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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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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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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Tom Yum Noodle Soup

Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~ Mark Twain A quick blog today on a recent Tom Yum noodle soup that we tried. This…

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Malaysian Hut Restaurant

Man shall not live by bread alone …
~ Moses

Today, we were invited by Bernie and his family to try out a Malaysian restaurant in Surrey. Bernie hails from the Pearl of the Orient, Penang. The restaurant we went to is called Malaysian Hut and is managed by Irene Chang, a baba-nyonya, from Sibu, Sawarak. Irene is a very friendly person who came out and chatted briefly with us. The restaurant has been operating at the 108th Avenue for more than five years. They were featured twice recently in The Province. Anyway, Irene is the tall one in the picture below.

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We decided to order different types of dishes for sharing so that we all get the chance to try out varieties. So, we ordered Char Koay Teow, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa. The servings were pretty generous. Of all the dishes, the Char Koay Teow and the Hainanese Chicken Rice are the most popular. We ordered an extra serving of rice because there were more chicken leftover.

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Arkensen and Nanzaro rated the Char Koay Teow a “five”. For me, I will rate the Char Koay Teow a little lower. It is because that dish does not have the two MOST important ingredients: crispy fried lard (gee yow jar) and cockles. Anyway, I have not come across Char Koay Teow so far in Vancouver that has these two ingredients. It is perhaps because Vancouverites are just plain afraid of Hepatitis and clogged arteries! 🙂 I will grudgingly give it a 4.5.

The best Char Koay Teow I have tasted was the stall behind the Selangor Emporium in Jalan TAR … I wonder if that stall is still around. Let me know your favourite place for Char Koay Teow, especially one that has “gee yow jar” and raw cockles!

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Richmond Sushi

Health food makes me sick.
~ Calvin Trillian (1935 – )

Today is our anniversary as new Canadians. Coincidentally, this week is also the week we landed in Canada. We decided to celebrate these two special occasions by eating out somewhere more than our regular budget — as we always do every year. I wanted to try out this new Malaysian restaurant (called Cafe D’light) along West Broadway which was featured in the local papers but Arkensen and Nanzaro both wanted sushi, all-you-can-eat sushi! We had all-you-can-eat sushi last year in Sui Sha Ya but we decided this year to go to Richmond Sushi in Union Square along Capstan Way. We have been to Richmond Sushi once before — it was decent and not too expensive. There are a lot of nice restaurants in Union Square.

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Well, this place has both ala-carte and all-you-can-eat. We opted for all-you-can-eat. We asked for a pick list and left the first round selection to Suanne. Of course, both Arkensen and Nanzaro wanted to weigh in on what is chosen.

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Arkensen asked for a total of 12 salmon sushi! Arkensen loves raw salmon and can eat just that and nothing else. The all-you-can-eat menu does not have sashimi for lunch and so the next best thing for Arkensen is the salmon sushi. Here he is picking off the salmon pieces first:

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