October 2017: Learn, Nosh and Nourish

Golden Leaves….


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.

And finally my blog post is up…..

Learn and Nosh at True Nosh


Snow Skin Mooncakes! I finished “third” place in the “mooncake beauty pageant”

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)

My favourite dish : Kabocha and Corn Soup with crispy grains…created by Pokeman Vancouver !

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.

Sake Kasu Vegan Mayo – tasty!

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!

May 2017: Home cooking Snapshots


Miso and Sake Kasu Sable fish, mixed vegetables (lotus root, burdock, broccoli and turnip leave) rice

Here are the snapshots of what I have been cooking at home this past month!  Recipes coming very soon.

For the time being you can find my other updates and pictures with description posted on Instagram (@mygoldenapron).

I would also love to hear your feedback so feel free to send me an email (goldenapron@gmail.com) or drop me a line through Instagram (OO).

Picture above: Sake Kasu Miso Sable Fish with Mixed vegetable (burdock, turnip leaves, lotus root and broccoli) rice:  the dried burdock, turnip and lotus root are from Japan, I found them at a local Japanese store).

Nduja spaghetti Bolognese (with basil sausage from Oyama sausage and Co) : Remember Nduja, the spicy sausage spread ? I added to my Bolognese recipe to spice things up a bit !

When Japanese meets Italian: Roast shio koji organic chicken, cauliflower broccoli penne pasta in lemon parsley herb drizzle, garnish with crispy kale bits and lemon zest.  It is very easy to make the herb drizzle: chives, parsley, lemon juice, grated lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, drizzle of honey and pinch of sea salt.

Pan fried spot prawn with Thai red curry (store-bought paste, added fish sauce, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves)  served with lentil quinoa turmeric rice: since spot prawn season is over, you can substitute with other prawns/shrimp available for this dish).

Faux Unagi Donburi (Rice bowl): Orange roughy turned into unagi;  baked and glazed with homemade unagi sauce, scrambled dashi egg with green onions, on a bed of turmeric (just a touch) fresh peas and carrot rice, garnish with crispy kale bits (my current favourite garnish in place of seaweed)


Disclaimer: All ingredients are non-sponsored purchased at some of my preferred vendors in Vancouver, BC.  Pictures are my own and dishes are my creations based on what I have learned through cooking classes, reading cookbooks and research.








Sakuraya Japanese Market (517 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC)

Bianca Maria Italian Foods (Nduja! – 2469 East Hastings, Vancouver, BC)






November 2016: Comfort at Home

Stanley Park – Late October….I Love Vancouver

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, we all tend to shift our already busy schedules into complete overdrive.

I yearn for slower pace to rest, and crave comfort foods and quiet times to reflect.

This November I stay put at home in Vancouver, taking my time to try new recipes, going around my favourite city to see what it has to offer.

Follow me on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) for updates (OO) ;  tune in on November 30th 1030am sharp on Fairchild 1470 Ms. Deborah Moore’s program, we will be chatting about food and much more…

Official store opening: Ai and Om: Thank you very much!

At the end of October I was invited to the official grand opening of “Ai and Om”, the amazing artisan knife store located in Vancouver Chinatown, a big thank you to Chef and owner Douglas Chan and Ms. Katharine Manson for the invite!  After I talked about my “beloved” nakiri knife on the radio show, I have received emails inquiring about their products and sharpening services/classes,  please contact them directly at info@aiandomknives.com or better yet, pay them a visit (129 East Pender Street, Vancouver, BC).



Shop Local:

I’ve always been a big supporter of local businesses in Vancouver BC; here’s the link to what I’ve talked about this morning on the radio show:



Old School Ramen: Larmen!  @ Shibuyatei 

Chef Sato’s humble restaurant has been operating in Richmond for 5 years, hidden at the corner of Sexmith Road and Bridgeport (very close to Costco).  It is a very small operation (limited seating and the two times I went he’s the only one working) so the wait could be long but worthwhile to try this delicate, clean and flavorful broth, which is very different from all other choices available in Vancouver.  I had the spicy clam ramen (he calls it “larmen”) which came in the right hot temperature, perfect for a cold winter day. There is also a limited supply: 20 bowls for lunch and dinner every day.   Save room for the gyoza; my hubby had the katsu curry (fried pork chop with Japanese curry) and it was very tasty also.   Chef Sato is very serious about his craft, he talked about it so passionately and it clearly shows in his food.  Bravo for his dedication, as a home cook, I am inspired to work harder to hone my skills.

Shibuyatei: 2971 Sexsmith Road, Richmond, BC (corner of Sexsmith and Bridgeport Road, parking on the street).

