Atlanta Trip Report Day 1

We thought we will take a break on blogging about recipes and such — and will instead blog for the next two weeks of my business trips to Atlanta and London. There’s going to be a total of 34 hours of flying time in all! However, so not to turn off our blog readers, I will continue to blog about food.

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So, for the next four days, I will be in Atlanta, Georgia. You know what I hate most about going to the States? It’s getting thru US customs and immigration. Those guys have a perpetual scowl on their face. Treats everyone as either potential illegal immigrants or terrorists, if you ask me. Why, while queuing up to clear immigration, there was this young woman with her cute 5-year girl ahead of me. The little was bubbly and tried chatting with the immigration officer. You know what happened? The immigration officer upgraded his scowl to a growl — poor girl.

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I have always been proud to live in best city in the world (OK, the 3rd best city in the world this year but for a long time we were No 1). It’s so beautiful. We have everything within minutes from downtown — the sea, the mountains. The setting is just beautiful. Vancouver is about the only place in the world where you could sail, golf and ski on the same day.

In the foreground is the University of British Columbia. In many other cities, this piece of land would have been prime real estate but no, the forefathers of Vancouver had the foresight to reserve this for an university. Unless you are a Vancouverite, I bet you don’t know that there is a nudist beach right smack in the university. Never been there because they insists on fair-play.

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Lucky Joy BBQ Restaurant on No 5 and Cambie

The family dined out at the Lucky Joy BBQ Restaurant a couple of weekends ago. Lucky Joy is located near the intersection of Cambie and No 5 in Richmond. It’s on a little strip mall where Panago Pizza is, across the road from Fruiticana.

We would not have found this place if not for the recommendation of Steve Lum. Steve and his family had always been someone we look up to a lot because we felt that their live journey is so similar to ours. We have always admired how they brought up his two boys and how committed they are in the Lord’s work.

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You know what we like about this place? It’s that the restaurant throws in free soup, free dessert and all-you-can-eat rice. We ordered the Dinner-for-Three option — costs about $33 not including tips. We get to choose three dishes from their menu of, oh, about 50 items?

For starters, we were given their soup-of-the-day, some mixed vegetable/meat soup.

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Since the rice is all-you-can-eat, we wanted to order dishes that has lots of gravy. Our first selection was the Fried Squid with Preserved Vegetable. It was good — liked the gravy and the “springiness” of the squid.

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Shawarma from Abdul’s on Kingsway

Shahdad swore that the bestest Shawarma in Vancouver is found in Burnaby’s Abdul BBQ, He brought us to try it out and it was simply fabulous. So, over the weekend, I simply had to bring Suanne and try it herself.

Abdul’s BBQ is located in the Crystal Mall on Kingsway and Willingdon. It’s a small shop located facing Kingsway. You will not miss it driving past the Mall on Kingsway.

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Abdul’s is a small shop with about seating for 12 on the inside. Abdul also set up a couple of tables outside his shop. Ordering is very simple because he had very big pictures posters of his menu plastered on the outside.

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Shawarma (sometimes also spelt as shawerma) is a middle eastern way of cooking meat. Common meat used are beef, lamb and chicken. The meats are cooked on a rotating machine with sources of heat over a period of several hours.

Abdul has three shawarma machines, each skewered with beef, chicken and lamb. He said that he normally will finish selling all these food by the end of day. His business had steadily grown since he opened his outlet in the Crystal Mall. He told me that when he started he had only a quarter of what you see above and today he often had to turn away customers at the end of day because his is completely sold out.

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Quilon Restaurant in Richmond

Quilon was closed for the Canada Line Project.

Zee treated me to lunch yesterday to celebrate my belated birthday. She has been an awfully sweet and generous person. I am so glad to have a neighbor like Zee — she treats me like her own sister and I feel so honoured! Zee likes to take a walk at the South Arm Park and has often invited me along. People like Zee are a rarity these days. So, Zee, this entry is dedicated to you.

