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Happy Singh Street Eats

Looking for more food after our initial meal, we ventured across the street to Happy Singh, a fast food restaurant serving Indian street food.

Walking in, I didn’t know what to expect. But simply taking it all in from the threshold it quickly became an exciting experience. The decor is modern and fresh, the space large and inviting. The accessibility of it all, made more welcoming by the helpful staff and a picture focused menu that made Indian food approachable for those unfamiliar. Point in case came from the heavy rotation of ethnicities that ventured in after us, and ordered to go.

You place your desired order through a kiosk, and it prints out your receipt and individual order slips, after payment. You then take said slips to the appropriate counter, where an employee assembles your order. When ready your order number is televised and you are beckoned to pick up your food on a plastic tray. From there you assemble all your dishes at your chosen table and eat.

The following is what we had, based on my guest’s preference and suggestions. All except for the Bun samosa cocktail, which I had to try out of novelty sake. It is exactly what it looks like: a potato samosa sandwiched between a bun with a smear of mint chutney and tamarind chutney. It tasted okay, but it could have been better. The bun was incredibly oily on its exterior. Although the samosa was good, it wasn’t enough to be the main filling of this burger. I needed a different texture to maw through, some pickled vegetable or a protein, if not just more of either chutney spread. Even the side of regular potato chips and ketchup packet would have help as a filling.

I liked the pageantry put into their drinks, from the use of the glass milk bottle, to the striped straw, and the finishing touches in the form of a salted rim and sprinkled dollop of whipped cream.

The Mango peach original is a blended smoothie with the likes of mango and peach fruit. Creamy and rich, it is sweet enough to be considered a dessert. The Gajar halwa badam shake is a delicious carrot and almond Indian dessert, blended and made into a shake. I enjoyed this the most out of the three we ordered. The Tamarind peach lassi is more yogurt focused, and therefore a lot more tangier than the other two shakes above. Not a lot of peach flavour, and you don’t get much tamarind outside of the rim.

My favourite dish that we had, had to be the Gol gappa. I have had it before from other restaurants, but I have always just mixed and matched the water and ingredients myself. So to have it done with a perfect ratio, by someone who knows what they are doing, makes a world of difference. The crispy, hollow round is broken into. You then carve out a hole and fill it with the accompanying ingredients. Then finish by pouring in the mint and/or tamarind flavoured water to your tastes. Then in one bite you take it all into your mouth, and with lips closed bite down. The result, a flood of flavoured water married with a crispy crunch. Both fun and tasty to eat.

The Pau baji is popular in Mumbai. It is a mashed vegetable curry seasoned with lime and onions. Served with two buttered buns, it reminded me of an Indian sloppy joe. The veggie mix even had a chunky meaty quality to it. I just wished it had more salt and seasoning to it.

The Tawa tikki is potato croquettes seasoned with Indian spices. Served topped heavy with a mint cilantro chutney, sweet chutney, beaten yogurt, and onion. It ate like a potato salad, you only need to do all the mixing yourself. This had a great assembly of contrasting flavours and textures, from the spicy chutney to the cooling yogurt, and refreshing pomegranate. Finished with a nice crispy topping.

The great thing about ordering all these small plates and sharing them amongst a group is that not only do you get to try them all, but you also get to mix and match flavours and sauces from all the dishes, as they are all complimentary.

In short, this was a fun place for causal Indian snacks and food. An approachable menu and friendly staff makes this a great place to learn and try more of the cuisine. I recommend it for tasty eats and a good time!

Happy Singh
8821 120 St, Delta, BC V4C 6R6
(778) 578-6666
happysingh.com

Saravana Bhavan

On a whim my guests and I decided to go out for an early dinner after work. Seeing as we were in the area by Surrey, and I don’t often get out there, let alone know where a good place to go for Indian food is; We decide to go to one of my guest’s favourite vegetarian Indian spot. Here, I would get a crash course in South Indian cuisine.