Spicy Clam Ramen (Larmen – Chef Sato calls it on menu) – Clean tasting shoyu based broth, no msg…perfect “hot” temperature…perfect for a cold winter day

Japanese inspired Vegetarian cafe: Workshop Vegetarian

Pictures of this quaint cafe are popping up on Instagram constantly, I had to drive out to North Vancouver (296 Pemberton Avenue (at Marine Drive) to see what it is all about !  Their motto is serving healthy vegetarian dishes, with vegan options available.  We shared three things from their menu: the smashed avocado toast on their house baked organic natural yeast bread, organic “nama” shoyu ramen and the Kyoto style udon:  My favourite is the toast, the noodle soups are very clean tasting and flavorful,  I didn’t have room to try their baked goods so we will go back for another visit sometime!


Smashed Avocado on organic natural yeast bread: the texture of the bread reminded me of foccacia, the smash has a hint of tartness which I enjoyed a lot!
Nama Ramen: Mushroom broth with hint of truffle shallot oil
Kyoto style udon with tofu, mushroom and egg – light and clean tasting broth

Pizzette Lunch at Famoso Neopolitan Pizzeria on Commercial Drive

Once in a while I do love to have pizza our favourite is Zachary’s at Oak and 16th); we have walked by Famoso (1380 Commercial Drive (at Kitchener))many times and it is always very busy! Finally last Saturday we got in for lunch.  I had absolutely no idea this is actually a chain across Canada (I always root for the independents) and I was pleasantly surprised!  My hubby and I both ordered our own pizzette (7 inch small pizza) lunch which comes with either soup or salad, and I added a tomato bisque, cold rainy day calls for soup!  I love thin crusted pizzas which is not too heavily loaded, theirs is just perfect to my liking; and the tomato soup, served with a spoonful of ricotta cheese was rustic and hearty.  Service was upbeat and friendly, we now know another good place in one of our favourite neighbourhoods.


Mushroom pizzette!
Tomato bisque – Hearty and Satisfying!

Comfort Foods at Home: Old recipes and new experiment (recipes coming soon: vegetarian friendly)

Cooking and Resting Lots at home…

My sources in Vancouver: Seafood City (Granville Island), Artisan Sake Maker at Granville Island (Osake), Vancouver Farmers Market (now Winter Market at Nat bailey is on), Fujiya Japanese food store (Clark Drive),  Vancouver Island Salt Company (sea salt available at various locations), Bread Affair (bakery at Granville Island, also available at grocery stores).

Japanese Corn Potage: this no dairy recipe is still one of my favourites (recipe published March 2014 – check the archives) to make once in a while.


Roasted Butternut squash red miso shimeji napa cabbage udon – a keeper for winter!




New experiment: Roasted Butternut squash miso soup with shimeji mushroom and napa cabbage udon (new recipe coming) – it takes a little time but worthwhile!  I used the turkey carcass to make the base stock (bonito flake/kombu dashi or just kombu dashi (for vegetarians) work just as well), roasted the butternut squash, sauteed the onions, added to stock and pureed to make the soup. Add little olive oil and the red miso paste to soup pot, add and sauteed shimeji mushrooms and cabbage, then add soup to pot.   Udon cooked separately and put in bowls, ladle soup to serve, garnish with green onions.

When Japanese meets Italian: Roasted asparagus soup with homemade anchovy croutons and there is no dairy?  A couple spoonful of Japanese rice (other than potato) will do the trick and give the creaminess which we all love. Inspiration came from recipe by Joy Manning on Food and Wine and Basho Cafe (another of my favourite in Vancouver); I made this vegetarian (kombu based dashi) except the croutons which I used anchovies as flavouring (sourdough bread seasoned with seasalt, olive oil), this pureed soup is creamy in texture yet light, perfect for light supper or lunch.


Last but not least…..Snapper Hot Pot Rice: snapper bones used to make stock (roasted bones, daikon, green onion, sake kasu, bonito flake/kombu dashi, small pork shank – at least 1 1/2 hours) then strained set aside, fish filet (by the fishmonger, my favourite Seafood City) and pin bones removed (I did myself at home),  Japanese Haiga rice used for this dish, cleaned and soaked for 30 minutes prior to cooking. Seasoning (shiro shoyu/mirin/sake 3/2/1 ratio) added to rice in nabe and stir evenly, I added enoki mushroom (one thin layer) then the kombu (from stock making), slices of lemon), medium heat to cook rice stove top.  Around the 9 minute mark, check the liquid (make sure it’s not all dried out) and add the fish filet on top, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until it’s done, the fish will remain very moist and tender.  Remove from heat, remove kombu, lemon slices, flake the fish and serve with mitsuba (Japanese parsley), grated lemon zest and a touch of sansho (Japanese ground pepper), and a drizzle of homemade ponzu (dashi/soy/sake/mirin and lemon juice).

