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Archive for the ‘Noodles’ Category

The wait is over. One of the highly anticipated restaurants to open in Vancouver – Afuri ramen + dumpling – has officially opened its doors. The Afuri brand was established in 2001. This is the fourth ramen + dumpling location outside of Japan, first in Canada. Last year we went to Portland and checked out the ramen + izakaya and I was quite excited about the arrival of ramen + dumpling here in Vancouver. Technically the restaurant is in Richmond. It’s where Dazzling Cafe used to be (remember Dazzling Cafe?). I was invited to its media night and previewed some of its menu items.

Afuri ramen + dumpling uses a kiosk system. Meaning, you go up to one of the three kiosks at the restaurant, place your order, grab a number then head back to your table. At the media preview, to my surprise food arrived very quickly so I don’t think it would be a long wait at the table for your food.

Food

Afuri’s signature broth is chicken based. We saw this giant stock pot (apparently there’s only 3 of these pots in Vancouver and here’s one) that holds enough broth to serve 450-500 bowls of ramen. It takes 300lbs of chicken (meat and bones), 3 types of dried fish, konbu seaweed, and fresh vegetables, on a simmer at 90 degrees for 3 hours. They never bring this broth to a boil, to ensure a clear broth in your bowl. It also helps skimming the fat easier. They then add yuzu, a small citrus fruit native to Asia, to give this broth a refreshing taste.

As for noodles, they make them fresh, in house, daily. If you visit them at lunch, you will likely see the machines going, mixing and rolling the dough and cutting the dough into noodles. Will they run out? I was told they would make enough servings everyday and if need be, they can jump in and make some more to meet the demand.

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We’ve been to Ramen Koika a few times over the years, to both locations on Davie and Robson. We always ended up ordering a ramen. The black garlic one was my favourite and Mr. fell in love with the beef ribs one. Little did we know the Robson location actually has a K-Pocha Menu, serving up their version of many Korean favourites. We were invited to sample a few items off that menu.

Triple Black Garlic Ramen

Food

We love KFC! As in Korean Fried Chicken!! Their crust is always lighter and when they fry the chicken it’s always less greasy. And moist chicken breast.

It’s no difference here at Koika. The Soonsal Chicken can be either in sweet chilli or soy garlic, and we went for the sweet chilli as it’s our favourite sauce for KFC. There was a decent amount of boneless chicken pieces. The meat was moist, the exterior still held its crispiness and the sweet chilli sauce definitely packed some heat.

Soonsal Chicken

Next, the Gogi Tteok-bok-ki was spicy rice cake with pork belly. (more…)

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Does the snowy weather just make you want to cuddle up and sit around the fireplace all day? Us Chinese have another way to fight the cold weather — hotpot.

While we usually have hotpot at home, we do go out for it sometimes. There are many hotpot places in Vancouver, with a mix of all-you-can-eat and a la carte options. Recently, I was invited to check out one of the a la carte hotpot places called Liuyishou Hotpot. It’s a worldwide chain, with a few locations in the Lower Mainland in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby.

At the Burnaby location, one thing that caught my eyes right away was the Sauce Bar. It’s probably the largest in BC, if not Canada. You can choose from minced garlic, cilantro and sesame oil, to mushroom paste, spiced vinegar and preserved bean curd. They have even posted some suggested “recipes” of sauces to pair with different soup bases they offer.

Sauce Bar

Sauce recipes

Making sauces

Of course, the more important part is the menu items. Do they offer a lot of options? Are the ingredients fresh? Any interesting items worthy of note? Let’s break it down.

First of all, the soup base. We had half and half Original Chongqing Spicy Soup and Special Pork Rib Soup. The spicy soup base was molded solid into a cattle shape, and it was melted down in front of our own eyes as the server poured hot broth into the pot. I was told that there’s no extra charge for the cattle shaped soup base, but there’s limited quantity everyday so it’s first come, first served.

Pouring broth to melt the cattle shaped soup base

At medium spicy level, I was still worried that the Original Chongqing Spicy Soup would be too spicy. (more…)

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Partnering once again with the team at VANEATS, we were invited to sample the #TurnOnTheRajio package. If you remember, last time we checked out Rajio we quite enjoyed it, so I was happy to plan a return visit and I invited LW to join me.

