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Coco Hut Singapore Restaurant in Capstan Way, Richmond

Lorna and I had the opportunity to have lunch again. This time we went to Coco Hut Singapore Restaurant.

Singaporean cuisine is very similar to Malaysian cuisine.

We were there early, before 11:30AM. We were their first customers of the day.

We opted for the self customize meal for two for $20.95. You can click on the menu above to have a larger view.

We opted for the BBQ Satay skewers for our appetizers. We had two chicken and two beef skewers. The beef skewer is on the tough side. Chicken is still the best choice of meat for satay. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Prata Man on Capstan Way, Richmond

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

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Mui Garden in Richmond: Food Was Good But Tips Not Necessary

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

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Kelong Singapore Restaurant on No. 3 Road, Richmond

Updated: 9th Dec 2010: This restaurant has been closed.

Minoo had initially planned to visit 2 temples on the same day, i.e. a Sikh temple followed by a Chinese temple. But, we ran out of time after the Sikh temple. So, we gathered again the next day for the field trip to the International Chinese Temple.

The above slide show was the photos taken at the International Chinese Temple on Steveston Highway. There is a beautiful Chinese garden in the compound of the temple. When we were there, there was a group of photographers of some photography group from Oregon taking photos in the garden.

We intended to have lunch at the vegetarian restaurant in the temple. Unfortunately, the vegetarian restaurant was closed for renovation for 2 months. So, we quickly came up with a plan B and ended up at Kelong Singapore Restaurant on No. 3 Road.

The restaurant was not too busy on a weekday during our visit. Tables were decorated with batik cloth to reflect it’s South East Asian identity.

For starters, we had roti canai which comes with a curry sauce. The roti canai was flaky as it should be but it was relatively small.

Another starter we had was satay. We had various kind of satay, i.e. chicken, beef, and pork. The satay were served with peanut sauce which came with a small saucer. More sauce would be nice.

Since most of the members of this group have not try Singaporean food before, we ordered quite a lot to try. Their lunch special … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Cafe D’Lite on West Broadway

How was it? How did you like all the snow the past week? LOL!

I’ve never seen so much snow falling in the Vancouver area for as along as I can remember.

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To think of it, it all came even before the official start of winter. Here in Richmond we had almost 2 feet of snow in all. Try walking in the snow and the snow will reach up to your knee.

There is this something about snow … it’s mesmerizing to watch it falling. While it is still powdery and fresh, it’s beautiful until it starts to turn in a slushy mess … or …

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… you try to drive out to the streets. The city of Richmond did not bother to plow the side road until the day of Christmas which made it quite a challenge to get to the main streets. I think the worse is over now because yesterday many parts had turned into puddles of water. Suanne and I ventured out on an errand Vancouver downtown and ended up having lunch out.

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We went to one Malaysian restaurant we had always heard about but never tried before. As a matter of fact, Cafe D’Lite has been on our To-Visit list the past three years or so. It’s just because it was really out of the way for us. Cafe D’Lite located in 3144 West Broadway. Actually it is just next door to the famous Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Prima Taste in Vancouver Downtown

Updated: 6th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

We met up with Angie and her kids for lunch over a weekend … oh … more than a month ago. You can see how behind I am in my dining out blog posts.

Angie is to us a really good cook. You should check out her food blog which mainly focuses on recipes with a bit of dining outs. Her site is called Sea Salt With Food.

We decided to meet in a Malaysian restaurant. We hem’d and haw’d between Chili Padi and Prima Taste and finally forced to decide on Prima Taste because Chili Padi was closed for the Muslim holiday. Prima Taste is located in downtown Vancouver (specifically 570 Robson Street). Locating this place is easy but, whew, parking is expensive in downtown isn’t it? We managed to get a spot on the street parking which is much cheaper.

