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Category: Chinese Page 1 of 13

Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot Restaurant

Despite the seasons, Chinese-style hot pot tends to be a consistently popular destination for those wanting a little more involvement in their meal. You cook up your own dinner, customizing it from which broth base you use to what ingredients you put in. And at “Liu Yi Shou” they offer a few more options to make your experience even more interactive and personalized.

For the tutorial on how to maximize your hot pot experience, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

First “Liu Yi Shou” has happy hour, plenty of wine and beer on special. I suggest sharing a pitcher with your friends. With all the spicy and flavourful ingredients, beer makes for a great in between sipper. They also have plenty of can sodas and fruit pops available, and even coconut water you drink right out of the fruit. So start with this as you explore their very extensive menu.

And while you work out your order, or wait for it to come and boil, you can start nibbling on their “Cheese fondue”. This is a new menu item, and one that you don’t often see at a hot pot restaurant. Not just melted cheese, but their fondue is mozzarella flavoured with tomato. It is served with a board of hot dogs, celery, and chicken wings for dipping into. I really liked the flavour of the cheese dip, it had a comforting, gooey tomato soup feel to it. But despite the lit tea light under the individual fondue bowl, it does cool quick. Although it doesn’t congeal, so you can come back to what you don’t finish in between your hot pot, as a flavour changer.

You can also order their popular marinade appetizer dish. This is an assorted platter of quail eggs, bean curd, pig’s ear, and pork hoc marinated in a soy sauce blend. It is enjoyed cold or at room temperature. This you eat more for its textures of squishy, spongy, chewy, and rubbery.

Today I was dining with hot pot experts and they made sure to order the most unique of all the option, plenty of which are exclusive to “Liu Yi Shou”, starting with their tri-soup pot. You can enjoy 3 different flavours of broth, altogether in one pot. Ideal for those who get tired of a one flavour boil; or for those who can’t take their food spicy, dining with those who only like it spicy.

We had the chicken with coconut soup base, the wild mushroom soup base with Chinese herbs, and the spicy and numbing hot pot. The latter was extra special, it came with a block of tallow shaped like their cow mascot. “Tallow” is saturated beef fat, it is higher in calories than butter, but healthier and better tasting! The hotter it got, the quicker he melted, and soon he was face first in a pool of chilli and peppercorns. Not only does this make the soup more indulgent, it also help to cut into some of that hot, hot heat. And if you order the chicken and coconut soup base, you get a plate of raw chicken complimentary, to cook within it.

In an effort to save table space, our platter of finely sliced lamb and beef is served on a wooden ring, that fits perfectly around our hot pot. From here it is easy to pick up a slice and dunk it into any broth. Both cook up relatively quick, and after 5 dunks you are ready to eat it.

But as waited for all the soup broths to boil, we made our way to the back of the restaurant, to their help yourself sauce bar. At some hot pot places I find I get bored of the taste, that everything is boiled up the same, and has only the one flavour throughout. Here, you can customize your own sauces and curate the flavour, so that anything you don’t like is on you. Mix and match from sauces and oils like spiced vinegar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, satay sauce, mushroom paste, and bean curd paste, etc. Toss in some minced and chopped dry ingredients like sugar, green onion, toasted soy bean, mashed garlic, preserved turnip and peanuts; for texture and chew.

And while we were busy mixing and creating to our heart’s content all our ordered ingredients began arriving one platter after another. The beautifully plated, raw food comes out quick here.

A wooden box of leafy greens and various mushrooms.

Fish paste moulded into two hearts. This you scoop and drop into the broth for it to boil up and harden into a solid ball.

A platter of shrimp, cuttlefish, pork and beef, pre-formed balls.

An interesting one were these tubes of bean curd that you dip into the pot for 3 seconds. They act like sponges, soaking in the broth and offering a distinct ribbed chew.

For the adventurous you can order a platter of intestines and organ meats, for a more traditional hot pot experience. Pig’s blood, beef tripe, ox aorta, and goose intestine. I would also consider this, one that you order more for its textures, each with its own unique chew or gelatin-like consistency. The aorta had the same chew as squid rings, the tripe was so tender and easy to bite into, the intestine required more jaw work; and the savoury pigs blood had the texture of pudding and jello combined.

But the highlight and feature of our meal was definitely “meat Barbie”. A Barbie doll repurposed. She was dressed in strips of angus beef that you peel of her torso or cabbage base and add into your soup. At her feet is a garden of raw seafood. Shrimp in shell, fish puff, mussels, fish, and sticks of imitation crab. A visual treat, as well as a tasty one.

