Tsim Chai Noodles in Richmond

I never were quite sure how the words like Tsim is pronounced. If this Tsim word is similar to Tsim Sha Tsui (pronounced as Jim Sar Jui), then Tsim Chai Noodles would be pronounced as Jim Chai noodles. Any Cantonese out there who can confirm this?

Arkensen was in a camp at Golden Ears that day we went to Tsim Chai Noodles. So, it was just the three of us (Nanzaro, Suanne and I) who went out for supper. We don’t normally go out for supper but since we had “dinch” (or was it “luncher”) that day, we did not get down to dinner until later at night.

All the years we were in Richmond, we had visited almost every restaurant around that neighborhood around the Richmond Public Market but this is one we had never stepped our foot into before.

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Tsim Chai is very much a Cantonese place and I do really think that the owner is from Hong Kong. My impression is that these type of restaurants are the “first wave” of Chinese restaurants … you know, they are opened before 1997 when HK reverted to China rule and lots of Hongkongers came over to Vancouver. Today, most Chinese newcomers came from Mainland China (i.e. Mandarin speakers).

Anyway, since we did not want to eat that much, we decided to just get two dishes of noodles to share between the three of us. I love beef tendon and got a bowl of Beef Tendon and Wonton Noodle in Soup. The soup is quite fragrant and unique in that it came with a bit of dried tangerine peel. This bowl costs $6.25.

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Chili Pepper House on Kingsway

It was one of those weekends that we had absolutely nothing to do. Normally, we had something planned for the weekend but for that one week we did not have anything planned at all. Since we had all the time in the world, we decided to drive a bit further from Richmond. So, we drove all the way to Vancouver … to Kingsway and Rupert.

The Chili Pepper House is an Indian-Chinese restaurant. I think the owner’s background is that they are Chinese who once lived in Indian. Since this is an Indian restaurant, we knew that their food would be spicy.

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We immediately liked this place because the owners were so friendly and spent a lot of time chatting with us, even offering to tell us more about their restaurant. I believe it is because they saw my camera! Some restaurants (some, not many) had a disdain for cameras but not this one.

The Chili Pepper House is actually more Chinese than it is Indian. They call it “Fine Indian (Desi) Style Chinese Cuisine”. Their top dishes are all spicy. One thing though, they do not serve pork at all. I am curious why they don’t serve pork. I had always thought that you don’t get beef in Indian restaurants and no pork in Muslim or Jewish restaurants.

Anyway, we did notice that they have more East Indian customers.

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Scouring their menu, we came across a dish that sounded really nice … Five Treasure with Chicken, Beef, Prawns, Scallops and Squid. What came was not exactly what we had in mind. It’s like sauce stir fried with the ingredients. It’s not that it’s not good … it was but the dish was underwhelming. It costs $14.95.

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S&W Pepper House in Richmond

Updated: 6th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed.

Suanne and I are beginning to brave the “chow-choy” type of Chinese restaurant. Some of you might already know that both of us are almost illiterate when it comes to the Chinese language. Well, I said “almost” because at least I know how to read and write 13 Chinese characters in all — the numbers 1 to 10 and my name!

The thing about these “chow choy” restaurants is that they are so Chinese that at times they don’t even have an English menu. And even if they have it, the translation is so bad that it’s of no use at all. Moreover, it is sometimes useless to ask for recommendations because they would speak so fast that we can hardly make out what they are saying.

For us, “chow choy” refers to the type of restaurants that serves dishes in a communal style … i.e. we order vegetable, meat or soup dishes for sharing.

So, a few weeks ago we went to this new restaurant called the S&W Pepper House. That name was familiar to us as there is a small outlet with the same name in Crystal Mall in Burnaby. We had blogged about it more than 1.5 years ago (see here).

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Unlike the S&W Pepper House in Burnaby, this is a full service typical family Chinese restaurant. I would say that this is more China Chinese and the customers are typically mandarin speakers.

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In such a restaurant, they have more exotic dishes. For the Chinese, the most common meat is pork and chicken. Some don’t even serve beef for religious purposes. Lamb is certainly not a common meat used in Chinese cooking.

This is because most Chinese finds the meat very “sow”. I don’t know the English word that best describes “sow” but I think it has to do with the strong smell and taste which is something like it’s two days from being rotten — know what I mean?

Anyway, we got Lamb for the first dish. It’s simply called the Lamb with Green Onion. The lamb meat is sliced ever so thinly and the meat was tender. I like it … Suanne still thinks it’s “sow”. This dish costs $12.95.

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Watermark on Kits Beach

Updated 14th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

I had always enjoyed a nice drink and dinner after work … more so on a weekday than on a weekend. Work had been hectic as always. After a solid 8 hours at the office, I would always jump at a chance to go out for a drink and after work dinner.

About a month or two ago, there was a Prix Fixe event in selected restaurants in Vancouver sponsored by San Pellegrino. Suanne and I love these type of events and had always wanted to invite another couple to join us. We could think of only one couple who we were pretty sure would enjoy doing this — Viv and Ole.

