Chau Kitchen and Bar on Robson, Vancouver

Updated: 17th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

Suanne and I met up with Gigi and Jenkins of HoYummy a few weeks ago. We had always been following hoyummy for almost two years now. I consider them as one of the earlier food bloggers when sites like, Nancyland and Ho Yummy were the more prominent food blog sites around. It really makes me think that as much as Suanne and I still has the passion to continue to blog, I am sure that one day we will just move on to something else.

We decided to pick a spot in downtown Vancouver.


It was one of the more beautiful days in winter when we met. The weather this year had been horrendous and I so look forward to a drier spring. On a clear spring day, Vancouver is simply stunning … with both water AND snow capped mountains as a backdrop, I am sure there are not many places in this world with such a setting.


Chau is a newish 6-month old Vietnamese restaurant located on Robson by Nicola. Ever since we had an upscale Vietnamese meal at Tamarind Tree in Seattle, I had always lamented that there is no equivalent in Vancouver. I had hoped that Chau would be the closest to that.


As the name states, Chau Kitchen and Bar, they had a small bar right at the entrance of the restaurant. The bar splits the dining area into two parts.


The dining area is pleasant and has an earthy feel to it but nothing overly fancy. We got seated by the windows as we wanted more light for the pictures.


Once seated, we were promptly served iced water with a slice of cucumber in it. Unique, I thought.


I opted for the Chau Lemonade which is a mix of vodka, cucumber and lemon. The taste was refreshing particularly from the cucumber. I enjoyed it but it really was a bit too strong for me.


The menu is small. Basically what you see above is all there is for the main dish section. We were not too impressed with the lack of choices. What really struck me was the 1st item on the menu …


… Spring Rolls. I ordered that even though it does not really compute in my brain that any spring roll could cost $11. They were without any doubt some of the best spring rolls I ever had but still $11 is just a bit too expensive for me. Again, it was great … but the serving is too small, and too pricey.


I was also thinking that this is touted as a main dish while spring rolls are always served as an appetizer else where. Anyway, it’s described as signature chicken and taro … and is very crunchy without the greasiness associated with poorly made spring rolls.


Continue ReadingChau Kitchen and Bar on Robson, Vancouver

Popular Chinese Cuisine on Kingsway and Joyce, Vancouver

This restaurant has been closed according to Urbanspoon – updated 16th April 2010.

All I can say is … “Oh wow”. You really should check this place out.

Suanne and I get quite a number of recommendations from our readers. We like these recommendations as they are often little known restaurants with a lot of character to them.

Eric, who we do not know personally, sent us a note raving about the Northern Chinese restaurant find that he had been going to for the past while. Specifically he pointed out that their specialty is Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) … MSG-free Xiao Long Bao.


Suanne and I decided to take that drive to Popular Chinese Cuisine Restaurant. Popular is located on the north side of Kingsway between Joyce and Tyne.

From the outside, we thought that this is probably the last eatery we will try in the row of restaurants which included the Congee Noodle King. The blinds were drawn which does make people who walk past not really care what to check.


Eric described this place as a hole-in-the-wall family owned restaurant. While it is definitely family owned, it does not conjure images of small dark restaurants. As a matter of fact, the restaurant is bright, clean and spacious. However, it is a very quite restaurant with ours the only other table taken that evening.

Popular is run by a husband and wife team. They were friendly and helpful but the thing is that they speak only Mandarin. We managed despite the language problem. Instead of choosing our own dish, we asked them for the favourite dish of their customers.


Of course we had to order the Xiao Long Bao. They came in a steamer with individual dumplings placed in mini saucers. I thought it was a neat idea having never seen this before.


One thing that struck me was how thin the dough skin was and yet being able to hold in the gelatin soup. I guess the reason why they serve this in mini saucers was because of the thinness of the almost translucent skin.


Suanne told me she saw on TV how the delicate Xiao Long Bao is to eaten. You need a soup spoon to hold it. You first bite off a corner at the thinner side and then carefully sip the scalding soup before you eat the rest of it.

