Mui Garden in Richmond: Food Was Good But Tips Not Necessary

I just want to start off by saying that “nobody is perfect”. We all make mistakes from time to time. What is important is how one deals with the situation when a mistake is made. Don’t ever lie to cover a mistake. It makes things worse. Mistakes, once realized, must be fixed as fast as possible. More about that later …

A couple of weeks ago, the whole family went out to dinner at the Mui Garden in Richmond. I wanted to go there because I ordered the wrong dish during the visit to the other Mui Garden on Victoria and 43rd in Vancouver. In that post, I complained that Curry Chicken which they are supposed to be famous for was terrible. It seems that they have different curry dishes and we got the wrong one. Yeah, there was a barrage of comments on that post telling us (again and again and again!) saying “Hey Ben, you got the wrong curry chicken!”.

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The O-C (obsessive compulsive) Ben just gotta go and check the deal curry dishes out or else he keeps thinking about it day in day out. Arkensen is more than happy that dad suggested Mui Garden when I told him “yes, it is in Richmond” and “yes, it is like a HK Style Cafe”. He knows that HK Style Cafe means they have salted fish and chicken fried rice.

The Mui Garden in Richmond had been here forever. They are located on a street called Firbridge Way which no one, including Richmondites, knows the name of. To many, it is just that little side street which connects No 3 Road with Minoru Blvd behind the London Drugs building. It is hidden from the main thoroughfare but yet many people knows of Mui Garden and where it is.

Parking here seems limited but there is a roof top parking above the single storey structure that the restaurant is on. You need to drive round the back and up the ramp. We did not even realize it until we saw that inconspicuous words on the awning.

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The dining area is big and it is split into two separate sections. One of the sections is on the upper level overlooking the rest of the restaurant.

There is nothing remarkable about the restaurant. Very typical Chinese restaurant with booth seats and smaller square tables.

The restaurant was … (more…)

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Seri Malaysia Restaurant on East Hastings, Vancouver

Updated: 4th March 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Malaysian cuisine means a lot of different things. This is because Malaysia is a multi-racial country. While the Malays makes up about two third of the population, a large percentage of the population is made up of Chinese and Indians.

So when you mention Malaysian cuisine, it could mean either Malay cuisine, Chinese-Malaysian or Indian-Malaysian cuisine. They are distinctly different. Malay cooking is influenced a lot by Indian cuisine and is characterized by the use of spices.

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There are many Malaysian restaurants in Metro Vancouver. Most of them are actually Chinese owned. As far as I know, there are only two pure Malay-Malaysian restaurants. Do you know why there are so few Malay owned restaurants? This is because most of the emigration from Malaysia are the Chinese and not Malays. I have a lot to say about the reasons and such but I guess this blog is just not the forum for it.

One of the Malay restaurants is Kedah House. We like their weekend buffet which is only $10. It is not a big spread but it is pretty good.

The other Malay owned Malaysian restaurant is called Seri Malaysia. We had been eating at Seri Malaysia many times already. If it had not been so far from home, we would have eaten there more. The food is authentic and good but the service is something else. Jamal, the man behind the restaurant often runs everything in the restaurant! But we expect that and have a lot of patience eating here simply because his food is good … well, most of the time.

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You may click on the menu above to see a larger image. The menu is a 1-pager which includes a very good selection of Malay food.

When fmed organized a chowdown to Seri Malaysia, it was not hard to say “yes” even though the timing sucks for me. Actually, I ate there just two weeks prior.

I got to Seri Malaysia on the dot but everyone was already all settled down and ready to eat. I felt like I was late. Then I found out that all the food were already pre-ordered!

I was thinking … “Oh no, I hope they ordered my favourite dish”.

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Whew!

They did order the Briyani Kambing (lamb). Nine out of ten time, I would order this dish. Seri Malaysia makes this very well and is simply the best Lamb Briyani in town. While the serving is still big, I thought it used to be bigger. It was like ridiculously big that will be enough for two people. Of late the serving appears big, just no longer ridiculously huge.

