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Category: Central Richmond Page 1 of 8

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

Big G Fried Chicken Steaks

This popular Richmond night market treat now has its own store, so that you can have giant pieces of chicken all throughout the year. Located in Union Square in Richmond, they serve as a quick lunch or snack spot, frying up chicken and other sides.

Set up like any fast food restaurant. You order at the back, reading off the menu above the counter. You pay first and when ready your number is called and you take your tray to any available table. It is worth noting that they except debit, whereas many of their neighbours run a cash only business.

On the right side of the restaurant are photos of their combos and menu items on display, serving as inspiration on what to order. On the left, their trademark photo of a woman holding up a piece of chicken, showing you how it’s larger than her head. A popular pose that many have imitated and used on their own social media channels, myself included.

Although there is plenty to order, chances are you will be having the “jumbo chicken steak”. Available in original, seasoned with salt and pepper; or in a bevy of flavours like bbq, Cajun powder, jalapeño powder, seaweed powder, hot sauce, and even coated in mozzarella cheese.

The original is so flavourful that you don’t really need additional sauces or seasonings. It is my pick. A piece of chicken breast pounded down and stretched out to achieve this elongated length. Though half of it is bone. It tastes like the Taiwanese style popcorn chicken you get at bubble tea places. Just as crispy and salty, with more coated skin than meat. The flavours penetrate the batter and skin through to the actual chicken.

If you are looking for more chicken in a different way they have options in various sizes and shapes. Chicken strips, nuggets, and popcorn. And plenty of deep fried sides to go with it like potato, yam, tofu, oyster mushroom, shimeji mushroom, squid balls, and fish cake. For something more fresh grab a coleslaw or radish salad. And for a more fulsome meal their chicken is available as a combo with rice, noodle, or noodle soup. Enjoy it with a fountain pop or bubble tea.

 

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? – No.
Good, but there is something more enjoyable about having one at the night market versus sit downing in a fast food setting. A convenient snack, but not a destination. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BIG G’s FRIED CHICKEN STEAK
8338 Capstan Way #1231, Richmond BC, V6X 4B5
604-278-9661

BlackBall Taiwanese Dessert

Today I was invited down to “Black Ball” in Richmond to taste their Taiwanese style desserts and teas. This is their first BC location, their first Canadian location is in Toronto, with a second to come. They have yet to open so this was a great way to get to know them before they do. Although, as a result all the information below may be subject to change.

They are located in Union Square with an all windowed corner store. This is a prime location with seating across 2 floors. In fact, despite them not being open, in the 2 hours we were there 6 potential customers walked in wanting a treat.

They have a very cohesive brand, highlighted by their ball mascots. Animated balls with stick arms and round eyes decorated the half curtains that hung over each window. A couple of human size black balls sat on a counter and on their themed cart. Additional colourful balls appeared in their wall mural, interacting with humans. A cityscape in China with train, hot air balloon, and signature Chinese architecture.

The balls are also used to signify their membership. Instead of points cards you will get a fuzzy black ball on key chain, each with its own word bubble saying. And I would come back just for this. VIP members get a larger ball to signify their paid for membership. This also gives them a discount on all menu items. A dollar difference on everything, and it is good all across Canada.

Their square shaped bowls also have their mascots painted on. And if eat your way to the bottom of your dessert, you will find a ball waiting for you there as well.

As media we were given a taste of each and every one of their ingredients. Every ball and jelly that you can use to customize your Taiwanese dessert. They really wanted to showcase the quality of them all and just tasting each it was clear. The following was grouped together as complimentary flavours.

Fresh grass jelly, red bean, peanuts, grass jelly flavoured ice crumble, konjac jelly, and taro and yam “Q” cubes; served with a dairy creamer imported from Taiwan. “Konjac” is a jelly produced from the natural fruit fibres of an Asian plant. It is popular for its limited sugar and lack of calories. It is mostly sought out for gelatine-like texture. The “Q” cubes are one of their signature items, each is handmade and contains 95% of the named ingredient. The taro is 95% taro and 5% starch just to have it hold their shape. And you could taste the difference, it was like you were eating either root vegetables made into a chewier bite. All together, such servings as 100% customizable. You pick and choose your favourite for an ideal mix of textures, flavoured in a sugar syrup with the addition of milk for creaminess. As personal preference I passed on the peanut and red bean, as I am not a fan of their gritty texture.

