Cold Wheat Soba — Meal by Twitter and Facebook

I don’t watch a lot of TV at home. Suanne does. Half of the time, our TV is tuned to the Food Network which I don’t think is a surprise to you all.

Recently we came across this episode from Anthony Bourdain about Cold Wheat Soba. I found that rather fascinating because I had never paid any attention to it until now.

This is because the Chinese shun cold noodles. They are almost always served hot — the hotter the better. There might be some Chinese noodles that are served cold but I can’t think of any. Can you think of any?

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From the clip on YouTube, I decided to turn to Twitter. It had been a while since I checked my Twitter account. It was just too “noisy” for me and I just can’t quite figure out how to make full use of it. Anyway, if you have a Twitter account and wants to follow chowtimes, it is here: http://twitter.com/chowtimes

So I tweeted a question asking if anyone knows where I could try the Cold Wheat Soba near my place of work. I know that Torarenbo in Richmond has that but I wanted to try it during the work week.

Hey – hey! There are people who actually reads my tweets.

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I decided to go check out the Cold Wheat Soba at the Yakko Sushi today and not the Sushi Garden since I had already blogged about that place before.

This morning I turned to Facebook next and try to learn a little bit more about Cold Wheat Sushi. I posted a question on the chowtimes Facebook fan page (http://facebook.com/chowtimes) … and …

Hey – hey! There are people actually reading the chowtimes updates.

I felt I know quite a lot already what to expect even before I go.

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It was a short walk from the office to Yakko Sushi. OK, this is kind of confusing. There are actually two Yakko Sushis around the Metrotown area.

There is the one called the Yakko Sushi Express on Kingsway which I had blogged about here. The Yakko Sushi Express restaurant is the bigger one.

The one I went to today is the smaller restaurant and is just called Yakko Sushi. I am not sure if these two restaurants are related in anyway. Yakko Sushi is located on Station Square.

Here is a little trivia for you. Did you know that the Future Shop in the Station Square is the highest grossing per square feet of space? I know because I worked at Best Buy and Future Shop before. Remember in those old days where Future Shop has this big wall of tube TVs in their store … you know, the days before flat screens became mainstream? Well, yours truly was the project manager who managed the whole refitting of FS/BBY stores in a project which is described as “the next big thing since color TVs”. One of the biggest logistical challenge was the tearing down of the TV Wall. It was about 6 years ago when I started on the project and it was big because the company knows that most homes in Canada will be changing their tube TVs to flat screens over a short period of a few years. In those tube TV days, a TV would cost just $300-$400 … LCDs today is easily 2-3 times that. Sorry … I digressed.

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I thought I heard the staff speaking in Korean in the kitchen. I know that the bigger Yakko Sushi Express on Kingsway are operated by Koreans too. So maybe they are owned and operated by the same people.

Service was good. There is just one waitress but since this place is so small, it’s not a problem. There are only seatings here for 20 people.

Since Yakko Sushi is tucked inside Station Square, I don’t think many people eat here except for people who work around this area.

The menu was nothing really exciting. It is just the normal sushi restaurant menu. I am only here for the Cold Wheat Soba.

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There are two options for the Cold Wheat Soba …

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[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽 from Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine

Updated: 15th March 2011: This restaurant is closed and it has been replaced by Xu’s Wonton House.

I sometimes go to the food court in the Crystal Mall for lunch during the week days — particularly on days that I really don’t know what to eat. With quite a few restaurants and a well represented food court, it is no wonder that this Asian mall is always packed at all hours of the day.

Tell me, what is the one commonality of a successful Asian mall? It is always the food. Any self respecting Asian mall must have great food outlets. All other businesses are just the supporting cast.

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The food court in Crystal Mall serves almost exclusively Asian fare, mostly Chinese.

I believe the biggest draw factor to this food court is the price. It is here that you could get a good and filling lunch for just $5. I can’t think of another place which offers so much variety at these low ball prices.

