Tri-Pot Taiwanese Street Snack on Alderbridge Way, Richmond

I knew it!

When I found out that a new place called Tri-Pot recently opened and that they serves Taiwanese street snacks, I was quite keen to check that out. I knew that this could be something that will get a few people excited. To see if my hunch is right, I tweeted about this place. Lo and behold, there were a number of responses:

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That’s right. Every time someone mentions the word street food, people sit up.

Street food has to be the hottest conversation on food these days … especially with the street food pilot program that the city of Vancouver launched a few weeks ago. It did not get off to a great start as everyone know. Anyway, many people seems to have their own opinions about what street food is and what their expectations are.

To some, street food is just about anything that is sold on the street. I hope I did not read it wrong but I think I read somewhere that there is one food cart selling ice cream on croissants. That bizarre idea aside, the prices charged for street food is so expensive that it costs the same as if you are eating in a restaurant.

My expectation … is that the whole premise of street food is that it has to be cheap. That is the model of street food in Asia. In our city, it is anything but cheap.

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I don’t know what you call this. Tri-Pot call this the Low-Carb Snack On The Go. So I am making a wild guess here — is this called Tianbula – (甜不辣)?

The words sounded like Tempura and so I could be wrong. 🙂

Tri-Pot-Menu

The way you order this is simple. There are over 50 types of ingredients. Each of them costs $2 (items 1 through 43) and the remaining ones are $3.

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Looking at the prices, I reckon people will normally order 3-4 items which will work out to be $6-$10. Not particularly cheap. I am sure it is way cheaper getting this from the streets in Taiwan.

The receipt on the left is mine. Actually mine also included Egg Noodle but it landed on Suanne’s receipt.

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It took them a while to prepare this. It wasn’t very long but considering that they had to cut every piece up into small pieces and then cook it, it is perhaps a 5 minute wait. Remember now that this is meant to be a take-away meal.

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What happened next … (more…)

Continue Reading Tri-Pot Taiwanese Street Snack on Alderbridge Way, Richmond

Magnetic Cafe on Garden City and McKim Way, Richmond

Updated: 4th July 2012: This restaurant had been replaced by Mochi Bubble Tea Cafe.

We did not realize it until someone told us that the Go Go Tea Cafe had closed and that it had reopened as Magnetic Cafe. You see, Go Go Tea was very different from other bubble tea restaurants. The difference is the way that the waitress dressed. I did not mention this on the Go Go Tea post but a reader did pick up on this omission and commented on the post.

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Go Go Tea is now gone. It is now called the Magnetic Cafe. The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the Cosmo Plaza.

There are parking in the building but it is kind of narrow and hard to navigate. The other alternative is street parking which given the stingy nature of Richmondites, hardly anyone ever parked on it ever since the city made this whole area pay parking.

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The restaurant looked exactly the same when it was Go Go Tea. As far as I am concerned, it is exactly the same restaurant except for the name.

While the place is clean it does show a little of its age. The last time we were in Go Go Tea was 2 years ago, so am not surprised.

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A few days after our visit, the Richmond Review actually featured Magnetic Cafe on the front page. The picture above is from the Richmond Review.

The waitresses here are dressed up in costumes. They have a name for this. It is called cosplay. While the picture above are tastefully done, when we were there, I must say some of the outfits were a bit too sexy.

So yeah, I think I saw that Arkensen and Nanzaro were a bit uneasy with mum and dad there. LOL! I did not talk about it and pretended I did not notice. Anyway, our boys are kind of shy with girls just like their dad when he was their age. They will grow out of it, am sure.

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The menu consist mostly of drinks but there are quite a lot of meal options (see the four pages of food). There are:

  • Appetizers which are basically Taiwanese style appys, mostly in the $4.50 range
  • Korean Hot Pots, at $7.50
  • Special Hot Pots ($10)
  • Hotpot Combos ($10) where you get to choose the soup base and one main dish
  • Hot Plates ($8.50)
  • Set Meals with Rice or Noodles ($8-$9)
  • Soup ($5)

So price-wise, they are quite within the normal range of similar restaurants.

Currently, they have a promotion going on that a free drink from the black and green tea menu (valued at $4.25) is free with a meal. This is only if you come in before 6PM. We were there at about 5:30PM and so we got the drinks for free (50 cents extra for added pearls).

We found it kind of funny that there were a lot of new customers walking in at 5 minutes before 6PM. I guess a lot of people know of their promo.