Voila! Snapper Nabe Rice
Fish flaked and served with chopped Japanese parsley, grated lemon zest and sansho ground pepper




September 2016: Bella September


Fall is always my favourite season; I am always excited and grateful to welcome the harvest season and get busy in my kitchen!

This September is all about Italian food at our household:

Italian Home cooking with my friends James (househistorian) and Peter (Pastaboy), sharing the joys and love for Italian cuisine:  Whenever my friend James return to Vancouver,  we always have a standing appointment to cook together for our good friends.

Here is the composite photo showing our dinner. Top row left; deep-fried cauliflower, fresh, handmade orecchiette pasta, bruschetta  with Sabina DOP extra virgin olive oil from Casperia.

Second row left to right: Insalata caprese with local heirloom tomatoes and bufala mozzarella. Orecchiette (handmade small ear pasta) with fava beans, peas, Gorgonzola (sweet) and half and half cream pureed and topped with crispy guanciale (smoked pork cheek), baked sockeye salmon (local!) with lemon and capers.

Bottom row Left to Right:  An amazing bottle of Spanish wine, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana (remembering the earthquake in Amatrice),  getting ready to make pasta dough with flour and water!

My trusting go to places for my supplies in Vancouver: Cioffis 4142 East Hastings, Bianca Maria 2469 East Hastings, Gourmet Warehouse 1340 East Hastings)


Caprese Insalata: Buffala di mozzarella (a must), fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, sea salt and nice olive oil. We toasted some baguette (rustic Italian better), rubbed with garlic and drizzle with olive oil..Bruschetta!
The most thoughtful gift from my pal James: Sabina DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Casperia from olives grown and harvested from trees James can see from his home in Italy. Thank you again James!

We love pies: Gabi and Jules Handmade pies and baked goods in Port Moody

The newest artisan baked shop and cafe opened weeks ago in Port Moody; we were crazy and drove Port Moody one rainy Saturday morning, and the verdict?  It was well worth the long drive from Vancouver! We had the apple blueberry pie: flaky buttery crust with generous fillings, the sweetness was perfect!  I had the scrumptious cheese scone and my crazy husband had the peach cobbler muffin,

Their website is still under construction, they have great pictures on Instagram (@gabiandjules).


Delectable Apple and blueberry pie from Gabi and Jules: We took it home and enjoyed with our friends.

Tasting and Book Signing event at Gourmet Warehouse: Lidia Bastianich

The great Italian born American chef, Ms. Lidia Bastianich visited Vancouver this month… I was absolutely thrilled to meet her in person, she is absolutely lovely…completely starstruck..

I got her autographed cookbook (included in ticket purchase), a picture taken and spoke with her for a few minutes about Italian cooking.  Tremendous thank you to staff and event crew at Gourmet Warehouse for hosting the wonderful event.

I will be very occupied this winter and I look forward to sharing all new cooking tips, techniques and recipes with everyone.



A one stop gourmet store located on East Hastings, filled with great selection of cookware, bakeware, ingredients and sauces from around the world.

Check their calendar for cooking classes and special events

And the Italian theme continues: Ask for Luigi revisited…first time for dinner

Finally made it to Ask for Luigi for dinner!  It was an impromptu decision, we got there early on a Wednesday night (5:45 pm) and got it right away.  It was meant to be (OO)

Ask for Luigi: 2015 Best Restaurant in Vancouver, located at 305 Alexander Street (Railtown), no reservations so get there early!


Cauliflower polpettes: with romesco sauce and hazelnuts: a very tasty vegetarian “meatball”…
Radiatore – chilli, anchovy and broccoli….I love their pastas!

Easy Pasta Suppers: 

We all love having pastas for dinner, the sauces are usually easy to make, the ingredients are simple and easy to purchase, my focus is always on using fresh in season and local ingredients.

Broccoli pine nut pesto with gluten-free fusilli (Gogo Quinoa), Spaghetti and Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) all’amatriciana (San Marzano Canned tomatoes, guanciale (smoked pork cheek), garlic and Pecorino romano).  I substituted the half the spaghetti with zoodles (love my spiralizer).

