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!


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


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


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


Shun Feng Seafood Restaurant: Dim Sum Combo

Shun Feng is located inside Parker Place and was quite crowded on a weekend morning. 

They offer a four person dim sum set with a congee and four choices of dim sum.

Mushroom dumplings: There were various types of mushrooms and veggies inside this dumpling. It's steamed and the dumpling wrap is quite chewy.

Fried prawn on tofu: There is a dollop of shrimp paste on tofu which is deep fried. The fried goods are then slathered in a sweet and sour chili sauce. I wouldn't necessarily order this every time I eat dim sum here but it's a fun dish to try.

Pan-fried lotus root cake: Chopped bits of lotus root is pasted with fish paste to make this lotus root cake. Although the name is pan-fried, it is closer to being fried since it is quite oily. 

Three mushroom rice noodle roll: This steamed dish is rice noodle wrapped in three types of mushrooms as the name suggests. The mushrooms have a distinct flavour which is quite tasty and the wrapping isn't thick as you can see in the photo that the rice noodle is slightly see through.

Overall Shun Feng is a pretty good place for dim sum for the set combo and good ambiance. The seats are quite spacious and doesn't feel crowded even when the restaurant is full of people.

Shun Feng Seafood Restaurant 順峰海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon


IHOP (Central Richmond): Eggs Benedict

One of my favourite things to get at breakfast joints is eggs benedict. At IHOP there was only one eggs benedict option on the menu which is understandable because it specializes in pancakes although it has branched out to all types of breakfast items and even lunch.

The eggs benedict was all right. The eggs were poached but was one of them was slightly overcooked. I think I preferred the hashbrowns over the eggs. The potato strips were slathered in butter then fried making them extremely savoury but poor for the health.

IHOP on Urbanspoon


Sushi Garden (Lougheed): Seafood Salad

Sushi Garden at Lougheed is a Korean owned Japanese restaurant. On the weekend afternoon it was full of diners but we didn't have to wait too long before we were seated. I had heard great things about the affordability and quality of food here for a long time so I was excited to finally try it. In short I was pleasantly surprised and do agree that it is a good place for budget sushi.

Spicy salmon salad: This dish consisted of salmon and cucumber pieces with a spicy sauce that is mixed thoroughly. It is a large plate of raw salmon. Although they are definitely not the prime pieces like the sashimi, if you want to eat an abundant amount of raw salmon then this is the dish for you!

Tropical dynamite roll: The tropical part of this roll is the pineapple that is in it. Instead of nori, this sushi is wrapped in egg and consists of imitation crab and fried shrimp. As you can see from the large size of the sushi, this is not authentic Japanese sushi but is typical of North American budget sushi. Unlike other budget sushi joints, the taste is not bad!

Takoyaki: Normally I only get to eat takoyaki when the summer night market is open so I wanted to try this when I saw it on the menu. The takoyaki came hot which I liked and the inside was flour-y soft. It's not a takoyaki with a ton of ingredients inside but a simple one.

Toro sashimi: This sashimi was quite fresh and being toro it was fatty and melted softly in the mouth. For the price there are a good number of pieces of sashimi served.

Seafood salad: This salad had lettuce, salmon, and squid pieces that is served with a chipotle/mayo type dressing on the side. There's nothing special about the lettuce but if you like seafood you will like this salad as it incorporates fresh pieces of various seafood.

Spider roll: This roll consists of fried soft shell grab wraped with pieces of cucumber, rice and nori. The crab was still quite hot when it arrived meaning that it was freshly fried. Typically the spider roll is quite pricey at other restaurants but is reasonably priced here.

Chopped scallop sushi: There is an overwhelming amount of chopped scallop on every piece of sushi, probably the same as the amount of rice. If you like scallop then opt for the sushi rather than the roll because the amount of scallop on the sushi pieces are definitely a lot more!

Overall this is one of the better budget sushi places that I have tried. Their service is also quick and efficient.

Sushi Garden on Urbanspoon


Monday, 13 January 2014

Enjoy Cafe 1+1

Enjoy Cafe 1+1 is located in a busy Asian strip mall in Richmond. Although the restaurant doesn't serve the best food, it always has customers because if its good location and ability to serve a quick meal.

I tried the beef brisket curry rice. The curry wasn't bad as it was quite flavourful and not too spicy for me. There were beef brisket, potato, and green bell pepper pieces in the curry.

For a small fee I chose to upgrade my meal drink to Horlick with grass jelly. I like how the grass jelly makes the drink feel more refreshing. The texture of the jelly is interesting too.

Despite the name of this restaurant, I never quite reach the point of enjoying my meal here. It is more to fill my stomach when I feel hungry and then move on with my day.

Enjoy Cafe 1+1 餐廳 on Urbanspoon


Mimibuloveme: Matcha Parfait

Mimibuloveme is a very small dessert place only a short walk from the Oakridge 41st Skytrain Station. There are only four tables indoors and two outdoors so be prepared to wait for a table to free up, especially on weekend evenings. 

Matcha Parfait: There were layers of cream, cake, red bean all topped with a scoop of matcha ice cream. It is a filling dessert but overall I enjoyed the matcha flavours with a good mixture of more neutral flavours like the cake.

Black Sesame Parfait: The black sesame parfait is similar to the matcha one with a scoop of ice cream on top but this one had grass jelly and vanilla cream on the bottom instead of sesame flavoured cream.

Strawberry Waffle: The waffle was very sweet and typical of Japanese waffle where it is coated in sugar. It tasted closer to a doughnut than a waffle. However there was a generous amount of strawberries and a large scoop of strawberry ice cream on top. It's a good dessert that is again quite filling.
L to R: Matcha Parfait, Strawberry Waffle, Black Sesame Parfait
Overall, Mimibuloveme is a solid dessert joint for after dinner. However it is not a place for a large group. Two to three people would be the ideal number to enjoy dessert here or else it might take awhile to wait for seats to open up.

Mimibuloveme on Urbanspoon


Marutama Ramen: Excellent Tamago Ramen

Upon walking into Marutama Ra-men we were greated warmly by all the staff. We sat down at one of the large wooden tables and placed our order. The food came quickly and hot which I appreciated.

I ordered the Tamago Ra-men with the soft boiled egg. The broth at Marutama is not as milky white as some of the other ramen places but I still found it good and flavourful. The pork slices were better than the ones I had at Kintaro because these were layered with meat and fat making each slice extremely easy to eat. I was most impressed by the egg because when you bite into it, the centre flows out in a thick yellow gooey consistency that is slightly sweet. It's not easy to make this egg without overcooking it.

Tamago Ra-men
Overall I really enjoyed my dining experience here and would definitely come again if I am craving ramen. However given the small size of the restaurant don't come here in a large group.

Marutama Ramen on Urbanspoon