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We had the Taiwanese Oyster Pancake ($6). We ordered this because there were so much talk about the oyster omelette on chowtimes. LOL!

Unlike the crispy Chiu Chow-style oyster omelette from T-Hut, this one is the less starchy kind. We are glad this one is more … (more…)

Continue Reading Magnetic Cafe on Garden City and McKim Way, Richmond

Cabin 5555 on West Boulevard, Vancouver

Updated: 3rd Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Oh, this must have been a couple of months ago when we visited Cabin 5555.

That was when Suanne and I invited a few Friends of Chowtimes for a fun coffee tasting event in the neighborhood. Since many of the people are coming all the way to West Vancouver, we thought we also organize a lunch there. This being just a side event, the turnout was great.

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Cabin 5555 is a Taiwanese style cafe very much the likes of Corner 23, The One and Chill, to name a few. Part of the name is derived from the street address of the restaurant — 5555 West Boulevard.

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The other part of the name (the “Cabin” part), I guess is derived from the low-ceiling feel in the restaurant. The dining area is like half a floor up from the street level and the low ceiling does have that claustrophobic feel. I felt like I was in an airplane cabin.

The place is clean which is accentuated by the all white decor. The restaurant is quite busy even though you don’t get that from the picture above. We were there early before the lunchtime crowd came in.

Cabin 5555 seems like a neighborhood restaurant. I don’t think there are many people who will drive all the way here just to eat in this restaurant. Anyway, I noticed that they have free wifi here. We don’t see many of those in Chinese restaurants but then Cabin 5555 is in an upscale part of the city.

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The menu is made of pretty standard Taiwanese favourites. You have bubble tea and all its derivatives at the back of the menu. Other than that, there are the usual appetizer, noodle, dim sum, hot pot, soup, fried rice, special meal, vegetarian and main dishes sections.

Big menu and peppered with lots of common dishes from Taiwan and in between there are some interesting ones. There were about eight of us for lunch that say. They left the ordering to me and Carol who lives in the neighborhood. Since some of them are not familiar with food in a Taiwanese cafe, we decided to pick a selection of simple Taiwanese food and some “adventure” food too. The dishes are meant for individual servings but we shared them.

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Yeah … “adventure food” such as the Thousand Egg with Tofu ($5) above.

For me the century egg is a delicacy, but I know this is strange food to Karen. 🙂  She was game enough to try just a teeny-weeny bit of the egg white (or should I call it the egg black). She did not want to risk her health by eating the disgusting looking blackened egg yolk.

Yeah, I understand. This is an acquired taste and the Chinese have really weird tastes. Firstly, black mushy egg yolks are supposed to be beyond rotten and not fit for consumption. Secondly, egg white is supposed to be white and they are not supposed to be transparent. The rest of the world’s wisdom says that you just “transparentize” the egg white with chemicals just so that it looked cool. And no … they don’t soak the eggs in horse urine to blacken the eggs … that is urban myth.

But it tasted good to me *shrug*. And I don’t think I am about to die anytime soon eating it. After all, this had been consumed for thousands of years already by the Chinese and is considered a delicacy. LOL!

The other unusual thing is that this is a cold dish. The tofu is topped with bonito flakes and green onions. Oh, when Suanne is lazy to make real dinner at home, that is what she does sometimes at home (sans the century egg).

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I thought that the Taiwanese Style Oyster Omelette ($6.75) was kind of weird looking. I was expecting a bit more eggs in it. After all, they did call it an omelette on the menu. Instead it is starchier than I expected. The sauce is sweetish.

Naw … not too good as far as I am concerned. I haven’t tried a lot of oyster omelette in Vancouver because they are all Taiwanese style. I guess not many people have tried the Malaysia style oh-chien which is more egg with a little bit of starch.

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When in a Taiwanese restaurant, you got to order beef noodle soup. I asked for it to be mild-spicy in consideration of those who could not stand it spicy.

This one above is called Beef and Tomato Noodle Soup ($7.50). Is tomato common in Taiwanese beef noodles? I thought it just doesn’t go with something like a TBN.

The beef noodle is just passable. Certainly not in the league of … (more…)

Continue Reading Cabin 5555 on West Boulevard, Vancouver

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Icy Crystal Eggs 溏心蛋 and Stir-fried Beef with Kimchi 泡菜牛肉 from Delicious Cuisine, Richmond

Now I know why.