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The food court is located on the second floor. Underneath it is an open market where you could get fresh fruits at really cheap prices. See the stall on the right? That is a popular Chinese BBQ stall which I sometimes get roast pork to go.

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There must be almost 30 stalls here in the food court. It is often chaotic. Despite the masses of humanity here, it is surprisingly not too difficult to get a table. It is because the tables gets opened up quite fast. It could get testy if you are not used to the crowds here.

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The stall that I headed to was the one located at the furthest end of the food court. It is called Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine.

I was there for their Xiao Long Bao which had just won Silver in the Food Court Category of the 2010 Chinese Restaurant Award.

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This stall has got to be the one which has the most number of staff in the entire food court. I counted at least eight people working non-stop.

This is because making xiao long bao is a manual, time-consuming affair. It has to be made fresh because it has a very short shelf life.

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You can see them pleating the xiao long baos with such consistency and speed. Despite all the labour involved in making this, it is interesting that it is still so cheap.

There is a 15 minutes wait time in this stall. You actually see your xiao long bao being made in front and then passed to the kitchen for steaming.

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the FOOD COURT Category ♦ Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽
Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the FOOD COURT Category ♦ Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽

Here it is — the Xiao Long Bao from Wang’s.

You know, I was kind of surprised that the XLB from Wang’s are mentioned in the CRA 2010 because I had better ones before. I think it is because … (more…)

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Ramen Event in Miki Ramen Restaurant

Updated: 27th February 2011: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

ChowtimesNoWord32x32Disclosure:
While all the chowtimes readers who attended paid token sum of $5 each for this meal, Suanne and I did not have to pay for the food.

This had to be one of the simplest blog post I had to put up for a long time. Well, this is because this is written largely by chowtimes readers!

When we put up the invitation to chowtimes readers to attend an exclusive Ramen Tasting event, there were requests for 115 seats! The response was overwhelming. Unfortunately the restaurant could only cater for 34 people.

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The Miki Japanese Ramen is a restaurant located on Kingsway and Royal Oak in Burnaby. It is run by Ben and Karen, a young husband and wife team, who were trying to put the word out of their newish restaurant.

Every now and then, Suanne and I receive requests from restaurant owners to help them promote an event. Miki had a Ramen Slurping event which was covered on TV. One thing led to another, Miki agreed to put up an exclusive ramen tasting event for chowtimes readers. We jumped into this because we thought it would be something our readers would like and that we get the chance to meet them too.

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While the food was just OK, we had a great time. Ed and Darryl proved to be the life wire of the event with their fun but meaningless banter across the table (thanks guys for providing the entertainment!).

BTW, for those of you who attended the event, Evelyn found out the origin of the word “congee”:

Rice congee (pronounced /ˈkɒndʒiː/) is a type of rice porridge that is eaten in many Asian countries. The word congee is possibly derived from the Dravidian language Tamil word கஞ்சி kanji.[1][2] The Sinhalese word is Kanda.

Thank you all for taking the time to come out for this event. Suanne and I hope you had a great time as much as we did.

I have one more such restaurant-proposed event up my sleeve and was wondering if we should continue to organize. My hesitation here is that for such “restaurant-driven” event, I cannot assure the quality of the food or restaurant. These are events where restaurants wanted to promote their restaurant … and in exchange, they give chowtimes readers an exclusive use of the restaurant and a heavily discounted meal (i.e. for this event in Miki, it was just a token $5 for a $21 meal). Please let me know … do you think we should continue to organize it? Please note again, I am referring to “restaurant-driven” events here; not events like 8GTCC.

Anyway, here is the feedback from those who attended the event …

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Jin Chuan Restaurant on Kingsway with Wessex, Burnaby

Update 28-Apr-2011: This restaurant had closed for some time already.