The second bowl of ingredients were flavoured with real lemon fruit. Aloe vera, coconut jelly, crystal boba, ai yu jelly, taro and yam balls, and winter melon flavoured ice. Here the yam and taro only contains 75% vegetable fibre, the remaining 25% is a binder, giving them more of a chewy texture. This was a more refreshing serving, lighter with the citrus; and I preferred the more common combination above.

To get a little bit of everything above you can order their “Black ball supreme” a bowl flavoured like grass jelly with two creamers. Taro and yam Q cubes, red bean, grass jelly, konjac jelly, taro and yam balls, and grass jelly flavoured ice. It is enough to feed a family of 3-4. And at $18.90 ($17.90 VIP member price) you are saving by sharing this instead of getting 3-4 individual bowls at $7.50 ($6.50 VIP price).

Next, we tried their matcha offerings and all of their mini chewy balls. Their matcha jelly had the perfect jiggle of a jello-like product. Both versions use premium matcha, but the paler coloured one contains milk. Neither were overly sweet, allowing you to take in plenty and savour the matcha flavour.

Their shaved ice is drizzled in matcha syrup and condensed milk. Here, you can top it with any combination of the ingredients above or below. But I found it so tasty, that I would enjoy it as is.

The mini balls were packed full of flavour. Red bean, black sesame mini ball, yam mini ball, rice ball, matcha mini ball, and taro mini ball. The black sesame and matcha are exclusive to “Black Ball” and definitely the most memorable. They tasted exactly as promised with an easier chew, in smaller bites.

They also have several drinks utilizing the same ingredients with similar flavours. I didn’t taste any of them, so will simply be giving you a visual look here.

Honey lemon ai yu jelly tea. Purple sticky rice milk with mini taro and yam. Winter melon tea with a cream cheese foam.

Fresh black tea with milk. Winter melon with mini balls taro and yam.

And lastly they also offer waffles and ice cream. They were pressed to order and good, but nothing really different that all the other waffle desserts out there. If you make your way down here I would suggest sticking to all of their specialties above.

Waffles with chocolate sauce, banana slices, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It tasted exactly as you expect it too.

Waffles with dice strawberry, condensed milk, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a chocolate wafer stick. This too delivered on what you’d expect.

 

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? – Yes.
Definitely the best of such Taiwanese desserts I have tried so far. The quality of their ingredients makes all the difference and their theme makes them memorable. Make sure to follow their social media and be on alert for their actual opening. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BLACK BALL
8300 Capstan Way Unit 1061, Richmond BC, V6X 4B7
blackball.com.tw

Yuu, traditional Japanese tapas

It feels like summer in spring and one of my favourite fusion Japanese tapas place is reminding us that they have a unique way for you to stay cool while still enjoying the deliciousness of ramen.

I have been to this restaurant a few times before, but thanks to their ever evolving menu there are plenty of reasons for me to return time and time again.

Located in a busy out door plaza, it is easy to get to with free parking available. And with plenty of seats and staff at the ready, getting a table is as easy as walking in and pointing to one. The staff are all attentive, rushing to you with the slightest eye contact. Ready to answer questions and take your requests from a very easy to navigate menu. There are plenty of coloured photos to point and order from. A collection of Japanese favourites and a handful done with North American twists. Like their new ramen to go cups that you shake up like you would a salad. These were 100% customizable and include topping choices like kimchi, crispy fried onions, and crushed up hot cheeto dust.

As tempting as that was, my guests were visiting from London and were more keen on a traditional Japanese dining experience so we had a collection of tried and true favourites.

We had the popular street snack “takoyaki”. Octopus dough balls dressed in okonomiyaki sauce, shredded seaweed, and bonito flakes. These were soften globs of dough with a chewy chunk surprise inside. A classic snack that tastes just as you’d expect it to and no different from the last set you tried.

Their gyozas are made in house, pan fried and served sizzling on a hot plate. Crispy dough covering chucks of pork meat, that are great for sharing. They are so good that they have earned themselves a coveted spot on Tourism Richmond’s “Dumpling Trail”. A self guided tour that highlights and recommends where to get the best dumplings in all of Richmond.

The deep fried tofu in house special is another popular Japanese appetizer. Crispy tofu in a light soup-sauce, slightly salty but more on the sweeter side. This made a great option for the vegan of our group. But sadly it was only one of two menu items that met her dietary restrictions. (The other was a teriyaki vegetable hot plate.)