Easy Sunday supper: Broccoli, pine nuts, dried chilli pepper pesto with gluten-free (GoGo Quinoa) fusilli and parmesan reggiano
Spaghetti and Zoodles (courgetti/zucchini noodles) all’amatriciana – It’s not entirely vegetarian as the sauce is made of guanciale (smoked Italian pork cheek) and San Marzano tomatoes (variety of plum tomatoes (sweeter, stronger taste and less acidic – available Canned in Italian food stores Cioffis (East Hastings). I’ve used heirloom tomatoes (in season now) and it was so delicious.
Good reads: The Italian Pasta cookbook is actually an old publication, the Chinese book is translated from a Japanese cookbook written by a popular and famous chef in Tokyo. I’ve been reading a lot more in Chinese lately, trying to learn the terms and cross reference.

Some upcoming Events in Vancouver:

September 29th – Sake Festival (consumer tasting in the evening), check website for information.


Farmers Market schedule and location will change at the end of October, winter market begins!


Eat Vancouver (October 4 to 7) – check out their website for events, there’s no market place this year but plenty of special dinners


Remember I took some sushi making classes earlier this year?  Taka-san is back and he will be teaching on October 15th Saturday, please call 778-788-3574 for reservations.


August 2016: One Thing Leads To Another

Mural on Main Street

Want to know what have I been up to in August?  On Wednesday August 31st, 2016  I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!

If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you!  Drop me a line anytime at goldenapron@gmail.com

“Ai and Om Knives” in Vancouver Chinatown

Having the right and suitable kitchen wares certainly makes doing the job better; and a good knife takes you a long way…

I really don’t know much about knives, my limited knowledge came from tips I’ve picked up at cooking classes, or friends’ recommendations and through reading  I don’t really like to get too technical with almost everything, I just know what “feels” right and what works for me personally.  The last purchase for the “Santoku” was more than 10 years ago (I’m still loving my Wusthof Santoku. Since April I have been on the search for the “right” nakiri  ((菜切り包丁) a great vegetable knife). There were a couple of choices but somehow it didn’t feel quite right; I kept thinking I might as well wait and pick up one when I travel to Japan….Until last Saturday…

My hubby always say I like to “tuck” information away and somehow I can miraculously pull it out when timing is right. I came across the posting about ‘Ai and Om”‘s opening on Instagram (through another instagrammer MaknMing)  around three months ago; and finally it opened on August 21st.

Last weekend I decided to check things out; I was standing outside their door; just one glance at the display window and there it was….I summoned the courage and went in…


The picture below says it all….and I was happily chopping and dicing away on Sunday..


Thank you for your help, Yvonne and Douglas (and thanks for answering my message!), I will introduce myself properly next time and will be in touch soon!

Check out their store and ask for recommendations: 129 East Pender Street, Vancouver Chinatown.

I found this article afterwards:



FoodVideo: Chinese cooking channel on YouTube, WeChat and Weibo:

This channel is so much fun to watch: the videos are short and stylish; cooking demonstrations and instructions are simple to understand; there was this particular video which showcases two simple family style dishes from Yunnan cuisine (something I am not familiar with also); it looked so delicious and simple to make, the names are interesting also, roughly translated to “Red Three Chop” and “Black Three Chop” .

I certainly put “Nakiri” into good use over the weekend. As I am unable to find some of the ingredients (the “black coloured” pickled Brassica juncea – mustard green), I sourced out local ingredients and came up with my versions; I wanted to find out what is the English name of the pickled vegetable used and I contacted the home cook on weibo; I was thrilled to hear from her!

“Triple Red Dice” and “Triple Green Dice” : Great with rice or noodle, suitable for entire family and it’s easy to make.  Initially I “googled” the Chinese ingredient and the translation I got was ‘Kohlrabi”, big head vegetable (haha).  Have you ever tried cooking with kohlrabi?  The first time I had it was at Pidgin Restaurant (more than 4 years ago I still remember the Dan Dan Kohlrabi), and more recently I’ve used the raw kohlrabi for the Dan Dan Noodles (Thanks Nourish Vancouver); it’s the first time I try kohlrabi in its cooked form and it has a very nice sweet flavour.

Triple Green Dice: minced garlic and ginger, minced pork, kohlrabi, green pepper, Serrano chili pepper, shiitake mushroom, green onion, Tamari soy used as seasoning, and finish with Vancouver Island Fleur del Sel. (triple green: green pepper, kohlrabi, Serrano chili pepper)

Triple Red Dice: minced garlic and ginger, minced turkey (non-medicated and free range), heirloom tomatoes (they are in season!), red pepper, Thai chilli pepper, green pepper,  Tamari soy used as seasoning, a drizzle of maple syrup and finished with Vancouver Island and Co. Fleur del Sel. (triple red: tomatoes, red pepper and Thai chili pepper).

This is what I truly believe in: Cook with love, always think of who you are cooking for, remember to season and adjust to personal tastes and dietary concerns!

