House of Tofu Soup on Garden City Road, Richmond

We noticed that the Jing Long Fang location was under renovation by a new restaurant a while ago. It turned out the new restaurant is House of Tofu Soup, a Korean restaurant.


House of Tofu Soup has been in business for 10 years at the North Road, Burnaby location. When we visited this Richmond location, it has just opened for 2 weeks.

Well, Arkensen and Nanzaro did not want to have Korean food. So, both of them went to Thai Son instead, which is just nearby. Gosh, my boys have grown up faster than I expected.

Parking in this small strip mall called Yi An Centre is not easy. There are several other restaurants here like So Hot So Pot, Spicy Stage Cafe, etc.


House of Tofu Soup is very spacious. The walls are decorated with their signature dishes from their menu.


Their menu is very nice, comes with colour photos of the dishes. The photos ease the ordering for people who are not familiar with Korean cuisines. You can click on the menu to view them larger.


I ordered their signature Tofu Soup. You get to choose the ingredients and the spiciness desired. I opted for the mix ingredients and hot for spiciness.


The Tofu Soup is served piping hot. You are to break the egg into the soup yourself, a little action makes it more interesting. The tofu soup comes with … (more…)

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Man Ri Sung Restaurant in Richmond: Korean Style Peking Duck Feast

Updated 11th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

Here. Take a look at this. Take a good look at this.


A picture paints a thousand words but a youtube video paints a million words.

Last weekend was a mega weekend for Suanne and I. We organized three back-to-back dinners starting on Friday where we had a duck feast. This was followed on Saturday and Sunday where we had Alaskan King Crab dinners. There are so much eating it is scary to think of it. We had never attempted such a crazy thing before but it was just a coming together of a perfect storm.


The kickoff of our feasting marathon started with the Duck Feast at the Man Ri Sung Korean Restaurant. No, it was not the the Man Ri Sung in Coquitlam where we once had a memorable meal. That Man Ri Sung restaurant in Coquitlam closed a few months ago to make way for SkyTrain construction (or so the sign says). Man Ri Sung re-opened … and they have re-opened in Richmond.

Going back a few weeks ago, vanchow reported that the Chuan Xiang Ge Sichuan restaurant closed quite suddenly. It was unexpected because this is a favourite Sichuan haunt of many chowhounds. So it is good know that a popular restaurant like Man Ri Sung is taking over the vacated spot.


You may click on the picture above to show it larger if you can’t read the words.

Man Ri Sung is well known for their Duck Feast. When they were in Coquitlam, they had the duck feast for just $50 and that is good enough for … (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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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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Pork Belly Beer House on Bidwell and Robson, Vancouver

Updated: 12th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

This is the type of food that is up my alley. Totally.

I find it very exciting writing about places like this. This is a no name restaurant. The awning outside has no indication that it is a restaurant at all. The only sign in English that says that this is a restaurant is written on a couple of 50 cents cardboards. They must have bought it from a dollar store. On the cardboard is only the words BBQ, Beef, Chicken and Pork. It doesn’t tell you much, does it? This has got to be the worst restaurant signboard in Vancouver … maybe even in the entire country.

This restaurant is so unknown that I can’t find any mention of this on UrbanSpoon or on or Yelp. To think that this place existed right in the middle of the busy Robson St and there is nary a mention on the internet just adds to the mystery.


I would not have found this place myself. Shirley wrote to us detailing this place. She was telling us how she accidentally chanced on the restaurant and how excited she was having found this place. Yeah, she can’t tell us the name of the restaurant but she gave us directions.

That place is called Pork Belly Beer House. What a name huh?


I’ll let the food do the talking for a while.


What do you think?

It is all you can eat too. $16 per person.

That included rice, soup and bancan. We did not even bother with the rice and soup.


If you ever poke your head into the restaurant, you will likely just head out. It is greasy and disorganized. The lightings brightens up the place unevenly. The walls are adorned with pictures of pretty Korean actresses and actors … and warnings that uneaten food will incur a fine of $10.

The tables and chairs are a joke. There has to be four, maybe five different types of chairs. They probably bought it from an auction or Salvation Army … something like that. Almost all the tables that we could see are different too. They even have exactly the same IKEA table I have in my study room … just one IKEA table and that did not align quite right with the adjoining tables.

Yeah … most people will just head out seeing this place.