Their Xiao Long Bao was great. They reminded us that they are MSG free. Six dumplings for $4. Not bad I thought.


Before the meal came, they even gave us some free pickles and stuff. The one in the background is some pickled vegetable … carrot with daikon I think. The peanuts were particularly good and was wondering where they got that from.


The Sliced Fish with Wine Sauce was great too. We were surprised how big a plate this came in. This one dish was definitely more than enough for two people. Served steaming hot, it has a very nice rice wine fragrance to it.


Continue ReadingPopular Chinese Cuisine on Kingsway and Joyce, Vancouver

Cafe Crepe on Granville at 12th Avenue, Vancouver

Updated: 17th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

It was one of those days that Polly and I cant decide where to go for our cake meet. The outstanding list of places to visit does not appeal to Polly. So, she suggested to go back to Sweet Obsession on West 16th Vancouver as it’s one of the better cake places in town. While driving along Granville St, we remembered that we has always wanted to visit Cafe Crepe on Granville at 12th Avenue. So, we changed our plan to go to Cafe Crepe.


There are plenty street parking along Granville St. Cafe Crepe is pretty easy to find with it’s striking red and black awning. It was pretty quiet as it’s still very early in the morning, just before 10am.

After we were seated and placed our orders, I took out my camera and took some shots our drinks and crepe. Just after I took a shot of the first crepe, a gentleman (not sure if he is the owner or one of the staff ) approached me and told me that it’s the company policy not allowing photography in the cafe. I respect his request and did not take any more photographs. So, here I am, trying to describe the food we had without a photograph. I find it a bit hard as pictures are the heart of chowtimes and pictures speak louder than words.


The above was what we ordered. Polly had the Chai Latte. My regular coffee came in a very small cup, like those use for espresso. Luckily, the coffee has free refills.

We ordered a savory and a sweet crepe to share. I remembered I read about a review on Cafe Crepe by Doesnt Tazte Like Chicken who gave a thumbs up for their Tuna crepe. So, we went for the Tuna, Swiss Cheese, Egg and Mayonnaise Crepe. It was indeed pretty good. I’m kind of puzzled by the fact that Christina of Does’nt Tazte Like Chicken was able to take pictures of her food in the same franchise store. Don’t they have the same policy?

The sweet crepe we ordered was Mixed Fresh Cut Fruit with Apple Sauce and Cinnamon. It was after a few bites that Polly noticed that there was a strand of hair in the crepe. The waitress apologized for the unwanted hair and replaced the crepe with a fresh one. Hmm, that was not a pleasant experience for us. Anyway, the Mixed Fresh Cut Fruit crepe was just so, so; dominate by apple sauce. Next time, we’ll go for the more conventional chocolate and banana crepe.


Continue ReadingCafe Crepe on Granville at 12th Avenue, Vancouver

E-Bei Japanese Restaurant at Granville and 41st, Vancouver

Updated: 17th Feb 2011: This restaurant had changed its name to Ebi Sushi Japanese Restaurant, the name had been changed unknowing to us.

Each time we go for AYCE (all-you-can-eat) we end up regretting over eating. However, this time we cannot say no because the birthday boy (Arkensen) gets the choice. Nanzaro was, without doubt, very happy with the choice.


We decided to go to E-Bei for the AYCE. We had heard of some bad reviews of E-Bei on many sites before but decided to go nevertheless. It is because I know our boys are not food snobs and will definitely enjoy E-Bei — and they did.

E-Bei is located at the intersection of 41st and Granville in Vancouver. One thing we did not like about dining here is that we had to pay for parking … $4 for two hours.


E-Bei is not very big as far as AYCE Sushi places are concern. I am comparing the size of this place with places we had been to before like Fish On Rice and Kingsway Sushi. E-Bei was packed when we were there and there was quite a bit of a wait line too.

So, there you go … sometimes one cannot just rely solely on anonymous reviews. People does obviously enjoy E-Bei and find this place of good value here. However, seating is tight … so tight that we could see and smell the food of our neighbor.