Two of us arrived early and were forced to wait for our third party member to arrive. In the meanwhile we decided to grab a couple of drink to pass the time. We had to ask for the drink menu despite the bar being so prominent in the dining area. Then when we had questions, the gentleman who seated us wasn’t able to explain what went into any given cocktail. And simply excused himself saying that the bartender was on break and it would only be a 5 minute wait in order to order a drink.

20 minutes later we were still waiting. The gentlemen never cared enough to return to check in on us. We weren’t asked if we wanted to order anything else as we waited. When a young girl finally arrived, we were no longer in the mood or interested in getting a drink. The service soured our experience and the lack of care explained the decor. The entirety of the restaurant seemed unkept. From the waving Santa figure by the door in March, with the matching Christmas orbs to match. To the giant slouching teddy bear and empty bar, lacking bottles.

Nonetheless my friend vouched for the food and agreed that the service culture isn’t there. The following is what we ordered as recommended by her: traditional South Indian dishes. All three are basically dough focused items used for dipping.

Idly steamed rice and lentil patties served with chutney, sambar, and idly podi. Dry and cakey, these were tasteless rounds that you peel and dip into either the spiced vegetable side, the spicy sauce, the cooling coconut mix, the refreshing mint one, or the tangy tamarind dip. Or all of the above, all together, as our host recommended. The sensation of using your hands to eat is certainly part of the experience, added with the option of mixing and matching flavours.

The Onion masala dosa is a thin rice and lentil crepe stuffed with mashed potatoes and onions. My guest recommended unrolling the crispy crepe then smearing the filling evenly across it, before rolling it back up and pinching off what you want. Smaller bites to dip into the same assembly of sauces above. Similar flavours, but with a greater crisp in the base, and a more filling entree overall.

I liked the Channa batura the most. This was a large puffed fried bread served with a chickpea stew. It comes looking like a pillow, but quickly deflates. It has a similar feel to roti; where you pull, peel and use it as a base to the bounty of chickpeas on the side. The latter was incredibly tasty, but a little more on the spicy side for me. The side slices of cucumber and green onion did help to add some freshness and beat the heat.

As a whole, it was a great experience to try these dishes, although I wouldn’t necessarily travel all the way for this, and would rather give my business to a place that is more appreciative of it.

Saravana Bhavan
8701 120 St, Delta, BC V4C 6R4
(778) 578-7575
saravanabhavan.ca

Kumare Express

Looking for something heavy and satisfying we looked to Filipino cuisine; driving to Joyce sky train station, where such a community exists and the food is fairly authentic. There are a few restaurants all lined up in a row, the hard part is figure out which one to walk into, and what to get when you don’t know what is good, or what anything is. Especially when they don’t list the ingredients and dishes are labelled with names like “pinakbet” and “bopis” and you order by looking past the sneeze guard at full trays of miscellany.

Luckily I had a guide to all this and simply took their lead. Normally, I would be too intimated to venture into such an establishment, not knowing the culture, not speaking the language, and feeling out of place in general. You felt like everyone knew everyone and the casually clothed staff didn’t have the time to explain to you what anything was. At least they had an electronic menu of items made to order. If you could make out the fine print, you knew what to ask for. Or better yet, just ask for a chaperone. This is definitely one of those take out places that serves its immediate demographic.

The following is what we had, based on what my chaperone was craving.

Pork bicol express is a spicy pork stew cooked in coconut milk. You definitely make out the creaminess in the sauce. Thick and rich, you coat your rice in it and it is enough. Helpful, as meat was inconsistent, some chunks were all fat, others all dry. However, the flavour was so good that it didn’t make much of a difference, in my opinion.

We also ordered Sizzling sisig. Sisig is a Filipino dish made from parts of a pig’s head and chicken liver, usually seasoned with calamansi, onions and chili peppers. Having to take it out, you don’t get to enjoy it actually sizzling.

So I suggest taking it home and re-baking it in the oven until crispy. Then making it more saucy by stirring in a raw egg. Naturally, this is better warm so that the meat is tender. When it cools down it becomes a harder chew. With its high salt content and flavourful ginger strands, this makes for a great dish to have with beer. I personally liked it with rice and/or the Filipino style congee below.

