Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Guu Garden: Kobe Beef Rice Burger is so Guu'd

Guu Garden is located on Nelson Street and only a short walk from City Centre Station or Granville Station. The restaurant was quite full for the weekday lunch period but we did not have to wait to be seated.

It was difficult to order off the Lunch Special menu (at end of post) because all the choices looked so good! In the end I chose the Kobe Beef Rice Burger Bento ($12).

Kobe Beef Rice Burger Bento
I will say right off the bat that I was very happy with my meal. The shrimp avocado salad was drizzled in a wasabi dressing and was a great texture with the crunchy lettuce and smooth avocado. The green bean fries were delicious with its tempura batter. The buns of the burger are replaced with two rice rounds that are crispy on one side and soft on the other. The soft side soaked up the juices from the kobe beef patty which was slightly sweet from sauce and not at all overcooked.

Service was attentive and I enjoyed the amount of light coming in from the many windows. Another Guu franchise tried and loved!

Click to enlarge
Guu Garden on Urbanspoon
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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Waffle Gone Wild: Okonomiyaki Waffle!

A friend found this place and invited me to come along to try and I'm glad I did! When I first entered Waffle Gone Wild I immediately compared it to Nero Belgian Waffle Bar in my head. The physical space was similar in size (small with the kitchen area at the store front and a few small tables further in). However they are not directly comparable because WGW has a more Asian twist.

The menu at WGW is less expensive than Nero and includes matcha waffles and drinks like bubble tea. You can see from the photos below that the presentation of the food is different too with WGW being more "cute."

We shared two waffles ($7.99 each): Japanese matcha waffle and Okonomiyaki waffle.

The Japanese matcha waffle came with a green tea ice cream mochi, strawberry, mandarin orange, red bean, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with matcha powder. The waffle itself had a sweet exterior and chewy interior. I thoroughly enjoyed this waffle because I love matcha and the bunny decoration was too cute!

Japanese matcha waffle
The Okonomiyaki waffle is something new that isn't common. The waffle was sweet and topped with crab meat, okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed, and bonito flakes. The side is a potato salad and three thin slices of apple. It was very yummy with a more solid texture than traditional okonokiyaki.

Okonomiyaki waffle
Overall highly recommend checking this place out! Service was prompt with refilling water and getting our order. I look forward to trying the other waffles on their menu!

Waffle Gone Wild on Urbanspoon
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Pho Ho: Affordable and delicious Vietnamese food!

First blog post in 4 months! I was in Southeast Asia and food was delicious there, of course, but it's good to be trying different delicacies in the Vancouver area again.

While away I went to Vietnam and got to try the cuisine beyond pho. My favourite new food that I tried there is called banh xeo and I will be on the lookout for it here.

In the meantime to fix my Vietnamese food craving I tried a relatively new Vietnamese restaurant in Richmond. Pho Ho Vietnamese Noodle Soup is located in Continental Plaza on the side facing Cambie Road and not inward facing where the Pearl Castle is. There is generally less business for restaurants on this side of the plaza which is unfortunate because I had a great experience at Pho Ho!

They opened at the end of 2013, taking over a previous hot pot restaurant. The owners were very friendly and kept the place clean. Prices were affordable and portions quite large.

We ordered:
1) A large beef pho (about $9) which came with a free iced lemon tea
2) A chicken banh mi combo (about $12) which came with fresh spring roll, fried spring roll and a red bean drink (not pictured)

The beef pho was very large and flavourful. I enjoyed a mix of beef briskets and tendons. Comparable to beef pho I tried in South Vietnam (North Vietnam pho broth is different!)

L to R: Fresh spring roll, fried spring roll, beef pho, lemon tea, bean sprouts

I had really really delicious banh mi in Ho Chi Minh City for USD$1.5 that was the size of a footlong. I don't think I can ever find anything comparable in Vancouver because of the ingredients but this banh mi still tasted good to me. The chicken was slightly sweet and juicy and I love the crunch of the vegetables in banh mi.

Chicken banh mi
Special mention for the fried spring roll because it was hot and crispy. I believe there was some pork type stuffing inside. To be honest I didn't pay attention to the stuffing much because I was focused on the crispy wrapping!

Closer look at the banh mi combo side dishes
Overall I enjoyed my meal here and will return whenever I want Vietnamese food again. Food and service were both great.