To us, this place is more Chinese than Japanese. From the looks of the customers and workers, I can see Chinese faces. Can you tell facial features of Chinese from Japanese? I can … I think.


Orders are placed with the chit they provide. I like that they always have a fresh one for us the moment they take away our order — no delaying tactics like some places who has every trick in the book to make you wait. The food came very fast and quite accurately too. We find that they have more choices as compared to our recent visit to Kingsway Sushi.

The AYCE costs $11 ($9 for children). On weekends and holidays, they charge $1 extra. However, they stipulated a time limit of 1.5 hours but I don’t see any signs of this being enforced. I think it’s just a provision for people who eat excessively.


The Nigiri’s are pretty good. I think this is the favourite of E-Bei’s customer. This is because the menu states that they will charge 50 cents for each unconsumed rice of any Nigiri Sushi. I guess some people ordered tons of this, removed the rice and had the fish as sashimi. LOL!

Their Nigiri is respectable in that they did not load up the Nigiri with lots of rice … it was much more raw fish than rice.


The cones (roe, spicy tuna and spicy salmon) were quite good … except that the rice was like Chinese steamed rice. Alright it might be a no-no to some people but it is more than edible. Like I said, it was quite good … for us.


The rolls were some of the ugliest and malformed rolls we had ever seen. It does not look pretty but it was OK. The bad thing here is with the color green in almost all of it. You see, our boys will refuse to touch it if it has any green color stuff (avacado or cucumber). Suanne and I ended up eating all of these.


Suanne likes the Salmon Head a lot. She is so adept in picking off the flesh. I find that their Salmon Head looks the best among all AYCE’s — big chunky pieces and fleshy.


Look at the above … that’s the remnants on Suanne’s plate. She ate everything edible … except for the …


… eyeballs! I know some people likes it.


The smelt was not that good. They use very whitish batter for this. The reason why I put this picture here was because Suanne and I have a question …


We like smelt with roes in it. We guess it is very cheap because we find these in many eating places. For some reason, we had never come across smelts with roe fresh from the supermarkets. We can’t find it in Asian markets or even at places in T&T. Do you know where we could get some?


The Octopus was served with garlic butter sauce, or so says the menu. It looked good but was somewhat too salty for our liking although we like the slight spiciness in it.


I don’t know what the above fish is called but it was quite good. We like fried fish. (more…)

Continue ReadingE-Bei Japanese Restaurant at Granville and 41st, Vancouver

Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe on Denman, Vancouver

Updated 30th Oct 2010: this restaurant is closed.

You guys remember Rey? Well … if you remember, he’s the one who promised to bring us on a culinary adventure of Filipino cuisine. Rey is a Filipino community advocate and he wanted to create awareness of the third largest visible minority community in Vancouver by encouraging the creation of local Filipino content on the internet.

Last month, Rey introduced to us the Chinese Filipino food by bringing us to Little Ongpin in Richmond. In the second leg of the adventure, Rey next introduced us to Spanish Filipino food.


The Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe is located on Denman in Vancouver Westside. We were met by Mari and David, who opened this delightful outlet with their daughter since October 2008. So this place is just 6 months new. Mari and David are both of Spanish descent from the Philippines. Mari told us she is a chocolate lover … and the place was started out of her love of chocolates! She’s so friendly and approachable that I can see that she connects to her customers very well.

I was told by Rey that pure Spanish Filipino makes up only 2% of the population in the Phillipines. Despite the low number, the Spanish has a lasting influence in the Filipino culture having colonized the country for 333 years. That is why most of the Filipino names are Spanish names.


When Rey suggested Dulcinea and raved about their Hot Chocolate, we initially thought “what’s the big deal”? We soon changed our perception of hot chocolates after this experience.

The name Dulcinea came from the name of Don Quixote’s true love in the novel of the same name. We had always thought that Dulcinea was pronounced as Doo-See-Nea. A big sign on the wall says “Doo-see-nay-ah”. You learn something new everyday. The name Dulcinea means overly elegant sweetness — a perfect name for a chocolate cafe.


