Grand Pacific Buffet in New Westminster

Updated 17th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

“I heard” is good; “I saw” is better; “I tasted” is best.
~ Ben Yap

The chinese employees at my workplace organized a Chinese New Year lunch celebration today. We do that every year. This year, they have graciously invited Suanne too for the lunch because they wanted to also make this a farewell lunch for me. For the first time, the organizer decided that we go to a buffet for a change. We went to the Grand Pacific Buffet in New Westminster. The Grand Pacific Buffet is a buffet with Western, Chinese and Japanese food with predominantly Chinese food.

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There were a lot of varieties. The food is so-so but then it’s not fair to compare buffets to the normal restaurants. I was wary of MSG with the tell-tale thirstiness after the meal but nope, it was not at all. Suanne and I went for two full rounds and ended up sharing the dessert. The photos below does not tell much but anyway, these are our second round plates. It’s about $8 for a weekday lunch.

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Good food goes best with good company. These people are not co-workers but has been friends to me for a long time. I was always the odd one out with this group because I do not understand their brand of Mandarin. It does not matter, as long as the food is good — they are the SME’s (Best Buy’s overused term for Subject Matter Experts) in Chinese food around Burnaby. (more…)

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My Commute

Last night I made a thousand plans, but this morning I went my old way.
~ Chinese Proverb

OK, I know this is not about food but I thought I have a break and blog about something I love to do very much — biking. Well, many of you already know that I am leaving Best Buy. It’s been a long six years and my last day at work is next week. Today is about the only day I could bike to work and so I thought I make a change and blog about my commute to work. My new place of work will be further and worse, I will have to navigate two killer hills. I guess it’ll be a while before I get the chance to bike again.

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I took it easy and stopped at various points to take pictures. (more…)

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Buns, Buns, Buns and Buns

Warm food, warm friendships.
~ Czech Proverb

Polly and Xiao Qin came by this morning to make the buns Ben & I blogged earlier. We made two batches of buns and experimented with four different type of fillings. Polly brought her own (stir-fried) minced pork and Xiao Qin brought some peanut butter. I still had some pulled pork leftover and I also bought some lotus paste from the Great One Supermarket.

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I had the dough prepared the night before. So, we started off immediate filling the dough. Polly and Xiao Qin did the filling for almost all the buns while I played paparazzi. It was pretty hard work as it took almost 1 hour to fill 24 buns. We baked the buns in two different batches.

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Green Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine

A good name is better than good habits.
~ Vietnamese Proverb

We went to a Vietnamese restaurant today for lunch. There are a lot of Vietnamese restaurant serving Pho’ in Vancouver. The Green Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine restaurant we went to is apparently new because we have never noticed it before. If we remember correctly, I think it used to be a Greek restaurant. It is located in 8180 Westminster Hwy, just next to the Richmond Public Market. Click here for the Google Map of this location.

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We ordered three dishes to share among the four of us because Vietnamese noodles always comes in very big bowl. All Vietnamese restaurants served the traditional Vietnamese noodles called pho — noodles in clear beef broth. Arkensen always ordered either the Beef Ball Noodles or the ubiquitous No 1 Special. This time he ordered the No 1 Special which comes with thin cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket), tendon, tripe and meatballs. Since Nanzaro liked spicy food, Suanne ordered the spicy version — Pork & Beef in Hot & Spicy Soup. The large No 1 Special costs $5.95 while the Hot & Spicy version is $6.95.

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Richmond Public Market (1)

Note: The latest post about the Richmond Public Market is of February 2011 and is found on this link.

Suanne and I had a break from the boys today. Not knowing where to go for lunch, we ended up in the Richmond Public Market. The Public Market is located along the Westminster Highway and is another great place for authentic and cheap Chinese food. The food court, located at the upper level, are always very busy.

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Because of the many food stalls in the public market, we are naming this blog the Richmond Public Market. Here is the first of the series:

Xin Jiang Delicious Food


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Suanne went to the Xin Jiang Delicious Food. Xin Jiang is a remote province in north western China and is the province with a large muslim community. We just learnt that the people in Xin Jiang prefer to refer themselves as the Chinese Turkestan. That is why you see that there’s a Halal symbol on the signboard above. Suanne opted for a dish we have never tried before. It is called the Xin Jiang Flak Crystal and is serve is rectangular pieces. The owner told us that it is made from mung bean powder. Mung bean is better known as green beans or “kacang hijau” in Malay. The Flak Crystal is perhaps prepared the same way like the transparent noodle such as Tung Fun (Cantonese) but that it’s made into a cake and cut into pieces for cooking.