Just underneath the rice is lots of … (more…)

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Bo Laksa King’s Delivery

Updated: 17th Nov 2014; Bo Laksa King is closed.

ChowtimesNoWord32x32Full Disclosure
This post is written based on complimentary samples from Bo Laksa King’s new delivery service.

There is something really different about Bo Laksa King’s.

Some of you would remember me writing about Bo’s Laksa about two months ago. I went out of my way to check out Bo’s Laksa simply because of rave reviews from Chowhounders. It is not often that Chowhounders gets excited altogether at the same time.

It is definitely a find. I think it’s because Bo Laksa King’s has this certain element of surprise because they operate in such humble setting. You will never expect to find a laksa counter inside a convenience store anywhere else.

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Not only is the laksa great, both Bo and his wife Tiffany are genuine people. People do find them very approachable. I remember Michelle telling me during the 12B dinner that they had such a great time chatting with Bo for TWO hours! They are obliging and can easily relate to just about anyone.

A lot of people are rooting for Bo. I sense a lot of support for him to expand his business. Well, he had finally done so — but said that he wants to not grow too fast and have the quality of his food suffer. So he had decided to start a delivery business — with an expanded menu. He just started the delivery business earlier this month.

Last week, Bo wrote me an email asking us to provide him our home address and phone number. The reason is he wants to send some samples to try. We were hesitant to accept this because we live in the south end of Richmond and he operates from Vancouver near the Joyce SkyTrain station. It is a long way to do delivery.

But he was very persuasive and seeing that Bo and Tiffany are such great people, we did not hesitate to help him promote his business to chowtimes’ readers. The only condition is that he must send us his Laksa! Other than that he can send us anything else he wants.

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The timing were perfect. Bo sent the samples to us just in time when we  were about to get settled down to watch the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony on TV. We love it and certainly very different from getting pizzas for sure.

Bo’s Laksa is second to none. It is still the same price ($7.50) and equally as good. The laksa soup was still really warm when we got it and he delivered this in two containers … one for the soup and the other for the noodles. This is a good way to prevent the noodles from getting too soggy. We like our laksa soup really hot and went to microwave it really hot.

From just serving a few dishes at his counter on Joyce St, he now has 33 items, many of them new. You can check all of his offerings on his new website: http://www.bolaksaking.com/

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After the Laksa, the next thing we tried was the Papaya Salad. We had heard also good feedback of his papaya salad but have never tried it before.

Bo’s Papaya Salad is $6.75 and consists of shredded green papaya, tomato, onions, cilantro, crushed peanuts, fresh red chilli, dried shrimps, green beans, mix with garlic, lime, and vinaigrette dressing.

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What we like best about the Papaya Salad is that it has a lot of dried shrimps and a few chili sprinkled throughout that gives a bit of heat in some bites. It was crunchy as we munch on it. Taste-wise, it has a pleasant sourness and spiciness to it.

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The Pan Thay Stir Fry is $7.75. This is described as … (more…)

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KL Series: Satay in Haji Samuri, Kajang

This is my last post in this KL Series.

Well, I have been in Malaysia for almost two weeks now. Dad’s funeral was exactly a week ago and I will be saying goodbye to everyone the next day. I wanted to visit his grave before I leave for home, to say goodbye for one more time.

After the visit, the entire family drove to Kajang for Satay (or Sate in Malay). The Kajang town is famous for its Satay. During that week I was there, there was a local food show called Hojiak which showcased Haji Samuri Satay — purportedly the original Satay in Kajang.

It was quite a drive from Cheras to Kajang. I was quite surprised how easy it is to locate this place. I was told that it is by the stadium. So, I just looked out for the stadium’s floodlight towers. I remember having Kajang Satay in somewhat dilapidated stalls. Am glad to see that they now operate in a proper building.

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The best thing is that they now have air-conditioned dining halls. The place, although not plush, is really a fantastic change. It certainly is a more comfortable environment. They have even decorated the place with antique pieces.