I really liked their mentaiko (pollock roe) udon for its flavour and texture. Pan fried noodles generous coated in a creamy white sauce with plenty of fish eggs. The latter offered up small pops and a unique texture to accompany the slippery, thick strands of noodle. And the various mushrooms and onion embedded offered some chewiness and some freshness to the mix. Overall this left me with a great feeling in my mouth.

We also ordered one of their Japanese hot pots, wanting to experience the traditional set up; which included a pot equipped with a towering spout sticking out from its centre. But sadly the menu misinformed and they didn’t actually have any such pots available. None-the-less the stewed root vegetables, fish cakes, seafood balls, and tofu bobbing in the soy flavoured dashi broth was still delicious. As a whole this dish was warm and comforting, a clear broth that was deceptively tasty. This is something I would love sick and would crave on a rainy day.

We also had some of their deep fried, crispy, boneless chicken as a side to their novelty “beer ramen”. The juicy chicken came to the table hot, coated by a crispy breading.

They made great side and contrast to the cold ramen in bonito broth with white egg foam top. The latter simply added a sweetness to the broth, and finished off the imagery of a foamy beer. You pulled long noodles out from the stein and slurped them up just like that, or were able to top your noodles with accompanying edamame, pickles, green onion, wasabi, and seaweed.

“Yuu” is also known for their fun drinks. Like the “Grapefruit mojito”, sans alcohol. Grapefruit, soda, and fresh mint. Served in coloured layers, you stir everting up for a sparkling beverage.

But one of their most popular is their slushes garnished with a syringe. This is the “calpis melon shot slush”. The melon syrup looks toxic with its neon hue, but is super refreshing with the icy yogurt slush base.

 

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 only wish they were closer to my home and easier for me to travel to more regularly. I love their traditional dishes and adore all the fun they have with their food. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

YUU
1111-3779 Sexsmith Road, Richmond BC, V6X3Z9
604-214-7722
yuutapas.com

River Rock Casino, brunch

When I think of brunch spots, I don’t immediately think of Richmond as a destination, however “River Rock Casino” is about to change that with their introduction to brunch. As of March they have introduced Sunday brunch to their “Curve Lounge” menu, and today I had the opportunity to get a closer look at it all, dish after scrumptious dish.

This is part of “River Rock Casino’s” goal for the year ahead, to get back to entertainment with a food focused plan. The goal, to get visitors in for a fun night at the casino with live gaming and entertainment coupled with great drinks, to spend the night, then enjoy a comforting brunch the morning after. A “greasy morning breakfast after a night of indulging” featuring plenty of butter and carbs.

“Curve Lounge” is located in the foyer of the casino/hotel, just behind a set of ascending staircase. They offer happy hour specials, a late night menu with live music, an open patio during longer summer evenings, and now brunch on Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm.

Our morning began with some drinks, which included the launch of their build your own Caesar bar. Here, it is a choose your own adventure of spirits, rims, spices, and assorted house made pickled garnishes.

You begin by rimming your glass with lemon juice then follow it with either their house made steak spice, bacon bits, or a Parmesan black pepper mix. Next, you choose your liquor between vodka, tequila or gin. The bartender helps you with this part, adding ice over top. For now they only offer the Motts Clamato juice, with the hope of bringing more tomato based juices to their line up. You fill your glass then season with the classic Worcestershire sauce, cracked pepper, and chilli flakes (if you like).

And finally my favourite part: the toppings, where the world is your oyster. You can choose between two kinds of olives, dried sausages, bacon bits, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, bacon strips, corn segments, pickled green beans, pepperette, jalapeño, dill pickles, cornichons and shrimp. Technically there are no limitations on stacking, and no restrictions on how many of each; but a good rule of thumb is, if you can’t carry it from the bar to your table you have gone too far.

However, if the decision making process is too much this early, just choose one of their premade creations. “The dark and dirty” features vodka with olive juice. “The social”, beefeater gin with a bacon Parmesan peppered rim. And “The little devil” features olmeca gold tequila with a spicy chilli flake rim, Tabasco, and jalapeño.

If you need something caffeinated to perk you up, they also offer Starbucks coffee from their pour over station. It’s best to ask for help from the staff here, as you can burn yourself.

The food portion of our meal began with a little treat from our chef. It isn’t on their brunch menu, but I think it should be added. These are “Okanagan Apple fritters” and they are available at the casino’s West A food court. They are squishy balls of dough with chunks of apple. Each is covered in a thick coating of melt-in-your-mouth powdered sugar that sticks to your lips and coat your tongue. Half the fun is licking your fingers clean of its tasty cinnamon and sugar.