And for those who actually still have room for more, “Liu Yi Shou” does have dessert, offering something sweet to end on. Like their red rice cakes that you dip into condense milk or a sweet syrup. I did try one, but after all the food above, I felt ending on anything rice related or starchy a little much.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I like their creativity and the broad offering of their menu. They aren’t just a place for hot pot, but serve as a stop for happy hour as well. Cold drinks and small snacks or dessert. They offer regulars and occasional customers reasons to return with plenty of variety to try and taste. And as the first hot pot place to have franchises all over the world, there are many locations for you to get your fix at. Don’t deny your cravings.

LIUYISHOU HOTPOT
1542 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1C2
778-379-3977

Najia Restaurant

Today we were in Coal Harbour looking for dinner. One of my guests was excited to see “Najia” nearby and insisted we visit. She is a fan of the Szechwan boiled fish dish and not many places offer it.

The harbour view was great, but this was an odd place for a Chinese restaurant. And because of its traditional architectural elements, it stood out more, adjacent to the modern marina side. Particularly their second floor annex with its pagoda-style curves and pointed roof. Inside, things got a lot more authentic. Stone lion statues, carved archways, and woven tapestries. Its intricacies made the experience all the more encompassing.

We had plenty of time to soak it all in at the threshold. Where we were left lingering, looking around as staff briskly waked past our group of three. No one stopped to acknowledge us. We eventually hailed one of the managers, she sat us at the table marked “15”. It was one of the tables that shared the lengthy booth, that ran down two walls of the dining area. It was a comfortable seat with embroidered silk pillows shaped like green and yellow clouds to prop yourself against.

There, we took our time looking through their menu, which was bound-like and read-like a novel. Each page a high resolution photo with the name of the dish and its price in small print. You ordered with your eyes, and the way it was presented there had you acknowledging the steeper price point. You were paying more for a more luxurious meal.

Our server asked if we wanted tea or water, without the warning that the former would cost you. And that each subsequent “refilled” pot would cost $2.50 more. A fact we only became aware of when we saw our bill and decided to drink the rest of what we had left in pot number 3. I am guessing that they use fresh leaves each time.

We ordered the dish we came in for and our server suggested an add on, directing us to their “Noble shrimp”, one of their house specialties. A great move considering we agreed to it at $29.88 for 9 large shrimp. We were amazed by the presentation. It was served on a plate elevated by a wooden platform, it matched the pattern of the dish ware, tea cup, and chopstick rest before our individual setting. A traditional Chinese pattern with a modern twist in a yellow-ish gold.

These were the largest shrimp I have had to date. Lightly fried, with a crispy shell you can chew down and swallow with ease. They were the only part that were seasoned. None of the sweet sticky sauce penetrated the actual prawn, so the initial bite was flavourful, and you got nothing on subsequent chews. The whole lychees and chilli peppers didn’t help, I didn’t think the lychee matched the flavour of the prawn. It wasn’t sweet but salty, then bitter at the end.

As for the boiled fish in chilli oil, my guest ordered our $29.88 serving with extra numbing peppercorn, which is her favourite part of the traditional dish. With it we each had a bowl of white rice at $3 a bowl. It helped to round things out as a more fulsome meal. Thankfully the fish actually wasn’t as spicy as it looked with all the dried, chopped up chillies. It was a refined heat that flavoured the oil and fish. But my favourite part was the crisp bed of bean sprouts at the bottom of the platter.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Normally I don’t review a restaurant if I only try less than 3 dishes. However in this case I don’t think I will be returning for price alone, so thought to cover what little I have. This was little too indulgent of a cost for everyday dining. And the reality is when looking for Chinese food I won’t travel out of my way to Coal Harbour for it. Though I do acknowledge that this was very good for Chinese food downtown, with a very unique decor in a very special location. Although if this was in Richmond, it would be a different story. Don’t deny your cravings.

NAJIA
1018 Beach Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6E 1T7
778-379-3787
najia-restaurant.com

Grandma Liu Hot Pot

I was really excited to stumble upon this new Sichuan style hot pot place in Richmond’s Union Square. Here they offer made to order, individual hot pots with your choice of ingredients.