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The dish is very spicy and we felt it is also a thad too salty for our taste. The price is $7.25 for a large serving. (more…)

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Roast Chicken

Finally! As promised, a blog on chicken. Suanne roasted a pair of chicken for dinner today.

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We normally buy roasted chicken from the deli section in places like Safeway, Superstore or Save-on-Foods. We used to buy them for dinners and when Suanne does not feel like cooking. The boys particularly liked the chicken and the fries that comes along with it. It was a good deal for about $11 which also includes two sides and buns.

Just prior to Christmas, we found a really cheap roasting pan from Linen-n-Things. It was only $15 after rebates and it comes with a free 4-piece gourmet carving set. Since then we have roasted our own chicken.

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S&W Pepper House in Crystal Mall

Life is an onion that you peel crying.
~ French Proverb

Suanne came by my office today during lunch time while on an errand. We decided to go out to lunch together nearby my office in Burnaby and landed up in the Crystal Mall along Kingsway. Crystal Mall is an Asian Mall and is a great place to get really good and cheap food. He he he … Crystal Mall is also known as MSG City! We wanted to try a new place and chance upon this small place called S&W Pepper House. We decided to go in because we saw a few people having noodles eating out from a huge bowl.

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The S&W Pepper House is a mainland Chinese type of joint with almost everyone speaking in Mandarin. It’s not a big place, with seating for about 30-35 people max. You could easily give it a miss. If you are the adventurous type and liked trying new and authentic mainland chinese food, you simply MUST try it out. S&W Pepper House in located on the ground floor.

Suanne ordered the “Guo Qiao” Rice Noodle in Special Soup. “Guo Qiao” meant Crossing Bridges in Mandarin. This $6.75 dish is served in four different portions. The main part is the soup in which we were told we need to put the ingredients in order and eat from the large bowl of soup. The raw quail eggs, sliced meat and prawns goes in first. This is followed by mixed vegetables and finally the noodles.

Suanne told me that there’s a story behind “Guo Qiao” in old China. The story goes that there was once a very poor scholar who need to study for the provincial exam in a place far away from his home. His wife had to bring him lunch everyday over long distance and needing to cross many bridges to get to him. The food got cold by the time she brought the food over. So, she had an idea to keep the food warm by keeping the ingredients separate and keeping the soup piping hot in a separate container. The soup has a layer of oil to conserve the heat. Anyone heard of this story before?

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Naan Pizza

Cheese and bread make the cheeks red.
~ German Proverb

This is Suanne’s invention — a good one I must say. Suanne always had a problem making thin crust pizza, you know, the type that is crispy and crunchy. Until today she has not managed to get the dough just right. So, she substituted the dough with Naan bread. Here is what her Naan Pizza looks like:

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The beauty of this pizza is that it’s very fast to make and it taste just great-n-crispy. Most important of all, there are no dishes to wash. This takes only 20 minutes to make. Suanne makes this for breakfast every now and then. You may want to consider making this for lunch with more toppings like pepperoni, roasted chicken, etc.

To make this you need the following five items: Naan bread, pizza sauce, shredded mozarella cheese, parmesan cheese and some herbs. We buy all these from the Real Canadian Superstore and does not cost much.

The Naan bread costs about $3.59 for a pack of 12 pieces. For the herbs, we use Mrs Dash for flavouring. We like Mrs Dash and used that with eggs, spaghetti, etc. It’s healthier than using seasoning salt in our opinion. We estimated that it will costs about $1.25 to make each piece. The most expensive ingredient is the mozzarella (about 2/3 of the total costs).

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Sticky Rice

All happiness depends upon a leisurely breakfast
~ John Gunther .

We had sticky rice for dinner today. Both Arkensen and Nanzaro said that they love this a lot because it’s tasty. I think that it not only tastes good, it looks good too.

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The main ingredients for this dish are glutinous rice, Chinese sausage, shitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, shallots and garlic. Suanne got this recipe originally from her younger sister. Here are the before and after preparation shots of the ingredients:

For serving of 4:

  • 4 Chinese sausages, diced
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted, diced
  • a small handful of dried shrimps, soaked and chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce

The above ingredients are just an estimates. You can always adjust the amount to your own preference.

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