Au Petit on Main Street and 33rd, Vancouver

I had always heard so much about Au Petit … about how popular it is but we had never been there nor did we know where it was. All we know was that Au Petit is a Vietnamese restaurant. We met up with Angie’s family again for a weekend lunch.

As many of you already know, Angie is the person behind Sea Salt With Food. Sea Salt With Food specializes in home cooking recipes. What is amazing with her site is that all the recipes were her own cooking … and she blogs everyday. Moreover, she told us that she tries to make her home cooked food better than what she comes across outside. I was just thinking how lucky her family is having such variety of home cooked food everyday.


The Au Petit cafe is located on Main Street and 33rd St in Vancouver. From the outside, it does not really look like what I had imagined it to be. It was somewhat more old and rundown than I had expected.


The place is really small, befitting its name. Despite its looks, it is undoubtedly a very popular restaurant with a lot of customers, many of them taking out. There was once I heard the owner saying at the top his voice that he needed people to order one at a time when there were a few customers milling around the counter trying to place their take out order all at once! BTW, FYI, the owners are Cantonese speakers.

As much as we wanted to spend a lot of time enjoying the meal, we realize that this is not a place where you hang out after a meal. We do feel rushed, not because the owners rushed us but the sheer turn around of the tables and the many take out customers.

We soon realize why this place is so popular. There are nothing on the menu that costs more than $7.50.


I had the Dark French Iced Coffee With Condensed Milk. It was a much smaller cup that I am used to in other Vietnamese joint — much smaller but much better. They made it very thick and what I like best is it is rather bitter’ish too. $3.15. (more…)

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Saravanaa Bhavan on Broadway, Vancouver

Updated: 24th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

Christina and ET invited us to try something new … a meal they enjoyed a lot and thought of going there again. We hardly had any vegetarian meals before and thought it would be a great idea to check it out.

Saravanaa Bhavan on Broadway
Saravanaa Bhavan on Broadway

It is hard to correctly spell the name of the name of the restaurant. Firstly, there are too many syllables and then the way it is spelt makes it difficult to remember.

Saravanaa Bhavan is a popular South Indian Vegetarian restaurant. I checked with some of my East Indian friends and they all swear by the food here. Saravanaa Bhavan is located on Broadway, just east of Oak. I was told that this is where the Broadway Phnom Penh restaurants once was.


Their premises is really clean. We were there early. That is why you see that it was quite empty. By the time we left,the place was bustling with customers.


Service was superb. Being new to South Tamil cuisine, we obviously asked a lot of dumb questions. The waiters were very keen to help us with our questions.

They came by promptly and served us water with stainless steel cups. It felt kind of odd at first drinking from the cups.


I had to be the hero. The waiter tried to talk me out of ordering the Lasi saying that I would enjoy the Mango Lasi more. Christina also tried, in vain, to tell me I better order the Mango Lasi. The more they tried to talk me out of it, the more determined I was to order the traditional Lasi.

The Lasi ($3.50) came in two flavours … salted or sweetened. Salted sounded more exotic and so Salted Lasi it was. Well … it came and it looked like some thickened milk. The taste … it was sour and salty and frankly, not meant to be rude or what, it tastes like … puke. It was not my kind of drink but I finished it off nevertheless … a sip at a time. Actually, the first sip was the worst but it gradually was not so bad after that. I tried the Mango Lasi ($3.75) … and yes, it was like a million times better.


I consider the Medhu Vada ($5) the Indian version of donuts. There were four pieces of it. It is fried lentil donuts and served with coconut chutney and sambar. Unlike the normal donuts, this one is quite salty.


Arkensen and Nanzaro could not find Salted Fish Fried Rice on the menu. So, they ordered the next thing closest to fried rice. They had the Paneer Biryani ($9.25). For all I know, Paneer is the Indian version of cheese … I expect to see some cheese cubes or bits in it. The boys liked it.


My choice was simply their version of “The Works”. It is simply called the Saravanaa Special Meal ($9.95). It came with 10 small tiffins. Collectively, I think this is what they call a Thali. (more…)

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Chilli Padi on Fraser St, Vancouver

Updated: 27th June 2012: This restaurant has closed according to

We met up with Angie (of Sea Salt With Food) again for a Sunday lunch. We wanted to go for Indonesian and choose the Sweet Chili Cafe but it was closed on Sunday. Being already hungry and all set for hot and spicy South East Asian food, we went to the next place we can think of.