The restaurant is fairly simple, seats on either side of the room, and a counter in front of an open kitchen. You order and pay, then pick up your tray, and seat yourself based on table availability. We choose ours under a collage of cartoon pig posters. Next to the cart of help yourself drinks and utensils.

But your journey starts by the door, where a refrigerated unit keeps a selection of meat, seafood, noodles, and vegetables in plastic bins cool. You grab a large bowl and a pair of tongs and begin picking and curating your perfect bowl of hot pot. Though keep in mind you are charged by weight: $2.99 per 100grams, and the bowl adds to this weight itself. We went for one of each of the meat and seafood options, selecting the occasional vegetable along the way. Though a better strategy would be to choose the lightest cuts of meat and the leafiest vegetable for the lightest weight. As in avoiding the lotus root and potato sections, along with any of the ball; and instead loading up on the thin slices of lamb and pork, the chunks tofu, and all the lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and bok choy you desire.

More unique ingredients include seaweed knots, quail egg, vermicelli bundles, spam, Chinese doughnut, dried egg, Chinese sausage, two types of tripe, bamboo shoots, and congealed blood.

Next, you bring your collection to the counter where it is weighed. Our 6.5 grams of food came to around $20, which is a good decent deal and amount of food for two to share. And if you want your meal a little more hearty you can add on a bowl of rice for $1.50.

Your hot pot is then finished off in the kitchen. Where all the ingredients are separated and cooked individually at their own cooking times, to avoid over boiling. And before it is reassembled you are asked what sauces you want with sesame, garlic, and chilli as options. We opted to have our spice on the side for my sake, although the typical preparation for this is to have the broth super spicy.

This practice originated long ago in China where the dish originated (as was explained to me by “Picky Diner”, an expert when it comes to Chinese cuisine). Back then this was seen as commoner’s food. The hot and spicy flavours used was meant to hide the lack of quality in the meat served. Innards like intestines were commonly used as protein, based on their price and accessibility. Whereas currently in the China’s dining scene, hot pot is served more like this, with plenty of variety in its fresh ingredients.

As of our serving, the broth was fantastic, it was rich and savoury, delicious to sip. With hints of Sichuan peppercorn that offered mild heat and pops of their trademark numbing effect. None of our chosen ingredients needed a dip in any sauce, each was fully flavoured by the soup they sat and stewed in.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
If this was more accessible to me, they would see me here more regularly. I like the idea, the ability to customize and have fun with your food, and the finished product. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GRANDMA LIU HOT POT
8388 Capstan Way Unit 1463, Richmond BC, V6X 4A7
604-370-5015
grandma-liu-noodle.business.site

Dim Sum at Kirin New Westminster

We had relatives in town and my family took them out for dim sum at “Kirin”. My dad is a fan of “Kirin”, but not the Cambie location due to several brushes with bad service, so a drive out to New Westminster was required today. He liked the finer dining restaurant for its finer details. The thought put into their food presentation, the more attentive service, the overall cleanliness of the space, the free parking on premises; and how the food wasn’t too salty or sweet, but seemed to cater to everyone’s taste. And our meal even ended with a luke warm cloth for wiping up after. I am sure it was meant to be hot given the metal container they were rolled up and stacked in, and the matching tongs that were used to deliver them into out out reached hands.

Our sever was also friendly, not common at most Chinese restaurants. He bantered in Cantonese and wore a smile on this face. Although this might be a different experience on a busier day. Today this was an easy drive on a Tuesday, with less traffic on the road and in the restaurant.

We were seated at one of their many round tables with a glass lazy Susan at its centre. An ideal set up for the easy sharing of small plates, amongst our party of 6. White table cloth over a peach, cloth napkins folded into a peaked cone. And there we sat in light conversation, as the meal began with no one wanting to order. No one wanted to come across as being too forward, or to have the responsibility of ordering for everyone else. There was the passing around of the menu, and the reassurance that no one cared what they would be eating. All until my dad took charge, ordering dim sum staples like “ha gao” and “sui mai”. I tried ordering a few items based on photos posted online, however it wasn’t available at this location and neither were items in the photos pictured on their in house menu. No explanation was given for the false advertising in the latter. None-the-less the following is what we were able to order, in the order of which it came. And everything took longer to come, as it is made fresh to order.

“Steamed shrimp dumplings”. Chunked prawn within a starchy coating, tasty like it always is.

“Beef tendon braised in spicy sauce”. You eat this for its firm gelatine-like texture. Fully coated with a thick syrup-like glaze, seasoned with a slow to creep heat that flavours the dish fully.