Goto is one of the items that they make to order. Beef tripe and tendon in a sticky rice porridge, served with a whole boiled egg, and topped with fried garlic. This is the most flavourful congee I have ever had, with plenty of salt and garlic. It was thick enough to eat with a fork. I especially liked the chunks of tripe and intestine to chew through, with the silken porridge. It ate like a full meal, so comforting that I can see myself craving this again. Great for breakfast or a sick day in.

I never knew Filipino food was so tasty and diverse, this is a great gateway to trying something that might not look all that tasty, but is worth recommending.

Kumare Express
5183 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G8
(604) 564-6338

Whistler Blackcomb in the 2021 Nissan Rogue

Last year I have taken up a lot of new hobbies. One, to help pass the time in a world of a pandemic. And two, to continue to learn and grow, despite the world being on standby. But I digress. One such hobby I have proudly latched on to us snowboarding. So when getting restless and in need of an escape, I looked to my board and began planning a little snowboarding trip to Whistler. The two hour drive is enough kilometres to be classified as a much needed getaway. A getaway during the dreariest of all the months: February.

 

And any extended drive deserves the proper vehicle, so we loan the 2021 Nissan Rogue in a champagne hue, and off we went. With its spacious cargo room, back seats that fold down, and a covering to keep your cargo discreet; the Rogue was an asset on this excursion, where we had to transport our multitude of equipment to and fro.

From eco mode getting out of the city and on to the highway, to sport mode on the sea to sky, and finally snow mode when we got into Whistler Village; the Rogue handled all the terrain we threw at it, and well.

We set out from Burnaby a little after 9am, planning on catching the last few hours of the mountain’s opening. Whistler Blackcomb is only open from 8:30-3:00pm. This is so that if anyone goes missing they have the time to search for them before nightfall, as the mountain is huge and there is a lot of terrain to cover in a rescue search.

 

Tickets aren’t cheap, but they are guaranteed. If you don’t end up using them for whatever reason, you simply get a refund for your troubles, no questions asked. At the other ski hills I have visited, all sales are final regardless of circumstances. So we booked the Friday and the Saturday, with the option to cancel on the latter depending on the weather conditions and how we felt after a day of boarding.

Snowboarding is a tiring sport, you can only do it for so long. And as a beginner, who is still working on her heel and toe, even less so. We would take the main gondola up to the very top and from there take the green whiskey jack trail mid way, thrice. Doing so before going all the way to the bottom and finishing off at Whistler Village, for our last run. And at this point I was spent. Multiple breaks were necessary and the need to sit and be off my feet, plenty. The result: a tiring and constructive day with the sore muscles and jelly-like limbs to prove it. Well worth it if you are going to maximize a $150 or so ticket to ride and board. In consideration of our fatigue, we decided to make our two day into one (getting our refund in full from customer service, with no fuss, no muss).

This experience is well worth it in my opinion. If not so once a year, once in your life time. Whistler is a five star ski resort that ski and snowboard enthusiasts travel great distances for. Why not take advantage of what is in your very backyard? The views and the surreal feeling of being on a giant mountain, such as this one, is like no other.

And then there were the one of a kind weather conditions. We witnessed mini blizzards and tornadoes to shake us on the chair life, and to chase and board along with. Both of which I doubt is available at a smaller mountain. This is an experience that is worth the travel time for. Especially after I learned that the tornadoes are called snow devils, and deemed a very rare occurrence.

And if you plan things right, you can end your day with a drink and a snack and one of their many patios. The one at the very end of the village, with a view of the mountain base is Longhorn’s. We grabbed a two top on the patio and relaxed with a couple of pints in amber and blonde ale. And accompanied it with carbs in a classic gravy soaked poutine and breaded chicken strips with more fries. I can think of no finer way to end our tiring day, other than being seated by one of their fire pits for ambiance.

From there it was check in at our hotel. We would spend the night, anticipating a second day on the slopes. So reserved one of the least expensive suites, from one of the hotels closest to the gondola.

