Thank you very much to Amelie of Anh and Chi, and Grace (eikcamceramics) for organizing a wonderful and heartwarming “Summer in Saigon” charity event; we also had the privilege to enjoy a surprise sneak preview of Anh and Chi’s short film documenting their family legacy. Your entire team work was seamless and delivery was almost flawless.
Together with 12 other patrons, we enjoyed a 7-course royal feast with superb wine/cocktail pairings; 5 savory courses featured seafood prepared by Amelie’s Mom (Head Chef at Ahn and Chi) and delightful crew, plus 2 scrumptious desserts prepared by the talented photographer/blogger Vy Tran of beyondsweetandsavory; the entire evening was photographed and documented by Vancouver’s talented Norah of nomnomyvr.
It was an evening to remember; 4 hours filled with delicious food, wonderful and interesting conversations, sharing our love and passion for food, for family and life.
Together we have raised a substantial amount that evening through the ticket sales (this is a non-sponsored event) and donations from all patrons, the ceramics created by Grace and used to serve the beautiful food were all auctioned off later; all proceeds went to YWCA’s Peace Fund.
On a very personal note: Watching Amelie’s family documentary brought back many fond memories of visits with my family to their family’s old restaurant Pho Hoang, originated on East Georgia in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
I was absolutely delighted to have met Amelie in person; thank you again to my dear teacher Grace, and Vy, I simply loved your dessert and Norah, it was so great to see you in action! I sincerely hope all our paths will cross once again.
(Disclaimer: I attended this event as a patron, it was an honor to be a part of a charity event).
Ahn and Chi is located at 3388 Main Street, Vancouver, BC. For regular menu information, please check their website.
60 and 88…It’s a privilege to grow old
Growing older perhaps wiser with acceptance or younger at heart?
This is perhaps the question I have been asking a lot lately..
What’s your take?
Attended a friend’s 60th birthday bash ….we had an awesome night celebrating a friend’s milestone and danced to the tunes played by the amazing Phonix dance band, rocking the Motown and funky dance tunes all night long…
During the Powell Street festival weekend, i was invited to volunteer at the Japanese Language School kitchen and helped to serve the beloved “Beiju” seniors (turning 88 years old) birthday lunch…Thank you Laura, so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of this special celebration.
Did you catch the FIFA World Cup? Honestly I was never a big soccer fan and I only started to understand soccer a little better since I went to an actual Whitecaps game last year. We were invited to my food buddy Moto’s house for a fabulous brunch and watch the Croatia vs Russia quarter finals; I was looking for something fitting to bring.. I was in Commercial neighbourhood found Rosemary Rocksalt Bagels (obviously I didn’t know they are there) and picked up half a dozen of Montreal style bagels of different variety; they were fresh and soft with crunchy bits..First impression? We like them, 4 people ate half a dozen of bagels..For sure I will return to their Main Street location to try out their bagel sandwiches sometime.
We paired the bagels with a creamy Croatian Pork Pate and pickles, picked up from Piast, a European Bakery and Delicatessen on Cambie (and 16th Avenue)…it’s a small little shop which has been around for a long time..
Aburi and Vegetable sushi @ Eat at Yui (102-1185 West Georgia Street (Georgia and Bute)
As a pure sushi lover who has a tremendous respect for Japanese cuisine and food culture; the idea of “vegetable sushi” somehow never sat quite well with me. however after my visit to Eat at Yui, the experience has changed my mind.
This little shop opened in May 2017 and it is tucked away within the Vancouver downtown core, located on ground floor inside a commercial building.
Known for their aburi sushi at affordable prices, we had a feast and ordered quite a few items to sample their offerings: their Yui salad, their signature Salmon, Ebi and Tai Oshi, plus their newly added Gindara (sablefish) Oshi, plus a few pieces of their vegetable sushi.
The vegetable sushi was beautifully prepared and the knife work was immaculate; the eggplant cooked and slightly charred (aburi) to perfection with the miso, the asparagus was served with a herbed pesto (I tasted cilantro), and the tomato gunkan sushi, slightly charred and added a hint of mayo, the small cherry tomatoes were cut in a perfect bite size and they were bursting with sweetness, it was put together so nicely and easy for the diner to enjoy. The sushi was put together with care and thoughtfulness, it showed great skills and respect.
They are open for lunch and dinner (except Sundays), they do close early because of operating hours of the commercial building. The service was friendly; it is a small space and they are busy. This is definitely not my first and last visit; I will have to pop by sometime to try their lunch items. As for parking, your best bet is probably on Robson or Alberni Street, then walked down to West Georgia (it’s right at the corner of Bute and Georgia).