For those who like a sweeter breakfast “Curve” offers a “Cinnamon toast walnut crunch”. Dark rye French toast, cinnamon candied walnuts, whipped mascarpone, and brown sugar glaze. This was the brainchild of their cooking team embracing creativity. The chefs were asked to come up with some great ideas and this one “won”. Here, their dark rye sits and soaks in egg for two days. The use of rye is suppose to give it more chew, but I found the French toast soggy. Though this could have been because we waited to long to eat in order to take photos. I did however get the dark coffee notes that were described. This was an interesting twist, but I wanted more crunch from it, the walnuts although candied helped, but they left me wanting more of its texture and it’s sweetness.

My favourite dish was the “Curvalicious rancheros”, I found its presentation fun and the taste and textures most balanced. Farmhouse sausage, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, fried hen’s eggs and guacamole. (Note: I liked how their menu gussied up eggs by calling each a “hen’s egg”, fancy.) The tortilla is baked to a crisp and they stay that way through the duration of your meal. They ate like nachos with a dull spice. Saucy, crispy, fresh, and tangy. Light and hearty all at once. Great as a healthier breakfast option and even better as a late night snack, shame that it’s only offered 11-2:30pm on Sundays.

The name says it all. The “Hangover healer” is that greasy burger you want to eat after a night of heavy drinking. Shaved beef, bacon, fried egg, cheddar, and a bacon hollandaise sauce; all between two sweet buns from a local bakery. The buns made all the difference, it reminded me of Chinese style cocktail buns. Its sweetness paired well with the salted pile of meat, the freshness of the tomato, and the pickle for tang. All coated in the sumptuous, rich bacon hollandaise sauce that would continue to win me over below.

The “Proper butcher Bennie” was similar to the above, in richness and meatiness. But with two burger patties on a toasted English muffin, along with cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, bacon hollandaise, fried tomato, and their kid Cali sauce. Served with a side of their brunch potatoes. It is also normally served with two fried eggs, but they gave us poached for a more visual sensation today. This was like bacon and eggs elevated in a convenient to eat hand held. And I say hand held because the English muffin was tough to cut into, much like the over cooked beef patty. But the bacon and hollandaise hides most of that behind its crispy and creamy tastiness.

The “Almost English breakfast” is for those who want a more fulsome meal. The traditional eggs, sausage, bacon, and brunch potatoes; but to it add roasted mushrooms, black beans, grilled tomato, and toast. All that was missing was some ham to make it a proper London breakfast. It was hearty assembly, yet healthy tasting. A very clean serving with no excess oil or grease. Even the bacon felt lean between your teeth. And the sausage dull with flavour, where you expected and wanted a fatty and zesty bite.

And for the vegetarians they do have you covered as well, we didn’t try it but they have a customizable dish called “The lousy hunter”. (I enjoyed the playfulness of its name.) Roasted seasonal veggies, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a fried hens egg should you choose.

In between courses we snacked on their bowl of “Curve social nuts”, served in the lounge at night. A mix of corn nuts, peanuts, and rice cracker seasoned in a barbecue sauce.

And for dessert our heavy feast ended in a plate of fresh fruit and one bite desserts. Although this is only available through their banquet and catering options. On top of a rainbow of gold flake topped tropical fruit this platter also included chocolate truffles, lemon tarts, chocolate mousse cups, and chocolate covered strawberries. Only the macaron are not made in house.

 

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? – Yes.
“River Rock Casino” now gives traditional brunch seekers a new place to visit when in Richmond. Come for the game play and stay for the breakfast the morning after. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CURVE
River Rock Casino Resort
8811 River Road, Richmond BC, V6X 3P8
604-273-1895
riverrock.com/dining/curve

Mr. Black

I don’t visit Richmond often, so when I do it is typically for a good restaurant, and today my guest brought me down to Aberdeen Centre to try one of their newer ones. Whereas Western malls are not known for their quality restaurants within, it differs greatly when it comes to Chinese malls; such is the case for Aberdeen. The ends of this three storey mall is home to several restaurants in a row. And I must admit, it is hard to choose between them all.

