Hong Kong Style Egg Tart

Vanea demonstrated a popular dim sum dessert at the Caring Place Community Kitchen.


These Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts are best warm from the oven. They are silky and smooth.


  • 30 frozen tart shells
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 9 eggs
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk


Source: this recipe is adapted from Vanea’s friend family recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Bake time: 20 minutes;  Yield 30 tarts

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Chocolate Cupcakes

Ava is a volunteer in the South Arm Community Kitchen. However, she made an exception to demonstrate her Chocolate Cupcakes recipe in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen while Minoo was busy moving.


Ava made these cupcakes for sale in a community baked goods sale events.


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Source: Ava

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes;  Yield 24 cupcakes

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Weekend Musings (May 8th, 2010)

This week, I will just provide a quick update on the big event that is happening next weekend.

The 8GTCC Jiangsu dinner is scheduled for Saturday, May 15th. The response was rather good and will surpass the number of people in the 8GTCC Hunan dinner. Up to this point, we have 66 names confirmed.


There will be about 19 dishes in all. I am seriously worried that this is going to be too much food but hey, we are trusting the guidance of Dylan who planned the evening for us. Dylan is passionate about having all the dishes he picked. I guess everyone who had signed up for the dinner will need to skip breakfast and lunch that day.

We are going to continue to accept requests until Monday, May 10th. So if you like to attend, please send an email to suanne@chowtimes.com. More info about the dinner is found here.

Other Events

I am over extended already. So am going to kill off the … Continue reading

Chicago: The Palmer House Hilton Hotel

It was just about getting dark by the time I got to Chicago downtown. I had earlier booked myself into a hotel within The Loop which is about the most convenient (not to mention safest) place you could stay in Chicago. The Loop is the historical downtown of Chicago which is bounded by the transit railway.


I actually did not know anything about the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. I guess that if its’s a Hilton, it would be OK.

Moreover, I got a deal for a room night rate of only $95. For that rate and with a location within the downtown core, I did not expect much.

But when I stood outside the hotel, I thought I was in a wrong hotel.


It was much better than I thought. It was later that I learned this hotel is where past US presidents and world dignitaries stayed when they visit Chicago. Moreover, this is also the longest continuously operating hotel in North America.


The hotel was very old and quite stately. I am quite impressed with the elevator lobby. Each floor are ornate and are different. The doors for the floor above is bronze. There are some in silver, some gold. You don’t get such a big elevator lobby in modern buildings these days so this was quite a novelty.

The lay out of the rooms is a confusing maze with lots of turns. Fate has it that my room is on the far end of the floor that I got lost a few times circling the floor.

The room wasn’t too big and there was not much of a view. At least it was clean, comfortable and free of smoke. God, I hate stale cigarette smell in hotel rooms.

I took many many shots of the room and created a photosynth. Use your mouse to navigate into various view and the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. You can even zoom into the writing pad on the table and such. Try it and see if you can figure out what room number I stayed in.


This is the reason why the room smell so fresh when I walked in. All hotels should do it like this hotel. Fine the hell out of the smokers.

You know, the irony is I used to … Continue reading

Chicago: Flying from Atlanta to Chicago

Oh yeah!

It had been a while since I wrote anything about travelling. So I am gonna dig this up and share with you my trip to Chicago. I thought it would be great since the Vancouver Canucks is now in the Stanley Cup Playoff with the Chicago Blackhawks.


This series carries forward from where I left off in the latest Atlanta series … a long time ago! I was in Atlanta for a two hour meeting — just for the two hour meeting. Can you imagine that? Well, the boss wanted me to just be there for a face meeting. That sounded great by me as long as someone gives me a project code to charge the trip to.

My company’s Travel Services booked me on United Airlines between Vancouver and Atlanta with a stopover at Chicago. I took the opportunity to change itinerary to stop for a few days in Chicago on the return leg. I love my job.


I took off from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. I had been to this airport so many times that I know this airport better than YVR (Vancouver International). This is also the busiest airport in the world … all thanks to Delta who made this airport its hub. Airports in the US are big mainly because they are a hub for some big airlines. I think if Delta does pull out of Atlanta, this airport will cease to be the busiest.

There are almost 200 gates in all at ATL spread over six concourse buildings. They are so big that they have an internal train system which is one of the busiest in the world … moving 5 million people per month.


Look at the sheer size of the parking lots for the ATL airport. It’s amazing isn’t it? This is just the western side of the airport. There is still more on the eastern side too. This has to be one of the most efficient airport if you ask me.


I had never been to Chicago before. Well, I had transited at the Chicago O’Hare International but that doesn’t count if I had never stepped out of the airport, right? I bought a travel book and read it on the flight … frantically deciding what to do when I got there.


It was just a short hop from ATL to ORD. ORD is the airport code for the Chicago O’Hare International. The ORD code was assigned when this airport was then known as Orchard Place Airport. The airport code never change like in many well established airports.

For instance, Beijing is still using … Continue reading

A Discovery of Jiangsu Cuisine — and Invitation to Dinner

Updated: 9th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed.

We are continuing our journey of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine next with the Jiangsu Cuisine.