The Kerrisdale neighbourhood seems to be going through many transformations, slowly yet surely evolving into a younger and vibrant hood and I am so surprised there is such an abundance of Asian dessert places choose to open in this traditional English neighbourhood.
Met up with WhatJoAte at Dear Fro (2070 West 41st, west of West Boulevard) where we shared a mango ice-cream bingsoo and I enjoyed it! The ice was fine and smooth, the mango was sweet; sometimes it pays off to give the small neighbourhood places a chance.
Usually I am not easily swayed by what is popular or being showcased on Social Media; with all the hype surrounding Nana’s Green TeaI did pay a visit last weekend to find out what it is all about. A Japanese brand famous for their matcha desserts, I tried the Hojicha (my personal favourite Japanese tea) Parfait with warabi mochi, red bean, hojicha ice-cream, hojicha jelly and corn flakes…I savored every bite and finished the entire dessert by myself, although I could do with less red bean, it’s strictly a personal preference. The shop operates 7 days a week, the lineup could be quite long; I was there on a Saturday afternoon around 1530 and waited for 15 minutes, limited seating available for dine in.
Sunny Days easy hikes and walks: West Vancouver, Squamish, White Rock and Langley
Working hard to get back into my walking exercise regimen, particularly during the summer months where the weather is so fine; I try to go outdoors as much as possible! During the Canada Day weekend when my cousin and wife were visiting from New York, we headed to Sea to Sky in Squamish and Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver.
Last weekend I spent time with my food buddies in Crescent Beach, White Rock and Derby Reach Regional Park Trail in Langley, we logged 17000 steps (some briskwalking involved!) for the day!
Here are some photos taken during our outdoor excursions:
Are you trying to go greener? I have been thinking more about this subject over the universal concerns we shared on climate change; gradually I have already reduced the usage of plastic bags, take out boxes, and now trying to more unnecessary packaging.
Recently a new concept (no packaging) grocery store Nadahas opened on East Broadway (by Fraser) and I just picked up a couple of beewax muslin cotton food wraps; I am going to use them to wrap my lunches and snacks and see how they fare, review coming up in the next couple months and see how I can establish a new habit!
Any other suggestions? I would love to hear from you, please email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Whew! As we officially entered summer solstice, 2018 has already passed the half-way mark!
On June 27 I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s show on Fairchild AM1470 1030am sharp to share some of the highlights this past month.
Some good news to share I have started a new job as of last week; I am pretty excited about this opportunity and hopefully in the new future I will have more time for updates and blog postings (OO).
Eating Together Day (mine was Eating Together Weekend!)
Did you know June 22 was the 2nd annual Eat Together Day, an event which people are encouraged not to eat by themselves? ( link: from President’s Choice )
Sharing a meal with family and friends does more than feeding our bodies; it is more satisfying, creates a stronger bond and connection between people; communication will definitely improve.
Time Together is Priceless…
Unknowingly on “Eat Together Day” , a few of us from the IG Community shared home-cooked dishes together at Oh Studio; thanks to our lovely hostess Grace Lee from Eikcam Ceramics for organizing this fabulous potluck, you couldn’t have picked a better day.
On the following afternoon, with zumba classmates at an outdoor potluck picnic, thanks to my fellow classmates and teacher Ms. P for organizing.
June 02nd Dietitians at Home Book Launch at Chef Tony’s Chinese Restaurant
on your publication! The talented team of registered dietitians Amy Yiu, Jo Jo Wang and Mengdi Xia, has put together a cookbook featuring 30 ingredients and recipes, filled with beautiful pictures and easy to understand cooking instructions and information on all featured ingredients. It was my privilege to have helped with the editing, thank you very much for your trust and the recognition in Acknowledgements, it was a truly fruitful learning experience.
Follow them on Instagramfor more information on how to purchase the cookbook.
Open “Sesame” – Elmo Baking Co. (Facebook/Instagram bakery)
“Sunny Day….Sweepin’ the clouds away..on my way to where the air is sweet”…
It was a little while back when I first heard about Elmo Baking Co., which operates in Richmond and sells their scrumptious double baked croissants through Facebook and Instagram. I finally got around to ordering (by Thursday night each week) and picked up at the Smokehouse Sandwich (5188 Westminster Hwy, Richmond BC – a small drive in mall located at the edge of a residential area). This double baked black sesame charcoal is robust and flavorful; it is not the buttery flaky type of croissants but definitely live up to its reputation. Next time I will try the Almond Croissant and the famous PBJ (which was sold out at the time when I placed my order): when a chef posted the pbj picture and hashtag it #bravo, it must be good…
The name brought me back to “Sesame Street”… and picking up the order led me back to the street (just down the road from the Sandwich shop) where I used to live when I first moved to Vancouver; sweet memories.
