so much more lighter. I am just amazed with Ada … she totally surprised me what she did for the event. For her it had to be top quality work. She even thoughtfully put up a sign outside the restaurant to welcome the guests! I like the red chilli. :-)
The sign was needed actually and Ada had the hindsight to make it on her own. You see, Mamak Cafe is located in a place that you would least expect to find a Malaysian restaurant. Mamak Cafe is located inside a pub called Pub 340.
The week prior to the event, Charles were still deciding how to setup the dining area. Because of the large number of people, Charles had no choice but to take over part of the pub for the event. There was also the issue of having enough tables and chairs conducive for a sit down meal. I was worried (I worry about everything!) but Charles was cool.
When I showed up early on the day of the event, the place was all set. I was quite pleased with it considering that this is actually a pub.
Needless to say, Charles and Julie was super busy that morning. He was the main man whipping up all the food for 50 people. And it is no joke too that each of the menu items are individually and laboriously prepared.
That included flipping the roti canai dough above, grilling the satays, boiling the bak kut teh, cooking the rendang, simmering the curry chicken, preparing the acar, making the prawns sambal, steaming the coconut rice, frying the mee goreng, and pulling the teh tarik. It is not easy especially he had to do that for 50 people.
Charles was handling it very well under pressure. I popped into the kitchen once and see if I could help but seeing the kitchen hard at work, I thought I better stay out and let the man do his thing.
Ada even prepared a nice write-up of the event and the dishes of the courses of the event. I expected something word-processed and printed off a laser printer.
My jaws dropped when I saw the output … fully desktop published and printed in full color. Yeah … next time chowtimes have an event, I am going to see if I could get Ada to do this sort of stuff for me. LOL!
I think one of the reason for the good response was that it was a good deal given by Charles and Julie to chowtimes readers. Charles created a menu specifically for the event which he charges only $12. The menu are spread over 4 courses and includes: More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Suanne and I don’t normally return to the “crime scene”.
Once we write about a restaurant, we hardly go back for a second visit. There are simply too many other restaurants out there for us to visit and write about. What more, all you readers out there has this insatiable appetite for more new posts on restaurants.
But this time I am gonna make an exception. We re-visited Penang Delight with Ron and Nancy again to try dishes we missed the first time we were here.
You see, we were very “mm-gum-yuen” from our previous visit (see post here). We were there on the first day of business and the restaurant was completely overwhelmed with the reception they had. Almost everything we wanted to order on their menu, they ran out of it.
Assam Laksa –> sorry!
Pan Mee –> sorry!
Penang Char Koay Teow –> sorry!
Bah Kut Teh –> sorry!
Loh Mein –> sorry!
So yeah, our heart is so “mm-song” already. You know the feeling right? It is like unrequited love.
Something like that.
Oh … for those of you who wants to know what the words “mm-gum-yuen” mean, well, there is no good translation for it. Maybe there is but I can’t find a good English word for it. It is something like feeling unsatisfied but not in a negative way. It is more like unsatisfied in an emo way.
Something like that.
So we made a vow to return to Penang Delight. That list of dishes they ran out of the first day of business rose to the top of our bucket list. In Malaysia, we have a Manglish expression for it.
“Die-die also must eat!”
So, yeah-lah … we all die-die also must eat. We die-die also must go back.
This time round, it was my turn to make the reservation. Some more, Ron and Nancy made me call Penang Delight to make sure they have all the dishes we missed the last time. So, I called them … twice! I need to make sure.
I wanted to call twice because the first time I called them, they sounded very busy and did not want to chat.
Ben: Assam Laksa got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Pan Mee got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Penang Char Koay Teow got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Wha about Bah Kut Teh, got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Loh Mein? Got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got … everything also got.
I did not trust them and so I called the second time a day later just to see if they will give me the same “got-got-got” answer.
Wah-lau! Got style!
I was totally surprised to see the sign above when we got there. Although I did not tell them that I am Ben of chowtimes when I made the reservation, I think they were expecting this Ben. I think they were monitoring the comments made on the Penang Delight post where I did mention we are going.
Just in case that maybe Penang Delight might be mentioning names on every table that is reserved. Nope. All the other reserved tables have the normal “Reserved” sign. Ah … this table is special, you reckon? LOL!
Yeah, Penang Delight did realize that it was “chowtimes” who brought them quite a number of referrals.
And this makes me worried a bit because I realize that when I say “it’s nice”, the word nice gets magnified a bit. I better be more careful with what I say! Better still, ignore what I say on this blog and just be entertained by the stories. Deal?
Wah-lau! Got free snack some more!
As we were getting settled, the manager came over and gave us some Heong Peah which I once blogged about. He said his friend from Malaysia brought some over and wanted us to have it.
These stuff is precious. It is something we can’t get here. Super flaky and will disintegrate on the first bite. There is a technique to eat it but I’ll explain next time.
There was a long string of discussion on Pan Mee on the first Penang Delight post (which BTW generated a whopping 133 comments). So, the first order of business that day has got to be the Pan Mee.
The Penang Pan Mee is $9. I can’t believe it had been a long time since I had this and have forgotten about this dish. The strange thing is all the Malaysian restaurants had failed to offer this even though it is not a difficult dish to make.
My mum makes this at home a lot. She uses the “mit” (tearing) method which is by far the best way to make the doughy “noodles”. However, the “mit” type is labourious to make. So, most restaurants will make it using …