A short drive to 41st and Fraser brought us to Chilli Padi. Chilli Padi is a Malay restaurant and located in the old location of Kedah House (another Malaysian restaurant). I describe Chilli Padi as a Malay restaurant as opposed to a Malaysian restaurant because it serves Malay food. Malaysian food encompasses a wider cuisine that includes Chinese and Indian cuisine.


Not knowing really what to expect, I was quite surprised how nice and clean Chilli Padi looked compared to Kedah House when it was here. The decor is quite Malay with rustic wooden panels. The place is quite smallish though … smallish but with a cozy feel to it. Most of their customers, we can see, are obviously very Malaysian … Chinese Malaysians and Malay Malaysians.


We started off by ordering a very popular soup found in Malay hawker stalls. It is actually a more Thai soup than it is Malay. It is a hot and sour soup but what characterize this soup the most is … (more…)

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La Petite France on Arbutus St, Vancouver

Updated: 24th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

For this cake meet, Polly and I invited Angie to meet at La Petite France. Although Angie is not a big fan of cake, she will join us for cake meet once in a while. It’s the company of friends that counts.


La Petite France is located at 2655 Arbutus St, Vancouver. We find that the neighborhood is pretty quite during our visit there.


La Petite France’s decor is simple and elegant. We felt warm and cozy. The back ground music is obviously in French.


We ordered Latte and Cappucino for our drinks. They are $3.40 each.


We ordered 3 items to share. The prices here is slightly on the higher end. The cake price range from $5+ to $6+ whle their lunch menu range from $4.95 for soup to $11.75 for mains. (more…)

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Breka Bakery & Cafe on Fraser St, Vancouver

Polly and I met up again for our sweet fix. It’s been a challenge for us to find a new place in Richmond as there are not many of such places for us to go.


We found Breka Bakery & Cafe from google search and most of the reviews are on the positive side. Breka is located at 6533 Fraser St and there is a bus stop just steps away from the bakery.


We were quite surprised to find out that this bakery is open 24/7. We were just wondering how many people will be visiting a bakery in the middle of the night. Breka must have good traffic to justify the 24/7.

breka-12 (more…)

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Gypsy Rose Crepe Cafe in Vancouver

Polly and I had wanted to try something other than cake. When we drove down Granville St, we always noticed a Crepe Shop and had wanted to try it but never got to do it. A few weeks ago, I saw a small write up in the newspaper about a Crepe Cafe and it said that it’s one of the best crepe shop in town. So, Polly and I decided to try out this Gypsy Rose Crepe Cafe.


Gypsy Rose Crepe Cafe is located at 2017 West 4th Ave, Vancouver. This is a family operated cafe.


Once you step into the cafe, you are greeted with a wall of pictures of gypsies. Perhaps, the inspiration of the shop name came from the decor or the name of the shop inspires the owners to decorate the shop with gypsies’ pictures.


There are over 50 varieties of sweet and savory crepes to choose from. They also serve specialty coffee and sandwiches from fresh ingredients. Polly and I decided to order one sweet and one savory crepe to share.


It was kind of difficult for us to choose one out of so many crepes available. The owner told us that they changed their menu according to customers’ preference. (more…)

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Phnom Penh in Vancouver Chinatown

Suanne and I met up with Ed and Christina of Doesn’t Tazte Like Chicken for a weekend dinner. This time it was them who chose the location. We enjoy having going out with them because they are as real a foodie as it comes. We learn a lot from them and most of all we enjoyed their stories … like $200 sashimi and having Kobe Beef in Japan.


We went to Phnom Penh located in Chinatown. Although we had heard so much of the place we had never been there before. I was kind of surprised to find that it’s located in such a quiet street. In the evening when we were there, Phnom Penh was about the only shop opened on the whole street.


I was taken aback how popular this restaurant is. It was utterly packed. Ed made reservation prior to coming but it was quite useless because even with reservation, we had to wait quite a bit past the time.

I can imagine how popular this place is judging by the many awards and newspaper clippings they had accumulated throughout the years. I even see that one award was dated back 12 years (1992!) … so they must have been around for ages.