Follow “Elmo” on Instagram or Facebook; DM to place the order (by Thursday night), you will receive confirmation via messaging; pick up on Fridays and Saturdays only.
Local Veggies at Tama Organic Life:
I first heard about Tama’s Organic Life (2828 East Hastings, Vancouver, BC) through Workshop Vegetarian Cafe; they have actually been around for a long time! My friend M reminded me as they used to deliver goodies from North Vancouver to my old workplace… They offer fresh and frozen produce grown by local farmers, dried goods (beans, grains) and condiments; their kitchen serves up delicious Japanese vegan bentos (I had the stinging nettle miso soup and it has so much depth in flavor and not salty at all). They are excellent with recommendations, you can place an advance grocery order for pick up or delivery, eat in at their shop or just shop for a different selection of beautiful in season local grown produce (daikon from Victoria) and hard to find Japanese varieties (mizuna/komatsuna). Parking is available at this strip mall; if you happen to be dropping by Fujiya (on Venables and Clark) for Japanese groceries, this shop is only another 10 minutes heading further east towards Burnaby (when there’s no traffic). Information on website available in Japanese and English.
Thank you Tama Organic life always for your recommendations, truly grateful (OO)
Sunday Brunch (10am to 2pm only) at MaknMing (is back for the summer only! I first talked about their brunch in July 2017 ; some familiar dishes (French Toast YAY) are back with weekly special features (my hubby enjoyed a pork cheek Eggs Benny); no reservations just walk in only. Their cookery is spot on, flavors at once are Japanese yet Canadian; if you like to roll the way I like to roll, this one is for you a whole level better.
After enjoying a scrumptious lunch take a stroll down to Kits Beach which is only a couple blocks away.
And Let It Be…
I was watching the Late Late Show and happened to catch the James Corden and Paul Mccartney’s Carpool Karaoke; Sir Mccartney’s story about the writing of this song and their rendition of this Beatle’s classic was very touching.
The beginning of this month I ended an old work chapter and embraced a new one just mid-month; I just went with my heart and truly grateful for all that has happened, as is, nothing more, nothing less.
The lyrics, particularly this line, echoes my sentiment:
After seeing many pictures of her creations on Instagram, I finally met Keiko-san and tried her cute creations: the cutest and softest Mini cream filled bread which you can order through her website, she also sells her products at Farmers Market or Special events.
Geng Shi Ji is part of a restaurant group based in Hunan, China. Located at Union Square (Capstan Way in Richmond), service is available in Mandarin and English, our server was very courteous. I asked for recommendations when I was making reservations, we ordered in advance the most popular dish is the Clay Pot Chicken with Pig Trotters; we enjoyed the dish with their Shanghai vegetable rice, the fried tofu was very crispy and overall the seasoning were spot on. I was advised their menu changes according to seasonality and availability.
New Tea house from Taiwan: I’ve tried their Xin Yi Green Plum Green Tea and really like the combination: It is tart and sweet mixed in a flavorful green tea. Have yet to try their specialty drinks. I figure green tea is good for you (OO)
A little HOMECOOKING: Kaeshi for Shiso Plum Duck Udon
Kaeshi is the salt sweet sauce which is added as flavoring to noodle soup stock, mostly eaten with soba noodles.
I adapted the kaeshi recipe from Japanese soul Cooking (by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat): 2 cups of soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin and 2 to 2.5 Tablespoons sugar. (I have reduced the sugar from the original recipe which calls for 3 Tablespoons; I used Oshawa’s Nama shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce), Eden’s mirin (no additives) and cane sugar).
My Shiso Plum Duck Breast Udon is a twist on Kamo Nanban soba, combined with my old duck breast recipe . The kaeshi was prepared the sauce 48 hours before, dashi base was made in the morning on the day; I also used the kaeshi to marinade the duck breast (kaeshi, plus green onion, shiso plums) for 24 hours, before pan searing them on my cast iron pan. The basic soup stock was skimmed and strained before I added the kaeshi, I then added King mushroom and Korean Singo pear for natural sweetness (that’s why I reduced the sugar in the kaeshi), bring it to a boil and adjust to low heat and let it simmer. The udon and garnishes (leek and radish shoots) prepared separately; The ratio is 6 cups of dashi to 1/4 cup of kaeshi for flavoring; I will post the detail recipe very soon.