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Satay had been known to have originated from Indonesia but for many Malaysians, they are adamant that it is a very Malaysian meal. Satay are normally eaten for dinner. They consists of simply chunks of meat on skewers and grilled over coal fire.

The most common Satay meat is chicken although there are beef, lamb and even rabbit meat. Chicken is still many people’s favourite though because it’s juicier and moist.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Zipangu Japanese Restaurant at the Shangrila

Thanks for enduring my many postings on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia. This is the final posting in this series. From tomorrow I am gonna take a long rest from blogging and pass the baton over to Suanne. It was just a 2 week trip but did manage to blog 28 entries in all. Wow, Suanne had not blogged for 4 straight weeks — that’s not fair!

Joyce treated me to dinner at the Zipangu Japanese Restaurant in the Shangrila Kuala Lumpur. The Shangrila KL is perhaps still the No 1 hotel in KL. It used to have been voted as the No 1 hotel in the world. Joyce had a corporate membership in the hotel. For that she gets 50% off.

We were deciding over whether we should go for the RM$98 (US$ 25+) Buffet or try something different. We opted for the Japanese restaurant because there were a long queue at the buffet restaurant waiting to break fast (it was Ramadhan then).

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The entrance were grand. We had to wind our way along walls of wine. Pretty amazing and I was thinking … gosh! how much is this meal gonna cost!!

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The restaurant were impressively laid out. We could see the kitchen at work from where we were. This is so authentically high end Japanese restaurant. The service were prompt. They must have the best waiters and waitresses in the entire city. They not only looked pretty/handsome but they do come across as very intelligent and professional.

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Joyce and I could not recognize most of what was in the menu. So, we opted for the Set Dinner. Each set dinner costs RM98, same price as the buffet. I went for the Tempura Set Dinner while Joyce chose the Salmon Set Dinner.

What came first was a tea pot for each of us! I initially thought that it was tea.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Red Door Nyonya Cuisine

On my last full day in Malaysia, I brought my niece and nephews for brunch in the neighborhood shopping mall. It was only about a 5 minutes drive to the Jusco shopping mall in Kepong. There were a lot of choices at the mall and it took us a while to decide where to eat.

We came across the Red Door. What enticed us was the big poster of their menu. They serve mainly traditional Malaysian food, specifically Nyonya cuisine.

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Oh yeah, I had always wanted to say this. In Malaysia, the standard cutlery is a spoon and a fork for almost all food except for noodles. When I first came to Canada, it took me a while to get used the cutleries issued, which is just a fork and knife. We got to ask for a spoon. Canadians used a fork even for rice where in Malaysia, the spoon is used to scoop up the rice and the fork is to push food onto the spoon.

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I ordered the Sambal Fish Rice. This dish came with two fish about 8 inches long. Don’t know what type of fish this is though. The chilli sauce is a bit sourish and certainly spicy. The okra (known better as ladies fingers in Malaysia) and eggplant (or Brinjal) adds a good balance to the spicy-sourish taste to the chilli.

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The Sambal Fish Rice came with prawn crackers, fried peanuts, eggs and the sambal. I like mixing it all up before diving in. This dish costs RM9.80 (less than USD $3).

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: New Ipoh Chicken Rice in Jalan Gasing

Met up with James over lunch in PJ. He suggested Chicken Rice near his work place and so I made my way to PJ after spending the morning in KL downtown and the Central Market. I wanted to post yet another non-food entry but decided, no, I should just stick to food!

If I recall correctly, this restaurant is called the New Ipoh Chicken Rice. In chinese, it’s better known as nga-choy-gai (chicken with bean sprout), This is a typical Hainanese Chicken Rice dish.

The bean sprout is a specialty of Ipoh which produces beansprouts quite unlike those you find elsewhere in the country. Ipoh people believes that this is because the hard water in Ipoh makes their beansprouts particularly tastier.

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We had a choice of the normal farmed chicken or the kampung (village) chicken. The kampung chicken are leaner because they are not couped up in dens and are left to run freely. We ordered the kampung chicken to share.