Last year, we had lunch at this place called Zephyr in the Sky in Richmond. We were sort of confused because the sign of the restaurant says it is Zephyr in the Sky and most of everything in the restaurant says it is called Delicious Cuisine. We thought that the words Delicious Cuisine are just a tag line for the Zephyr in the Sky restaurant until the waitress explained that they were in the midst of changing their image and undergoing a makeover.

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Well, the makeover today is complete and what a bang it is making — by bagging not one but two awards from the Chinese Restaurant Awards.

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It is now two separate restaurants standing side-by-side. One retained the Zephyr in the Sky name and the other more upscale but smaller one called Delicious Cuisine.

What does the “One-something-something-something” Chinese name translate into? Anyone?

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It had been one year since our last visit. I was surprised with how popular this place is. It was extremely busy and we can see that they obviously could do with more staff. I could see the stressed look from every waitress tearing from table to table.

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Suanne and I had to wait for a table even though we were quite early shortly before 6PM. While waiting, we saw the a board at the entrance of their lunch special. For lunch special, $10 is pricey compared to the many $7-$8 lunch specials around town. But this lunch special is a little bit more upscale — a three course lunch special consisting of an appetizer, a main and a dim sum. The picture above is clickable if you want to see a larger version of it.

I don’t know what makes me say this but it seems to me like Delicious Cuisine is a Taiwanese style restaurant. Don’t ask me why … am just saying.

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Suanne and I felt like second class citizens here. We can’t read the specials on the board. Grrrr. There is no way we could get the waitress with the patience to read/translate each item for us seeing how busy they were. Moreover we were seated so far away form the board too. If only they have English translations for the specials on the board.

While waiting patiently for service, we were scanning our neighbors tables. A number of them had clams and most of them good looking dishes too.

So we stuck with the two award winning dishes and decided to ask about the clams.

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the APPETIZER Category ♦ Icy Crystal Eggs 溏心蛋
Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the APPETIZER Category ♦ Icy Crystal Eggs 溏心蛋

Tada … here it is … Icy Crystal Egg. This dish won silver in the Appetizer category.

In our visits to these restaurants looking for the winning dishes, we found out that the English names as described on the website is different from what the restaurant calls it. While the Chinese Restaurant Award folks calls this the Icy Crystal Eggs, the Delicious Cuisine restaurant uses another name for this dish. The restaurant calls this the … (more…)

Continue Reading [CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Icy Crystal Eggs 溏心蛋 and Stir-fried Beef with Kimchi 泡菜牛肉 from Delicious Cuisine, Richmond

Chill Restaurant and Lounge on Kingsway Near Royal Oak, Burnaby

Updated: 14th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Karl (The Friday Lunch) and I are turning out to be regular lunch partners. Which is great because it gives me the chance to check out the restaurants in Burnaby more. If you get a peek at my “to-visit” list, it is the Burnaby list that is the longest. Suanne and I cover Richmond since it’s in our neighborhood and if we go our further, it is to Vancouver mostly.

At the rate things are going, I think with the help of Karl, I will be able to check out the Burnaby restaurants more.

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It was Karl’s turn to make the choice. He suggested that we go to the next restaurant along Kingsway called Chill.

I exchanged several emails from Flora of Chill before when she invited Suanne and I to the restaurant. We said we will go one day but we never had the chance. So this would be a great time to go with Karl. Oh … I did not inform Flora ahead of my visit.

Chill is located next door to Pho Hoa (I think). I think at one point it is was a pub or something. I am not sure about this but there is something about this location. Feng Sui or what, not many people seems to gravitate to this place. Maybe it is on this short stretch of Kingsway that people step on the pedal when the road widens a little and hence this does not have the same visibility as the restaurants just 1-2 blocks up and down Kingsway from here.

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Stepping into the restaurant, we find that the place looked much better than we thought. Neat clean lines with a decidedly Taiwanese style eatery. LOL! “Decidedly Taiwanese style eatery” refers to the black and red colors chosen in the same scheme of The One restaurant, Beefy Beef Noodles and Estea. See below …

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The One Restaurant, Burnaby

Beefy Beef Noodle, Vancouver
Beefy Beef Noodle, Vancouver

Estea, Richmond
Estea, Richmond

OK, I pretty much made this up. LOL! For some reason, I am beginning to associate red-black color scheme with Taiwanese restaurants. I thought it was kind of sleek.