Small plates for sharing, cozy atmosphere; they use in-season atypical ingredients (for example fiddle heads) from Farmer’s market and prepare in traditional Japanese cooking methods; taste and flavors are very clean and subtle, a really wonderful first visit!
February was filled with family visits and gatherings with friends celebrating the Lunar New Year. There were new discoveries and return visits to old favourites and some long forgotten places, all filled with pleasant little surprises.
OINK OINK OINK:
So Hyang Korean Cuisine: Perfectly grilled mackerel for me and Korean Galbi (beef short ribs) for him; tasty authentic cuisine on Fraser Street at reasonable prices.
Lunar New Year Feasts at Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine and Red Star Chinese Restaurant: Great Food and Fun times: A huge thank you to my zumba classmates (you know who you are) for arranging these special dinners (OO)
Fall has always been my favourite season ; I simply love the colours, the weather and the beautiful and delicious local harvests! I was overly excited and overextended myself a little with Thanksgiving family dinner and cooking classes (which I love!), I ended up catching a cold. Yikes! Changing seasons is a very tricky time period, we should all be extra mindful in taking care of our bodies in order to prepare for the long winter season ahead.
A couple of months ago I came across True Nosh through Instagram, what I found intriguing about True Nosh is their focus on “no added sugar” cooking! Coming from a family with history of diabetes (on my maternal side of family), I thought I could learn something new to even further reduce the usage of sugar in foods prepared for my family.
I browsed through their website and signed up for the Chinese Green scallion cake (one of my favourite Chinese snacks) class; I think most of you by now know “working with dough” and cooking Chinese food is not my strong suit (Ha ha).
The class focused mainly on demonstration by owner and certified dietitian Ms. Renee Chan; only a small part requires hands on participation.
What is no added sugar cooking? Ms. Chan finds a creative way to use the natural sweetness from fruits and vegetables to replace refined sugars in traditional cooking. A lot of restraint is exercised by limiting the quantities so sugar content is lower and the dishes are lightly sweetened.
The menu for the evening also includes braised beef shank (which goes very well with the green scallion cakes) and mango mochi (without added sugar) as dessert. The dough was proof ahead of time by Ms. Chan and her team; the six class participants helped to roll out the dough and shaped the actual pancakes while Renee would cook and teach us Chinese (simple Chinese words in Cantonese and Mandarin) at the same time, she certainly made it fun and relaxing for everyone.
What did she use to replace the refined sugar? A small quantity of chopped red dates and apricots were used to create to a paste and added into the braised beef shank (picture not shown) as sweetener. (The usage of this ingredient was featured at another vegetarian/vegan class which I attended later – see below). After a most enjoyable evening, I decided to sign up for her “moon-cake making” class.
The second class was held at her newest location (West 7th avenue and Ontario Street, very close to Main), Renee and her team prepared all the ingredients and dough ahead of time, and participants only assemble and created the moon cakes with the beautiful tools provided. For the filling she has selected lotus (paste made from seeds) and red date (paired), mung bean and apricot (paired), red bean and purple yam to create the fillings, green tea powder and saffron were used as natural food colouring to change the “skin” colour. The textures and flavors are definitely different from store-bought “snow-skin” moon cakes, it is more rustic and not as sweet.
Renee and her team are helpful and friendly, I had the best time chatting with her about cooking and travel! Her family was also present that afternoon and I was delighted to have met her mother, the atmosphere was very warm and personal. All recipes were sent to participants via email with nutritional information.
Her company also offers a range of sauces and condiments with funky names and interesting flavor profile for Chinese cooking. Check out her website for more information. Thank you Renee and team for the connecting, see you at one of your classes another time!
I like her overall concept and support for a good cause (ending diabetes); and I am already thinking how I can introduce this “no refined sugar” method to my family and friends. I do think this a better option however it is still important to exercise personal judgement and stay well-informed on what suits your own dietary needs….As I always say, always cook with lots of care and love.
Learn and Nourish at Workshop Vegetarian Cafe (296 Pemberton Road, North Vancouver, BC)
In the past couple years more vegetarian and vegan restaurants have opened up in Greater Vancouver, even regular restaurants now offer more vegetarian and vegan options. Most of their flavor profile tend to be either Mediterranean or Middle eastern inspired, there are only just a handful of authentic Asian-flavored ( Chau Veggie Express) centric vegetarian friendly eateries operating in Vancouver.