We choose our stay at Whistler Village Inn and Suites, liking the idea of one of their studios. Which included a patio, fire place, living room space, and kitchen to utilize during our evening stay. All this only to realize that the patio view is of a back alley. The fire place only takes real wood logs, (no one has those lying around). The living room included some of the most uncomfortable sofas and chairs with little back support and not enough butt room to be able to fully recline. And the kitchen housed some of the most worn out appliances. Not to mention I had trouble looking for cutlery and dishware, wondering why they didn’t have any in a studio they advertised with kitchen; only to realize everything was in the dishwasher and not put away.

And then there was the space saving Murphy bed that we folded down. It was not firm enough, but I am sure better than the fold out couch. The pillows were decedent, but I wanted better than the two scratchy throws for blankets. Luckily with the heat cranked on full, warmth wasn’t an issue.

Noise was though. Each suite shared an entry way with another, and it wasn’t sound proofed. We could hear our neighbour’s comings and goings, as well as their louder conversations. Just like I am sure they could hear us playing video games into the wee hours and watching television to sleep to, to drown out their sounds.

The suite met our one night needs, though truth be told, I will spend more for a better experience and accommodations in the future. At least the washroom was clean, the towels were plentiful, the shower head had good pressure, and the hair dry plenty of heating power.

For dinner and breakfast the morning after, we would grab some premade food from the Fresh St. Market, at the heart of the village. A full rotisserie chicken, a hard and raw potato salad, and a cheesy sun dried tomato penne for sides. This was paired with plenty of tea, boiled water, and Gatorade to replace our spent liquid and electrolytes from today’s workout.

For breakfast it was a ham and cheese sandwich with pickles, enjoyed with hotel brewed coffee, served with their cream powder and sugar.

Then it was time to check out and stop for provisions, for our drive back home. Pure bread is the local’s go-to for savoury and sweet pastries and bread, paired with a large hot chocolate with marshmallows. We grabbed a box of goodies that included a sundried tomato brioche, their nutty brownies, a cream filed cinnamon and sugar bun, and a lemon and pistachio frosted cake.

And so ended our quick getaway, with warm and safe drive home in the 2021 Nissan Rogue. Taking advantage of the empty roads and the clear skies, pulling over from time to time to take it all in. Sometimes you need to travel a little to appreciate what you have in the comfort of your own home. Thank you Nissan Canada for the great cruise.

Straight and Marrow eatery + bar

Seeing as outings are less commonplace now, the ones you do take, have to count. And this is case in point. Today we were at the well received Straight and Marrow, a restaurant known for using lesser known animal parts and unsung ingredients, and featuring it on a plate. Basically the way I like to eat: the weirdest and most different menu items available. Although be warned, you are paying a premium on the scarcity.

The space is narrow with there being even less room now due to covid restrictions. The bar is behind plexiglass, should you sit there. Similarly the chefs work at the back behind plexi, but within plain sight, plating and staging with precision.

When it came time to order, we looked to their specials board, ordering 3 out of the 5 options based on protein alone! Frog, skate (similar to a sting ray), and pork in a cocktail. The latter was called the Porkolada. A tropical cocktail made slightly savoury with bacon rum and finished with a prosciutto crisp. It basically tastes like a sweet piña colada with pineapple, orange juice, and coconut. I just wish there was more bacon flavour in the mix. I expected and wanted it more savoury like a haiwanian pizza.

My guest got the Bent, Not Broken cocktail; featuring Tanqueray No. 10 gin, vodka, lemon infused lillet blanc, and charred rosemary olive oil. It is stirred, not shaken, and twice burnt. This one is a show stopper with a torch and a fire show. The result: a strong basil finish with oiliness.

His next one was the restaurant’s name sake drink: The Straight & Marrow, that came with a story. The creative bartender combined wine and left over beef broth on a whim and thus this one of a kind cocktail was born. Marrow infused mongrel, B&B, orange, lemon, beef stock, red wine, Miss Betters black pepper, and black cardamom bitters. It was described as being complexed, and it delivered on that. This was a drink that kept changing in your mouth. It started savoury and rich with plenty of warmth form the bone marrow. Then ended, leaving you with a refreshing last note.

From there my guest took his drink to the Inverse Boilermaker. This was a more classic stiff drink, made with Bulliet bourbon, spiced porter reduction syrup, and fig.