Dulcinea started off as a Spanish Chocolate Bar in the Vancouver Westside neighborhood. Mari told us that the place evolved quickly since they started six month ago … from starting to serve tapas, then soup, sandwiches … and Dulcinea took life on its own when customers requested for certain food and Dulcinea responded.

We went to Dulcinea at 4PM. It’s an odd hour, I know but Rey wanted us to treat this like a Merienda. I had always heard that the Spanish culture has a really odd day … like taking a nap after lunch, having dinner at 9:30PM and Meriendas in between meal times.

We half expected the place to be empty at 4PM and thought that Rey suggested that time because Mari and David would be the least busiest. We were amazed that even at 4PM, Dulcinea was packed … with people … having … Merienda! The crowd actually taper off at about 5’ish.


This is it … the above is what Dulcinea is famous for. Their signature Hot Chocolate which is called the 1528. It is a shot of thick chocolate. It is like the espresso of chocolates … but much more thicker. Any thicker it would not be drinkable! Even the spoon provided is designed to scrap off the thick chocolates from the sides of the cup.

The 1528 costs $2 per shot. If you have never tried it before, go to the counter and ask for a small sample. They pass out samples and once you take a sip, you’ll probably want one for your own.

Now … if you want a solo cup of the 1528 … listen here … FOR FREE … just go and tell Mari, David or whoever at the counter that “Chowtimes Loves Xocolatl” and you will receive a solo cup of the 1528. Serious! I suggested to Mari and David that they put in a little fun promotion to benefit readers of chowtimes and was surprised to hear a yes from them. I suggest you know what a Xocolatl is (see below) and how it is pronounced (pronounced as choco-latl).

Consider this is like Suanne and I buying you a cup of hot chocolate. 🙂

Update 05-Apr-2009: The offer for the free 1528 had now expired. Mari and David expressed their thanks to everyone who had taken time to visit their store and tried the 1528. However, Dulcinea will continue to offer samples of the 1528 (just not a solo cup of it). There could be more offers coming. Just stay tuned. I hope those who had the 1528 enjoyed it!

Oh … 1528 … that is the year that the Spanish took cocoa from Mexico and shipped it back to Spain. That year was the start of Europe’s love of chocolates. Nice name, I thought.


If you’re not into thick hot chocolates, there is the Classico … a more watered down version but still really rich and creamy.


I had the Hot Chocolate with Chai. These are not very large cups like I am used to (i.e. we drink Milo at home and we make really big cups and gulp them down real fast). Here I find that I took my time to savour every sip.


The Xocolatl (how do one pronounce that again?) is quite exciting. I’ve never seen a dried chili served with hot beverage before. This one is a hot chocolate with chili nutmeg and cinnamon. The chili wasn’t that hot. Be brave and go try that one. You’ll probably love the contrasting flavours here.


What’s chocolate without fondue? It’s something about fondue that makes it the favourite of just about everyone. I think it’s because it’s a fun food to have with friends. We noticed that the grapes were frozen … not sure why only the grapes were frozen while the banana and strawberry wasn’t.


Besides the delightful hot chocolates, Dulcinea has absolutely the best cakes and pastries one could find in Vancouver. This is coming from our resident cakes fan, Suanne. Our fav has got to be the Lava Blanco above which is chocolate mousse with white choc inside of it.

Instead of ordering each item by itself, we actually ordered the sampler which gives us a little of everything we wanted. (more…)

Continue ReadingDulcinea Chocolate Cafe on Denman, Vancouver

Congee Noodle House on East Broadway, Vancouver

It was one of those days.

Normally we eat in for breakfast but that one morning, we decided to eat out. We did not know where and not caring for what too. We got into the car and decided that we will just drive around and see if there is something we fancy. And oh … the criteria is, it has to be somewhere we had never been to before because we wanted to blog about it.