But the place is full. We are the only non-Korean there that night. Most of the customers are … (more…)

Continue ReadingPork Belly Beer House on Bidwell and Robson, Vancouver

Lunch Special at Kyung Bok Palace at Lansdowne Mall, Richmond

It was a wet spring day. Polly and I were craving for some hot soup instead of sweet treat. We had two options, i.e. to check out the chicken soup at Jang Mo Jib or Kyung Bok Palace in Lansdowne Mall.


Since Lansdowne Mall is nearer coming from south Richmond, we went to check out Kyung Bok Palace first. We did see a ginseng chicken soup on their menu.


We were seated away from the window and the place looked pretty dim.  Service was slow even though there were not many customers as we were there just about 12 noon. On top of that, some of the servers do not speak English.


We were distracted from the regular menu by the above specials. It’s pick 5 items out of the 24 for $19.95. We did see a ginseng chicken soup in the regular menu which costs about the same as the special above. Since there are also some soup items on the special, we decide to go for the special even it stated that it’s good for 2 to 3 people.


As most Korean restaurants, the utensils are made of metal and a distinctive long handle spoon. Oh, they actually forgot to serve us the tea until we ask for it.


As usual, we were served a few banchan as side dishes which include potatoes, kimchee and bean sprout.


Ox tail soup is the first item we ordered. This soup is very tasty. There were no oxtail in the soup but some beef flanks instead.


The second item we ordered was a Spicy Seafood Noodle in Soup. It was quite a large serving. We expected the serving to be smaller than regular for the specials but they actually comes in regular size. This is not very spicy despite it’s colour. The seafood include prawns and squid in scarce quantity.


The star has to be the above Mackerel Grilled with Seasalt and Garlic Sauce. This item is under special for the specials. An extra $2 charge for this. The size of the Mackerel is (more…)

Continue ReadingLunch Special at Kyung Bok Palace at Lansdowne Mall, Richmond

Ddoo Gau Bee on North Road, Coquitlam

Some of you might remember that I did a post on a place called Bool Chul Pan about 3 months ago. This restaurant was introduced to us by Joyce and Jeff. We would not have found this place on our own as Richmond is so far away from Coquitlam. For some reason that post on Bool Chul Pan generated a lot of hits. As a matter of fact it is the #2 most viewed restaurant post for the past 4 months.

Anyway, Suanne and I went to Joyce and Jeff’s place to borrow a GPS from them a couple of weeks ago. Ours was stolen when some idiot broke into our car and took that one thing away. Even though the GPS is in the glove compartment, I think the thief knew that we had a GPS because of the suction cup marks on the dashboard … that is why I think only my car was broken into but not others around mine.


After picking up the GPS, Suanne and I went to the restaurant next to Bool Chul Pan. This is the Korean Mall on 4501 North Road.

That restaurant is Ddoo Gau Bee. I find that name catchy, especially the “Ddoo” part. Do you pronounce that as “doooo” or “dedooo”?


The sign outside declared that they are an Authentic Korean Restaurant. They sure are.

The moment we walked in, they greeted us warmly. Unlike most restaurants they will simply ask things like “table for two?” but here the waitress said a lot of things in Korean with her head slightly bowed. Of course we did not understand Korean but it sure was welcoming.

We noticed that most of the customers are Korean. Can you tell a Korean by the facial features? I think I can differentiate a Korean from a Chinese and Japanese.

The restaurant is large spanning two shop lots.


Most of everything in their menu is in Korean. Their specials and combos are on posters pasted on the wall on most tables. The pictures were useful since we are not very familiar with Korean food.

They do have a lot of combos which are meant for groups. And they are pretty cheap too considering the amount of food and the number of people it is meant to feed. I always had the impression that Korean cuisine are expensive but Bool Chul Pan and Ddoo Gau Bee really changed my perception.


It took us a while before we decided what we wanted. The waitress came by three times asking if we were ready to order. We tried to ask her questions the first time but communication in English was a bit difficult as she was not able to quite understand the questions we had for her.

Anyway, at the end, we decided to get that item on the menu that is circled and marked “HOT”. Between the three combinations, we ordered the one that has the most items. It is the $9.95 combo you see above.


All Korean restaurants will serve free Banchans with every meal. These are small side dishes which generally are made up of several types of spicy, salty or tangy dishes. What I don’t know is this … are these meant to be eaten like an appy or is this an accompaniment for the entire meal?