#TurnOnTheRajio by VANEATS.ca

Food

Before we began eating, we ordered a Smashing Hit Punch. At first it looked a bit steep at $12, but it was more than a drink. First, it’s served in this cute watermelon cup. In addition to the cocktail, they also cut the watermelon in cubes and placed them in the cup. Did you know that watermelon works like sponges? The fruit pieces just soaked up all the alcohol so when you eat them they’re extra delicious! It’s like a spiked fruit salad!

Smashing Hit Punch

Now, onto the food. The VANEATS package includes 4 items:

The Kushikatsu is the house specialty. For this package you will be given 4 deep-fried, panko-breaded skewers at random, upon chef’s recommendation. I have looked at other bloggers’ photos and we all seemed to get different things. I got to try 1) Camerbet cheese, 2) Takoyaki, 3) Beef, and 4) Asparagus. All these skewers come with the house dipping sauce. The skewers themselves do not have a lot of seasoning, but the sauce adds some sweet and savouriness to them, accentuating the flavours. Now remember, only one dunk per skewer. Why? It was recommended by the restaurant; I suspect it has to do with softening the breading and affecting the crispy exterior.

Kushikatsu

The Bagna Cauda is your Japanese twist of veggie and dip. (more…)

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A spa date brought CC and me to Davie Street. For dinner we decided to be spontaneous and picked whatever that caught our eyes. We ended up at the door of Thai Basil on Thurlow.

Food

We started with a Thai Iced Tea each. It has the essence of the HK style milk tea but sweeter due to the use of condensed milk. It was quite good, had a good blend of tea flavours, thirst-quenching and surprisingly refreshing. But I felt like my blood sugar level went up just by drinking this.

Thai Iced Tea

Then we shared two entrees. The Tom Yum Noodle Soup builds on the classic Tom Yum soup base, but not as sour and spicy as I have had at other Thai restaurants. It used the same type of rice noodle as Pad Thai, so the texture remained al dente and not mushy. It was a big bowl of noodles, with a decent serving of shrimps. (more…)

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A few weeks ago I was invited by Dishcrawl to check out its A Taste of Vancouver’s West End tour. Suggested by its name, it was a tour of four restaurants on the West End of downtown Vancouver, along Robson Street. Throughout the evening, we stopped by each restaurant and tried a trio of dishes. We didn’t know the list of restaurants ahead of time, only to be given a meet-up location and be ready to be surprised.

And so we met up at our first stop, Ap Gu Jung Korean Cuisine. Did you know how many Korean restaurants are in that area? A lot! Finally I spotted the place and met up with our host Jennifer.

Ap Gu Jung Korean Cuisine

Ap Gu Jung Korean Cuisine

Ap Gu Jung Korean (1642 Robson Street)

Each of us was given a tasting plate of some of the more popular Korean dishes: Beef BBQ (bulgogi), Pork on Fire (spicy pork), Seafood Pancake, Kimchi Pancake and Chicken Skewer. (more…)

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Even though I live in Coquitlam, quite honestly I don’t eat out in the area a lot. If I had to pick a restaurant, it will likely be somewhere in Vancouver. One, I’m more familiar with what’s in town; two, there aren’t many to choose from (or I’m just being picky). We heard that there’s a new Korean grill restaurant near Henderson Place in Coquitlam, so my parents and I decided to give it a try.

Food

The menu isn’t very big. A few items each in categories such as grill, appetizer, skewer and mini hotpot. It’s only until recently that I realized Korean restaurants make great fried chicken — I had to order some here. The Vesta Fried Chicken comes with 3 options: mild, Korean spicy sauce or soy sauce. And you can order 1/2 chicken or whole chicken. We ordered 1/2 chicken with the spicy sauce, but only medium spicy. It was some great fried chicken! The meat was moist (even the white meat), the skin was crispy while each piece was covered/well-tossed in the spicy, garlicky sauce. For me, the spice level at medium was just right. It had a good amount of heat without killing your taste buds or burning your lips.

Vesta Fried Chicken

Vesta Fried Chicken – with Korean style spicy sauce

The skewer section also caught our attention. There are 5 kinds of grilled skewers to choose from, along with hot oden skewers. (more…)

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