We drove along No 3 Road in Richmond … could not find any. Decided to cross the Knight Street Bridge and try driving northwards along Main Street … nope, nothing. It was until we got to Broadway, we decided that we’ll not be picky and just go to the next one we spot.


It just happen that the Congee Noodle House is just at the intersection of Broadway and Main. We were getting hungry already and decided, we’ll just chance it.

It sure one of the better days that morning. The sun was out … one of the rarities this winter. I so look forward to spring this year more than any other. Thinking of it now, I hardly played at all this winter.

I was kind of afraid that parking would be a problem. But it was much easier than I thought. They actually have a large parking lot at the back of the restaurant.


The Congee Noodle House is surprisingly larger than I thought and definitely busier than I imagined. I mean, I don’t really expect a congee house right at this spot of town.


You know what we love best? The music they put on. It was Sam Hui’s soft sentimental songs. Suanne has a complete collection of Sam Hui’s songs at home. Sam is the king of Cantopop and undisputed “God of Song” in the 80s … he he he … and that shows our age! Anyway, if you’re into Cantopop, enjoy this song as you read the rest of this posting.


I learned something new that day. I had always wondered why there are rice grains in the salt shaker. Suanne claims that this keeps the salt from clumping together. Is that right … you reckon?


We noticed that every table had congee — so, it would be a safe bet to order congee. As a matter of fact their menu is dominated by congee with the front page of the menu saying the following:

Congee is a popular kind of traditional Chinese diet which has been around for thousands of years. It is mentioned in many ancient Chinese books, some of which date back to the very beginning of Chinese history. One ancient record describes the preparation of a “Celestial Congee” which contains curing powers that overcome certain chronic diseases affecting the kidney and the spleen. It can also build up body health. A Sung Dynasty poet, Lu You, wrote in a poem on congee “All mortals crave for long life. They do not understand that the key lies in the present. For me who live in the vale, my philosophy is easy and simple: eating congee brings health and leads to immortality”

Nevertheless, it is totally believable that eating congee maintains good health and prolongs life. From the modern medical point of view, congee — a semi-liquid diet — regulates and enhances our appetite. it brings healthy digestion and helps the body to readily absorb nutrition. The benefits of eating congee are irrefutable.

Their congee is really smooth … the kind that they blend it to near puree-like. (more…)

Continue ReadingCongee Noodle House on East Broadway, Vancouver

7-Courses of Beef from Song Huong, Vancouver

Some of you may remember this. This was way back in spring last year when we went for a little vacation in Seattle where we came across the first time the Vietnamese Seven Courses of Beef at the Tamarind Tree. It was one of the most memorable dinners we ever had. We lamented the fact that there is no Vietnamese restaurant like the Tamarind Tree in Vancouver.

Well, we finally found one restaurant in Metro Vancouver that serves Seven Courses of Beef. Suanne and I went with ET and Christina (of Doesn’t TaZte Like Chicken) to Song Huong right after the visit to Pearl Drops Teahouse.


Song Huong is located on Nanaimo St and 1st Ave in Vancouver. For some reason we had the address as 2408 Nanaimo but good thing we travelled south along Nanaimo because we found that it’s located instead on 1613 Nanaimo … otherwise we would have missed this place.

We realized this had to be the right place when we see the words “Bo 7 Mon”. We don’t read Vietnamese but that “7” had to be it. Song Huong came across to us as a really authentic Vietnamese restaurant. From the outside, the signs they had are predominantly Vietnamese.


It took a while before we found the item on the menu … “Bo 7 Mon”. For a moment I thought “wow, $25.95 per person”? The menu did not quite say how many this would serve. ET was pretty sure it is not for one person. He was right. That $25.95 is meant for 3-4 people.


Song Huong is a large restaurant as far as Vietnamese restaurants goes. Forget about ambiance here. The decor is tacky at best. But the more we are here, the more we realize that this is a really authentic Vietnamese restaurant … a restaurant where Vietnamese goes.

The wait staff is really friendly and helpful.