Sorry if I touch a raw nerve with this point here. I heard that in Korea, it is common practice in restaurants to re-cycle banchans that are leftover. Is that true? I hope it is not. Anyway, we don’t think about these things so much and trust the Korean restaurants in Vancouver do not do this sort of things.

Of the five Banchans we were served, we love the pickled radish (yellowish on the left) the most. The tofu and spinach (top right) is pretty good too.


We gotta have Beef Broth Soup. This one is $8. If I am not mistaken, this milky white broth is made by simmering beef bones by about 10 hours to create the rich broth.

Actually the broth is quite tasteless. That is why they gave us a large side dish of salt to flavour it.


Under the rich broth is big pieces of tender beef and vermicelli. To me, this is like Korea’s answer to the Japanese Ramen. Love it.

If this is $8, just see what we get for the $10 combo! For just $10, we got a 3-in-1 meal. We had … (more…)

Continue ReadingDdoo Gau Bee on North Road, Coquitlam

Shabusen Yakiniku House on Granville and West 14th, Vancouver

Updated: 4th April 2011: This restaurant is closed according to

The last time we had Japanese AYCE (all-you-can-eat) was 7 months ago. That was when we went to E-Bei.

As much as Nanzaro and Arkensen love Japanese sushi, the reason why we had not gone to one more often is because Suanne just doesn’t like raw fish, period.


But Shabusen Yakiniku House is different. It is both a Japanese AYCE and a Korean BBQ AYCE.

There are two Shabusens in Vancouver. There is one in downtown Vancouver. We went to the other one on Granville.

In case you don’t know, the word Yakiniku means grilled meat in Japanese.


For an AYCE, Shabusen looks a lot posh and better than all the other AYCEs we had been to. The whole place is bright with lots of ceiling high windows and skylights. It was actually a beautiful day eating here despite the it being rainy the whole morning. The Fall colors looked so good at this time of the year.


Every table had a gas grill in the center. That is for the Korean BBQ. See the bottle above? That is the BBQ sauce but really, we hardly need to use that because the meat were already very well marinated.

Service was kind of slow here. The waiters and waitresses seems to walk around with their eyes peeled to the ground all the time. It is as if they are afraid that if they get eye contact with the customer, they will have to do more work or something. It was so hard to get their attention when we wanted something from them.


The AYCE is $13 for weekdays and $13.50 for weekends. Dinner is is $22.

The selection at a glance looks a lot smaller than places like Kingsway Sushi and E-Bei. The above was our first round order where we max out our order of Sashimis.


We left these 32 pieces to the boys. These alone kept them very happy.


For Suanne and I, we were quite contended with the Korean BBQ. There are three choices … chicken, beef and pork.

In our greed, we ordered a total of EIGHT plates of BBQ meat. That was way too much and we had a difficult time finishing all of them. We did not feel good about wasting food.


For once, I was the one who did all the cooking. Oh yeah, believe it or not [giving myself a pat on the back].

BBQ is a guy thing for some reason. Suanne was happy to let me do all the work while she enjoys my cooking.

Well, I must say that I did quite well. The meat was super … (more…)

Continue ReadingShabusen Yakiniku House on Granville and West 14th, Vancouver

Dai Jang Kum Korean Restaurant on St Edwards Drive and Bridgeport, Richmond

Dai-Jang-Kum-Richmond-12-200x300The thing we enjoy most in blogging is getting to know people. We had made a lot of friends over the years through this blog.

Some of you guys may remember this book on the left.

When we blogged about Pinpin right after our Spain vacation, we also mentioned the Culinaria Spain book which we enjoyed reading. It is the book we used as a reference in planning our gastronomic vacation in Spain. Rey was kind enough to loan us the book and we mentioned that we returned it to him.

Well … Kan-Man, who was a silent reader of Chowtimes until recently, wrote to us saying that he had the same book. He asked if we wanted it before he donates it to the library.

As much as we were reluctant to accept it, Kan-Man was kind enough to insist that we take it, given that I mentioned I enjoyed this book. This book that Kan-Man gave us is in hardcover.


We made arrangements to meet up and have dinner with his young family. We always enjoy meeting up with our blog’s readers.

We went to Dai Jang Kum. Dai Jang Kum is located on Bridgeport at the intersection with St Edwards Drive. It is on the same place as The Bricks.  The restaurant is owned and operated by Koreans. So it is as authentic Korean as it gets.


Dai Jang Kum is named after the main character of the popular Korean period drama called Dae Jung Geum. The pictures of the Jung Geum actress adrons on the walls. I am not sure why the name got spelt as Dai Jung Kum. Maybe it is because it is spelt phonetically according to Chinese characters.

