Chicken Cacciatore

For the main course, Minoo picked an Italian dish called Chicken Cacciatore for the South Arm Community Kitchen. Cacciatore refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, herbs and sometimes with wine. It is popular to be made with chicken or rabbit.


This is a rustic and hearty meal complete with carbohydrate, protein and vegetables. You may served the Chicken Cacciatore with pasta, rice or bread.


  • 6 chicken thighs or 3 chicken breasts cut into halves
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 pieces of button mushrooms, slice
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 x 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • pasta to be served with this dish (allocate about 4 oz per person)


Source: this recipe is adapted from Giada De Lauentis

Serves 6


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Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Walnuts

Minoo selected a hearty winter soup recipe for the South Arm Community Kitchen. Squash is great for soup and they are in season in the winter. It is always good to eat produce in season for their freshness and cheap price.


his Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Walnuts is a recipe from Quebec. It is the maple syrup that distinguishes this soup from others.  You may serve this soup as an appetizer or a stand alone light lunch, You may substitute butternut squash with other winter squash like acorn squash, Kabocha squash, etc. You can also substitute the walnuts with other nuts like cashew or pecan.


Maple Walnuts for topping

  • 1 cup (250ml) walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) maple syrup
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt to taste


  • 2 teaspoons (10ml)  vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) butternut squash, peeled and cubed (you can microwave it for 5 minutes to soften it for easier peeling)
  • 1 1/2 cups (350ml) apple cider
  • 2 cups (500ml) reduced sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste, optional
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup, optional (we did not add this to the soup as the butternut squash is already sweet enough)


Source: this recipe is adapted from

Serves 6.


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Spirit Harbour Restaurant Opens Today

Updated 11th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

Suanne and I drove past the new Spirit Harbour Restaurant this morning. We could see the lights were on and thought we stop and have a closer look.


The Spirit Harbour Restaurant is located on No 3 Road and Lansdown. This looks like a big budget operation with tons of cash to make a splash in the Richmond food scene. This location used to be a Sammy J Peppers.

We stopped our car right in front of the door and a lady came out telling us that they are opened for business. However she also warned that they have limited dim sum offering on that day. We asked a few questions and she invited us in. We can’t say no for more info. Here is what we found out … (more…)

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Opening Soon in Richmond: Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodle House

Updated: 11th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

There are quite a number of new restaurants opening in Richmond these days. Here is one more that Suanne and the boys came across yesterday when they went for a haircut.

Suanne had been bringing the boys to this place for their haircut for years. It is the cheapest Suanne knows of and they operate in the strip mall where Alleluia Cafe (Free Milk Tea Refills) and New Concept Hot Pot (3-soup hot pot) is. I think a lot of people know of this cheap haircut place. It is super busy and they don’t take walkins. You need to make an appointment first.


Just next door to New Concept Hot Pot, there is an opening soon sign. There is no English name (yet) as the name sign is entirely in Chinese. The three character Chinese name translates into something like “fish-vermicelli-house”. The tagline calls out the dish they serve which is “Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodles”. Something like that.

I blogged about the stall in the Crystal Mall Food Court that serves this Yunnan Cross Bridge Rice Noodles before and on that post is a story of … (more…)

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Battle of the Purin: Cake Ya $2.50 vs Chez Suanne $1.25

Suanne is a very spendthrift. She always reminds me that I am lucky to have her as my wife or else I will need to have two jobs to maintain her. I agree!

We blogged about the Purin (Japanese pudding) from Cake Ya in this post about a month ago. The purin from Cake Ya, which they also called the Cream Caramel was really good. But we also find that it is very expensive. Each small cup of the purin from Cake Ya is $2.50.

Both Suanne and I thought that it should be cheap to make and to our surprise it was also easy to make too! The hardest part was finding the recipe.

Oh, I used the word “we” here because, ahem, yours truly had a hand in making this.


So what do you think of the purin above from Chez Suanne? This is only version 1.0 and given a bit more practice it would be as good as Cake Ya’s. Taste-wise the purin from Chez Suanne rocks.


Let’s compare the purin of Chez Suanne (left) vs Cake Ya (right).

Cake Ya’s professional version is $2.50 while Chez Suanne’s production cost is only about … (more…)

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Nikkoffee on No.3 Road and Anderson Road in Richmond

Updated 11 Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

ChowtimesNoWord32x32Disclosure: One of the drink is complementary.

It is our last cake meet before the spring break. Polly and I have wanted to visit Nikkoffee which opened since December 2010 since we resumed our cake meet recently. From it’s website, it’s opening time should be very early, 7:00 AM or 8:00 AM. However, on a couple of times that we wanted to visit this place, it was not open despite it’s already 10:00 AM.