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The Chill is spacious. I really like the way the restaurant is setup. This is so unlike many Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant. There is the normal booth type seatings on one side, a separate bar area and most others are configurable tables with nice high back leather chairs.

Karl and I were seated at the tables located on a raised platform which we reckon doubles as a stage for night performances.

The place was pretty quiet when we were there. I am not surprised. Like I said, it’s something about this location. The whole time we were there there was only 3 tables taken up.

Oh … when Karl and I was there, workers from my company were there too. One of them came over to me and whispered that “lit dow geh yeh hoe larn sek geh” … “the food here is hard to eat”. He he he … Karl and I looked at each other and said … “then why is he here”. LOL!  For a moment we were thinking maybe the food here is not as good as the how it looked.

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Chill does not appear to be like many of the Taiwanese restaurants around dishing out standard fare. They try to make themselves different while at the same time serving the popular Taiwanese dishes.

There are live performances on some nights and specials on certain days of the week. They like to call what they serve as tapas which kind of lend itself with the alcohol they also serve inhouse. It sounds to me that they want to make this like a “Taiwanese Cafe-slash-bubble-tea-house”  for the grown ups.

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This is what I meant when I said “Taiwanese Cafe-slash-bubble-tea-house”.

This is the first time I had seen Alcoholic Bubble Tea. I really wanted to try this but I had to get back to work. I did not want go back and run a meeting looking like I am half-drunk since I turn red very easily.

How does “Brandy Milk Tea” sound? LOL!

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So instead of getting the alcoholic drink, we asked our waitress for recommendations. I went with something called the Hawaiian Holiday ($5.25). It is the one on the right. The Hawaiian Holiday is a mix of banana, coconut and pineapple. Pretty good.

Karl’s choice is the one on the left. I can’t remember now what his is called — Lemon Plum I think.

Onto the food …

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When I asked our waitress for a recommendation, she so enthusiastically recommended their Taiwanese Beef Noodles. Oh, I thought that it is quite bold seeing that they are just blocks away from Lao Shang Dong. I wanted to try that but Karl did not. Grrr … since I said I will leave all ordering to him this time, I let it go … I will come back some day to check that out.

The Kong Pow Chicken above is $6. It was quite flavourful. I like it but … (more…)

Continue Reading Chill Restaurant and Lounge on Kingsway Near Royal Oak, Burnaby

New Lao Shan Dong Restaurant — The One Restaurant on Kingsway Near Intersection with Imperial, Burnaby

This should get you all excited.

This post is not about just any restaurant.

This restaurant is the newly opened restaurant by the same people behind Lao Shan Dong.

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A few weeks ago, I saw on Natalie’s Facebook of pictures of the food she had at a restaurant called The One. The pictures of the food was unique but I did not think more about it and thinking its just another nice Taiwanese restaurant. No plans at all in visiting.

Last week on the way home, I was walking past Lao Shan Dong when I saw a notice pasted at the door (above). Apparently, The One Restaurant is owned by Lao Shan Dong. I would not have visited if not for that sign. We knew that if The One has food half as good as Lao Shan Dong, this is going to be one successful restaurant in no time.

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So Suanne and I immediately changed our Friday date plans to check out The One.

The One is located on Kingsway near the intersection with Imperial. It is just across the street of Pho Hong which we blogged about recently. There are ample parking spaces in the small strip mall it was on. But I do think that given the size of The One restaurant, it will be a challenge if they do have full house.

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True to the theme outside, the interior is also adorned with tables and chairs in the clashing colors of black and red. The seats are plush but I do find some of them a bit small even for someone my size.

The interior is modern and spacious. It is also bright because of the ceiling to wall glass frontage on two sides of the restaurant. This is a refreshing difference from Lao Shan Dong which is always packed and cramped with nary a decor inside.

Nicole said that The One is upscale and indeed for a Taiwanese restaurant the likes of No 1, Beefy Beef, Corner 23 and others, this is definitely more upscale than them.

The One is opened for lunch and opened till late (to 2AM during weekends and 1AM on other nights).

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The One is a Taiwanese Cuisine restaurant. So you get the same type of food you normally find in Taiwanese restaurants.