Similar in texture was the “Steam chicken feet and gluten in black bean sauce.” But both had more of a soften, rubbery texture with the scrunched up skin on the chicken feet and the folded sheets of the gluten.

The “Sticky rice with pork and shredded scallop, wrapped in lotus leaf” had more filling that most sticky rice bundles I have opened up.

The “Deep fried eggplant stuffed with minced prawn in black bean sauce” was the table’s favourite, as it was the first dish to be cleared. This was cut in halves at the table, for easy sharing. Minced prawn meat formed like a ball and steamed like meatloaf with a similar foamy texture.

The “Spareribs steamed with chopped garlic” were easy to pop into your mouth and have your tongue and teeth do all the work, tearing the typically soft meat and cartilage from bone.

“Steamed prawn and Sakura farm premium pork dumpling topped with flying fish roe”. You could absolutely taste the quality of the meat used in this fulsome dumpling. Definitely one of the better renditions I have had.

“Pork neck bone, peanut and fried fish congee”. This was a nice warming way to end our meal. Lightly flavoured by pork and topped with shredded iceburg lettuce and peanuts for crunch; although there are already plenty of cooked peanuts within this, but those were quick to crumble under the pressure of your tongue. I also got a few of the bones that I ate clean, the meat had no seasoning; but was still the most flavourful element in the bowl. Plus it offered some texture to chew through.

Worth noting, the higher price point comes with additional service. I had my plate switched out twice during our 1 hour meal, and my bowl once. Although each time it was done abruptly by one of managers in a suit.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Everything was tasty, but I have had other dim sums just as good, for less. I wouldn’t necessary make the commute just for dim sum. However if my family is inviting and paying, you can definitely expect to see me here again. Although my dad was very please by how reasonable the cost of the total was today. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KIRIN
Starlight Casino, 350 Gifford Street, New Westminster BC, V3M 7A3
604-528-8833
kirinrestaurants.com

Old XiAn’s food 老西安

A group of foodies and myself were hungry, looking for a later dinner downtown, one of us suggested the very Instagram popular “biang biang” noodles. These are essentially rice noodles served in the full sheets that they are prepared as, instead of being cut into strips for easier consumption. Naturally, majority of us choose this option over the other thinner and rounder noodles, as this one is more exclusive to them.

The cafe is one of those spots that you need to know about, to know to go. The name and the exterior doesn’t speak to what’s within. And the all glass exterior showing very little seats being sat doesn’t speak to the food. It isn’t necessary one of those places to travel to for an occasion, but instead a great place for some quick and comforting Chinese food.

There isn’t much in terms of decor, labelled tables and a single server standing at the ready by the counter/register. She was a little intense to start. She spoke abruptly and spat out questions for how we wanted the food directly. “How hot do you want it?” was repeated several times when my guest didn’t know how to explain that he wanted it spicy… eventually she did warm up to us, offering up her brand of jokes and even helping us stage some of our noodle pulls.

The following are the bowls we had. One of my guests got his favourite the “Xian cold noodles”, and agreed to a medium amount of spiciness, (this was after the above back and forth with our server). It was a slippery bowl that he easily and quickly slurped up. And even though his bowl came first and there was a wait to take photos, because it was served cold he had it as it was intended.

My other guest with gestational diabetes had to skip the carbs, so ordered “Stewed lamb soup with vegetable”. It was a fulsome brew with an herbaceous after note.

Two others ordered the “Spicy oil noodle with soy sauce pork, tomato, and fried eggs”. This was dry noodles served sauced up and well seasoned. Rich and meaty, with a good layer of grit around the “sheets”. Both agreed that it need more spice though, and they remedied it with a side of spicy chilli oil to share and dip into.

I went with what I knew and ordered the “Braised beef noodle in soup”, they also had a broth-less version, but I wanted something warm for this colder night. The chunks of beef were sparse and a little dry. I wished for a richer soup, so that the noodles cold absorb their flavour more. Good, but I wanted a richer broth to match the luxury noodle feel. But in the end I kept going back for more and finished my serving clean because of how much I enjoyed biting down and chewing through the texture of the noodle sheets.