As for food, the following is what we ordered, in the order that it came in. This is the fried skate wing with celeriac slaw, guanciale-tomato vinaigrette, and brown butter powder. Skate is like a mantra ray. Its flesh is similar to white fish, but more fibrous. You didn’t taste it, but instead the batter that coated it. The skate had a clean flavour, and a safe one for those fearful of trying something new. It reminded me of a dressed up fish and chips; just missing the tangy tartar sauce. Commercial, subtle, and easy. It just needed some salt.

If the skate wing was like fish and chips, the Frog N’ Grits was like fried chicken. It was prepared with a Creole sauce made with lardon, garlic scapes, and green onion on creamy polenta. With the small bones it ate like chicken feet, but what little meat you got was super tasty for a small plate. I found the garlic scapes noteworthy, they reminded me of green beans, in fact I thought they were until I had to write this review.

The Tongue in Cheek was a clever name for this plate centred around beef tongue. Crispy Beef Tongue, Braised Beef Cheeks, and a Root Vegetable “Risotto”. If you didn’t know this was tongue meat, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was with the way it was sliced and presented, like art. As for how it ate, the initial flavour reminded me of spam, salty then gamey before it dulls and blends in with the diced vegetables. This was as memorable as the others, especially in comparison to the bone marrow below.

This was a large bone dressed with Chicken Cracklin, Pickled Shiitake, and Porcini Dust. You dig and gouge fatty oils from the halved bone and smear it over a hard crostini. It is so rich and sumptuous that you really can’t have too much, therefore it is best to share. I do suggest that you elongate your bone marrow experience by adding on the Cognac Luge option to your dish.

You order a shot of cognac to be able to take by way of a bone slide. To do this you need a friend. You hold the hollow bone to your lips and have a buddy pour the cognac into it. You then slurp and sip the liquor that mixes with the excess fattiness that is still left on the bone. The activity itself has you concentrating on precision and less on the flavour of the spirit. But it is still worth it as the feat is just as fun as the drink.

In short, this is a unique restaurant with a one of a kind concept. A great interactive dining experience that has you trying something new that you may otherwise not get to, or know that you even wanted to.

Straight & Marrow
1869 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1H8
(604) 251-4813
straightandmarrow.com

Pizza Hut’s KFC popcorn chicken pizza

Pizza Hut is labeling their latest promotion “the internet breaking collab”, and for once it is only available for us Canadians!

Given that Pizza Hut is my favourite fast food pizza option, and Kentucky Fried Chicken is my go to for fast food fried chicken, it is no surprise that their adverts popped up across all of my social media platforms. Upon which, I made plans to try this limited edition creation with a friend.

It is basically the trademark Pizza Hut buttery, bread-y crust topped with KFC’s popcorn chicken bowl, minus the mashed potatoes. Though the latter would have been a fun addition. Popcorn chicken, corn, peppery gravy, and a mix of melty cheddar and mozzarella cheese.

The chicken was tasty, but you could tell it was from frozen. The corn gave things a nice sweetness, I just wished there was more peppery gravy to balance it out. You barely tasted any gravy past all the salty cheese. As a whole it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as great as the hype.

I would have spread Pizza Hut’s heavily seasoned marinara sauce over its crust, as both are so complimentary. Then I would have topped it with micro nuggets of popcorn chicken, along with the regular sized ones for a more even chicken distribution, as it was what gave this pizza its unique flavour. Then I would use the gravy as a drizzle over top, with an additional side serving to dip into, for those who like to drink gravy.

Overall this is a fun collaboration and one worth trying, fans of either brands or not. The popcorn pizza is a great delivery idea with leftover lunch possibilities. It is a limited edition release, so be sure to get yours before it is gone.

Pizza Hut
pizzahut.ca

Water St Cafe, Lobster Madness

I find that one of the restaurants most consistent with seasonal promotions and celebrating events is Water St. Cafe. They are cleverly giving diners a reason to come back to try something new, and revisit favourites they have had before. And this month it is lobster: everyone’s favourite crustacean as entrees, brunch options, and sides. Available between March 8th to the 28th. And the best part: you can have all the brunch dishes for dinner.. unless you visited the night we did.