Zee bought me lunch at the Quilon Restaurant. Quilon has repeatedly been voted as the No 1 Indian Cuisine restaurant in Richmond. It is located on No 3 Rd and Westminster Highway.

Quilon is the old name for Kollam, a city in the Kerala state in south India.

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We had the buffet which costs $8.95 each. Oh dear, another buffet again! I mean, I like food but ends up regretting stuffing myself too full. I know it but yet I do that again and again!

Well, the buffet spread wasn’t big but made up by the quality. I love the crispy Papadums (lentil crackers) as an appetizer. This one is good because it’s not oily like the ones that I used to eat in Malaysia.

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The main selection of the buffet is the ever popular Butter Chicken and Tandoori Chicken. They were awesome. The butter chicken is made in tomato and cream sauce — rich and creamy. The tandoori is chicken marinated in yogurt and spices for 24 hours before they are baked in a traditional clay oven. Zee swears that Quilon has the bestest Tandoori chicken in Vancouver.

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Legendary Noodles in Richmond

The Legendary Noodle restaurant in Richmond had closed.

We went to the Legendary Noodle restaurant in Richmond. It’s a small diner with only about 30 seats. What sets this place apart is that the chef pulls and cuts the noodles by hand. The chef is a very nice humble man who so graciously consented to have his pictures taken when we asked. He made it look so simple!

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He stretches the dough, brings two ends together, spins it, twists it and repeats the process over and over again until they all form thin strands of noodles. It must have been at least 100 yards of noodles by the time he finished.

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Nothing compares with a bowl of freshly made noodles. I swear that there’s a difference in Legendary’s noodles — not only in the look but also in the taste and texture. They are tender, yet chewy.

The strands are so long that the waitress actually cut the noodles with a pair of scissors just before they bring it to our table.

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Click on the link below for the review of dishes we ordered and more about the restaurant.

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$1 Breakfast in IKEA

I don’t think you could get a better breakfast deal in Vancouver than the Breakfast for a Dollar from IKEA. We have always wanted to try this out for the past few years and despite the fact that we have an IKEA just 10 minutes from home, we have never been to one.

We decided to check that out and since we were somewhere near Coquitlam, we went to that IKEA instead. This IKEA is much larger than the one in Richmond and is located along the Lougheed Highway. They have a large restaurant on the second floor.

When we were there at just after 10am, there were already a long line of people queuing up for the dollar breakfast. The breakfast is served from opening time until 11am everyday.

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Service was very fast. The dollar breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, hash browns, two sausages, and a croissant. The croissant looks flattened and somewhat crispy and flaky. Is this how Swedish croissant is supposed to be? The serving was large and the food filling.

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The coffee is 99 cents and you get unlimited refills. There are decaf’d and regular coffee. I am pretty fussy about my coffee but this coffee is really the kind I like.

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There are also Penne Pasta in Marinara Sauce for 99 cents too. If I am not mistaken, it is served from 3pm to 5pm. We’ll definite try this one of these days.

Lychee Buffet in Bellingham, WA

Updated: 31st Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

With the Canadian Dollar getting so strong against the US Dollar, we thought it is a good idea to pop over to Washington state to buy stuff and to stuff ourselves silly with buffet. Buffets in the US is always so much more bigger, better and cheaper than what we normally find in Vancouver.

Bellingham is the closest US city to Vancouver, which is just 15 minutes drive from the border. Bellingham is a thriving little city and I heard over the radio that it is the 6th fastest growth small city in the US … all of this is attributed a lot to it’s close proximity to Canada. Much of the economy of Bellingham is due to the cross border shopping and business.

We had always went to the Old Country Buffet in the Bellis Fair Mall but decided this time to look for another place. We found the Lychee Buffet just off the I-5 at exit 253. The address is 819 Lakeway Drive.

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Lychee Buffet is a chinese style buffet. We went on a weekend and they have the Seafood Special Buffet then. The crabs, oh the crabs … all you can eat! We had a fun time cracking the crabs and peeling the prawns (did I say the prawns?) with our hands. Nice, really nice, dipping it the cocktail sauce.