Vancouver Island Salt Co : I met them at the Dinner Party YVR Event and I’ve been using their product ever since..(my personal favourite: smoked sea salt).


My take on Yunnan Chinese food using local ingredients: my friends call it Deb’s brand of fusion (I dislike this word but what can I call them?) – Triple Red Dice and Triple Green Dice

Fun on Fraser Take Two: Change is Constant

As our beloved city of Vancouver kept growing,  the little hubs in our neighbourhood kept changing; old favourites might be gone, perhaps finding new love…

Opa!  Nammos on Fraser:

I must confess I am not the biggest fan of Greek food but somehow having dined at Nammos twice (Brunch and dinner),  I love their fresh and no fuss approach: Family style share plates with great vegetarian options, fresh and light tasting (try their crispy calamari with the beet dip), good size portion and reasonable pricing; the restaurant is spacious and airy, patio seating available…and it’s right next to Earnest Ice cream (OO).

IMG_2552 (4)
Share plate at brunch: Calamari with beet dip; Nammos Salata: spinach, arugula and manouri with honey vinaigrette, a side order of swiss chard, grilled vegetarian sandwich
Tender grilled octopus: one of the shared plates we had for dinner

Penang Bistro on Fraser (Used to be Bodhi Choi Heung)

Celebrated a friend’s dinner last week at Penang Bistro (Back to Fraser Hood!);  Three things which stand out: the fluffy roti and the pork chop (sweet and sour) with fried kabocha squash; and lastly I must commend our server for his food knowledge and superb service, he understands the menu and the components for each dish very well.

Sweet and Sour Fried Pork Chop with Fried Kabocha
IMG_6680 (1)
Fluffy Roti; my friends had the beef and chicken satay skewers












Summer Time…Chilin’ and Cooking


Chilin’ on Fourth – Yuzu Lemonade @ Raisu

Summer Time: Chillin’ and Cooking….A snapshot of my July in Vancouver..

On Wednesday July 27 I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  ‘If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you!  Drop me a line anytime at goldenapron@gmail.com

Keep Chilin’ and Cooking (OO)


Modern Chinese Cooking Class @ Nourish Cafe (3742 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC)

Last week my “cooking buddy” Jo and I took a ‘Modern Chinese Cooking Class” at the newly opened Nourish Cafe; owner and instructor Dan taught us how to make a simple version of “baos” (steamed buns) and “Dan Dan Noodles” – it was a fun and refreshing take on some old Chinese classics!  I went with no expectation and left with great ideas; in fact Dan has solved one of my recent cooking dilemmas!  Nourish’s food philosophy and practices are actually very close to what I’ve been learning over the past few years since we made some significant lifestyle changes; Thank you Dan and Lisa, it was great pleasure meeting you both and I shall return sometime!  Check their website for class schedules.


Brunching at Nourish – Sriracha hummus and potato cakes and Eggs Benny; they offer delicious and nutritious options for Vegetarians and Vegans


Dan’s Dan Dan – here’s what we assembled and devoured in class ; the tahini and almond butter base “dan dan” sauce was absolutely delicious! Thanks Dan for the inspiration, you actually just solved one of my cooking dilemmas!
Deb’s experimental Dan Dan – inspired by Dan’s recipe, I’ve changed things up a bit by adding sea kelp noodles (50% kelp/50% regular noodle), sesame tahini (omit sesame oil) and balsamic vinegar. Recipe coming soon.

French cooking classes: Tartine and Maple


French cooking is always very close my heart; Jo and I attended two demo-cooking (French cooking and later Brioche) classes learning from the lovely Valentine at Uncommon Cafe, she definitely made everything so easy!   Check her website for class schedule!




Below is the picture of the asparagus and cheese tart which I created at home, following her recipe (from her other french cooking class); I think I may have conquered my fear in working puff pastry…one step at a time!



Shrimp croquettes @ Raisu in Kitslano

The latest “sister” restaurant to Kingyo (Davie), Rajio (west 10th) and Suika (West Broadway); Raisu opened recently on West 4th Avenue (2340 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC),  a big thank you to Brian (Seafood City) who told me about this new venue!  There’s no storefront on the street level, look for a small entrance which leads you to an open space with patio on the second floor!

The shrimp croquette was so delicious and resembled the fluffy crab claws at a Chinese banquet; the vegetarian udon was packed with flavor! A cool open space with good vibe, where else would you be listening to Billy Joel and watching old-time Bruce Lee’s movies while enjoying some delicious bites?  Reservations recommended (by phone only).

We usually associate croquettes with potatoes; this is completely different and I think they have hit a home run with this dish! Now I’m curious and want to “dissect” this at home..
We waited for 45 minutes for a table at another drinking place; so we didn’t try their Teishoku! Vegetarian udon was light and packed with flavor (miso)…Love it!