One of my guests also got their “Stewed pork burger”. Soggy pulled pork served in a white dough bun. He asked for cilantro so that he could have some greens and their freshness in his handheld, but was warned that he would be charged extra for the herbs. I found this odd, but he agreed to it willingly. As for taste it was a little soggy, given our wait to eat.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I can definitely see myself craving this again, and thanks to two other locations, I need not travel all that far to quell them. They are definitely taking noodles to a whole new level here. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

OLD XIAN FOODS
1517 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1C3
236-455-7080

Guy Fieri at Peaceful Restaurant

“Food Network” celebrity, Guy Fieri was in Vancouver shooting for his latest television series. In it he revisits his favourite stops along his travels, while looking for the best “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”. And I just so happened to be at the original “Peaceful Restaurant”, when he popped in. No words needed to be spoken, you could tell something was happening in the restaurant tonight. The camera crew, the large spot lights, and the cherry red convertible rolling up with a “FLVRTWN” license plate. Not to mention all the well dressed staff on shift today and the owner and his entire family present and ready to serve customers and prepare food. And it is not surprising that tonight I have had some of the best service, and the best meal from them to date.

For those unfamiliar with “Peaceful” they are the well known and beloved Sichuan restaurant that is delicious and approachable. A friendly spot that anyone unfamiliar with Chinese food, or is too intimidated to visit a restaurant with its name only written in Chinese characters; can come to and order exactly what they want and how they want it. Cut and paste Chinese food with an easy to read menu and plenty of photos. The restaurant takes into consideration their customers taste. More spice, less chilli, or additional salt. It is no wonder this winning recipe has earned them international recognition and additional locations all across the Lower Mainland.

The cafe on Broadway by Cambie is their first location, the original one that Guy first visited and helped launch all those years ago. With his endorsement he was able to help propel this family run business into the multi chain organization that they are today. And it was nice to be within the restaurant when the two parties (Guy and Charlie the chef and owner) reminisced about it all.

The filming was done in the kitchen, where Chef Charlie offered up newer dishes and sought Guy’s opinion on them. There was tasting and talking before the shaking of hands. The Guy was gone, just as quick as he came. But not before posing for a few photos and tagging the wall, just like he did 6 years ago.

When it came time for me to have my meal, we took our time and stayed much longer. The staff were friendly, and very hospitable. I heard servers ask about preferences when talking orders , and returning a couple more times to check on dinner and if they can be of further assistance.

I wanted what Guy got to try so ordered the two below. “Sichuan thousand chilli chicken”. Crispy chicken stir fried with dried peppers, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, green onion, green beans, and crispy potatoes (which is a new twist they are taking on this dish). It looks a lot more spicy and intimating than it really was. If you avoid the red chillies, you avoided the heat. Therefore the dish took work to eat, can’t just scoop and plop a spoonful into your mouth. Being caught off guard by a peppercorn or two, isn’t all that fun. But the menu gave you fair warning. They called this dish “tongue tingling” and that it was. I did like the rest of the ingredients. The ratio of batter to chicken was great, enough for crunch, without hiding the actual flavour of chicken. The beans were firm and the flavour complimentary to the nuggets of meats and the slivers of garlic. As my guest put it, this was a well balance meal with meat, vegetable, and starch; you just needed dairy.

“Xian steamed cold noodle” was the other dish we tried cause Guy did. I love a good thick and chewy noodle, so was excited to try some of “Peaceful’s” house made version today. When ordering it, our hostess spoke to how the dough for this is prepared. It is washed before it is cut into strips. And is then boiled and a thorough dressing with a garlic vinaigrette that includes sesame oil and tahini. The result, a chilled tart and tangy dish, with a warming chilli spice. Our hostess was also quick to boast that their freshly made chilli oil is what makes all the difference in this, and she was right. Great as a summer plate or a appetizer to kickstart your appetite.

And what put them on the map during Guy’s last visit, and the dish he helped familiarized: the “Peaceful beef roll”. Slices of beef and strips of chives roll together with a sweet and tangy sauce in a chewy green onion pancake. Altogether a great combination. It is worth nothing that everything in this, and everything else on the menu is made in house, except the rice cakes.

My favourite dish of the night was the “Peaceful house stir fried noodles”. Seared noodles, fish, shrimp, squid, pork, and vegetables; all coated in a chilli garlic sauce. It has a really great flavour that fully coats each slurp-able noodle strand. I liked the texture of the squishy squid with it, but found the BBQ pork a little much, whereas the fish was hard to notice all together.

And when it is handmade in house and on the menu, you have to get the classic “Xiao long bao”. These steamed pork and chive filled dumplings were deliciously moist, one bite morsels filled with warm soup. They were so soft that they almost melt under your tongue.