The menu is more extensive than the 3 pager above. I did not take more pictures because … well … I was afraid. I was afraid that they think we are spies from the competitors. So I only managed to take pictures of 3 pages. What I can tell you is that the menu is broken into sections of the following:

  • Appetizer: marinated ear, tofu and stuff
  • Noodles: what else … the same TBN from Lao Shan Dong!!!
  • Dumplings
  • Soup: what else too … the same TBN soup, sans noodles, from Lao Shan Dong!!!
  • Meal Combo
  • Hot Pot
  • Fried Rice

On every page of the menu are the words “No MSG” … and that is good.

We did not get the TBN (short for Taiwanese Beef Noodles for the uninitiated) because we wanted to try their other stuff. But we did notice that they offer both the Beef Noodle Soup for $7.50 and also just the beef soup (no noodles) for the same price. I asked our waitress if the beef soup is more if don’t want the noodles. She sheepishly said you don’t get much more beef. She was honest.

Like all TBN places, they also have lot of drinks options … milk tea, bubble tea, coffee, fresh juice, herbal tea and slush. There is also a section for dessert and of course things like thick toast.

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This was what I was coming for … and what I saw on Nicole’s Facebook.

Not knowing what to choose, I randomly chose the one called The One Seafood Hot Pot with Rice. This is $13 — quite pricey but it also came with a drink and a small dessert.

I thought the hot pot was unique and definitely bigger than most.

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This is more like it … a boiling pot. Most other places have that token light at the bottom that does a little more than keeping the soup hot.

It was disappointing to learn that the soup base is milk. It did not occur to us to ask when we placed our order. Both Suanne and I personally hate milk as soup. As a matter of fact, Chinese rarely uses milk in cooking … did you know that? So you find that diary products are not big in traditional Chinese cuisine.

Normally Suanne would be the one who will finish off the soup but she declined saying that the one in Pearl Castle is better. Although it was not my fav kind of soup, I thought it was quite good.

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The Hot Pot has a lot of ingredients. That included prawns, mussels, fish cake, tofu, very bouncy fish balls (which bounced across the restaurant when I dropped it on the floor), other meat balls and octopus.

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The fish ball has stuff in it. I remember having this in one of the stalls in the Richmond Public Market. We like this a lot. It was kind of small … smaller than the ones we had in the Richmond Public Market for sure.

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Here is the drink that came with the Hot Pot. It is an … (more…)

Continue Reading New Lao Shan Dong Restaurant — The One Restaurant on Kingsway Near Intersection with Imperial, Burnaby

Tai Yau Yick Shanghai Restaurant on Anderson Road, Richmond

Updated: 12th Oct 2010: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.

Here is one more post written based on the recommendation of a chowtimes reader …

Last month Deborah wrote an email to us saying:

Hi Ben, I noticed you tried a lot of places in Richmond.  If I may, I would suggest you try a place on Anderson Rd called Tai Yau Yick Restaurant.  Its a hole in the ground but the food is very delicious.  I would suggest you get the pork chop on rice, tofu, deep fried chicken wings, and beef pancake.  Do not order the xiao long bao’s here, you can get better ones at other shanghai restaurants.  The old lady that runs the place doesn’t speak english, but she is very sweet

We had actually been to Tai Yau Yick before. It was quite a long time ago. I distinctly remember that it was one of those rare moments that we forgot to bring along the camera. So we did not blog about it.

These days, we never forget to bring the camera. It is second nature to us now. I might forget to bring the wallet or the house keys when I go out, but I never forget the camera. Is this a sad thing? LOL!

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Tai Yau Yick is located on Anderson Road and near the Richmond City Hall. It is also located just next door to Diary Queen.

Parking here is not a problem. It is a small strip mall and we always have parking spots available all the time.

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Tai Yau Yick is a small place. There are about five tables only. They can barely fit in 20 people. The place does look much neater than we remembered some years ago. The tables looked newer and they have wallpapered and painted the walls.

There is very little you will not like about Tai Yau Yick. It is waited by an elderly lady who speaks perfect Cantonese despite that they call this a Shanghainese restaurant. I asked the lady if the chef is Shanghainese. She said that they are all Cantonese but they specialize in Shanghainese and Taiwanese Cuisine.

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Their menu acts like an order form. This is like what you see in some hot pot and dim sum places where you check and specify the quantity you want. What do you think with this method? I think it’s good idea in making sure they don’t misunderstand your order. It is also more efficient for the restaurant too if you already are familiar with their menu.

They place the order form with a pencil on the table but the order form is in Chinese. You have to ask them for the English version.