We did not plan to come to Nikkoffee on this day. We actually went to What8ever Cafe first around 11:30 AM as it’s website indicated that’s the opening hour. When we were there, the server inside the cafe told us they will not be ready until 12:30PM. What’s wrong with these places. If they do not plan to open that early, they should have update their website so that people don’t get disappointed.  Well, we decided to go to Costco first for some groceries shopping and give Nikkoffee another shot since it will be past 12:00 PM by then and this time, it’s open. Nikkoffee is located on No. 3 Road and Anderson Road, just across the Richmond City Hall. Parking is available at the rear of the building.


Nikoffee is decorated with white picket fence laced with artificial flower vines. It has a romantic atmosphere.


You can click on the menu to have a larger view.

Nikkoffee serves Asian flavour infused … (more…)

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My Lunch: Fishy Saucey Soup Noodles from Trung Nguyen Cafe

Down to the wire!

That’s what work was like the past couple of weeks. It had been intense dealing with all the new issues and last minute activities. Yeah I enjoy these sort of situations LOL. But it leaves me all drained at the end of the day.

I pushed people to perform. I press buttons. I also step on toes. That is what I do to get results. After spending a few hours trying to swat an issue with four separate teams … phone calls, instant messaging and emails … with a lot of questions raised with every one answered. I understand people gets alarmed when they don’t feel in control.

Out of the blue, came an email that was totally unexpected. Just a few simple words “… I understand. And you are doing a great job Ben …”.

It meant a lot when such a senior person sends a feedback with everyone in cc. Good to know that am in the right track dealing with complex and difficult issue. That was what I needed. 🙂

I was planning to work through lunch but with that email, I think I better just take a break, chill out and just enjoy a bowl of noodle.


Glad I came out. It was such a gorgeous day today. It does feel like spring. Crisp air. Stopped the car to take pix above.

Yeah. Decided to drive a bit to get away from it all for a while.


Been here before. Just did not blog. Place is called Trung Nguyen Cafe on … (more…)

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My Lunch: Cumin Lamb on Rice in Alvin Garden

Wanted something spicy for lunch today. Was thinking of Spicy Cumin Lamb on Rice. Some thing I like very much from S&W Pepperhouse. This time I thought I’ll try the one in Alvin Garden.

The Cumin Lamb on Rice is a lunch special. Just $7.98. All other dishes are cheaper. $6.98. But I want Cumin Lamb.


Busy lunch crowd even though Alvin Garden is quite a bit away from the lunch resto actions around Metrotown.

This place is chili heaven. You cannot take hot spicy food, stay away. This is considered the best of Hunan cuisine in Vancouver.

Waitress asked me “How spicy for you?”

I said “DA LA!”. She laughed. Could see her crooked teeth but she is sweet. Hehehe … need braces?

Am the only one … (more…)

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Blogging with iPhone (and Android)

I am all in an experimentation mood these days. I guess I am all bored with writing about same old visits to restaurants and I had run out of ways to say things like “the meat is tender and juicy”. I guess I want to push some boundaries of in food blogging. One of the things that I want to do is to find ways to make things interesting so that I can engage you on the blog.

A few days ago, I was having breakfast with Suanne in Lido. I came across an item on the menu I had never noticed before. I ordered that and I wanted to share with all of you what it looked like because I thought it would be a conversation maker.

Naturally I thought of using Twitter or Facebook but I wanted to do something different. So I whipped out the iPhone and tried to blog from it. I was doing it for the first time and so it was a lot of slow pecking and fumbling around. That 20 minutes breakfast turned out to be 40 minutes! Poor Suanne had to sit patiently while waiting for me to blog about it on the small device.

I am getting a hang of it. Each post I made gets easier and faster. However, this is just experiments. I don’t foresee I will blog a lot on-the-go. This is because these sort of posts are sort of quick and dirty — short sentences, poor quality pictures and all. I guess it will be useful for those “breaking news” type of posts or a single-dish-dining-alone restaurant visits.


I had been using the WordPress app on the iPhone a lot already. However, I was just using that app for checking new comments (above, right) and I use that feature a lot. is written on WordPress and there is an iPhone app for WordPress. For those of you who blogs on Blogger, there should be an app for that. You just need to search the Apple AppStore for it. I am not familiar with Blogger and so will just cover WordPress on this post.

Talking about Blogger, I would like to encourage those of you on Blogger to consider moving to WordPress. started as a Blogger site but over the years we moved to WordPress and I am glad we are on it. There are pros and cons with moving to WordPress. The key thing is that WordPress … (more…)

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