It turns out the owner’s daughter was working front of house tonight, and she was actually the one tending to us. Upon learning this fact, I took the opportunity to chat her up some. We discussed the universality of their Sichuan cuisine. And the fact that they are the Chinese food chain that is welcoming for everyone. She seemed proud, as her dad and brother dawned their chef’s uniforms, and her mother sat in the dining area taking it all in. What a cool experience and a great day to play the fly on the wall.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Same assessment as the last time I visited. A solid choice for quick and easy Chinese, made all the more special tonight. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

PEACEFUL RESTAURANT
532 West Broadway, Vancouver BC
604-879-9878
peacefulrestaurant.com

Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant

We were in search of dim sum, and “Golden Ocean” was chosen for its accessibility. Truth be told, I don’t often choose my Chinese restaurants, nor do I order myself. Typically, both of those matters I leave to my family, as I don’t normally visit Chinese restaurants outside of family gatherings. So it was nice to dine with friends and see what they and their families order and love.

The restaurant was on the second floor, hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. Inside it is huge standard Chinese restaurant. Round tables topped with white cloth and lazy Susans. A bar with a lucky golden cat straddling it, a featured Chinese tapestry, and a live seafood tank. All the hallmarks of a good Chinese seafood restaurant.

The dishes were a group effort in ordering, and are described in the order of which they arrived. “Breaded shrimp with deep fried eggplant”. Firm shrimp-loaf stuffed in to melty squishy eggplant body suit.

I love Chinese style deep fried squid for its chewy texture, exemplified by its cakey flour battering. No dipping sauce needed, these are plenty tasty with its coating of salt and chillies.

They were much like the “Baby cuttlefish in curry sauce”. I too enjoy this for its multiple chews required per small bulb.

“Pan fried radish cake with xo sauce” is yet another dim sum dish that I enjoy for its texture. The firm squares almost melt in your mouth. And I like it’s fishy flavour from the use of dried shrimp within the brick.

“Steamed Pork dumplings” are a classic with it juicy centre.

And “Steamed Shrimp dumplings” go hand in hand with the pork above. I love the starchy shell coating each nugget of shrimp the best, preferring to eat each element separately.

This version of “Steamed BBQ pork bun” was not as expected, it was more sweet than meaty and salty. Even more so with the sugary coarse coating that covered the bun and the honey that coated the meat within it. Our group wasn’t a fan of this rendition.

Our second attempt at ordering “Steamed pork buns proved more successful”. These were the ones we were looking for. Savoury meat in a neutral doughy shell.

The “Shrimp with egg tofu” was a nice one. The same steamed shrimp you get in the dumplings, but nestled atop of a creamy tofu pillow. The latter of the two being my favourite.

Chinese donut wrapped with rice rolls. Chewy, smooth, salty, and sweet; this had everything going on in one mouthful.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I didn’t see anything that really sets them apart from all the other Chinese seafood restaurants, just another option to enjoy dim sum in Kerrisdale. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GOLDEN OCEAN
2046 W 41st Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6M 1Y7
604-263-8886
Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beijiang Restaurant

Today I was hosting a Dumpling Trail tour on behalf of Tourism Richmond. I enjoy talking about food, getting to showcase my learned knowledge on it. And enjoy it even more when it is in the company of non-adventurous eaters, (as was the case today), where I get to help them eat outside of their comfort zone.

The “Dumpling Trail” is a self guided tour that helps you explore Richmond through food and the 20 restaurants vetted and vouched for by Tourism Richmond. It is the perfect spring board to trying new places and new things. The dumplings bring you through the door, and once within, there is so much more to explore. Dumplings are international, every cuisine has an interpretation of meat and vegetable wrapped in dough. And at “Beijiang Restaurant”, they offer theirs prepared in the Northwestern/Western Chinese way.

The rest of their menu is similar to that of fellow Richmond restaurant, “Silkway Halal”, but offered up in a much newer setting. A setting that felt foreign, decorated in Islamic accents. The bar was lined with golden oil lamps and lanterns, and they matched the golden teapot that our tea was served in. The walls were just as ornate with decorative plates hanging on display, and painted tiles depicting a scene of people dancing along side camels and elephants. But it was the giant mural of the desert scene with camels travelling through golden sands and blue skies that caught your eye.