As soon as I confirmed that all three brunch options were up for grabs, we immediately ordered them all, pairing it with familiar brunch cocktails like mimosa and sangria. But sadly our dream of breakfast for dinner would not be as they didn’t have the ingredients necessary to craft the lobster Benedict (the one I was most excited about). So instead we had classic lobster dishes, and sadly kept the drinks that came first.

Water St. Cafe’s lobster menu is 11 items deep with the ability to add lobster or more lobster to any of their regular menu items. We only tried 3 so I can’t tell you what to order out of the lot. But the following is what we had and how it tasted.

The Lobster and cauliflower au gratin is an interesting one. It reads like a lot, and the description doesn’t really sell how good the dish was. You get plenty of lobster with a half poached in butter, and it was paired with plenty of vegetable and extras. Crispy capers, Brie, curry spiced cauliflower, rosemary garlic panko, crispy sun dried tomato cannellini bean cake, and a roasted red pepper coulis. It all worked well together with plenty of flavours and textures that popped. From the sweet peppers to the satisfyingly solid bean cake, and the zesty cauliflower. This is unique dish that I would recommend, just as our server recommended it to us.

The Surf and turf is a classic choice. A butter poached 1/2 lobster paired with an 8oz PEI blue dot striplion steak, served with Cajun fries, and salsa verde. The lobster was perfect, juicy and sumptuous with a generous dip into butter. The Cajun fries were so tasty that we ordered a side at happy hour pricing, and enjoyed it again with our steak and our roll below. The steak is where this dish lacked. We asked for medium rare, yet the steak had no pink. It was hard with much need to chew, as a result.

I really enjoyed the Lobster and shrimp roll, listed under brunch, but it also made a great lunch option or snack. This is Butter poached lobster and black tiger prawns with celery, bell peppers, lobster butter, and garlic aioli; all between a well buttered and toasted brioche roll. Best warm and toasty to get that crunch when you bite down on the buttery bread. I just wished for more seafood filling to better balance out all that bread. And some more celery for freshness and crunch to break up all that cream.

In short, a great menu for lobster lovers and a good reason to indulge. Dine in and take out available for a limited time. Get it from March 8th to the 28th.

Water St. Café
300 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B6
(604) 689-2832
waterstreetcafe.ca

Chung Chun Rice Hot Dog

I have passed by this corner Korean hot dog shop several times now, and upon each occasion a long line stretched down the block. So seeing as there wasn’t a person by the door, today was the day to try them for myself. Curious to see the fanfare, for what is essentially a dressed up corn dog, battered uniquely and dressed decadently.

Theirs is a small space, you go in, place your order then head out with your receipt to wait. You line up on one side of the shop front to order and then wait for your order on the other side.

You are then invited back in for the finishing touches. You are able to pick and choose your drizzle and powdered topping. However, with so many options it got overwhelming, so we simply left it to the capable hands of our server to decide and dress as she saw delicious.

My guest went for the ramen chip hot dog, a hot dog battered in ramen noodles and sauced with sweet chilli, ketchup, honey mustard, spicy mayo, and cheesy powder. It was essentially a corn dog if not for the crunchy bits in the breading. And the collective sauces is really what gives it its flavour. And for this the more is better, and more is necessary.

I enjoyed the squid ink cheese hotdog for its pageantry and fun. This is a hot dog wrapped with stringy and stretchy cheese, both coated in a batter dyed grey from squid ink. To finish it was drizzled over with teriyaki sauce, sweet mayo, and garlic powder. I really liked the detail put into this. From the curled ends that made it looked like a squid, to the consideration they put into crafting this meat on a stick. The hotdog was cut into chunks before being skewered for easy eating.

And of course there was the Instagram worthy cheese pull moment you get on first bite. You just don’t get enough cheese throughout the entire dog. After two bites I was out of cheese.

A fun snack on the go, but at the end of the day this is an extra hot dog with plenty of add ons to hide the organ meat dog.