“Mr. Black” is a fusion restaurant, offering Japanese cuisine prepared using Chinese ingredients with a twist. It stays true to its name with a predominantly black decor and its feature dishes all covered in black. The chefs prepared plates behind a black island counter, guests were able to watch them on black stools, posted up against the black bar. We ordered off of blackened menus, as sat at black tables outfitted with black dish ware, eaten out of using black chopsticks. It was edgy, moody, and really drew you in.

I allowed my guest to order, with her familiarity of the cuisine. She made sure to pick out the more unique and interactive dishes for my sake and the sake of my writing.

We started with a dish of edamame beans. But these green pods were hiding a secret. They were dusted in Szechwan pepper that is often referred to as “numbing pepper”. The result is a tingle of the tongue and the increase of salivation in your mouth. My guest liked the flavour, whereas I found it grew slower on me. The more you eat it the better it tastes. It was a weird sensation, one worth trying, your tongue doesn’t know what to make of it.

I was most excited to see and try the “Mr. Black chicken wings”. They were coated in a crispy black breading, and the menu was vague in describing from where the “black” came from. What I thought would be soya sauce, which actually liquorice. I have never had anything seasoned like this before. And although I liked the novelty of colouring meat like this, I wasn’t completely sold, given my dislike of the root with its medicinal tone. Although, the creamy side sauce did help to mask most of this flavouring for me, as well as offering a nice creaminess to the solid crispy finish of each wing and drumlet. This was a fish roe based sauce, where the fishy flavour was prominent.

There is also a wagyu version of this available, but we decided not to chance it, in case we didn’t like the flavour, plus didn’t want to pay more for the premium beef. And now in hindsight, I am happy for our decision. Instead, we had our wagyu, as is, over a grill. We found this the best way to highlight the meat.

This was the Wagyu beef set for $28.99. Although good, given what little we got and how fatty the meat was, we didn’t feel it was worth the price asked. Especially as the menu mislead with a much larger serving in their high quality image. The meat was unseasoned and bland on its own, it needed a heavy dip in the mentiko yuzu sauce for flavour, thus forcing us to mask the natural flavours of the beef.

I did like the presentation and the interactive portion of this meal though. Battered and flashed fried, each slice of wagyu is served slightly raw. You further cook it to your preference, table side; doing so on the heated cast iron slab that is mounted on a pedestal. This was their speciality coal heating apparatus, that was flown in from japan.

With rice, soup, and salad as sides, they helped to make this a more fulsome meal. Each offered ways to brighten up bites and change textures, thus elongating the serving. I was surprised by how much I liked the salad. Wonderful mushrooms, blueberry, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and yellow pickled radish. The refreshing lemon custard cream that topped it really made it something special. Imagine the flavour of a lemon square as a dressing. The side of raw and shredded cabbage also came with a sauce, but sadly the luscious peanut sauce arrived too late for us to fully enjoy the food together.

I wasn’t a big fan of the “Salmon and mentaiko korokke”. Within these breaded and deep fried balls resembled a potato salad, and they ate like whipped mash. Another interesting idea, but the salmon was too dominating of a flavour. The house made spicy miso sauce was mild in spice. Good on its own, but I didn’t find that it complimented the fried ball all that much. Instead a tangy plum sauce would have been a better compliment. Regardless, I really didn’t want more than one of them anyways.

 

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 deep fried, but it didn’t feel like it, all that we had wasn’t greasy, and we didn’t leave feeling heavy with weight. Overall, lunch was more of an experience, than that a satisfying meal. It was great to be able to sample all these creative concoctions, and I enjoyed trying all their fun, in house made sauce creations. However, I won’t necessarily crave for any of it nor would I want to order any of it again. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MR. BLACK
2790-4151 Hazelbridge Way Richmond BC
604-295-6612
Mr Black 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

Bánh Mi Très Bon

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”. “Banh Mi Tres Bon” is the latest restaurant to be inducted to this list and their “banh bot loc”, the newest dumpling you can try on the “trail”.

 

To check out all our achievements on the trail, and too learn more about the dumplings featured at “Banh Mi Tres Bon”, check out the latest video on my channel: MaggiMei.

They are not just a causal Vietnamese restaurant, this little cafe has character. A collection of art and knick knacks littering the room makes the space feel smaller and more live in. A decorative old timey bicycle with giant wheel, geodes and crystals, stuffed plush, and hanging decorative hot air balloons. In the corner was a little nook with upholstered chaises and books facing out on a shelf. And the soft melodic music in the background, furthered the above with its calming ballads.