So I was out with the 8GTCC boys and girls. We had just gone to the Shanghai Village restaurant meeting with Chef Ming and finalizing the plans for the 8GTCC Jiangsu dinner. You know, if you think that the 8GTCC team has perks from the restaurants, you are mistaken. Even when the 8GTCC project brings recognition to the restaurant concerned, we do not get a free meal out of the restaurant at all. At best, the restaurant serves us Chinese tea. That is why I am so thankful for the sacrifices demonstrated by the team.

After we met Chef Ming, the plan was to go for a dinner at a restaurant called City Temple of Shanghai on Main Street. When we got there, it was closed! Dylan said that he checked the day before and was told they will be opened. However, when we got there, the restaurant was locked. The sign outside says that they were supposed to open that day. Strange.

Anyway, without a real Plan B, we quickly coordinated between the few cars to drive across town to Spicy Legend for hot pot on Kingsway and Joyce. After driving all the way, we found to our chagrin that we need a reservation in that restaurant. Wow. This is the first time I had seen a hole-in-the-wall eatery requiring a reservation. That restaurant is so small and can fit maybe 15 people (?). I gotta check that place out sometime.

So instead of driving to another location and forced to drop our standards, we walked down Kingsway looking for Plan C …

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The Jin Chuan Restaurant looked promising. None of us noticed this restaurant before. It looked new. If I remember correctly, this is the spot where the Popular Chinese Cuisine used to be. We loved that restaurant.

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Apparently, Jin Chuan is new, really new. They had just opened for five days. Interesting. We thought maybe perhaps this place would be a “find” if the food turns out great.

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We noticed that their chopstick wrapper has Meishan Restaurant name printed on it. Meishan is a restaurant in Crystal Mall. The logo of Meishan and Jin Chuan is almost identical.

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I like their menu. I thought it was one of the better looking ones except it would be great with a few pictures of their specialties.

If you take a close look at their prices (click above to see larger image), the lunch specials are very good too … $6 to $7. I am going to go back one of these days to try their lunch special since my office is just a short drive away.

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Ordering was left to the experts. I do not know what some of the dishes are called. It’s the kind of dinner I like — no brain work involved.

I am beginning to see a pattern having dined with the 8GTCC team. It seems they like mainland Chinese food with spicy bolder dishes and exotic meat and stuff.

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The spicy water boiled zebra meat was delicious. I never had this before. I was … (more…)

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Hanwoori Korean on Imperial and Kingsway, Burnaby

Karl, fmed and I met up for lunch a few weeks ago. It was a rather impromptu call for lunch the day before. Karl suggested Hanwoori which I had wanted to try for a long while already. I always remembered Hanwoori as the one who was awarded the Best Korean Restaurant by the Vancouver Magazine in 2009. Despite me working so close by, I had never visited that restaurant. So, when Karl said let’s go, I said let’s go.

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Hanwoori is located at around the intersection of Kingsway with Imperial. It is not exactly at the intersection but you can see the green roofed restaurant from there.

The restaurant is not really that big. From the outside it looked larger than it is. But the place is noticeably neat and organized. Service was really personal which I like a lot. I can sense it the moment I was there. They are very polite and visibly helpful.

Come to think of it, I had never been to a Korean restaurant that has bad service. All the Korean restaurants that I can think of have exceptional service.

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I did not even pay much attention to the menu. I just left the choices to the fmed and Karl.

At a glance, it is obvious that the prices are on the high side. Korean meals are generally more expensive than Chinese meals.

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The banchans were pretty standard. My favourite is sweet potatoes.

Come to think of it, almost all the banchans I have come across are the same. I am sure that there are a lot more types of banchans. Does anyone know of any Korean restaurants where the banchans are different from those above … like, which restaurant has the best banchans?

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One look at the kimchi above and you will agree that Hanwoori’s banchans is of top quality. They were neatly cut and stacked in layers. So I can be sure that these are not recycled ones.