The Workshop Vegetarian Cafe opened in 2016 and they well-known for their creative veggie bowls and signature ramen creations. Owner Tak and his wonderful team have created a Japanese menu featuring fresh seasonal and local ingredients. This delightful gem is very welcoming and cosy; it offers a complete vegetarian menu, with gluten-free and vegan options available; inside they operate a “corner shop which sells produce, frozen noodles (their in-house made udon/ramen), vegan and gluten-free condiments. I first visited this cafe in September 2016 with my friend “Kanekic” and really enjoyed their avocado toast and ramen.
I came across their workshop information through Instagram, apparently they have started to offer special workshops almost on a monthly basis with different themes.
On a beautiful Sunday morning I attended their sake kasu workshop, the focus is on the explanation and demonstration of key ingredient “sake lees” used in four recipes (which was given to us also), and a special five course lunch was included afterwards.
The demonstration was hosted by one of the chefs Oku-san, who is from Artisan Sake Maker at Granville Island, Canada’s first local sake maker (opened since 2007). You may ask what is sake kasu? It is the lees left over from sake production; it is a versatile ingredient which can be use as a marinade or pickling agent, adds lots of flavor to soups and sauces. If you taste the kasu on its own, the flavor itself is actually quite strong, so very little is needed in all applications.
In the demo class he taught us how to create of amazake (Japanese New Years drink), Vegan Chocolate Banana Smoothie, Miso Marinade and Vegan Mayonnaise; we all get to sample them afterwards and we were all given a small tub of sake kasu to take home for our cooking experiments.
The biggest surprise came when lunch was served; Oku-san and his friends, three other experienced chefs who work at different establishments in BC, they collaborated and created an exquisite five course lunch which exceeded my expectations. The meal was perhaps could easily ranked as the best vegetarian I’ve had in Vancouver, it is so wonderful to see we have high calibre chefs collaborating together and showcased not only their individual talent, but their superb team work; as a home cook, I left with not only a full stomach but also a very inspired mind.
I will be returning in November to attend a dashi-making workshop, I simply look forward to see what they have to offer next time. Meanwhile if you are unable to make it to Vancouver, check out their postings on Instagram; their feed is very positive and inspirational. Thank you very much Tak and team for the inspiration!
I have taken many cooking classes, however this is the first time I came across a knife sharpening workshop being taught in Vancouver.
I am completely clueless on this subject matter; I usually hone them with a steel (learn through YouTube and not sure exactly what I was doing) and take them out for service when required.
Our kitchen knives are our best friends; they are the most used tools in the kitchen, come to think of it, we spend a lot of time prepping our ingredients!
You may think these days we can practically learn almost anything on YouTube, so why a workshop?
It is a personal decision based on the way how I learn, I also happen to enjoy exchanges and connections with people in general (at times flipping between being an introvert and extrovert).
On this particular subject matter, I have tried to watch videos, I realize I need to see first hand in reality how it is done with instructions and thorough explanations.
So two weekends ago on a Sunday morning I overcame my fear (of the unknown) and spent two hours, together with three other students, learn about the basic principles of knife sharpening through Vancouver Chinatown’s Ai and Om Knives‘ ; the workshop was taught by local chef and shop owner Douglas Chang.
Ai and Om Knives carries a curated selection of Japanese knives and accessories; the first time I came across this specialty shop was actually through Instagram. When they opened last summer in August (official opening in October), I paid a visit and purchased my treasured nakiri bocho , a Japanese knife specifically used for cutting vegetables. My first experience at the store was very pleasant and positive so I subsequently subscribed to their newsletter.
I was truly elated when I saw their workshop schedule recently, I signed up immediately through email without any second thoughts.
On the day of we all brought their own knives for sharpening, fees were paid ($75.00 for the session) before the workshop started and I also purchased the split whetstone (discount given to students who signed up) , I was a bit scared and I was all ready to go, not knowing what to expect! The workshop was taught at the back of the shop where our “sensei” (teacher) spent the first half explaining clearly the technical terms and principles; he later proceed with a demonstration and sufficient time was allocated for our own hands on practice.
I admit initially I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin as there were just a lot of information to remember and understand; in the spur of the moment I decided not to overthink and calmly focus on what our “sensei” has explained earlier, breaking it down step by step (the precis writing skills acquired back in secondary school really helped to pick out the “Key” words and points) and slowly got into it. Although the technicalities are very important, if we put all things aside, the process itself is actually very simple and rustic, it just comes down to the knife, the stone, your own concentration and focus.
