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Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, new restaurants continued to open up in the Burquitlam area, including one I was really excited about. Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, an international chain originated from Japan. You may have been to their other location downtown on Seymour Street. I did, and every time I walked away with a belly full of carbs and I didn’t regret it one bit. Opening their second location in Burquitlam means it’s much closer to home and more accessible to me. Even though dine-in service was not available at the time, I had to order take-out from them to support.

Note: This is a review of a take-out order during COVID-19. Since restaurants are operating under different circumstances, menu items and dining experiences may be different.

Food

Kokoro specializes something called mazesoba. It’s a dry noodle dish using fresh multi-grain noodle that is somewhere between ramen and udon. Kokoro makes these noodles fresh in-house. Most of their mazesoba bowls come with spicy minced pork and a combination of toppings such as minced garlic, green onions, seaweed flakes, and ground saba fish. A lot of those also come with a raw egg yolk, but for take out it’s been replaced by half soft boiled egg. To enjoy the noodle bowls, you stir everything together thoroughly. In fact, when you dine in, you could order a scoop of rice at the end of your meal to ensure you pick up every last bit of sauce.

For the four of us, we ordered one bowl each, including three different mazesoba bowls and one rice bowl to add variety, and a chicken karaage for appy. (more…)

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Durian – yay or nay?

This tropical fruit has a hard, spiky exterior. Inside, you would find pieces of soft, creamy fruit meat embedded in several segments. Growing up in HK, I watched market vendors went to the extent to use a screwdriver to ply it open. And fresh durian smell is more pungent than frozen ones. We could only find frozen durians here in Vancouver and the smell is nothing compared to what fresh, ripen durians smell at those markets in HK.

Durian is definitely an acquired taste. Those who love it would find the fruit sweet and fragrant. Those who hate it would say the fruit stinks like rotten egg. In fact, the opinions are a split in our household. Mama Lam wants nothing to do with it, yet Papa Lam enjoys it once in awhile.

Right now, for a limited time only, participating Chatime locations are selling Durian Milk Tea and Durian Roasted Milk Tea. I was provided complimentary drinks to taste test it.

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Taro and yam balls weren’t the only food item I’ve grown fond of from our Taiwan trip last fall. There’s also pepper bun 胡椒餅. In fact, my first memory of having pepper buns went all the way back to my family trip to Taipei more than 10 years ago. After all those years I still vividly remembered the piping hot, peppery filling inside the crispy bun — it was so delicious and memorable that I include it as a must-have for everyone visiting Taiwan. And I couldn’t stop telling Mr. about it before and throughout the trip. Taipei was our last stop, so we had to wait till then to get our fill. I told Mr. to wait, but we did succumb to the temptation and get some pepper buns at our other stops, but it was a bad decision because it was nothing like the ones in Taipei.

The very night we arrived in Taipei, we immediately went for some pepper buns. We didn’t go to Raohe Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市 as it was reserved for another day, but we went to the brick and mortar storefront of the same vendor at the night market 福州世祖胡椒餅. We waited for the pepper buns fresh out of the clay oven, and boy were they hot. Pretty sure we burned the roof of our mouths when we took our first bite. And it was soooo good! It’s just as good as I remembered. The meat was juicy, peppery, and the crust was crispy and flaky.

When we went to Raohe two days later, I couldn’t help myself but crave for one more pepper bun before we flew home to Vancouver. (more…)

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Ever since our Taiwan trip last November, I’ve been thinking about those tasty yam and taro balls from Jiufen. They were bouncy, chewy, and full of yam and taro flavour. You can find them here at Taiwanese restaurants such as Meet Fresh and Sweet Memory, but the texture just wasn’t the same. The ones here tend to be softer and you can’t really taste the root vegetables. Now that we are home all the time, we looked up different recipes to make these taro and yam balls. Turns out it’s not complicated at all and super easy to make. You can adapt it to other root vegetables or even red and mung beans. After a couple of tests and some adjustments, we finally came up with a recipe that worked to our liking.

Here is the recipe to make three flavours of these chewy balls, using purple yam, yam and taro. All three flavours follow the same instructions but the measurement of ingredients varies because of the water content of the root vegetables. In fact, we found that you don’t need to add water to the yam one, but more tapioca flour is needed. You will need to gauge the use of water and tapioca flour as you make the dough.

Ingredients

IMG_20200521_212810.jpg (more…)

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It’s a yearly tradition that I would take Mama Lam out for either afternoon tea or brunch for Mother’s Day. I can’t believe we’re only one week away! Planning for this year is a bit different since there’s no dining in service, so we’re resorting to to-go offerings and they don’t require reservations weeks in advance.

If you are looking to do something similar with your mom, here is a round-up of afternoon services available as to-go this year. Pre-order is required but deadline is different for each place. Delivery may also be available.

afternoon-tea-mothers-day-graphic

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As we are all practising physical distancing, we are also cooking more at home. Even though Mama Lam does most of the cooking in my household, it’s still nice to offer her a break. And that would also help support local businesses to keep them afloat during this challenging time. Even though I’ve been mostly active in Vancouver and Richmond, I actually live in Coquitlam (I’m willing to travel for food!). Here is a round-up of my favourite places near Coquitlam Centre that are available for pick-up or delivery right now.

fave-coquitlam-restaurant

Click on image to view map

Personally, even though it’s a hassle, I prefer to call the restaurant directly to order, and pick up my food order. That way, the restaurants don’t have to pay the hefty fees that delivery companies charge. However, not all restaurants take orders via the phone because that may take away their time to focus on fulfilling the orders.

Since last week, there’s a campaign called Canada Take Out, which encourages Canadians to support local restaurants by ordering take outs. The official #TakeOutDay is every Wednesday, but don’t forget, your favourite restaurants need your support everyday.

Lastly, of course there are more options in the area than the list below. These are simply my favourite places to go. And if you have suggestions for me to try, let me know! (more…)

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Recently, a famous Japanese tendon franchise — Kaneko Hannosuke — opened its first Canadian location in Vancouver. Tendon is the Japanese name for tempura rice bowl.

Their menu is simple: Premium, Special or Regular Tempura Bowl. All three bowls come with the following tempura — shrimp, kakiage (mixed seafood), soft boiled egg, seaweed and green bean. Premium includes a big piece of conger eel; Special with white fish; and Regular has mushroom. They have a Kid size for good measure, with tempura shrimp, pumpkin, soft boiled egg, seaweed and green bean.

I took Mama Lam and Papa Lam there on a Monday morning. (more…)

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