I know I am touching a raw nerve here saying this. Every time I eat banchans, I keep on thinking of the news that many of the restaurants in Korea recycles unfinished banchans and serve it to the other customers. I am sure that happens. So, I am really careful about banchans. The ones in Hanwoori is definitely not like that.

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The first dish was amazing. It was beautifully arranged. So beautiful that it took a moment for us to decide how to start.

One thing though … (more…)

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Crystal Mall Food Court in Burnaby

When I am in an adventurous mood for authentic Chinese food, there are two places I would go to often — the Crystal Mall Food Court in Burnaby and the Richmond Public Market. Here are two places where you will find food as it is prepared in China. These are also the places I used to call “MSG city” because I usually go away feeling thirsty after eating there.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=crystal+mall+burnaby&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=56.637293,114.169922&ie=UTF8&hq=crystal+mall&hnear=Burnaby,+BC,+Canada&layer=c&cbll=49.230172,-123.004804&panoid=K-rXyTYJZX8CMb79E1ZQxw&cbp=13,171.43,,0,-9.83&ll=49.229256,-122.975727&spn=0,0.096474&z=13&output=svembed&w=600&h=400]

Crystal Mall is just a short walk from my place of work. So, I go to the food court when I eat alone and can’t think of anything specific to eat. There are also other very good restaurants in Crystal Mall. For one, there is Abdul’s BBQ. A friend at work swears that is where you can get the best shawarma in Vancouver. My favourite Sichuan restaurant is also located there which serves the most amazing cumin lamb on rice. There is also the Top Gun Hot Pot which is one of the more well known hot pot places in Vancouver.

http://chowtimes.com

It was just a couple of weeks ago. Actually it was just a couple of days before the 8GTCC Hunan dinner. That was when the 8GTCC team members had a final meeting with Alvin Garden. After a very fruitful meeting, we decided to go to the Crystal Mall Food Court for dinner and continue with our discussion.

At the Crystal Mall Food Court, it was hard to decide what to get. There are so many choices to choose from. Dylan suggested that we try the noodles from the Huaxi Noodles Specialist.

http://chowtimes.com

I got the one with beef tendon to share between Suanne and I. I love beef tendon. I just love the texture and this is just perfect.

When I was young my mom told me that beef tendon is the penis of the cow. I don’t know why she told me that but it really scared me off eating it until I found out it was not true. Hmmm … maybe I’ll try telling this to Arkensen and Nanzaro and see if they believe me.

To me this noodles is perfectly done in every sense … from the tendon to the broth to the noodles. But I do think this is not the type of noodles for everybody. It does not have that appetizing look and for some the film of oil floating on top will put them off.

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Today I want to tell you about a blogger unlike all that you know. Dylan is a member of the 8GTCC team and he is the only one in the team that reads and writes Chinese. The amazing thing is this — he is Caucasian!

He loves Chinese food and is very knowledgeable about the cuisine and culture. So he is a great resource when we want access to Chinese materials for our research. He has a blog where he translates Chinese literature to English. Of late, he had started another blog and this time on food!!!

That blog is called … (more…)

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8GTCC Hunan Cuisine Discovery in Alvin Garden

What a day it was last Saturday. Suanne and I never had three big events happening on the same day. By the end of the day, I was totally exhausted.

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The day started with a family event in the morning. He he he … many of you know that I hardly slept the night before. That’s me … a worry-wart. I was running the plans for Saturday in my mind over and over again … checking and rechecking the list again.

In the afternoon, the TV crew came to do an interview with Suanne and I. I was hardly prepared for the TV because I was just too engrossed with the big dinner in the evening. I hope we look good on TV and I don’t end up saying the goofiest thing on TV. The show is a short documentary on chowtimes and food blogging. The program will air in summer. That’s all I can say for now.

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The BIG event of that Saturday was the first in the series of dinners which we dubbed as the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine (8GTCC).