We took our seat at one of the white cloth tables, paired with emerald fabric-wrapped chairs. And were immediately greeted with the aforementioned pot of tea and a small dish of seasoned peanuts. A spiced honey roasted mix with dried chilli flakes. Here, our server was tremendously helpful and engaging. It wasn’t until we opened the menu that we learned he was one of the three owners of this enterprise. And upon reflection, it showed. He spoke to the menu, offering up must tries, and directing us to add ons and dessert. And if this wasn’t our third stop, and if the group wasn’t already so full, we would have taken him up on his offer. So instead, he gave us each one of his cards and suggested that we come back for lunch or dinner at a special price. To be honest, I did end up ordering more then I had planned to, because of his outstanding service.

This was the “Dumpling Tour” so naturally we had to try some. They offer four different types of dumplings here, different fillings all wrapped in the same doughy skin and then steamed to cook. Carrot, leek, lamb or beef. We had the beef as our filling, which had a stewed texture to it. The vinegar, soy, and garlic dipping sauce offered a pop to help highlight the beef’s natural flavour.

A dish that comes highly recommend are the lamb skewers served on sticks, which are also available on metal skewers; although for photos and originality, you definitely want to try the ones skewered on a tree branch. The piece of wood is specially flown in from China. The lamb meat is cooked on and flavoured by this branch of wood, giving it its own distinct taste. Available in hot or mild, I went with the latter and loved the fattier pieces. The meat was tender and chewy, and you best like the flavour of lamb, because it is very pronounced here.

We also got the classic “wok fried green beans”, it was prepared with minced lamb and flavoured with chillies. The freshness of the vegetable helped with breaks from the flavourful lamb above and the short rib to follow.

“BBQ beef on teppan plate”. They arrived still sizzling on the cast iron plate. covered in tin foil. I am guessing the tinfoil was to help keep things clean, but it took away from the presentation of this $$$ ranked restaurant. Not to mention, it also took away from the extra grill the meat could have gotten as it continued to cook at our table. The beef was super tender, but far too peppery. A bowl of rice would have been nice as a side to balance this out.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great option for a nicer Chinese meal, unique plates eaten in a unique setting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BEIJING RESTAURANT
8111 Leslie Road, Richmond BC, V6X 4B3
778-297-6656
Beijiang Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Boss

I haven’t been here in ages, and within the first few mins of our visit, it all came back to me as to why. “The Boss” has been a Metrotown staple for years now. A quick and dirty Hong Kong style cafe that focuses on speed and customer turnover versus service and the customer’s experience. I found the lack of communication insufferable and how they delivered drinks and utensils with a drop, rude. My guest reassured me that this was common place in such diners, and that it’s all about efficiency. But I didn’t feel like being rushed through a meal I was planning on sitting and enjoying with a friend.

I should have known it would be a rough service when they seated my guest in a 2 foot wide booth, and when she asked for one with more space she was given attitude for her request. Our server was displeased, and tried to reassure her that she could fit all her bags and shopping on to the narrow bench beside her. Though she insisted on relocating, and the result was the wait staff making fun of her in Cantonese, not realizing she too spoke and understood the language. I wasn’t present during the whole scene, otherwise I would have stood up for her and walked out. And it wasn’t like we would be missing anything from the meal below.

Our request for water, napkins, and another fork (so that we both got one) was met with a look of intolerance. Like I was burdening them with my request to have the tools I needed to eat my meal. What they didn’t hesitate on was any mention of the bill. Our server asked us twice how we would be paying, together or separate, as she took our order. And later our billed showed up when my guest still had food left in front of her.

We were just looking for a quick bite, so didn’t order anything too elaborate, simple meals for cheap, as to not disappoint. I deemed my slightly more expensive $12.95 meal more worth the cost given how more complex of a meal it was. This was a baked dish that I couldn’t just as easily make for myself as I could my guest’s choice below. “Baked seafood on fried rice with cream sauce. It was actually pretty good. Comforting in its creaminess, but once again, there was nothing much to it. I just wished that there was a warning that it would take much longer to come, or maybe the consideration of them making both dishes so they arrived on time. But I guess that isn’t efficient… the result, I watched my guest eat and she watched me after.

My guest had the “Breakfast combo A and B” for $2 less. But whereas my combo came with a drink, my choice of coffee or tea; my guest’s did not and she paid the $1 more for her lemon ice tea.