Suanne and I arranged to meet up with Viv and Ole (and their beautiful baby) for dinner during one such weekday. Viv and Ole selected the date and time and left the choice of the restaurant to us. We chose the restaurant with the best waterfront view … the Watermark on Kits Beach.

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I remembered this restaurant well. A few years back there was some controversy around the building of this restaurant. This place used to be a beach front concession. When the idea to redevelop the concession, there were quite a bit of protest that this restaurant will mar the beauty of the beach.

The project turned out quite OK. Now it has not only a first class full-service restaurant, it is also functioning as a beach-level concession, changing rooms, and a lifeguard station. The Watermark is on the elevated second floor which gives a sweeping view of the English Bay.

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Suanne and I went a bit earlier. We wanted to spend sometime walking around the Kits Beach and take some pictures. During the warm summer months, this popular beach would have been packed with people. Not so that day we were there. As a matter of fact, it was very cold and chilly.

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I believe Watermark has the best view of the Kits Beach and English Bay. We had an option to either take the much warmer indoor tables but choose the tables out by the patio.

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At first we were a bit apprehensive of sitting out at the patio. It was not too bad. For one, the patio is heated and they have thoughtfully provided blankets to keep the legs warm if needed.

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It was great watching the sun set from where we sat. I can’t complain … life had been good.

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For drinks, I had the Mohito with mango flavour (should it not have been spelt as Mojito?). It is rum with fresh lime, and fresh mint. As hard as I tried, I can’t taste any hint of mango at all … it was overwhelmingly minty. I felt they overdid the mint thing.

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Baked Spaghetti Squash

Ben was away on his vacation at New York City and of course he had his precious camera with him. I had to borrow a point and shoot digital camera from Polly for the community kitchen photo shoot. Every time I use a new camera, I have trouble adjusting with the focusing and maneuver with the settings. So, the photos might not be as nice as those taken with the Rebel XT. Please bear with me.

Minoo demonstrated this Baked Spaghetti Squash in the South Arm Kitchen and also the Caring Place. Since this is the season for squash, it is a great way to introduce the Spaghetti Squash to the community kitchen.

The spaghetti squash (known as Sharkfin Melon to Chinese) is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. When cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti or shark’s fin and is slightly sweet, crunchy and watery.

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The Baked Spaghetti Squash is a complete meal with protein, fiber and dairy. It is an excellent healthy meal.

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Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb hamburger, extra lean
  • 1 small onion, grated or diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil leaves, crumbled and finely chopped

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If you love spaghetti squash, here is a link to a Ultimate Guide on Cooking Spaghetti Squash.

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Toll House Milk Chocolate Frosting

The Toll House Milk Chocolate Frosting is ultra chocolaty, rich and sweet. This is great for occasional indulgence but not for the every day consumption.

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Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

IMG_0102Combine the chocolate chips, butter and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl.
IMG_0109Microwave the mixture on Medium-high (70%) power for 1 minutes, stir. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10-15 seconds intervals, (to prevent burning of the chocolate) stirring just until smooth.

Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate on a hot water bath.

IMG_0119Transfer the mixture to a large mixer bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the sugar, alternating with the milk until you get a smooth frosting.

Karen, thank you for sharing the recipes and all the baking tips.

Toll House Chocolate Cup Cakes

Karen has to prepare 120 cup cakes for the Gilmore Park Church Community Meal. She used the Toll House recipe for the chocolate cup cakes which is rich and easy to prepare.

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Unfortunately, I did not get a shot of the actual cup cakes. These are the mini cup cakes which Karen made for us to sample.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

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The ingredients for the recipe above is for making 20 cup cakes which is perfectly fine for home baking. However, since Karen needed 120 cup cakes, we doubled the recipe above and made 3 batches of them. According to Karen, we should not multiply the recipe by too many times as it will change the chemistry of the recipe. This is especially true for baking.

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Beard Papa’s in Aberdeen Centre Food Court

On our way home from Granville Island, we stopped by Aberdeen Centre to pick up some Beard Papa’s cream puff. This store is the first Canadian store for this Japanese sensation.

The cream puff craves for Beard Papa’s is like the crave for Krispy Kreme in North America, with long line-up. When we were there just after 2pm, we have to line up for 1/2 hour for the cream puff.

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The shells of the cream puff are baked in customized ovens placed within visibility of the customers. The custard is filled into the shell just before they pack them up for the customer and I guess this is to maintain the freshness of the product. I remembered seeing a sign which says it’s recommended to consume the cream puff immediately after purchased or refrigerate them and consume within the same day.

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There is also a sign posted at the cashier that says each customer is limited to only 1 dozen of cream puff. It is visible from the sign that the original limitation is 2 dozens. That shows that the business is so good that they can’t cope up with.

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As for now, only the original custard cream puff is available at the store. It sells at $1.75 each and $9.50 for half a dozen. Continue reading