Three months ago, I was so intrigued with the 8GTCC phrase. I have never heard of 8GTCC before and I wanted to find out more. So I created this whole idea of organizing a series of dinners where I could not just taste each of the eight Chinese cuisines but in the process learn everything about it. I won’t go into the genesis of the 8GTCC into further details but instead I will just point you to the following posts for more info: http://chowtimes.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/a-discovery-of-hunan-cuisine-and-invitation-to-dinner/

So the first dinner in the 8GTCC series is focused on the Hunan cuisine. The 8GTCC team call this a fiery start as Hunan cuisine is known for its spiciness.

The response for the event was overwhelming … 52 people attended. It was unfortunate we had to turn quite a number of people away because we totally misjudged the response. We had initially planned for 40 people. When the invitation went out, we surpassed that 40 number within two days. I was quite panicky and at one point I suggested that we take over the entire restaurant. Ivy, the owner, was not in favour of that idea but I understand. Alvin Garden is a popular restaurant and she did not want to turn away all her regular customers on a busy Saturday night. So we landed with 52 people.

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The dinner was held in Alvin Garden. The timing of the 8GTCC Hunan dinner could not have been better. It was just days before our dinner that Alvin Garden won two prizes from the coveted Chinese Restaurant Awards in the duck and appetizer categories.

The 8GTCC team tweaked the menu a few times. We started off with identifying 10 dishes and two appetizers as representative dishes of the Hunan cuisine. It then became 12 dishes and 2 appetizers. When we saw the awards above and after discussing with Ivy (the owner of Alvin Garden), it became 14 dishes and 4 appetizers!

The kicker is this … all the 14 dishes and 4 appetizers costs only $20.

The kickest is this … the $20 included tips and taxes!

So at the end we ended up with the following combinations:

  • 4 Appetizers
  • 1 Soup
  • 1 Hotpot
  • 4 Stir fries
  • 5 Hunan Specials
  • 1 Steamed
  • 2 Veggies

That was too much food, to tell the truth. Towards the end of the dinner, most people could hardly take another bite!

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Zhujiang Beer was kind enough to part sponsor the beer for the evening. I had never had Zhujiang Beer before. It looked deceptively clear and almost like Chinese tea if not for the foam. It has quite a punch too with 5.3% alcohol content … well, for me anyway. That evening I did not feel my face was flushed red. That was because it was all red the entire day from the adrenaline.

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A few words from me and fmed kicked off the first in the series of 8GTCC dinners. Fmed and his team is really the people behind the dinner. With fmed as the lead, the team was the one who did all the research on the Hunan cuisine — a very impressive piece of work I must say.

Fmed and the team were also  instrumental in the selection of the restaurant (very good choice!) and the dishes (overwhelming choices!).

I was glad everyone turned up … on the dot! The 8GTCC team was expecting that some people might not turn up so that we can pass the seat to those on the standby list. But no … everyone turned up. A couple even drove all the way from Kamloops for this dinner.

It was great to meet all the people who reads chowtimes. Frankly, I was kind of overwhelmed that night. I did not manage to chat with many of you because there was just so many things going on. Suanne said that I was a mess and was fidgety. LOL!

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The dinner started with appetizers. Appetizers in the Chinese cuisine are not like western appetizers where it is a course by itself. Appetizers are quick serve items that is prepared upfront and served to the customers while waiting for the kitchen to cook the rest of the meal. It was something to munch on and chat over.

The above appetizers are Hunan Pickles and Spicy Dried Bean Stick with Celery. An excellent start to the dinner. Each of the appetizers is $5 but Ivy loaded up the plate so that “everyone had a bite”. There were more than enough for “a bite”. Throughout that night, Ivy came by a few times telling me that she is adding more of this and that. So thanks a lot Ivy for all these extras so that everyone has a good time!

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The next couple of appetizers are Spicy Pork Ear and Pork Heart with Five Spices.

The Pork Heart (the one on the left) is the one that won GOLD award for appetizers. You should try this and see for yourself what the fuss is about. I like it … it is slightly chewy, and of course spicy.