Prima Taste is very much more a Singaporean restaurant than a Malaysian one. For all intents and purposes, Singaporean and Malaysian cuisines are not only similar, they are one and the same. Did you know that Singapore was a state in Malaysia in the 1960′s? Anyway, Prima Taste refects every bit of Singapore … from huge posters of the Singapore city to the modern and clean decor and lines. It is definitely a very comfortable restaurant for sure and certainly one of the best looking Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant in Metro Vancouver by far.

Prima Taste’s origin started off as manufacturer of Ready-to-cook mixes and is based in Singapore. The Prima Taste brand is popular around the world when it comes to these mixes. Suanne tried using their Singapore Chilli Crab mixes before and had blogged about it here. We like Prima Taste’s mixes.

But before I continue, can I ask permission from you readers that I be honest here? I get lambasted sometimes for expressing my personal opinions especially in areas which is deemed as negative. It is just my opinion and yours may differ … and I accept that. So here goes …

We ordered mainly from their single servings section of the menu — you know, noodles and rice dishes. All their dishes looked OK to good. On the taste department, I know I am measuring this to authentic Malaysian and Singapore food, I am sorry to say that they are pretty bland to just OK.

I think they might have tried too hard to tone down the flavor to cater for the downtown crowd. If so, I understand why.

The Laksa Fried Rice above looked yummy.

The Char Koay Teow is simply too wet. It was so wet that it was almost like a KL Hokkien Mee already. Maybe Singaporeans makes Char Koay Teow like this but Malaysian ones are certainly not like this. What is really missing is the fried pork lard bits and cockles … LOL! Tough luck finding these here in Vancouver. I am sorry to say it is just disappointing to me.

The above is the Seafood Mee Goreng (mee goreng means fried noodles in Malay). It looked pretty amd colorful especially with the reddish tomato and green peas. But … tomatoes and green peas in a Malaysian dish? If they had called this something else, like Seafood fried noodles with peas and tomatoes, it would have been OK. My puny brain just does not connect “Seafood Mee Goreng” with peas and tomatoes.

The Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle (which we assumed is Hokkien Mee) was ordered by Suanne. When it came all of us looked at each other and collectively said … “What? Is this Hokkien Mee?” Where we came from Hokkien Mee is supposed to be black or brown but never white. LOL! And the noodles too, they where the thin types and all cut up.

I think they cut it up because it makes it easier for the people to eat this with a spoon. Sorry (again) to say this but I think cutting up noodles is a bad idea … just like cutting up a burger to spoon sizes to make it easier to eat with a spoon is a bad idea.

Angie and us debated this whole issue about the WHITE Fried Hokkien Mee for days. LOL! We just can’t understand this. We finally settled on “maybe Singaporean’s Fried Hokkien Mee are white”. Any Singaporeans out there who can give us guidance?

I say that the Prawn Noodle Soup looked bland because I expected it to be like a Penang Prawn Noodle Soup which is reddish and spicy. Technically, this is correctly termed as prawn noodle soup because it has prawns.

The Laksa Prawns looked creamy enough with a good amount of coconut milk. Again, this was not a dish I tried and does not know how it was. It sure looked respectable … raw cockles would have made it better, right?

The (Fried) Chicken Rice looked very good and tasted real good too. They could do with giving a few more pieces of chicken meat though.

The Fried Chicken Rice came with Yow Fan (translated as Oily Rice?). Again, this one is good and full of flavour … and good enough even eaten on its own.

Angie’s kids ordered Cendol as dessert. We miss cendol here.

So … we all were quite disappointed with the meal. It is because we might have unfairly measured this meal with the type of Malaysian food we are accustomed to. They are not bad food, far from it but we are just commenting from the standpoint of authenticity. We also fully understand that because of the location of Prima Taste right smack in the middle of downtown, perhaps they thought it wise to cater more to the tastes of their main customer.

Despite the comments above by me, I must say that we had a great time meeting up for lunch. Prima Taste is a good place and has the right kind of setting for chatting (they don’t rush you off even when you had finished your meal).

The bill came up to $95 in all. We find it on the high side and again understandable because Prima Taste is in downtown.

One thing for sure, we love Prima Taste mixes … as for the restaurant … well … YOU should go and try and let me know your thoughts.