Personally at that moment the lesson transcended into something more enlightening, I was engaged in a short “self-realization” journey, directing my own focus to be “in the moment” and learn how to appreciate the simplicities in life. I found the process to be very calming and therapeutic, I enjoyed it tremendously, much to my own surprise.
I was enjoying the process and did not even think of the results until it was time for the true test to see if I achieved what I was taught: to test and see if the knife will slice through paper effortlessly. I was absolutely thrilled when my nakiri “swished” through the paper….. I was more excited about the fact that I overcame the fear of another “unknown” .
I am not going to get into the details of knife sharpening as I have only learnt the basics and currently digesting what I have learnt; I assure you the session was informative and in the end you will be equipped with enough basic information to start sharpening your knives at home, and gained a better understanding of the art of knives and sharpening techniques. Hats off to local chef and owner Douglas Chang; he is very knowledgeable and articulate speaker who shows great patience and exerts a calming presence. Thank you very much for a very meaningful and eye-opening lesson.
My other thoughts on this experience: Never stop learning and practice definitely makes progress! Take good care of our kitchen tools will definitely help us to become more efficient with our meal preparations; improved efficiency will ease our minds, our focus will become clearer, and time will then be saved.
And time, perhaps is the most precious gift, spending time together with family and friends is the true expression of love and care.
Note: Ai and Om Knives is located in the heart of Vancouver Chinatown, 129 East Pender Street. Besides selling knives, they also carries a range of accessories , provide knife sharpening services and hosting workshops. Check their website for more details.
PS Note to my dear friend James; My knives will always be sharp from now on (OO).
During the BC Day Long weekend, my friend “Kanekic” brought me along on a short tour at Birak Berry Farm with the owner.
We didn’t go berry picking, however it was fascinating to learn about the berry farming business briefly over a 1 hour short tour. She was very nice and patient and answered many of my questions related to berry varieties, seasonality, harvesting, equipment and processing; the entire operation is very extensive and more complex than I ever imagined! We went home with really sweet strawberries and blueberries; thank you very much again for the wonderful time and delicious berries.
The farm is open to public for berry picking, for information please check the BC Strawberry growers Association website.
Two weekends ago I finally made it to Krause Berry Farm! As it is already the tail end of berry picking season, we only went for a short time to enjoy their delicious strawberries (Sweet) and waffles (Picture below, reduced whipped cream (trying to be good)) at their outdoors dining patio. The line up was quite long but the friend worked so efficiently we didn’t really have to wait long! The waffles were crispy, however I would definitely ask to have the toppings on the side next time. We quickly walked through their wine tasting room and spent a little time in their shop which is filled with goodies from their farm and a nice selection of kitchen ware (Danger zone for me!). The ambience is warm and friendly, I will definitely make it back much earlier next year. For their offerings and year-round schedule, visit their website for more information.
Premium Rice Donburi and Affordable Omakase at Tetsu Sushi Bar ( 775 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC)
Tetsu sushi baris a 14-seat Japanese sushi restaurant located on Denman Street (at Robson); I was first introduced to this small gem by my friends J and VG (A Big Thank you to both of you!). The experienced owners used to work in a well-known Japanese restaurant in Richmond; opened since April, lately this little gem is slowly building up their reputation and gaining some attention from local food lovers.
This friendly little place offers an extensive menu of cooked foods and very good quality sushi at reasonable pricing; their lunch sets in particular I find are of great value and the food quantity is in line with their pricing.
I have been to Tetsu on a few occasions for lunch and dinner, I am honestly hooked on their premium rice, which is only offered when you order their donburi (my personal fave is the unagi don). The aroma is enticing (I think I smelled konbu), the texture is not sticky, and you can pick up and taste each grain. My other favourite item on their menu is the Yamaimo salad with plum dressing, which adds an interesting flavor to the salad (I love Japanese dried plums and use them quite often in my cooking) and tastes so refreshing.
They also offer omakase dinners (basic start at $45.00 per person) which includes 3 kinds of appetizer, 5 piece daily sushi, inaniwa udon (cold or hot) and ice cream. For additional costs you can upgrade to premium 5 piece or 7 piece daily sushi; follow them on @tetsusushibar_van.
We shared many dishes including an upgraded premium omakase which includes the bluefin tuna (a very guilty indulgence I admit); the fish were very fresh and clean tasting.
The space has a very humble and neighbourhood feel, as seating is limited, it is more suitable for small gathering (4 at most to sit comfortably) and it is better to call ahead to make reservations.