A few weeks ago, we had our first dinner in Alvin Garden which was on the Hunan Cuisine. That event was a great success and was attended by 52 chowtimes readers. This next event is going to be an entirely different experience.

Dylan will be our cuisine lead for the next cuisine and this will be bigger and better … building upon what we learned from the last dinner. In Dylan’s words, he will be taking us on a journey from the rustic farm house in the Hunan province to the ancient Chinese capital in the Jiangsu province.

Yesterday, I blogged about the Shanghai Village Restaurant on Cambie which from the feedback I received I think you all are impressed. Well, guess what … the discovery of the Jiangsu cuisine will be in that very same restaurant. Read all the way below for the details!

Before you read on, you must imagine yourself in the palaces of the ancient Chinese capital of Nanjing.


Source: Wikipedia

Here it is … the second in the series on the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine … presented by Dylan:

The Jiangsu Province

To many Chinese Jiangsu is a special province in China. It is often considered that Jiangsu is the center of China. It is in this province that demarcation of the north and the south is the most noticeable. It is as if the north and the south China appears like separate country.

In 1987, Colin Thubron in his book, Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China said:

…the Yangtze redefines the country with a subtle absoluteness. It marks the immemorial divide between a soldierly, bureaucratic north and the suave, entrepreneurial south. Men dwindle in size and integrity as they go south (say the northerners) and the clear-cut Mandarin of Beijing becomes a slushy caress. The dust of the wheat and millet-bearing plains dissolves to the monsoons of paddy fields and tea plantation. The staple of noodles becomes a diet of rice, and the low cottages and symmetrical northern streets twist and steepen into labyrinths of whitewashed brick.

Jiangsu is defined by the Yangtze, which splits the nation, and the province, into north and south. Its topography is a bit like that of the Netherlands: flat and wet. It has a warm, subtropical climate and its fertile land produces world famous tea and rice.

In imperial China, Jiangsu see-sawed between being … Continue reading

Shanghai Village on Cambie and West 16th Avenue, Vancouver

Update 17-April-2011: Per comments below, this restaurant is now closed. Shanghai Village may or may not reopen in another location

If you ask me where to go for Shanghai food, I will tell you straight up that you need to look no further than Richmond. This is because there are so many highly rated Shanghainese restaurants. Just to name a few at the top of my head:

While there are some good Shanghai restaurants elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, Richmond can lay claim to the most-est and the best-est. Well, move over Richmond … there is one in Vancouver that is gathering rave reviews everywhere.


When the chowhound community was creating a buzz on Shanghai Village, frankly I was rather unconvinced. Part of me was really thinking that it is just hype. After all, if you have dined in Richmond’s Shanghai River or Shanghai Wonderful for instance, you would have thought you’ve seen it all.

Shanghai Village is located on Cambie and West 16th in Vancouver. Shanghai Village is a new restaurant. I think it had been opened for only six months.


The 8GTCC team met in Shanghai Village. We were there to check out Shanghai Village as a potential restaurant for our second dinner in the series of eight dinners.

I was really impressed the moment I walked into the restaurant. The floors are beautifully carpeted and the chairs are plush. Even the table cloth are embroidered ones. I even saw that the lazy susan on the bigger tables are gold plated too … that is something I had never seen before.


Keev and Dylan was already there and had ordered some food. Oh wow, I was completely mesmerized by the Preserved Egg with Salted Egg Yolk ($6).


Apparently this is an assembly of the century eggs and salted egg yolk. It is certainly not something I had ever seen in my life and I though it is fantastic.

Keev figured that they cracked the top of the egg removed the egg white and then refill it with pieces of century eggs.


The name Shanghai Village does not do justice to this restaurant. I have come to learn that the English names of Chinese restaurants are nowhere as poetic as the names in Chinese.

The Chinese name of Shanghai Village is something like “Reminiscing the south of Jiang river”. That word “Jiang” is key to the next series in the 8GTCC adventures.


I did not get pictures of their extensive menu. It was simply too many pages. If I had taken shot of every page, it would freak the restaurant out … not to mention the 8GTCC team for fear of being thrown out of the restaurant (is that right, guys? LOL!).

The above is their House Specialties section. See the first item on top?


That is the Nanjing Specialty Marinated Duck ($12). The ducks of Nanjing is world famous and Shanghai Village does it perfectly.

Lightly salted, it is served cold and the meat was surprisingly highly delectable. This is something that I could eat many pieces of and not stop.


Their other specialty is what they call Crock Soup. This is the times I wish I could read Chinese. Look at the picture on the left above. That page of the menu describes the Crock Soup and you see that the Chinese description is lengthier than the English translations.

Anyway, if you look at the menu at the right (click on it to see larger image), they have 35 types of soups! The soup ranges from $12 to $24 and some of them require 1-day advance pre-order.


They must be very proud of their soup. At the entrance of the restaurant, they have a crock pot (should we call this an urn or a clay oven?). This is how the soup pots are placed in it. The waitress was explaining to me how it worked but I thought I heard her say they uses coal or something. Anyone?


So we got the Silkie Chicken in Herbal Claypot Soup. This is $17 and … Continue reading