An old favorite revisited: Secret Garden Tea Company

My buddy DP and I paid a visit to this established and timeless favourite in Kerrisdale, they will be moving this summer!   We had their High Tea set and I think their lemon tarts is still my favourite…They will be moving to a new location (on West 40th, still in the neighbourhood) sometime this summer.



It’s never too hot to cook: check out my noodle recipes (new and old postings)

I’m making more “mixed” noodle dishes this summer, experimenting with the spiralizer (yes finally new toy!) and new products (kelp noodle); meanwhile check out my old recipes (Type in the keywords in the “search” box (left column) above “RECENT POSTS”.  My favourite recent posting is last month’s Sake Kasu sablefish (OO)

  • Sea Kelp “noodle” – available at Whole Foods – experimenting and recipe coming soon!  Check out my instagram!


  • My Lazy Phnom Penh Noodle (July 2014) – it’s still one of my favourite things to make)


  • Mushroom Soba Salad (February 2014)
  • Vegetarian Soba with Lemon Vinaigrette (March 2016)



RECIPE: Vegetarian Soba Salad with Lemon Miso Vinaigrette



I have been following Ms. Sonoko Sakai the last while on Instagram since I came across photos of her soba making workshops; it is on my “bucket list” to make it to LA one day to attend her classes and learn how to make soba  You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I read Francis Lam’s article “Sonoko Dreams of Soba” in March edition of Saveur; there is was..a beautiful photo of her soba salad with lemon-miso vinaigrette, and it has all the flavors which we love: lemon, miso and ginger! Since I don’t know how to make the noodles, I used packaged organic soba;  it is still a little chilly here in Vancouver, at this time I prefer to have a warm salad so I lightly sautéed some of the vegetables, and added different ingredients to our liking and dietary needs. Ms. Sakai, thank you very much for the inspiration; I just have to fly to LA to take your soba workshop sometime soon.

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the salad: Small Radicchio leaves (about 6 to 8 pieces), 3 to 4 stalks of kale rabe*, 16 small variety of cherry tomatoes (roasted)*, 2 small carrot (peeled), 1 medium English cucumber (thinly sliced crosswise), 50 g (about 1/4 package) of sugar snap peas, green onion (1 stalk, finely chopped), a package of organic buckwheat noodle (200g, you can use less noodle), drizzle of olive oil

For the dressing: 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon white miso paste, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil*, 1-2 teaspoon maple syrup*, juice of one inch piece ginger (peeled), kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*these are my substitutions and additions: kale raab is actually very delicious and sweet

Here’s the link for the original recipe:



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Wash the vegetables, strain and dry thoroughly
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves, toss lightly in drizzle of olive oil on shallow baking dish.  Spread them out into one layer and season lightly with kosher salt. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes are soft.  Set aside.
  • Tear the radicchio leaves and chop the kale rabe into medium bite size pieces; set aside
  • Using a simple vegetable peeler and cut the carrot into ribbons (they will be curly); slice the cucumber thinly; set aside
  • In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. Remove and discard the stem end and string from each sugar snap pea pod.  Place them in boiling water for approximately 2 minutes,  transfer them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Drain the peas thoroughly, toss together with cucumber and carrot ribbons. 
  • Using a microplane set over a fine sieve (or tea leaf strainer) set in a bowl, grate the ginger into the sieve, then using a small spoon, press on the ginger solids to drain as much as juice as possible.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste, sesame oil and maple syrup.  Pour 1 teaspoon of ginger juice (I used more actually) and mix well with the dressing.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, whisk until emulsified.
  • In large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to package instructions; treat it like pasta and cook until they are al dente.  This step requires your full attention as soba noodles can be overcooked easily.  When they are done, rinse under cold water (until water is no longer murky), toss and drain the noodles thoroughly, set aside.
  • In large saute pan, heat a teaspoon of the dressing over medium high heat; add the kale raab, cook for 2 to 3 minutes (until it is wilted), add radicchio and cook for another minute; use a pair of tongs to toss the vegetables together.  Keep in mind you would like to keep the vegetables “cooked” yet crunchy.
  • Using a large bowl, mix the vegetables and soba noodle; assemble the salad onto a large platter or divide into 4 serving plates with dressing on the side.  Garnish with chopped green onions and roasted cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
I made the dish and served family style at my father-in-law’s birthday party.

Note: If you like soba noodle salad, go to my blog archives and check out my Mushroom Soba Salad with Yuzu Ponzu dressing, published in February 2014. Store leftover dressing in a mason jar (I just love them!), should be good for 1 to 2 days.  I used it the next day with sauteed kale rabe and granny smith apple bits, it was absolutely delicious.