Found on Instagram: Temaki Sushi on Arbutus:
I didn’t even know this restaurant existed until recently I saw postings popping up through Instagram.
I saw a very enticing sushi lunch picture on Instagram posted by a renowned Vancouver chef, so I decided to have lunch at Temaki Sushi one Friday afternoon.
Their in-house chef known as @sushi_hil has posted a lot of delicious sashimi pictures on Instagram, showcasing his skill and the offerings from the restaurant.
I was skeptical and nervous when I first walked in, the decor is nothing like a typical Japanese eatery.
It was a very busy lunch hour; I was greeted and seated promptly by a friendly staff.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I looked over the Specials Board and decided to go with what I have seen on Instagram (gut feeling), so I went with the nigiri sushi special, 8 pieces priced at $28.00. The fish was very fresh, there was offering of fresh wasabi (for a small additional cost) and the sauce for the aburi was light; this is definitely a personal preference as I am not keen on anything which is too heavy-handed.
When I finished my lunch and asked for the bill, I met another server (her name is Ellen) who was very friendly and started to chat with me, asking for feedback and tell me more about the background of the restaurant and its owners.
We often read a lot of reviews and ask for recommendations before we try out a new restaurant; often we would go in with a certain level of preconceived notion; if there is one lesson to be learnt – everyone deserves a chance.
Oh my it is almost the end of July and I have been on “hiatus” since late May! I just cannot believe three months have gone by already since I left my full-time job; particularly the past two months it has been a trying period, adjusting to changes in routines, schedules and lifestyle. While I am still contemplating and planning exactly what I will be doing next, I am very glad I took a leap of faith and go on this much needed break (OO).
How’s your summer so far? I have been enjoying my “staycation” here in Vancouver, summer time is the best season to stay here! The past two months were filled with out-of-town friends visits, which is the perfect excuse (as if I need any) to go around town searching for new attractions and good eats! I believe if you are at least 90% good most of the time with your regular diet, there is a little room for other enjoyment and occasional indulgences.
On Wednesday July 26th I will be back on Ms. Deborah Moore’s program on Fairchild Radio 1470 1030am sharp; thank you in advance for tuning in! I also want to thank my audience who take their time to send me email (email@example.com) with questions or suggestions, I really love to hear from you!
Brisk Walking activity at Iona Beach Regional Park (Richmond) and Pacific Regional Park Trail (Vancouver – UBC) – (Easy Trails)
Brisk walking is our favourite outdoor activity during the summer months; one of our favourite places to visit is Iona Beach regional Park (picture above); the jetty unmarked trail stretches 4 km (one way) along the mouth of Fraser River and it is a very easy walk. We love to go particularly in the evening to catch the beautiful sunset and evening breeze; during the day there are sightings of herons along the way. The jetty trail is a open area so it may get a little windy at times, so you must go prepared with proper outdoor gear and lots of sun protection.
Recently we decided to re-discover the UBC area and on one hot Saturday afternoon, we went for an easy hike in the forest at the Pacific Spirit Regional Park, located at the UBC Endowment Lands (5495 Chancellor Road, Vancouver, BC). The trail gate is located at West 16th next to Camosun Park, the network of trails contained in more than 750 hectares of forest. Free parking is available along West 16th Avenue, the signs inside the forest are very easy to follow and it is a very popular trail amongst local residents. It is advisable to check the map to predetermine your route and decide how far you would like to go, and mark the location of the park’s exits. We lost track of our direction and “exited” so far off , we ended adding a lot more steps to our count, trekking along 16th Avenue (lol).
Asian Cuisines and Small Eateries in Vancouver:
Delicious Pad Thai and Friendly Service: Sen Pad Thai at Granville Island (1666 Johnston Street – inside Loft, across from Public Market)
Sen pad Thai is the newest addition to award-winning Chef Angus An’s roster (Maenam, Freebird, Longtail Kitchen, Fat Mao Noodles) in Greater Vancouver. Located inside the Net Loft across from Public Market, this wonderful fast food stall opened in May 2017, the menu offer different pad thai dishes, variety of Thai small bites and drinks.
