Coco Hut Singapore Restaurant in Capstan Way, Richmond

Lorna and I had the opportunity to have lunch again. This time we went to Coco Hut Singapore Restaurant.

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Singaporean cuisine is very similar to Malaysian cuisine.

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We were there early, before 11:30AM. We were their first customers of the day.

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We opted for the self customize meal for two for $20.95. You can click on the menu above to have a larger view.

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We opted for the BBQ Satay skewers for our appetizers. We had two chicken and two beef skewers. The beef skewer is on the tough side. Chicken is still the best choice of meat for satay. (more…)

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Prima Taste in Vancouver Downtown

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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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Blackberry Bistro in Richmond’s London Landing

Updated: 30th Dec 2010: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.

George and Ease recently invited us for dinner. It had been a very long while since we had met up. It must have been something like over three years. We had utmost respect for them and remembered so well how they had supported us in times of need.

A few years ago Arkensen was in hospital. Suanne and I took turns to stay with him in the hospital every night. There was that one day Arkensen had a rough patch and I stayed with him right through lunch and dinner time. Just then when it was late and I don’t expect anyone anymore, George showed up despite his busy schedule. Seeing that I had no eaten yet, George went out scouring for dinner for me. I will never forget that act of selflessness from him.

Ease told us she had been reading our blog all these while. So when Ease contacted Suanne suggested we meet up for dinner, we immediately agreed. We went to this new place call the Blackberry Bistro.

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The Blackberry Bistro is described as a Pan Asian restaurant but to us it is more than that. It is located at the so called “new Shaunessy of Richmond” which I think is more aptly called London Landing. I had been through this place many times before when I was training for the Half Marathon and had always noticed the name Blackberry … this place used to be overrun with blackberries but of late a lot of the industrial buildings had been torn down to make this a new waterfront residential area.

For those who are are familiar with this southern Richmond neighborhood, I want you to know that it’s on 6011 Dyke Road. It is very near where the London Farm and the starting point of the London Landing dykes.

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We had expected a very Asian setting but were quite impressed with the setup. The restaurant had a decidedly modern setting with high ceilings which is lends to it a sense of spaciousness and grandness. This restaurant sure put in a lot of planning and thought into it.

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There is even sofa and fireplace in the eating area upstairs with plasma TV and all (and not playing HK variety shows!). We actually did not expect that there were so many customers but were quite surprised that they had a healthy mix of customers. This is perhaps the only place we had seen so far which serves decidedly authentic Asian food and had more than 50% of the customers who are white. I like that.

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The table setting was well thought out although I think they put in too much effort to making this good. Case in point … the manually wrap and bind the chopsticks and cutleries. The menu too is really cute … which for a moment I thought was a placemat!

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Their menu is very much South East Asian. We had the nice juicy Chicken satay for starters. (more…)

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Katong Laksa

On the last night in Singapore, I was alone with no one to join me for dinner. I remember seeing some brightly lit shophouses behind the hotel I was staying everytime I drove past. So, I thought I take a short walk and check out the shops.

Little did I realize that I had stumbled on the row of restaurants famous for the Katong Laksa. There are several shops serving the Katong Laksa and each claiming to be either the original or the best. They have signs and photos plastered all over the open-air restaurant supporting the claims.

I counted four restaurants along the stretch — each of them numbered. After surveying the stalls, I decided to try out the “49” shop. It’s on 49 East Coast Rd.

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Unlike the other type of Laksas, Katong Laksa uses noodles that are cut up into smaller pieces so that the entire dish can be eaten with a spoon alone (without chopsticks).

The coconut-based broth is much thicker than the other variants of Laksa. It is certainly more richer. Also, instead of yellow egg-noodle, they use white lai-fun noodles.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: East Coast Lagoon Food Centre

I met up with Keng Choong, Chee Ming and Eng Keong one of the nights I was in Singapore. In my secondary school days, we always hangout together after school and were serving in the Boys Brigade for many years. We were close — we sat next to each other in class too. After secondary school, we each went our way — one went to the US to study, another went to Singapore. We had only met once in the past twenty years.

We have remarked how little each of us had changed. I was really glad to catch up with them and learning how successful they had become. Needless to say, we talked about the good old times in school, and the Boys Brigade.

We met at the East Coast Lagoon Food Centre. It’s a hawker centre where there are stalls serving a host of variety of cheap food. It was really hot and humid that night. I was so thirsty. I ordered a cup of iced cendol.

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The shaved ice was refreshing and cooling. The ingredients consist of white coconut milk. thin worm-like pea flour noodles and palm sugar. In addition, they added red beans and jelly.

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We ordered some traditional Malay satay to share.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: East Coast Seafood Centre

I returned to Singapore on work for three days. The days at work is somewhat OK … not gruelling as I originally anticipated. At the end of the second day of work, Patrick invited the project team out for dinner.

We went to the East Coast Seafood Centre where there were a lot of major seafood restaurants concentrated in the block.

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Crabs, in particular chilli crab, is very popular in Singapore. Many people consider the chilli crab the defacto national dish of Singapore. So, the East Coast Seafood Centre is undoubtedly the place to bring guests and visitors to.