Prima Taste on Urbanspoon

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Blackberry Bistro in Richmond’s London Landing

Updated: 30th Dec 2010: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.

George and Ease recently invited us for dinner. It had been a very long while since we had met up. It must have been something like over three years. We had utmost respect for them and remembered so well how they had supported us in times of need.

A few years ago Arkensen was in hospital. Suanne and I took turns to stay with him in the hospital every night. There was that one day Arkensen had a rough patch and I stayed with him right through lunch and dinner time. Just then when it was late and I don’t expect anyone anymore, George showed up despite his busy schedule. Seeing that I had no eaten yet, George went out scouring for dinner for me. I will never forget that act of selflessness from him.

Ease told us she had been reading our blog all these while. So when Ease contacted Suanne suggested we meet up for dinner, we immediately agreed. We went to this new place call the Blackberry Bistro.

The Blackberry Bistro is described as a Pan Asian restaurant but to us it is more than that. It is located at the so called “new Shaunessy of Richmond” which I think is more aptly called London Landing. I had been through this place many times before when I was training for the Half Marathon and had always noticed the name Blackberry … this place used to be overrun with blackberries but of late a lot of the industrial buildings had been torn down to make this a new waterfront residential area.
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For those who are are familiar with this southern Richmond nighborhood, I want you to know that it’s on 6011 Dyke Road. It is very near where the London Farm and the starting point of the London Landing dykes.

We had expected a very Asian setting but were quite impressed with the setup. The restaurant had a decidedly modern setting with high ceilings which is lends to it a sense of spaciousness and grandness. This restaurant sure put in a lot of planning and thought into it.

There is even sofa and fireplace in the eating area upstairs with plasma TV and all (and not playing HK variety shows!). We actually did not expect that there were so many customers but were quite surprised that they had a healthy mix of customers. This is perhaps the only place we had seen so far which serves decidedly authentic Asian food and had more than 50% of the customers who are white. I like that.

The table setting was well thought out although I think they put in too much effort to making this good. Case in point … the manually wrap and bind the chopsticks and cutleries. The menu too is really cute … which for a moment I thought was a placemat!

Their menu is very much South East Asian. We had the nice juicy Chicken satay for starters. Having grown up in Malaysia, I know what real good satay are and this is it. He he he … what this lack is the fatty chicken skin which will make it even more juicier. The peanut sauce was quite OK except I had wished it had more chuncks of peanuts and a bit of chilli sauce like the way it’s supposed to be.

The best satay in the world is the one in Kajang, Malaysia called Haji Samuri. Compare the above against this blog entry I made here … looks pretty close, huh?

Suanne had the Laksa. It is creamy, thick, flavorful but otherwise not overwhelmingly spicy. It is pretty good and we agree that this is just not one of the run of the mill laksa. The mere looks of the laksa broth itself tells us that they did not just use any off the shelf paste to make this.

The laksa came with spring rolls. Taste wise, It was alright but in the looks department it was quite unique in that they gave us a dip which I could not quite figure out what it was. Looks like some orangey jam but not quite.

I had been on a mission to search for the best Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup of late after some of you reader had been commenting on this topic. Since, they had this on the menu, I ordered this. The broth is intense to say to least but lacking in spiciness which I personally like.

The bowl is huge. As a matter of fact, their servings are very large and are served in unique triangular bowls and plates.

Arkensen had the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Presentation was good. It came with FIVE sides … nice! The all important rice was flavorful. Hainanese rice is not the normal plain steamed rice but is cooked with chicken broth producing an “oily” chicken flavour rice.

Arkensen did not quite like the chicken because it was made of chicken breast. Chicken breast meat is generally tougher. I remember growing up in Malaysia people specifically did not want chicken breast but here in Canada, Canadians pay more for chicken breasts!

Nanzaro ordered some dish where he gets to pick two types of meat. He likes these kind of food where he gets to choose. I can’t remember what this is called. He had the char siu and honey spareribs which came with rice and sides.