The pad thai was meticulously prepared, filled with really fresh ingredients and “Wok Hei” (breath of the wok) – a term which refers to flavors and tastes imparted by a hot wok for stir fry dishes! It was hot (fresh from the wok), tangy (from the tamarind), bright (juice from the generous slice of lime), crunchy (peanuts and fresh sprouts) and smooth ( noodles and eggs were cooked perfectly); for those who love to add more spiciness, the condiments are ready for your perusal on their counter. The staff was friendly and helpful; if you are unsure what you would like to try, just ask them for recommendations (which I did for my second visit) and they will happily oblige. Because the dishes are prepared “a la minute”, there is a little bit of a wait time and it is all worth while. Tables are located near the stand, or you may just want to bring your tasty noodle box outdoors, enjoy an authentic Thai dish and the fine Vancouver weather at the same time.
A lot of small eateries have been popping up lately in Vancouver, scattered all around our beloved city in different districts; the latest addition at the edge of Gastown is a Korean eatery named Haru Korean Kitchen (324 Cambie Street, next to the ever popular Meat and Bread (Porchetta sandwiches!).
Three weeks ago I paid a visit with my little friend JT who loves to eat Korean food; we shared a namul vegetable bibimbap with gochujang and their house special cold vegetarian soba set (bibim guksu) with lots of fresh vegetables in a wasabi sauce, came with a small plate of steamed pork belly . Our favourite was definitely the noodle which was so refreshing and the wasabi added a nice little “kick” to the citron soy sauce. Their menu is very home style and simple, marking very clearly the choices (vegetarian/vegetarian option/spicy) and sauce options (gochujang, gang doenjang (miso) and citron soy sauce) are available. The service was adequate (small restaurant with less help and it’s fairly new), reservations available (which is very rare these days) and I would love to return sometime to try their bingsoo and other korean family classics (japchae).
With mostly homestyle Korean eateries popping up in the Greater Vancouver area, it is quite a change to see the opening of a small authentic Korean BBQ restaurant in Richmond. Located inside the Continental Plaza shopping mall which is mostly filled with Chinese eateries, I wouldn’t have known about this little place if it is not because of Instagram; apparently Dolpan has been opened for a while! If you wish to give this place a try, go for lunch as their lunch BBQ set is great value ($15 or $20 per person), my favourite part is their servers actually help to cook the meat at your table! I had the pork set (jowl/belly) with lettuce wrap and it came with very delicious side dishes (potato, kimchi radish). Other hot plates (pre-cooked meats in kitchen) and Army Based hotpots (budae jjigae) seem to be very popular amongst the lunch diners; service was prompt and attentive, reservations are available.
Sunday brunching at MaknMing (1629 Yew Street, Vancouver)
Chefs Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng’s MaknMing in Kitslano is now open for brunch on Sundays till September 03rd, 2017; this “small team big heart” eatery which opened at the end of 2016 is quickly becoming my newest favourite brunch spot: I have tried their special Lobster Hollandaise Eggs Benedict which I wanted to purchase a “bucket” of the flavorful and silky smooth hollandaise to take home; on a separate visit I had their “wickedly” clever indulgence, the Krispee Challah french toast (rice krispies in the batter, served with toasted coconut blueberry compote and honeycomb)….speechless and in awe with their creativity! Their brunch menu is finely edited with a few items, I do recommend bringing a few friends and order different plates to share. The service is impeccable (Thanks Christina for your recommendations), parking could be a little bit of a challenge however it is so close to Kits beach, so park anywhere, enjoy the fabulous brunch and walk it off afterwards (OO).
Desserts Desserts Desserts: “Mochiffle” at Baker and Table (6414 Fraser Street) and “Little Plant” from Bubble Bear Cafe (8051 Granville Street, Vancouver)
If you have been following my blog and instagram, you will know I love savory foods and rarely eat desserts (I did bake a cheesecake with my friends over the weekend, my first!). I recently found these two desserts which I quite enjoy: Mochiffle from Baker and Table(remember the little bakery cafe which I mentioned a couple months ago?) and “Little Plant” Egg Custard pudding from Bubble Bear Cafe (Bubble Tea place on Granville opened a few months ago); the mochi-waffle combination is addictive and it is gluten free, it has a very nice chewy bite and you must add the ice-cream and the red bean! As for the egg custard pudding, I really like the texture of the soft silky pudding and oreo bits (looks like “dirt” hence the name “little plant”. Baker and Table’s owner Hitomi-san and Bubble Bear Cafe’s owners Maureen and Danny are very nice and helpful people, pay them a visit for lunch or snack and ask them for recommendations! Baker and Table also offers vegetarian curry and sandwiches (together with her famous melon pans and yuzu cheesecakes) , and Bubble Bear Cafe offers a small selection of delicious savoury bites (spicy wontons, meat floss egg rolls) and a variety of bubble teas and slushes (great for summer!) at very reasonable prices.