Even Anthony Bourdain ate here before and signed a copy of their takeout menu. Gosh … if I were them I would frame it up instead of leaving it pinned on the board. That signed menu is a huge bragging right if you ask me.

I actually had half a mind of doing one for them too … you know, “Fantastic Meal, Many Thanks … Chowtimes, Ben and Suanne” LOL!


Suanne and I shared a drink called Soda Egg. I am not exactly sure what this is but does remind me of the Egg Cream (which has neither egg nor cream) I had in New York. (more…)

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Prima Taste in Vancouver Downtown

Updated: 6th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to

We met up with Angie and her kids for lunch over a weekend … oh … more than a month ago. You can see how behind I am in my dining out blog posts.

Angie is to us a really good cook. You should check out her food blog which mainly focuses on recipes with a bit of dining outs. Her site is called Sea Salt With Food.


We decided to meet in a Malaysian restaurant. We hem’d and haw’d between Chili Padi and Prima Taste and finally forced to decide on Prima Taste because Chili Padi was closed for the Muslim holiday. Prima Taste is located in downtown Vancouver (specifically 570 Robson Street). Locating this place is easy but, whew, parking is expensive in downtown isn’t it? We managed to get a spot on the street parking which is much cheaper.


Prima Taste is very much more a Singaporean restaurant than a Malaysian one. For all intents and purposes, Singaporean and Malaysian cuisines are not only similar, they are one and the same. Did you know that Singapore was a state in Malaysia in the 1960’s? Anyway, Prima Taste refects every bit of Singapore … from huge posters of the Singapore city to the modern and clean decor and lines. It is definitely a very comfortable restaurant for sure and certainly one of the best looking Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant in Metro Vancouver by far.


Prima Taste’s origin started off as manufacturer of Ready-to-cook mixes and is based in Singapore. The Prima Taste brand is popular around the world when it comes to these mixes. Suanne tried using their Singapore Chilli Crab mixes before and had blogged about it here. We like Prima Taste’s mixes.

But before I continue, can I ask permission from you readers that I be honest here? I get lambasted sometimes for expressing my personal opinions especially in areas which is deemed as negative. It is just my opinion and yours may differ … and I accept that. So here goes …


We ordered mainly from their single servings section of the menu — you know, noodles and rice dishes. All their dishes looked OK to good. On the taste department, I know I am measuring this to authentic Malaysian and Singapore food, I am sorry to say that they are pretty bland to just OK.

I think they might have tried too hard to tone down the flavor to cater for the downtown crowd. If so, I understand why.

The Laksa Fried Rice above looked yummy.


The Char Koay Teow is simply too wet. It was so wet that it was almost like a KL Hokkien Mee already. Maybe Singaporeans makes Char Koay Teow like this but Malaysian ones are certainly not like this. What is really missing is the fried pork lard bits and cockles … LOL! (more…)

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Tenhachi Japanese Restaurant in Shaugnessy Village

Updated: 25th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

We met up with Kim Ho for dinner last month. Kim Ho had been a prolific commenter on chowtimes and he also had a blog which he calls it Words of Wind. He recommended a Japanese restaurant Tenhachi which apparently is one of those places that had been blogged about many times by local Vancouver food bloggers.


Tenhachi is located in the ground floor of a bed-and-breakfast place unlike the B&B that most people are accustomed to. Firstly, despite the name Shaugnessy Village it is not anywhere like the tony Shaugnessy neighborhood. Shaugnessy Village is more like a cheap hotel more than it is a B&B.


Tenhachi comes across to us as a pure Japanese restaurant. Decor-wise, there is no hint of this being a Japanese restaurant but we were greeted in Japanese. We tried to tell them we don’t understand Japanese (in English of course) but they kept on talking to us in Japanese. Hmmm … if anything, Suanne and I do not look like a Japanese at all. But service was great and have all the hallmark of Japanese politeness.


I had absolutely no idea what I was ordering. So I ended up ordering something that sounded good. The above is Beef with Ponzu Sauce which costs $14.

I did not know what Ponzu Sauce (it’s soya sauce with lemon) was but now I know. That is because Kim Ho is like a walking encyclopedia! Ask him any obscure question, he is able answer!


The beef was thinly sliced and served cold … just like a beef salad of sort. (more…)

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