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We decided to try their soybean milk. You can opt for either sweet ($1.75) or salty ($2.50).

We tried the salty version. Because we did not know that the soybean milk comes with a few Chinese doughnuts in it, we ordered a side order of the Chinese doughnut ($2).

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The warm soybean milk is more savory than it is salty. In the soybean milk are green onions, dried shrimp and preserved vegetable (jar choy).

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It is actually a good thing we ordered a side of Chinese Doughnut. They are very good … as it is still crispy when we dunk into soybean milk, unlike those that sit in the soymilk that became soggy. The crunch explodes in your mouth.

But it is also oily though. Suanne said that this must be the Taiwanese style doughnut.

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Suanne was surprised that I ordered this Soybean Bitter Melon ($2.90). She knows I have never liked bitter melon. Also our boys refused to touch it.

I wanted to try it because it is unique. Moreover, I know that if I don’t like it, Suanne will finish it.

It was bitter alright although the soybean sauce that it was steamed in took away a lot of the bitterness. It is an acquired taste kind of thing.

Suanne insisted I to eat half of my share but I just picked the smaller piece. I love Suanne.

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The name Red Hot Dumpling ($4.80) sounded so good that we also ordered that. They do every dish very well. Not only is the dumpling well made, we like the sweet and spicy sauce it is served in. The spiciness is light at first but gradually intensify in the mouth. Nice.

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For the boys, we got a sticky rice for them. They like sticky rice. So we had the Taiwanese Style Sticky Rice Roll ($5.50).

We thought it was going to be like one of those glutinous rice roll with filling inside (you know, the ones that you can buy freshly made in T&T?). Instead, the rice is … (more…)

Continue Reading Tai Yau Yick Shanghai Restaurant on Anderson Road, Richmond

Where Can We Find Shaobing in Vancouver?

This is a continuation quest for a reader, Michelle who wrote to me to find restaurants which serve Shaobing. I contacted a few of my Taiwanese friends and two of them recommended me to this place which sells traditional Taiwanese Shaobing. So, I made it a point to check out this place during my ladies meet day with Polly.

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My Taiwanese friend, Emily told me that Shaobing stuffed with Chinese donut is a very typical breakfast item.

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The place that my friends recommended is located on the second floor of President Plaza in Richmond, next to T&T Supermarket and across Aberdeen Center.

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It is a stall at a small foodcourt. The stall name is Yung Ho Soy Drink. Apparently, this name is quite famous in Taiwan.

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Yung Ho Soy Drink serves various types of shaobing, sweet and savory. Click on the images above to have a clearer view.

Without a doubt, I wanted to try … (more…)

Continue Reading Where Can We Find Shaobing in Vancouver?

Tony’s Beef Noodle on Cambie and W 41st, Vancouver

I can’t quite figure this out.

I am referring to the post last week I made about Chef Hung’s TBN (TBN is short for Taiwanese Beef Noodles). Believe it or not, that one post garnered the most number of pageviews in 2 days at 1,300 hits. After a week on the site, it had over 2,200 hits with it constantly staying on the top 2 active posts. That post also attracted 37 comments.

Yesterday, we went to Aberdeen for dinner and guess what … we still see the same long lines outside of Chef Hung’s TBN.

And all these is happening despite the flood of bad reviews. There are definitely a lot of things that Chef Hung did wrong but obviously he is also doing something right.

I can’t quite figure that out.

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So with all the interest in TBN, we decided to finally make the journey across the bridge to Tony’s Beef Noodle. We had heard a lot about them the past two years but because of they are closed on Sundays and the location, we had not visited them until now.

They were one of the few businesses that had survived the Skytrain construction on Cambie. But with the construction over, they are now faced with a new structure built right in front of them. That entrance to the service tunnel will definitely obscure the view from people who drives along Cambie.

But then I think Tony’s will not be that badly affected because they had built a reputation for themselves already throughout the years. Anyway, the front of the restaurant is very basic with the most important words “beef noodle” in the smallest font size. Apparently, they don’t need flashy signboards. OK, the Chinese words are more prominent and the name translates to “Brother Wong”. So the man behind this place must be Tony Wong.

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I remember peeking into Tony’s before and it did not looked very nice. It was very much a hole in the wall operation. I guess they must have had some renos done recently as they are sporting new lights, coat of paint and tiled floors. The place is clean and comfortable.