Have any one watched the TV series before? It is a series based on Korean history of a girl named Jung Geum who rose from the imperial kitchen to become the emperor’s personal physician. I heard that in the TV series there were always a part where they show Korean cuisine.

Here is a youtube of what I mean. The above is 9 minutes and is a series of several. Check it out … you might be as mesmerized as I was.


Unfortunately what we had did not come close to what is on the youtube video. LOL!


However, like a feast that Korean cuisine is used to, we were served 8 types of Banchans (Kimchee, potatoes, salad, seaweed, daikon, beancurd, soy bean sprout, and eggplant).

Kan-Man made the order mostly since he had been here several times before and is familiar with the menu. Dai Jung Kum’s menu is large but generally has about the same items that you will find in most Korean restaurants.

There were two families dining and so we had a 2-person BBQ Combo, 2-person hot pot, a pancake, and oxtail & knee bone soup. Oh, we also had Chicken Fried Rice for our boys.


The meal came with five bowls of rice which I think came with some of the food we ordered. The metal bowls are hot from the steamed rice.

Did I tell you this before? Unlike Chinese and Japanese, Koreans do not lift the bowls from the table when they eat. So it is OK then that they serve rice in a metal bowl.

We also had three bowls of soup which came with something. Again, I am not sure what they are for.


The above is BBQ Combo A which is a combination platter of BBQ meats including chicken, beef, beef short ribs and pork. We had the order for 2 person which costs $29. (more…)

Continue ReadingDai Jang Kum Korean Restaurant on St Edwards Drive and Bridgeport, Richmond

Bool Chul Pan Korean Hot Grill on North Road, Coquitlam

Update 10-Jun-2010: This restaurant had closed and no longer in business.

Ladies and gentlemen.  This restaurant is a great find.

It is unique and one of a kind in Vancouver.  It is cheap.  It is delicious.  It has monstrous portions.  It is multi-course.  It is interactive.  It is fun.  The people are super friendly.

If I tell you the name of this place, you will NEVER find it.  Yeah, go ahead … go Bing or Google or Bingle the name “Bool Chul Pan”.  See if you can find it.  LOL!

It is everything I like in a restaurant.  And I think you will too.


The place is unpretentious.  Not much of a decor.  The tables and chairs are of bulky wooden unpolished type.  The place is smokey.  It is smokey from all the cooking they do for you at your table.  The smell alone of this place will make you drool in anticipation.  The hardest part is eyeing the neighboring tables having the same thing on a sizzling pan … cooking away.

I swear those at the tables who were already eating smirking at us droolers who had not started yet.


Let me clue you in a little bit more.  They serve drinking water in plastic containers like the ones above.  The characters on the label should give you some clue what type of food they serve.

OK, the title of this post already has the word “Korean”.  Just humour me and stay with me … pretend you still don’t know.


This place gives us metal chopsticks.  No other nation in the world uses metal chopsticks.  And the chopsticks are very thin … very hard to hold even for someone who grows up using chopsticks.  It forces you to pick your food more delicately … more deliberately.


They give you banchan.  Lots of it.  Plates stacked high as they bring them to your table.  Then they lay it on the table leaving hardly any space left for anything else.

Suanne had to put her note book on her lap.  I had to also put my camera on my lap.

Kimchee.  Potato.  Bean sprout. Daikon. Cold Sour Soup.  It is free.  No charge at all.  Free is good.

The banchan is quite OK.  Not great.  I had better ones.  But it is forgivable given what we are about to have.


Then they gave each of us an apron.  Everyone has one.  It is bright orange.  This is gonna sizzle.  This is getting exciting.  Felt kind of silly putting this on.  But we did.  Everyone did.

They proudly declared that they are the only people who serves this unique meal in Metro Vancouver.  No one else.  Non.  Nada.  Nien.  Nyet.  Illai.

Mei you!


Then came the gas burner.  For once we see a Korean made one.  It is not one of the billions of Chinese made burners that had flooded the worlds market.

The Korean stands are taller.  They are different.


Nanzaro ordered this.  This one came in a bowl as big as a basin.  Not really, but close.  It is huge, big, humungous, gigantic, enormous, massive.  This alone can feed a family of four, communal style.  Am not kidding.

This is called Spicy Seafood Soup with Korean Pasta.  Only $9.