Talking about spiciness, we were bouncing to and fro on what level of spiciness we should have for this dinner. Personally, I would like it to be exactly the way it should be in the Hunan cuisine — really, really spicy. But sanity prevailed. We ended having the dishes mild and medium spicy. It was no kick for me but I am glad we did it medium/mild so that everyone can enjoy it without the extreme pain.

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The soup was complimentary from Alvin Garden. We wanted a simpler soup but Ivy insisted that we take this soup because it is more elaborately prepared. It take the kitchen 3 hours to make this.

There were lots of stuff in it that I cannot remember what they are. There is certainly lots of pork (with bones). Oh yeah … I wanted to say something about the bones in some of the dishes. Hunan cuisine (or for that matter Chinese cuisine in general) does prepare the meat dishes with the bones intact. It actually tastes better but it is also a hassle and messy affair. I was a bit concerned for the non-Asian folks who are not used to it.

So yeah … there were a lot of bone fragments on the side plates. Not all Chinese cuisine are like that though but this is the way it is for the Hunan cuisine.

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The Tea-Smoked Duck is a must have in Alvin Garden. This dish above won SILVER in the Duck category. Never had this before and it turned out much better than I expected. Just lovely. I like the meatiness of this dish.

On the menu, this is $19 and is categorized as an appetizer. But I think this is because this is prepared ahead and they just chop it up before serving … hence the categorization of this as an appetizer.

You … must … try … this.

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The above is called Hunan Braised Pork. Everyone in China knows this as Mao Tsetung’s favourite dish. A lot of people tells me that he eats this everyday. Mao calls this his brain food. So, I guess it is this dish that shaped China in the last century.

It is very fatty. You have to have this with the layer of fat … at least 50% of it must be fat. Although it is not for everyone, you still have to try this. The reason is because Mao said that this makes the men … (more…)

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Fortune House Restaurant in Metrotown, Burnaby

There had been a string of successes at work these days. This is amazing considering that the air transport industry is supposed to be one of the hardest hit viz the economy in the USA. Did you know that within the top 10 airports in the world, USA has five airports listed as the busiest in passenger traffic?

The top two busiest airports in the world are Atlanta’s Hartfield and London’s Heathrow. Coming up behind them very fast is Beijing International. At the rate things are going, Beijing will overtake Heathrow next year. Atlanta’s busiest airport title is safe for at least 2-3 years more.

So in celebration of another great year at work and the successful roll out of some major projects, the head of the Vancouver unit decided that the team deserves some time away from work.

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We went to the Fortune House Seafood Restaurant. This is located in Metrotown.

This restaurant is popular and you can always bet there will be a serious line during busy hours. I think it is in part due to its location. This place lies smack at the busiest entrance in Metrotown. This entrance is the closest connection to the Skytrain station.

We had dim sum once here many, many years ago. I remembered that it was pricey and upscale … with some dim sum dishes costing like $7 or $8. But this time it felt like a normal dim sum place.

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We took up quite a number of tables at the back of the restaurant. We practically took up the entire back section. I am quite surprised that they allowed us to hog the tables given that there was a serious lineup outside — that is even though we had reservations.

They did not fuss when our party took a long time to trickle in. You know how it is sometimes that some people will came late because they just wanted to finish off their work before they come.

This is the kind of dim sum lunch I like because I get to talk! LOL! Among non-Chinese, I am the expert in dim sum and had fun cajoling people to try food they are not familiar with. So on my table are Mexicans, Turkish, Romanians, Canadians and Brazilians. How is that for a mix?

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Apparently the menu was already pre-picked! And they are nothing special, just safe ho-hum selections. I think budget was the reason. Moreover, I think whoever picked the menu wanted to play it safe too especially so many of the people are not used to dim sum. So we did not have phoenix claws (the Chinese name for chicken feet) and beef tripe and tendon and stuff like that — nice stuff like that!

