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Rice Cake Master x LuRou Fan Tasty


Today I was at Rice Cake Master for dinner. They have recently rebranded and this change in name has come with new menu items.

They have teamed up with LuRou Fan Tasty, already known for their quick and easy rice bowls, to offer their customers a more fulsome meal experience.

LuRou Fan Tasty already has its own fan base operating out of Richmond’s Aberdeen Mall, where they prepare all the food below and deliver it to Rice Cake Master’s Burnaby location, daily.

I thought I was familiar with Taiwanese cuisine, but trying their entire condensed menu offerings here, I found I had to disregard everything that I thought I knew.

For example the Braised beef saucy noodles look like Taiwanese beef noodle soup, but with no soup it is a whole new dish. Prepared with the same type of bouncy eggy noodles, pickled preserved vegetables, leafy greens, and tender brisket slices; but brought together in a whole new way.

Same ingredients different application. The flavour was richer and more heavily spiced in warm and oaky Asian seasonings. Familiar, yet different to keep me guessing at what it is we were actually having.

I had a similar experience with the Japanese style curry with shrimp tempura on rice. Once again, not the sweet gravy-like Japanese curry I am familiar with, or the coconut milky and soupy South East Asian style curry, but one that was richer with jus and flavoured with fruit like apple or pear.

This too kept me scratching my head, trying to figure out why it was nostalgic. The gravy with potato and carrot is what flavoured the rice and tempura. The latter of which was unseasoned and without its trademark crunch. I would have liked the shrimp breaded or the protein to be a pork cutlet instead. This is seeing as it is not fried to order and there is no way to get the tempura crispy for consumption, when a delay with delivery is involved.

I preferred with braised pork bowls, especially given the three varieties to choose from and the option to then further customize each. Although ordering it may prove difficult. Between the simple listing of “Signature braised pork on rice”, “ Classic braised pork on rice ”, and “ Land & Sea special lunch box” you don’t exactly know what you are getting and menu does not list the toppings or sides with your rice, a point we did mention to the restaurant staff.

The “Signature braised pork on rice” is a smaller serving of their braised pork mix in syrupy gravy, over rice with a scoop of pickled preserved vegetable, pickled daikon, and half a soy sauce soaked boiled egg. This is the snack sized version with plenty of meat over rice and a couple of tangy sides to help add acidity into the mix.

The “Classic braised pork on rice” is the same as the above, but a medium sized serving that also includes a couple of slices of Taiwanese sausage and a chinese style vegetable spring roll. For the latter I would have liked a sweet and sour sauce to dip the otherwise flat spring roll into. I did enjoy the sausage as a sharp change of taste, and appreciated having a whole boiled egg to ratio out with bites of pork and rice. Although noted, that it and all the other eggs were over-boiled for an ashy centre and a rubbery white.

If you want all the bells and whistles in your beef bowl go for the Land & Sea special lunch box”. This is a large bowl of braised beef, boiled egg, pickled preserved vegetable and rice, but to it add shrimp tempura, pork cutlet, spring roll, pork belly, pickled cucumbers, and a scoop of from frozen steamed vegetables.

I liked the thought behind this and how deluxe it felt as a build up from the other two, but there was less braised beef underneath it all and therefore less sauce to flavour it all. You needed a gravy on the side, a jus, or a dip to add taste and moisture. Or maybe just extra gristle from the pork belly? All piled like this, the meal felt disjointed. The pork belly was juicy and on the fattier side, I did have to discard some of the excess gristle. The pork cutlet was dry and didn’t even offer a nice crunch from a seasoned breading, it was much like the shrimp tempura. The spring roll was good, but once again I wanted a sauce to dip it into. I did like the nostalgia of the frozen mixed vegetable, but noted it needed seasoning and purpose of more than just colouring the bowl. As a whole it and everything else here felt plain.

And if you come for dinner, be sure to save room for dessert, as they are called “Rice Cake Master” for a reason.

My favourite item is their snow skin rice cake / mochi ball. The fillings vary with mango being a popular option. However, my favourite is their durian, given how the soft and stretchy gumminess of the dessert matches the naturally paste-like texture of durian; and its subtle sweetness harmonizes with the snowy powdered skin of the rice cake. Especially impressive is their ability to print on each round, thus customizing it for any larger order.

Another popular item is their Snow skin fruit cake. The same powdered mochi shell, but this time wrapped around a one bite slice of fruit cake with light sponge, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. Strawberry is their best seller, but I liked the green mango we got today. Not sure if the colour and unripeness of the mango was intentional, but I liked how firm and tart the fruit was, it really contrasted the otherwise sweet dessert. It was just a shame that today the rice cake skin was tough and dry, no where near the gummy chew of the balls above.

In closing, the new savoury options from Rice Cake Master make them an easy choice for your next grab and go meal. Comfort eats that hits and satisfies.

Rice Cake Master
6868 Royal Oak Ave, Burnaby, BC V5J 4J3
(604) 559-6789

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