I tried Nanzaro’s spareribs, it was great … crunchy and sweet.

Almost all dishes came with at least two sides — some salty-sweet triangular chips and grilled zucchini. And you know what that means? We had too many dishes on the table … it was jammed pack with dishes of all shapes and sizes.

George and Ease ordered the Singapore style fried vermicelli. Unlike ones we see elsewhere this one is chockful of ingredients. It looked pretty good.

George and Ease also had the curry chicken. It looked nice and good but I did not taste it.

It was when we finished our meal when the owner came by our table and chatted with us. I always enjoyed talking to the owner. In some places we went to, the owners look at us with suspicioun when we whip out our cameras.

The owner, Phillip, told us that almost all of the ingredients are made on their own. He even said that the wonton wrappers are made inhouse. It is because they actually own Soo Jerky too and had a R&D kitchen from which these dishes came from. He told us he would travel to far flung towns in Malaysia to get the original recipe of Kuching Laksa which he claims is the best there is.

Since he talked about Kuching, I asked him about this noodles called Kolo Mee which I had always heard of but never tasted. You know what happened next? He asked us to hang on and disappeared to the kitchen and made us his version of Kolo Mee (this is not on the menu).

I am so impressed and knew then and there, this is not just any restaurant.

The Blackberry Bistro has a good selection of gelato and guess what … they made these gelato on their own too. After all the food we declined the gelato but on their insistence, we tried their blackberry and blueberry ones. It is certainly one of the best we had tried … not too sweet and tastes like what it is supposed to be … fruity blackberry and blueberry. We’ll come back again some day just specifically for this.

You MUST try their gelato.

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Singapore Restaurant on Broadway

Update 26-May-2009:  This restaurant had been reported on Urbanspoon as closed.

Coarse rice for food, water to drink, and the bended arm for a pillow – happiness may be enjoyed even in these.
~ Confucius

After six years, we still crave good old Malaysian food. We tried to locate the Cafe De Light restaurant this weekend but for some reason we just can’t find it. Oh well, we were pretty hungry and just picked the Singapore Restaurant which is located along the same street, Broadway.

We’ve been to this place once before.

The parking was plentiful seeing that it was a weekend. The restaurant was quite empty too. The owner of the restaurant told us that they get very busy on weekdays but is slow on weekends. I can understand that seeing that Broadway lies smack between office buildings.

The owner was from Indonesia, looks like chinese Indonesian to us. He told us he came over 28 years ago and has since owned this restaurant. I find that amazing because I always thought that restaurants that lasts so many years are rare.

We were not particularly adventurous and stuck with the normal Malaysian fare. We chose from the “lunch special” menu where the price of each dish ranges from $5 to $6.

The lunch special comes with free bowl of chicken broth and spring rolls. The spring rolls are really nice and was served pipping hot and with plum dipping sauce.
Ben ordered the Nasi Lemak. The curry chicken was OK but the sambal was not. I always felt that real nasi lemak much have sambal ikan bilis but this dish comes with plain sambal bawang. It was not spicy. Also, the kacang and ikan bilis goreng was immersed in the chicken curry … losing its “crunchy-ness”.
Suanne tried the Assam Chicken. The serving was really plain — just rice and a bowl of assam chicken … no garnishing at all. Presentation-wise, this is really bad. In the taste department, it was very much like the normal curry chicken without coconut milk … and has a bit of tanginess to it because of the assam (tamarind).
Nanzaro chose the Hainanese Chicken Rice. There is nothing really special to this. The serving was adequate for a full meal. Nanzaro finished off the rice first before touching the chicken — the rice must be really good. BTW, Arkensen was away camping (yeah, in the snow!!) and did not join us.
The meal ended with a bowl each of bubur char-char. Suanne loves this a lot. Other than the lack of “ubi” (yam), it was perfect. Sweet and rich!

The total bill, including taxes and tips, came up to $22. Not a bad meal. Recommended if you have never tried this restaurant before. Good value for money, if you ask me.

Singapore on Urbanspoon

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