Since it is meant to serve 3-4 people and that we’re quite hungry since we did not have much to eat at Pearl Drops, we ordered a couple of sides. The spring rolls was a great start. I like this type of spring rolls … I think this is rolled with rice paper which gives it a rougher skin.


The other side dish we had was the fried chicken wings. Again, these were excellent. As good as these were, these are just the supporting cast. My mind was all focused on the main meal … the Bo 7 Mon.


Before long, the main course started. It was bewildering all the items that put on the table. I had to repeat a few times to the wait staff that we need INSTRUCTIONS as we had no idea what to do next.

I had to repeat because she keeps coming and going with more stuff and when I reminded her, she just said “yes, yes”. I wanted to make sure she knew what I was asking. You know how it is, right? Some Asians when they don’t understand what you’re saying, they answer “yes, yes” with a smile. LOL! I just wanted to make sure … I definitely needed instructions.


For instance, we were not supposed to drink from the pot of “soup” above. See what I mean? I needed instructions. (more…)

Continue Reading7-Courses of Beef from Song Huong, Vancouver

Corner 23 on Cambie, Vancouver

You know, ever since we stepped into Flo Tea Room, my attention is now focused on BBTs. I have come to learned that BBT is short for Bubble Tea in foodie-speak. It is very much like AYCE and HKSC and TBN.

Come to think of it, we serious foodies must unite and make up a glossary of foodie acronyms. Tell me if you know of any foodie acronyms and I’ll compile a comprehensive list and post it.

OK, I admit. Other than AYCE, I made up HKSC and TBNH. Can anyone tell me what is HKSC and TBNH? LOL!


Bubble Tea is so Asian. I am not sure what exactly it is that makes it appealing mostly to Asians. Whites drink Starbucks and I had hardly heard of any self-respecting Gwei-lo’s liking it. Strange. I remember we once bought some to the office for our visitors from Atlanta. Those guys did not even touch a single cup although they kept asking about that little black balls in them.

Anyway, Jenny of My Secret Eden recommended to us her favourite BBT place. Corner 23 is located at the … well … corner of 23rd and Cambie. It’s easy to remember the address. Parking seems to be a problem when we went there as there are very limited and tight parking at the rear of the restaurant.


We were kind of surprised that there are so many wait staff in this place. And all of them are very young looking too … like I mean, where is the adult supervision in this place? LOL! Actually they were really helpful bunch of people and have lots of energy. I was rather impressed with them all.

Corner 23, like most BBT places, is also a youngster hangout which means it is quite noisy. We did not mind at all.


I know it is winter now in Vancouver. But wanted to try something new. We had BBTs already the last time so we opted for Slush instead. Their Slush’s costs $4.75 each. So we got ourselves a Tangerine Lemon Slush and a Lemon Yogurt Slush.

The Tangerine Lemon Slush has a citrus-ey taste as expected. However I cant taste any yogurt in the Lemon Yogurt Slush. They are fun drinks … that’s what it is to us.


Ahhhh … a chip off the old block. Nanzaro also gets brain freeze drinking slushes … just like his dad. You know, he will grow up to be exactly like me … that’s my boy! LOL.


Corner 23 has a rather extensive menu. If you are new to this place and do not know what to order, just flip over to the “Classical Taiwanese Dish” section of the menu. Pretty much everything you like about Taiwanese food is found here.

We did not even bother with this section. We already know what we wanted. We wanted exactly the same things that Jenny had when she blogged about it on her website.


If there is only one dish you are going to order, this is the ONE. Formally known as Wan Luan Pork Hock, you can just call this Pork Hock and they will know what you want. If you get this, please … please … please … keep this a secret from your doctor, OK? I never let my doctor know I dig this artery clogging good stuff.

This is unbelievably tender and fatty … simple awesome. We ordered the small one ($9) but they also have it in larger serving ($18). I can handle a $9 guilt but not the $18 one. (more…)

Continue ReadingCorner 23 on Cambie, Vancouver