The noodle was chewy.  It is loaded with stuff … with squid, onions, mushroom, wood ear, cucumber and green onions.

Value for money.  Delicious too.

But wait.  This is not “it”.  The above is not “it” at all.  No siree.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is IT! …

Bool-Chul-Pan-32-600x400 (more…)

Continue ReadingBool Chul Pan Korean Hot Grill on North Road, Coquitlam

Meok Ja Gol (MJG) Korean Barbeque Restaurant on Kingsway and Nelson, Burnaby

Updated: 15th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

I bet you will find Meok Ja Gol (MJG) interesting enough to want to check it out — we did.

Even though I work one short block away from MJG, I had never paid any attention to it.


This is because MJG is hidden in a recess from Kingway in Burnaby.  The best way to find it is to know that it is located east of Nelson on Kingsway.  But then the address is not really Kingsway … kind of weird I know.  If you are driving and want to get to MJG, the entrance is on the short road almost parallel to Kingsway called Newton St.  Forget what I just said … just drive to the back lane on Kingsway!

I feel for MJG.  They are a very unique and interesting restaurant and yet the location sucks.  What a shame.


MJG is so authentic Korean that they can hardly speak English at all. They were so authentic that they even have loads of Korean magazines and newspapers neatly stacked for the customer’s use.  Even the TV was playing Korean serial drama.  They asked if we wanted to switch to another channel but we told them we’re fine … Suanne loves Korean love drama with dashing young handsome Korean actors.  LOL!

Suanne and I went before 5PM … the place was empty at that time.  Actually, MJG had only a couple of tables taken the whole time we were there.  We like the cleanliness of MJG and also the rustic villagey feel to it.


They brought us some hot tea in a plastic container just as we got settled down.  I assume that Korean restaurants commonly serves tea this way.


They have a really big menu … 16 pages of glossy pages with lots of pictures. Even their take out menu is printed in high gloss and comes in a 16 page booklet.  You can’t beat that, can you?  If there is an award for the best take out menu, MJG will win hands down.

Without even bothering with the rest of the menu, Suanne and I already know what we wanted.  It is on page #1 … the one thing that MJG is known for … the MJG Dinner BBQ Combo.  Read on … this is NOT any kind of Korean BBQ you normally see around.  This one is high tech.  LOL!

Ordering is simple:

  • For 2-3 people: $49.95 with 12 (best) items
  • For 4-5 people: $99.95 with 13 (better) items
  • For 6-7 people: $149.95 with 17 (bestest) items.

With this combo, you don’t need to order anything else.  There are more than enough food for everyone — trust me!


We were warned that it will take at least 30 minutes to prepare.  Sure, we could wait said … we had all the time in the world that afternoon.  I was actually quite pleased with the wait because it meant that good food cannot be rushed.

Since everything is Korean, it was hard to entertain ourselves during the long wait.  If you go, bring along a book or something.  Let’s talk a bit about ho hum matters.  OK … for one, they have one of those wireless service buttons on each table.  I was not sure initially what it is because there is no icon or something to indicate what it is.  I guess this also acts as a panic button of sorts in case the BBQ flares up.

I can’t get used to Korean chopsticks.  They are so flat and narrow that it’s hard to get a grip.  Japanese and Chinese chopsticks are easier to handle.  Also, you will notice that Korean spoons have very long handles.  I think there is a practical reason for it but am not sure why … anyone knows?


The above is their high tech BBQ computerized device (their brochure said so!).  It was pretty interesting.  It is a complete eating system designed from the ground up not just for table top charcoal BBQ but also for soup, etc!  Read on … you will know what I mean.


This is what the wait was about … the charcoal.  They need 30 minutes to heat it up.  It was a pretty glow-y sight … and very hot.  I can feel the heat radiating from where we were sitting.


They do everything for you.  When they left the charcoal by the side of the table I thought I am supposed to handle this myself!  They opened up the grill and put in the two baskets of charcoal.


Underneath the charcoal is a tray of water.  I guess the water serves a dual purpose of moderating the heat and also to prevent the entire BBQ’ing cavity from getting too dry.


The delicious looking meat is put on skewers specially to rotate at a constant speed in the BBQ machine.  Our combo included beef ribs, beef ribeye, chicken and prawns.  Mind you, I am not even half way there on this blog entry!


Continue ReadingMeok Ja Gol (MJG) Korean Barbeque Restaurant on Kingsway and Nelson, Burnaby