In tune with the cafe feel there was a showcase by the register offering character macarons and individual sized cakes. But we were here for their savoury dishes, as spelled out on their memorable wooden menus.

“Banh bot loc” are Vietnamese shrimp and pork dumplings served with fish sauce. You pour the latter over the former, and enjoy the salty and sweet with the chewy and starchy of these dumplings. A taste and texture, I very much so enjoyed.

Another type of dumpling that wasn’t on the menu, but we were lucky enough to be treated to, were these mung bean rounds. With a pork filling and a fish sauce dip, they were similar to the above, but different with its gummy exterior and fried onion topping.

When visiting “Banh Mi Tres Bon”, their “Savoury mini crepes” are also worth trying. Served in their very own sizzling skillet, with all the tools you need to remove each round. It is suggested that you do this before pouring the fish sauce over the mini crepe. This is to ensure that you get the full experience of a crispy cup housing the salty meat filling.

I highly recommend their “Butter garlic chicken wings”. Crispy fried chicken with a buttery finish and a garlicky kick. I could eat a bucket of these in one sitting. Best with a dip into their sweet and salty fish based sauce.

And you don’t visit a resultant called “Banh Mi Tres Bon”, without trying one of their banh mi. And with their “Banh mi trio”, you can try 3 out of 7 of their Vietnamese sub offerings as a flight. Each has the same list of vegetables that include carrot, radish, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeño; you are just changing up the protein in between the crispy slices of fresh baguette bread.

The house special had cold cuts of Vietnamese ham and braised pork belly.

The pork meat ball, was more like a minced pork loaf.

And the grilled lemon grass chicken could have used more time on the grill, to allow the pepperiness of the chicken to shine through better.

 

 

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.
Not necessarily my go to for Vietnamese cuisine, given the travel time; but a solid option for a quick meal and even take out, when you are in the area. Everything was unique and delicious, and I am told their bone marrow pho is worth coming back for. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BANH MI TRES BON
1840-4720 McClelland Road, Richmond BC
778-928-7298
banhmitresbon.ca
Bánh Mi Très Bon 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

R&H Chinese Food

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”.

And this brought us to Landsdowne centre. I wouldn’t think to visit their food court for some quality dumplings, but here we were and they did not disappoint. A few of my travelling companions have visited this stand prior to, and each confirmed how busy they get and continue to be throughout the day. I saw it for myself as lines grew, bodies were willing to wait, and customers posed for photos in front of their counter.

You order from off of their televised menu and pay. And as you wait, you can enjoy the show on the other side of the counter. Today, two women were making soup dumplings behind glass. One was continuously pinching and rolling dough out to little flat rounds. She did this two at a time, the first I have ever seen. The women next to her took these rounds and filled them with a meat paste that included green onions. With swift fingers she pinched each ball to a perfectly pleated point. Steamer after steamer of completed dumplings were stacked in columns, awaiting a trip to the stove top.

 

To watch these dumpling being made, and to see what we ate in action, check out my Vlog of the “Dumpling Trail” above. It is about 5 minutes into the video.

 

Naturally, we had to try a basket of these. Hands down, these were some of the juiciest “Xiao long bao” I have ever had. Large and fully filled with liquid. So much soup that it filled my mouth, as I swallowed with a gulp.

All sauces including chilli oil, soy sauce, and vinegar are available for self serving at the counter. You squeeze and scoop what you like into little plastic containers and load your plastic tray to go. It is a food court, so you pick your seat based on what is available.

Their “Wonton in hot chilli sauce” was popular amongst our group. Tasty pork meat with a nice kick of heat from the chillies and oil.

The “boiled pork dumplings” with pork and chives were well stuffed and juicy. Best with a dip in the sauces.

The “Grilled pork dumplings with cabbage” offered a surprise. These too were filled with soup, juice that squirted out as you bite in. My pants learned this the hard way.

According to @pork_ninjas, “R&H” are also good for “Braised beef noodle in soup”. Although, by the time we got to it, the noodles were soggy. Though the flavour of the broth and the tenderness of the beef held up.

 

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? – Yed.
If they were more convenient to get to, I could and would absolutely see myself here more often. I was genuinely impressed. You wouldn’t expect such quality at such a venue and here we were eating it up. And they, giving you another reason to visit the mall, outside of the newly opened T&T. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

R&H CHINESE FOOD
Lansdowne Centre
5300 Number 3 Road, Richmond, BC V6X 2X9
778-297-5668
R&H Chinese Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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