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I ordered their “oiled” rice (yow-fun). It’s steamed rice and mixed with the chicken fat. It give a really nice aroma and flavour.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Mum’s Birthday and Dinner in Leong Ya, Serdang

It must have been a special birthday for my mum this year. It had been many years since she had all her three children present to celebrate her birthday. I can see the gladness in her eyes that I was there this year.

To me, my mum had gone through a lot. I did witness some ups and downs. She was never a person who would let us know her problems — I wish she would be open. I will always remember her sacrifices for me and making sure that I had what I needed over her own needs. She does not ask for much at all.

When I was in my teens, I had a serious car accident in which I almost died. Mum was there in the hospital with me every day — even though she had to travel almost a hundred kilometers to bring me lunch. That is because she wanted me to have better food than what was served in the hospital.

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My brother bought a coffee flavoured birthday cake for her. My sister came around too with her kids. So did my dad’s youngest sister. I can guess what her birthday wish was for … must have been wishes for others more than for herself!

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After the cake at home, we decided to go out for dinner. For nostalgia sake, we decided on going to a favourite restaurant of ours. Leong Ya had been in business since I was really young. I remember that the family took a long drive on weekends every now and then. Back then Leong Ya operated from a shack and their specialty was Yong Tau Foo and Paper Wrapped Chicken. Their business grew over the years until the time when they moved to a building of their own. Their business was so good that one had to endure long waits for a table and then wait for like 30 minutes before they come by to take our orders!

However, Leong Ya had seen better times. They are now operating from a shoplot and a lot more smaller than it used to be. When we were there, there were only four tables of customers. The guy who come around to take our orders (yeah, the one who we had to wait for 30 minutes!), is still there.

We ordered some Yong Tau Foo, which is a variety of fish paste filled food.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Secret Recipe’s Cakes

I met up with Sin Seong, Kok Keong and Terence right after the supper in Putrajaya. They were my Boys Brigade buddies. We had served in the Boys Brigade from our early teen days right up to our twenties. I remember that we used to go out for supper until very late at night, talked during camping trips the whole night … those were the days!

We met at the Secret Recipe Cakes and Cafe. I don’t know where I was really because Terence did the driving. KL had changed a lot and there are a lot of new neighbourhoods. Anyway, it appears that there are a lot of Secret Recipes all over the city.

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Secret Recipe’s specialties are their cakes — in particular chocolate cakes and cheese cakes. We ordered some drinks and a few pieces of cakes to share. Sin Seong claimed that their chocolate banana cake is the best around. It was really creamy and has a rich layer of chocolate coating. The banana provides a certain lightness to the flavour. This is really good … hmmm, I wonder what Suanne would say if I asked her to try making one of these. By the way, each piece costs RM5.50 (about USD$1.50).

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Old Town Kopitiam

When I young, I remember going out occasionally with my parents for breakfast in chinese coffee shops. Such coffee shops are better known as kopitiam. Back then, breakfast was just simple toast and a cup of coffee served in white porcelain cups. I still remember going to the kopitiams, half-asleep and groggy, and smelling the sweet aroma of coffee and toast.

Over the years, that kind of a breakfast fell out of fashion. There were more breakfast choices — noodles, nasi lemak, roti and such. On my visit, I noticed that such a coffee shops made a come back, albeit in much swankier settings. I made it a point to check out the Old Town Kopitiam one morning and went to the one in the Central Market.

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There seems to be one Old Town Kopitiam in every shopping complex. I think it’s a franchise of sorts. The settings is undoubtedly a lot more comfortable and clean.

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The tables and chairs are even old fashion white marble tops. They did not spare the details with the decor.

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The coffee is served in the old fashioned white porcelain cup and saucer. For a time, it was almost impossible to buy these kind of cups because it was so old fashioned. Today, they are back in rage. Like the coffee I clearly remember, they had to be filled to overflowing leaving a sticky mess on the outside of the cup! The coffee I ordered is the Ipoh White Coffee — it’s rich and made even richer with condensed milk. Those days they were brewed using a sock (well, a sock-like sieve).

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