Even on a weekday night, the parking lot was quite busy. I was told that the traffic and parking is worse on weekends.

We went to this restaurant which had an unique name: “No Signboard Seafood”.

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We started off with a plate of Fried Crispy Baby Squid. I had never tried this before. They were very good — very crispy. A great starter dish.

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I told Patrick I wanted to try their chilli crab and left all the ordering to him. However, when the crab came it was not chilli crab! Grrr … instead what he had ordered was the White Pepper Crab (or I think that’s what Patrick said it’s called).

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Aeroline Bus Trip

After staying for two days in Kuala Lumpur, I had to get to Singapore for the next four days on work. I decided to take the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and booked for a seat in the Aeroline website (https://www.aeroline.com.my/index.html). The trip costs RM80 (about USD $22) for the 5hr journey from downtown KL to downtown Singapore.

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I took the bus just half a block from the KLCC, or better known to the world as the Petronas Twin Towers. The Twin Towers was the tallest buildings in the world.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Business Class on Singapore Airlines

This was one long haul trip. I was travelling from Vancouver to Singapore a few days ago on work. Since Malaysia is just minutes from Singapore downtown, I will be taking at least a week off work to visit family and friends — and most of all eat all the food I so missed all these years.

The trip took a total of 19 hours. At least I was travelling in Business Class. Singapore Airlines’ Business Class is known as Raffles Class. I normally dread long-haul flights but this time I really enjoyed myself. The food was great, the service was superb. I felt so pampered and full rested by the time I got to Singapore. What made the difference the most was the fact that I could sleep on flight because the seat could actually recline!

Even before I got to settle down, the stewardess came around with a tray of champagne, juice and cocktail. I chose the Golden Spice cocktail which was really refreshing. This appears to be a lime cordial with a spicy relish, pineapple juice and ginger ale. I had a lot of drinks during the flight and tried to try every one on their menu.

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The flight has an in-flight entertainment system which includes movies, TV shows, and Nintendo games. Each seat has its own personal television. The movies and TV shows were the on-demand type where I could pause, rewind and so on from my seat control. There was a selection of 80 movies of various kind. On the flight I caught the Da Vinci Code. I like computer games but the Nintendo games was downright childish and game that a miss.

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Next they issued me socks. Nice touch. It felt so good taking off the shoes and donning the socks.

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Of course, there is the ubiquitous packets of nuts.

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There are a total three meals served throughout the 19hr flight. Two of the meals are full meals while one is what they called a light meal — which is not light in every sense of the word!

For the dinner menu, I started off with Satay with onions and cucumber.

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Oh yeah, they actually setup the seat tray with table cloth. The tray was large and I really had the meal in comfort.

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Next came the Marinated Prawns salad. The prawns were succulent but I am not a great fan of cold prawns.

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They came by with a basket of various type of bread. The garlic bread looked really good. They looked better than it tasted. I mean, I had much better garlic bread before. I prefer garlic bread which is crusty but this one is a soft.

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For the main, I selected the Poached Chicken Breast with garlic mashed potato, sauteed spinach and creamed morel. I selected this primarily because the menu indicated this is an exclusive creation by Nancy Oakes (who?) of San Francisco.

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I also had the coconut and mango ice-cream. The taste was unique but too airy.

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They next came with a push cart of some gourmet cheese selection. I asked for one of each to sample.

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For coffee, I chose the Kenyan AA Kilimanjaro coffee from their gourmet coffee menu. This is a very dark brew with an intense flavour. It was so good that I ordered this two other times during the flight.

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To end the meal, they came by with a nice tray of chocolates. I felt like asking them to leave the entire tray with me!

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That was just one meal. Frankly, it was too much food. By the third meal, I could not finish what was on the plates. You know, I had weighed myself before I left for the airport. At the rate I am going, I am afraid I will have gained quite a lot of weight.

Anyway, I really had a great time on the flight. There are a few more pictures of the food I had on the flight. Click on the link below for them.

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Vietnamese Sub from Hue Cafe in Richmond

I’m off to catch a flight to Singapore. The flight is in the afternoon and I have not have a confirmed ticket yet. Calling the reservation office yesterday, they told me I should have no problem getting a seat on the flight but I need to be there as soon as the checkin counter opens to get onto the wait list.

The family wanted to see me off at the airport. So, we decided grab something to eat at the airport while waiting for my flight to be confirmed. There’s this new Hue Cafe little shop we notice along No 3 Road each time we drive past the Richmond Center. We would not have given that place a second thought if not for the big sign that reads “Vietnamese Sub: 4 for $10”. It was just what we wanted — sandwiches to-go for the airport.

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They have dark windows and you could barely see the insides. However, when we got in we were pleasantly surprised how clean and tastefully decorated they were. It’s much better than the many Vietnamese restaurants we frequented.

They have limited menu — primarily subs and pho. The prices were very cheap too. Their pho is only about $4.50 each. We ordered the 4 subs for $10 and decided to choose different types. We chose pork, chicken, beef and meatballs.

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