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One characteristic of Taiwanese restaurants in Vancouver is their offering of appetizers. They are small plates of hot or cold items which generally costs around $4 or less if you get a combination.

The appetizers in Tony’s costs between $2 and $3.50. A selection of three types of appetizers is $7.50 and $12.50 for five selections.

We opted for three types to share … from left, marinated large intestines, kelp seaweed and marinated pork ear. The appetizers were OK and really nothing to write about. It’s just that they put the warm pig intestines together with the other two cold appetizers — but that is alright.

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We came here primarily to check out Tony’s beef noodles. One thing for sure, it is cheap. At $6 for small and $7.25 for large, it is more than 1/3 cheaper than Chef Hung’s $11 noodles. I think it is not fair to compare prices between a hole in the wall and a nicer upscale restaurant in a mall. But at the same time, I think I understand that people will compare. It is because TBN had always been considered as comfort food and it is not supposed to cost $11 no matter where it is sold.

So I got the Beef and Noodle in Spicy Soup. I got the large one. The soup does look very spicy and flavourful but looks is deceiving. I would say that the soup is respectable but I think I had tasted better ones in … (more…)

Continue Reading Tony’s Beef Noodle on Cambie and W 41st, Vancouver

Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle in Aberdeen Centre, Richmond

*** BREAKING NEWS ***

I had talked about Ramen purists and how they defended venerable bowl of Japanese pork noodle soup.

I tried to garner support from a tiny band of Pho purists to defend with equal gusto the traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup.

I saw a glimmer of hope for the Malaysian Curry Laksa in the effort to be recognized in the company of the big boys in Asian noodle soups.

I am still learning about the promise of the Korean Beef Bone noodle soup and their own proud uniqueness.

It is time now for the Taiwanese Beef Noodle purists not to be out done … to stand up and be counted!

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And man was I surprised by the turn out.

For the past few weeks, I had been hearing murmurings about the new Taiwanese Beef Noodle (TBN) house opening in the Aberdeen center. I heard it will be upscale and that it will shake the very foundation of the Taiwanese Beef Noodle Houses in Vancouver. There were talks that the kingpins of Vancouver TBN houses were watching with bated breath.

Two days ago, I read in the Loyaukee Chinese Foodie Forum, that Chef Hung had finally thrown opened the doors of his restaurant. So we planned to go for dinner but was faced with lines that is so uncommon in Chinese restaurants, let alone a TBN.

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The wait was excruciatingly long. It took us 55 minutes before it got to our turn. People were patient.

While waiting in line, we overheard one of the leaving customers telling her friend who was standing in front of us that it is “hoe sek” with a thumbs up.

There were a few pictures and signs in Chinese just by the entrance. We could not read it but we can pick up the few words on the background of the pictures. We read the words “2006”, “2007” and “International Taiwanese Beef Noodle Compet …”. Chef Hung is some hot shot award winner, it seems.

They have an open kitchen. Eight people were working in that small space. It is a busy night for them trying to keep up with the demands. We saw them hand making the crispy pancakes and grilled dumplings.

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I stopped one of waitress. I had to ask who is Chef Hung. I was afraid that Chef Hung is someone still in Taiwan who merely lent his name to open an outlet here in Vancouver.

She smiled and said “black cap” and quickly walked away with a pot of tea for the customer. Oh yeah … if you are there he’s the guy with the black cap and fancier chef jacket.

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He personally prepares the noodles — most of the time anyway. I kept observing him. I noticed that every now and then, he takes a spoonful of the TBN soup and tasted it. It was very often, like once every 10 minutes. That’s a good sign … the man himself doing constant quality control.

He does walk out and speak to the customer. He stopped at the table next to ours but he did not ours!! I was dying to ask him tons of questions. We overheard him telling the table next to us that he takes two days to make the TBN soup.

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Chef Hung’s TBN restaurant is clean. Decor was spartan. I don’t think anyone cared, not in such places. It was quite big and can fit quite a number of people.

They even have a VIP room which you can have. However you need to spend a minimum of $200 and are limited to 1.5 hours use. First time I came across this.

We read the menu. Our eye brows were raised when we saw that they are charging $11 for a bowl of their premium TBN. That is expensive when you could get top notch TBN for $7-$8 easily. Scanning the neighboring tables we saw that the bowls are not large, just average … we had seen larger ones.

This better be good.

Here’s the food … (more…)

Continue Reading Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle in Aberdeen Centre, Richmond