From “box A” she was able to choose one dish and another from “box B”. She had her option of an omelet and went for the shredded chicken filing. Grey chicken and green peas in a fluffy egg wrap. They were pretty bland on their own, so found their way into my seafood cream casserole as additional flavour and texture.

This came with her choice of a dinner roll or a slice of bread on the side, with a sealed mini tub of butter. Pretty basic.

Oddly, she chose more shredded chicken, but this time in instant noodle. And it tasted as bland as it looked. It was flavoured with sesame oil, but still lacked so much seasoning. This was left uneaten. There were other options like satay beef and beef brisket, vermicelli or macaroni; and yet she chose a packet she could get herself for $1.90 at any grocery store. At least now she knows, I guess.

 

Would I come back? – No
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
No cards accepted, no care given, and no flavour had. A cheap solution, but the food court is only a few steps away. But if you want a more calming place to sit and possibly an even faster dining experience than at any foodcourt with its lengthy lines, I guess this is an easy solution. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE BOSS
Metropolis at Metrotown
4720 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 4J2
604-438-2677
The Boss Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morals Village Hot Pot

Today we were traveling around Richmond, taking on the “Dumpling Trail”, a self guided tour that took you on a journey to taste 13 different kinds of dumplings across 20 different restaurants, all vetted and vouched for by “Tourism Richmond”.

One of our stops was “Morals Village” for their water boiled dumplings”. They are a hot pot restaurant, so you wouldn’t expect to find dumplings here, nor would come here just for dumplings. So it is great to see that they were highlighted in our “Dumpling Trail” brochure, otherwise we wouldn’t think of visiting.

Located in an outdoor plaza, their red plastered exterior draws the eye. Large photos of their hot pots give you a peak of what’s to come. Walking in, the decor really impresses. Dark wood fixtures, walls and chairs; paired with black marble tables and counters. I liked the plastered art: a paper mache tree with pink and white blossoms that crept across the room.

What was less impressive was the clerk standing behind the counter eating chips. We walked in to no greeting, instead I had to initiate conversation as she ate. I felt the need to ask if they were open for business, given her demeanour and the fact there was only one other table seated in the back. She pointed to a table as she fed herself another chip.

We sat ourselves taking in the preset table with built in heat source and a rack of ladles. Another employee came by to drop off some menus. With little writing on the wall and little instruction in this landscape listing, I felt the need to ask about what the hot pot came with. He walked us through the menu and clarified things. You start by picking your soup base then the meat, seafood, vegetable, noodles and/or tofu you want to go into it. You pay for everything you want, a lesson we learned the hard way.

No where on the menu does it list that you have to pay for sauces, nor is there a sign by their self serve sauce and topping bar. So when our bill came, we were all shocked by the $3.25 fee we each had to pay. Especially given that we budgeted ourselves and knew that we did not eat $3.25 worth of sauce. Not to mention that there isn’t not enough flavour from simply boiling the meat and veg in the broth. It was with the bill and my disappointment that I decided I need not return. There are many hot pot places to choose from within the Lower Mainland. And a handful of them offer a lot more value for as similar flavours. Aside from the decor and the fact that “Morals Village” offers well made dumplings, done in house, there isn’t much else that sets them apart. And when it comes to hot pot, all you can eat will always be my first choice. None-the-less the food was good and I had no complaints with that.

I liked the fact that the dumplings we came in for were made in house, and presented raw. They were served as one of many ingredients you can choose to cook within your boiling pot, so were basically flavoured by the broth that you choose. Available in shrimp or chives, we ordered the latter.

We went for the “Special spicy style vegetable oil soup base” for our hot pot. It was spicer than it looked with its fiery red hue. The broth itself was deliciously warming. We each made sure to enjoy a bowl of it when we were done fishing out the boiled ingredients. You just need to be weary of biting in to a peppercorn or chilli flake and overwhelming any bite or scoop when you do.

For other ingredients we ordered the “octopus”, which turned out to be cuttlefish.

The “Sliced supreme beef” was nice, quick to cook, it was ready within 10 seconds.

Enoki mushroom was our vegetable choice, I liked their texture and the contrast in chewing they provided with everything else.

 

To watch our hot pot dumpling adventure and to live the experience of the “Trail” through us, check out my latest YouTube video on my channel: MaggiMei.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I liked the way the dumplings were presented and how you cook it yourself at your table. However, as a hot pot option I would pass on them. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MORALS VILLAGE
Empire Centre
4540 Number 3 Road, Richmond V6X 1E4
778-237-3737
Morals Village Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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