Inside of Pho Ho
Pho Ho Vietnamese Noodle Soup on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Blog Hiatus

I will be away from Vancouver for a few months so there won't be new updates on this food blog. I just wanted to make this post to clarify that I am not closing the blog down. Look out for more food reviews in a few months!
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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Hurricane Grill (Sydney Darling Harbour): Lamb Ribs

Hurricane Grill at Darling Harbour offers a nice view of the harbour while you dine. However the prices are on the higher end but I really enjoyed my dining experience here.

Steak and ribs combo: The combo comes with a sirloin steak and choice of lamb, pork, or beef ribs, and a baked potato or fries. We opted for the lamb ribs which were very tasty. The meat was not over cooked so it fell off the bone easily but was still tender. The steak was tasty as well and cooked to medium rare like we ordered it but was the underdog compared to the ribs. Each diner was given a bib to eat the ribs which I found useful.

Steak and ribs combo
Fish of the day: I was surprised when this whole grilled fish arrived at our table since I have never had whole fish at a western restaurant before. Usually they are deboned or sliced. This fish dish didn't come with any sides and cost AUD$34. It was grilled quite nicely and gently seasoned with lemon juice and herbs. Probably will not order this again.

Fish of the day
Overall, Hurricane Grill at Darling Harbour offers the food and view if you are willing to pay. Our server was friendly and food came quickly.

Hurricane's Grill on Urbanspoon
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Mamak (Sydney Chinatown): Classic Roti and Nasi Goreng

The first time we walked by Mamak we saw a queue outside the restaurant so I searched it up online and found that it is one of the top favourites in Sydney. So we went back to give it a try but we had to queue for about 15 minutes at 5:30pm on a weekday before we were seated.

Ice coffee
Chicken Satay: The minimum order is half a dozen satay. The chicken satay was grilled to a nicely charred smokey flavour and tasted great with the peanut type sauce provided. However each skewer has little meat so half a dozen isn't a lot.

Chicken satay

Nasi Goreng: This fried rice was not too oily and included some cabbage, carrots, and shrimp pieces. Pretty solid fried rice and a decent portion.

Nasi Goreng
Classic Roti Canai: This roti was soft and came hot. There were two types of curry and chili sauce served on the side. Both of the curry choices were flavourful and differed mainly by spice level. I really enjoyed how buttery and flakey the roti was.

Classic Roti Canai

Roti with egg: The same side curry and chili sauce is served with this dish. In between each piece of roti is a very thin layer of egg. The roti with egg is not as flakey as the classic roti as this requires it to be flat to layer the egg. I preferred the classic more.

Roti with Egg
Overall the food at Mamak really is quite good. However the atmosphere is a rushed and cramped inside the restaurant so do not expect to take your time to enjoy your food. As well I found the restaurant a bit dirty as there was a flea on my menu and flies around our table.

Mamak on Urbanspoon
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Din Tai Fung (Westfield, Sydney): Disappointing Food

When traveling in Sydney we came across this Din Tai Fung branch at the Westfield Mall. I was excited to try Din Tai Fung yet in another city (Bellevue here). The one at Westfield isn't a full restaurant but a food court vendor. However there were still many employees behind the glass working on the dumplings.

Firstly, the prices here are by far the most expensive Din Tai Fung I have tried as compared to in Taipei and in Bellevue. For four pieces of xiaolongbao it cost AUD$5.80. Unfortunately the xiaolongbao disappointed. They were only slightly warm and were not served hot. The soup inside was minimal and pork ordinary. They were simply not up to Din Tai Fung rave-worthy standards.

The golden taro bread cost AUD$2.90 and only consisted of the two pieces in the photo below. It was basically a deep fried bread stick with a taro filling and dipped in sesame seeds. The taste was not bad but for the price this is completely not worth it.

Golden taro bread
The most disappointing was the hot and sour soup for AUD$5.50. It completely lacked sour taste and was a watery consistency. The ingredients consisted of shredded pork, tofu, and veggies. I did not like this at all even though this is deemed as a popular menu item according to the counter.

Hot and sour soup
Overall I was disappointed by the Din Tai Fung food at Westfield. The food court outlet was unable to uphold the restaurant standard of the Din Tai Fung brand.

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon
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