The favourite seems to be the char siu bun above. I think it is because it resembles burgers. It was interesting observing even how they eat this. Someone tried to pick this up with a chopstick and of course it broke apart. Well, for this you eat this with your hands — like burgers!

Then another person on the table picked it up with his hands and immediately gobbled down the bun … like a burger! Oh no … he had to spit it out when I told him that he has to remove the paper underneath the char siu bun. LOL!

You know, Suanne makes awesome juicy char siu buns. No kidding … it is the best on the planet. Ask her nicely and she will make some for you. Allow me to let you on a secret … Suanne does not know how to say no.

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Most of the people are wary about the leaf that is used to wrap the sticky rice. Well, this is no difference to the Mexican Tamale to me. Maybe it is the stickiness of the rice. Yeah, people tell me that Chinese food have really weird textures.

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Beef balls. It goes without saying this is a favourite. For me, I don’t like it. There is no kung fu in making this — no elaborate steps and such.

This reminds me. There was once I brought a group of non-Asian friends to try dim sum. One of them only had … (more…)

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Yakko Sushi on Kingsway Near Metrotown, Burnaby

We had a great time in Portland. It was just a short 5-day spring break and was virtually unplanned. We just booked the hotel room without deciding on the actual itinerary and all. We wanted to check out the Portland food carts and came away having a different view having seen them. Most of them are just so-so ho-hum sort of operations — and dirty too, if I dare say. Instead, I found the variety of ethnic food a discovery.

When we got home on Wednesday, the PC would not boot! Believe it or not, we have 2 PCs and 2 notebooks at home. It had to happen to the main PC which we do our work … the beefiest of the lot with TBs of harddisk. That PC had been problematic for the past year with blown sink cooler, power supply and replaced the hard disk twice. This time we are not going to go through the hassle of fixing it. That two year old PC is telling us it wants to retire.

So, I went to get a new notebook yesterday … a beefier notebook with 8GB memory and 64-bit operating system. Oh boy, Photoshop ran very fast on the notebook. I am a happy camper now. I will spend the next few days transferring the hundreds of gigs of pix and get things back in order again before I get back to regular blogging.

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Oh I digressed.

I had blogged about Yakko Sushi before. That was two years ago and I still remember that visit. We went there right after completing the Vancouver Sun Run.

This time I was there with LotusRapper. He is the most prolific commenter on chowtimes and had been following the site for four years. Suanne and I consider him to be a loyal supporter.

LotusRapper was raving about Yakko Sushi for a while. Yakko Sushi is located on Kingsway and across the street from Metrotown.

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Yakko Sushi is small and cramp. The tables are mostly partitioned with tall wooden walls. Those partitions is the most telling thing that this is a Korean owned restaurant. I see these sort of partitions a lot in Korean restaurants. I guess Koreans like to eat in privacy.

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Service is fast and polite. Come to think of it, Korean (and Japanese) waitresses are soft-spoken whereas Chinese waitresses are not usually like that.

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They served us Miso Soup … for free! I like that.

Can you see what is “wrong” with the picture above? The Miso Soup came with a spoon in it. The Japanese would drink the soup right out of the bowl without using the soup spoon. As a custom, the Chinese would usually not encourage drinking directly from the bowl. I guess Koreans are like the Chinese too.

I remember when I was young, my mum used to chastise me for drinking soup directly from the bowl even when we are at home. So, I grew up feeling that it is uncivilized doing that … that is until when I started going to authentic Japanese restaurants and felt pretty cool slurping the soup directly from the bowl.

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The menu though is Japanese. I find that the menu is pretty standard — even unimaginative. Not that it is wrong or something like that. I am saying this because I came expecting some really different, out of the ordinary food. LotusRapper set my expectations too high. LOL!

The menu is just what you will find in most Japanese restaurant but their prices are pretty … (more…)

Continue Reading Yakko Sushi on Kingsway Near Metrotown, Burnaby

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