Chung Chun Rice Hot Dog
1795 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1C9
(604) 423-5529
chungchunricedog.ca

Hello Nori, hand roll bar

Year two of our world wide pandemic, compiled with seasonal depression and this dreary weather, people are craving contact. A way to connect with their friends and loved ones, as well as a way to make new connections. In comes Hello Nori, Vancouver’s newest dining experience: hand rolled sushi rolls made to order.

Take out is an option, but for the price you are paying: $6-8 per roll you really want to take in the show and eat them as intended: fresh and right away. Therefore, all seats are by the bar, to do just that. There is very limited seating, but the turn around is fairly quick, as I don’t see many dropping a couple of bills for a fulsome meal.

Two hand rollers situated by large rice cookers, can be seen consistently scooping rounds of rice into seaweed sheets and topping them accordingly, with the occasional torching.

They serve it right to you on a slate board atop the counter, and from there you direct it into your mouth by way of hand, eating it like a burrito with a dip in soy. My guest and I shared 6 rolls. And these aren’t full maki rolls but 3 biters. It was served in the order that the menu listed it. Toro, yellow tail, ora king salmon, Hokkaido scallop, crab, and truffle lobster. As for how they tasted, this was some of the cleanest fish over rice I have ever had. Each hand roll sumptuous and perfect in texture, temperature, and flavour. I just wish I could afford more, and to not have to share. The 6 rolls for $30 was a little out of everyday budget for me.

We also splurged on the sake for the traditional Japanese experience, done right before your eyes, like everything else. An over pouring of sake into a shot glass, with the excess being caught into the wooden box it sat it. You basically get a shot and a half for $10 like this. Be warned there is a specific way you need to drink this. Finish half in glass and then remove said glass from the box, pouring any excess back into the glass. If not, you will spill over yourself, true story.

Overall, this was a great special occasion experience. A splurge and a fun night out for those who can afford it.

Hello Nori
165 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5
(604) 564-9595
hellonori.com

Cindy’s Palace, dim sum take out

Family gatherings are far and few in between now, but I make the effort to see my parents and share a meal of them regularly. Today dinner would be dim sum from one of my parent’s favourite Chinese restaurants. One that just so happens to be offering 20% off take out. You call ahead, place your order and are then good to go 30 minutes later.

The following is what we as a family enjoy and would order if able to dine out more freely. I really enjoyed the plastic containers they are using here, although at the same time feel we got less food because they are trying to accommodate its limited volume.

The Steamed pork Dumplings are a classic and as tasty as ever.

We definitely felt that we didn’t get enough Steamed Spareribs & Pumpkin with Black Bean Sauce for the price we paid. At least there were tender pieces of meat that you put into your mouth and with tongue and teeth, easily pull meat from bone.

I really liked the texture of the gelatine-like beef tendon and chewy beef tripe in their thick and juicy special brown sauce.

Another great one with an enjoyable chew is the Steamed Baby Squid in Curry Sauce. This was a mild curry with a little hint of sweetness.

The Steamed Sticky Rice Wrapped with Bamboo Leaf was definitely condensed. Three bites of rice with bits of pork, Chinese sausage, and mushroom. It could have used more filing and a salted egg for a better filling to rice ratio.

The Chicken feet with special sauce was exactly as expected. A great flavoured coupled with the need to eat tediously and precisely.

We also really liked the Deep fried tofu stuffed with shrimp and fish paste in black bean sauce. These were square blocks of tofu, topped with shrimp, all battered and deep fried. The tofu was perfectly soft, nothing over cooked.

And to be sure no one left the table hungry, we also ordered Beef rice noodles in soy sauce. It has a great flavour when the noodles weren’t sticking together, and each strand got a full coating in soy, dying it brown. This one hit the spot.

Dim sum is all about eating lots of smaller bites, with plenty of variety to go back and forth on. On that note, my mother had a great idea. In order to better serve dim sum during covid, she suggests offering split orders between four and have them delivered to you all packaged like a bento. Now to see which Chinese restaurant jumps on this idea!

CINDY’S PALACE
1796 Nanaimo St, Vancouver BC
604-253-6183
cindyspalace.ca

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