February 17 Radio Show: Stay “Warm” with Noodles and Stay “Cool” with Icecream

Happy CNY! Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner at home: Broiled Threadfin Bream from Seafood City, Japanese style braised mushrooms on pea sprouts, eight grain rice with cauliflower and garlic stems, Crispy Siu Yuk (Roast Pork), Soy Sauce Free Range Chicken and Duck

Happy CNY! How’s your 2016 so far?

On February 17th I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order): Stay warm with “noodles” and stay cool with “ice-cream”.

The most talked about vegetarian ramen on instagram, it’s really delicious: Ramen Man  841 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC


Aosa “sea Lettuce” Ramen and it’s all about chicken broth: On the same street at a different block: Marutama Ramen 780 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC



Is it worth the wait? Tsukemen at Sanpoutei Ramen: 160-4328 No. 3 Road (the newest building next to Parker Place)



East Meets West = West Coast Cool  at Tangram Creamery (check my blog review), 2729 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC


Old time favourite: Xiao Long Bao  and Tan Tan Noodles at Top Shanghai Cuisine 120-5880 Ackroyd Road, Richmond, BC


…Coming in March and April:







RECIPE: Vegetable Curry Udon


A bowl of savory and mouth-watering curry noodle soup on a cold Vancouver winter day!

My recipe is loosely based and adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking (By Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat), one of my great recent cookbook finds!  They use soba broth (it’s called kake soba broth) to enhance the flavor of curry;  I added turmeric (when sautéed the onions and vegetables), diced apple and fukujinzuke, commonly used to serve with Japanese curry rice, are used as garnish (in addition to green onion) to a hint of sweetness and add “crunch” to the dish, the end result is much more flavorful.  Leftover curry taste even better the next day, add more vegetables or meat then serve with rice as a donburi (you can always add crispy fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu),  or simply freeze it ready for use anytime for quick ready-to-go weeknight dinner; Enjoy (OO).

Serves 2-4:

Ingredients:  4 bricks of fresh-frozen sanuki udon, 1 large onion (thinly sliced), 1 small head of cauliflower (florets roughly chopped), 1 medium zucchini (diced), 4 small bunched carrots (peeled and chopped), 3 Tablespoons of ground turmeric, 1 Tablespoon of mirin, 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 package (110g) Japanese curry roux (I used Glico Medium Premium),  6 cups of katsuobushi dashi, green scallions (white part only, thinly sliced on an angle), kosher salt (light seasoning when cooking vegetables).


To make the dish completely vegetarian, simply substitute the katsuobushi dashi with kombu dashi broth

For Meat Lovers: Thinly sliced pork or minced pork goes very well with the curry,  I used the a bit of ground ginger and apple, turmeric powder and kaeshi to marinade the pork (minced or thinly sliced) night before if I am adding protein to the curry.

You can use curry powder and potato starch instead of the instant curry roux.

Check out Ms. Namiko Chen’s  Just One Cookbook, she has a great pork curry udon recipe.

Here’s a picture of the fukujinzuke!


*Recipe for kaeshi (makes 2 1/2 cups) – from Japanese Soul Cooking

Prepare 2 to 3 days in advance this recipe : Add 2 cups Japanese soy sauce (I used only 1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup katsuobushi dashi to make it less salty), 1/2 cup mirin, 3 Tablespoons sugar (I used coconut nectar instead, adjust the sweetness accordingly) – Add all ingredients into saucepan and bring to boil over high heat.  Turn off the heat and allow mixture to cool off to room temperature.  Refrigerate for 2-3 days to allow the flavors time to mingle, store in glass bottle and refrigerate up to a month.

**In Japanese Soul Cooking – they prepare the kake soba broth (combining the kaeshi and dashi and a lot of mirin) ahead of time, I did not combine the katsuobushi dashi broth and kaeshi, I add them separately into the curry and use a lot less mirin.  Check out their book, it’s filled with wonderful recipes, thank you very much for your inspiration.