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There must have been at least five different selections of prawns. The prawns were no tiny-weeny types. There are also oysters and clams. Did I forget to mention salmon too?

Anyway, there were at least 30 different dishes on the main buffet bar. All in, I felt that there must have been at least 80 different dishes in all.

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As always we ended regretting eating buffet. We stuffed ourselves so full we can hardly sit upright. Arkensen was so full that he did not even take his ice-cream. I am sure we have put in an extra kilogram or two by tomorrow.

The quality is not too bad but they were not great either. Well, at least they don’t look and taste like they have been left under the heater overnight — looking dried.

Click below for more pictures …

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Kedah House on SE Marine Drive

I was glad to see last month another Malaysian restaurant has opened on SE Marine Drive in Vancouver — just off the Knight Street Bridge. This Kedah House restaurant is owned by the same operator of the Kedah House along Fraser St. It looks like they are going to close the one along Fraser and moving (or have moved?) to this new larger premises. They have a website at http://kedahhouse.com and listed their menu … go check it out.

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Unlike the many other Malaysian restaurants, this one is owned and operated by Malays. Most other Vancouver area restaurants are chinese owned. So this adds a lot of authenticity to the claim of being truly Malay restaurant.

Don’t expect too much in terms of decor or ambiance from this place. The food was not bad and the prices are, well, berpatutan (reasonable in Malay). We had been to the old restaurant several times before. This new place is surprisingly quite busy on a Saturday afternoon.

I ordered the Lamb Nasi Beryani which is basmati rice with aromatic spices and turmeric. Although it was flavourful, I was somewhat disappointed with the lamb — they are boney and does not have much meat at all. I prefer lamb meat in chunks. This dish is served with a bowl of curry.

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Arkensen and Nanzaro wanted fried rice and opted for the Nasi Goreng Kedah (Kedah fried rice). This dish is served with a flat Malay-style omelette covering the entire dish.

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No 1 Beef Noodle House at Willingdon and Moscorp

Suanne and I went to a new place for lunch. For those of you familiar with the Willingdon/Moscorp area in Burnaby, you might know of where the Orchid Delight Singaporean restaurant used to be. It seems like Orchid Delight had closed and in it’s place is this new Taiwanese Beef Noodle House.

The restaurant is simply called No 1 Beef Noodle House. We were very impressed with the changes that the owner made to the interior. It was very modern and upbeat. The address of this restaurant is 4741 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby. You know, I highly recommend you checking out this restaurant.

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What we like about this restaurant was that not only the food was excellent but the price was very OK. The restaurant is clean and the service was prompt. We were surprised how busy the place was even though it was newly opened. There is a wait for tables at the peak of lunch time — very much like what you see in dim sum restaurants on a weekend. The bad thing about this restaurant is that parking is a challenge at peak lunch hour.

BEEF BRISKET NOODLE IN SPICY SOUP

Suanne ordered their popular dish — the Beef Brisket Noodle in Spicy Soup which costs $6.25. There were big chucks of beef brisket which was quite tender. What we like about the way this is served is that they provided a deep wooden spoon — just excellent for slurping the spicy soup.

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Crab and Smelt in Richmond Public Market

Note: The latest post about the Richmond Public Market is of February 2011 and is found on this link.

For some reason, I am thinking of seafood – specifically smelt and crabs. So, I went to the Richmond Public Market because their food is so cheap. I like smelt especially the ones with roes. I’ve Suanne to make it at home but we just can’t find such smelt (with roes). Anyone knows where to get them? I see a lot of smelt in the supermarket selling frozen smelt but they all are not pregnant.

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I also got myself some crabs — salt and pepper crabs. Each dish costs $6. It looks good but there’s very little meat and is a bit too dry on some part.

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You know, we can cook crabs ourselves but it’s just that we have never cut up a live crab before. Suanne don’t mind cooking and she had some recipes at hand too but her condition is that I do the killing. Can someone tell me what is the proper way to cut up a live crab?

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