  • 2 to 3 days before – prepare kaeshi (see recipe above, refrigerate in glass container ready for use)
  • Prepare dashi broth (can be done 1 to 2 days ahead, refrigerate in glass container ready for use)
  • Prep all the vegetables
  • In a large saucepan, reheat the dashi broth (if you did not make from scratch the same day) and keep it warm
  • In a different large heavy pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil using medium high heat, add cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes, then add carrot (cook for another 2 minutes) and zucchini, lightly seasoned with kosher salt and 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric, saute in total 5 to 6 minutes then remove from pot, set aside.
  • In the same pot, heat another 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil (medium high heat), add sliced onion and 1 Tablespoon of mirin and saute, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, until onion becomes soft and turn translucent (I let it caramelize a little).  Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric and cook, stirring constantly and mix well, be careful not to burn the turmeric!
  • Add the warm dashi broth and 1/2 cup of kaeshi to the pot , scrape the bottom of the pot,  cook for 2-3 minutes and bring to a boil.  Skim off any scum and fat from the broth.  Reduce heat then let the flavors mix and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add the curry roux, using a strainer or chopsticks, melt the roux and blend nicely with broth mixture.
  • Turn on the heat to medium high, heat the curry, stir occasionally, making sure it will not stick and burnt on the bottom.  Using small fine mesh strainer, remove any scum.
  • Add cauliflower, carrot and zucchini mixture to curry, using medium low heat, let it simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, gently stir occasionally to prevent sticking and don’t break the vegetables.  Keep it warm using low heat (and it will not burn), taste the curry and add seasoning (using kaeshi) if necessary.
  • Prepare garnish – diced apples (squeeze a bit of lemon juice to prevent it from turning “brown”) and scallions
  • Meanwhile using a separate pot, boil water to cook the sanuki udon (according to instructions approximately 1 to 2 minutes) – I prepare each serving individually
  • Turn off the heat, put udon into bowl, ladle the curry over noodles, garnish with diced apples, scallions and fukujinzuke, now ready to serve and enjoy!
  • If you are adding ground or sliced pork to this dish, lightly saute the pork in the beginning and set it aside, add the meat last when vegetables are cooked, bring curry to boil and turn off heat immediately, the meat will cook through and remain juicy!

Where to shop for ingredients in Vancouver: Fujiya (Japanese groceries, fukujinzuke is available – 912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC), Nikuya (11220 Voyageur Way, Richmond, BC – for sliced pork), T and T Supermarket (Various locations – for Sakura Farms ground pork), Japanese Soul Cooking (Available at Indigo, Amazon, I purchased mine from Crate and Barrel at Oakridge Centre).

July 22nd, 2015 Radio Show


I just cannot believe it’s July already!  My web page redesign is still in the works, it is taking much longer than expected, meanwhile you can find my updates on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) and Twitter (@GoldenApron).

I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM1470 this morning 10:30am sharp!  Really look forward to chat with her about food and anything else! Content is subject to change, depends on the flow of the program.  Thank you very much for tuning in!

 Vegetarian “Bolognese”: idea based on Ochikeron’s recipe (my posting coming soon)


Besides “Cooking with Dog“, I’ve been following Ochikeron on Youtube for a while, remember the whole tomato rice? She’s the one who started the craze !  Check my old posting: http://www.mygoldenapron.com/2014/11/18/recipe-wafu-whole-tomato-rice/

Three kinds of mushrooms (shiitake, shimeji, enoki), tomatoes, onion, carrot, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, olive oil and Miso! I had the bolognese with my favourite GOGO quinoa and rice spaghetti (gluten free/vegetarian/organic), served on my dinner plate created in pottery class!


Serendipity: Nicli’s Next Door 

When is a mistake not a mistake? When you are blessed by serendipity. We were going to try Nicli’s pizzeria, and we went in the “wrong” door..it was the best thing ever happened…sei bellisima. (Great tasting food and service: Actual blog post coming soon) #niclisnextdoor


Crostino, mushroom ragu, house-made ricotta, aged balsamic..we had two orders..
Zeppole donuts, local rhubarb glaze, shaved white chocolate, ridiculously delicious

It’s not always about the newest thing in town: I really believe #Hachibei on West 16th serves the best “Gindara Teishoku” in Vancouver! Great flavor, generous portion of black cod, the best taste and value in town. It’s a small home style restaurant, you must get there early as this set is limited in quantity, open Monday to Saturday dinner only.  


Deep Cove: Cafe Orso, you never know what you will find on Instagram.

Picture: avocado toast (Nelson the Seagull Bread and curried coconut apple preserve),

European Inspired, Locally sourced Cafe Orso



Childhood Hobby a major comeback: Colouring books for Adults

Besides cooking, what else do I like to do at home to relax? Colouring brings back wonderful childhood memories. This maybe the latest trend, I’m colouring because I love it, I’m sure glad an old school hobby is making a comeback.




Pasta Class with Peter Ciuffa, Pasta Famiglia : Gnocchi Another fun-filled evening with Peter Ciuffa (Thank you!), learning how to prepare gnocchi at a photo studio in East Vancouver; check his website for class updates or follow him on Instagram!



What’s Happening around town?