Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

It’s Chinese New Year (CNY) a couple of weeks ago, and us Chinese know how to celebrate — eat, feast, and repeat. Of course, there are many regional Chinese New Year traditions throughout China, and being from HK, the HK tradition is what I’m most familiar with. On New Year’s Eve I was invited to a feast with food expert Lee Man, and it just heightened my appreciation for my culture.

Calling it a feast, obviously it was a multi-course dinner with an abundance of food. We are all about good meanings 意頭 when it comes to choosing the dishes or even naming them for CNY. On Instagram I showed a glimpse of what that means with the CNY dinner made by Mama Lam this year. It’s being realized here once again at Golden Paramount in Richmond.


“Togetherness” is one of the main reasons for CNY celebrations so families often take the opportunity to gather together and dine out during CNY. For that, the restaurant was hustling and bustling and it’s just full of energy! It was a late dinner for us (7:45pm start) and the room was still full and more were being seated as our dinner progressed. And here’s our menu, some background about them, and what they symbolize:
Pan Fried Oysters – Oysters are a homonym for “good”, indicating good luck for the upcoming year. Traditionally we eat dried oysters because it means “good business” 好市 but it does have a more distinctive fishy taste to it and not everyone likes it. This was a Chinese Restaurant Award winner.

Pan Fried Oysters
Pepah Tofu – Fried food is usually in a golden colour so it symbolizes gold and fortune. The tofu here is shaped into a Chinese lute, Pipa. Fun fact: I learned to play the Pipa when I was in middle school in HK. Not easy to master but it was fun to play. This was later extended to my involvement with the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.

Pepah Tofu
Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup – At a CNY feast you would want to serve some luxurious items.



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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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Having done Dine Out Vancouver for so many years now, frankly I’m feeling burnout. To me, a lot of the menus are not very inspiring; or I question the value for the money. So this year, I set out to try to discover gems that don’t require you to pay $40 yet still feel hungry afterwards.

I was invited to bring a guest (guess whom I brought?) to sample the Dine Out menu of a Donnelly Group restaurant of my choice, including wine pairings. They are all $20 menus. After perusing them, I decided on the Granville Room. Why? I will get to that in a moment.


There are two choices for appetizer. Naturally, we ordered one of each. The Coconut Fried Prawns were nice and crunchy. Mr. (ding-ding!) thought the coating was too thick to taste the prawns but I thought it’s okay. The prawns had good texture, a bit bouncy and not mushy. What’s intriguing is the dipping sauce. It’s a coconut hoisin sauce. When it said hoisin I expected the sauce to be darker in colour, but it’s just a tinted creamy white colour. It had a lot of coconut flavour but it’s not too sweet thanks to the subtle use of hoisin sauce. The prawns themselves did not have any coconut; it’s all in the sauce.

Wine pairing: Desert Hills Viognier – The fried prawns actually mellowed out the acidity in the viognier.

Coconut Fried Prawns

Beef Rib Empanada was also a hand-held appy. There were two pieces on the plate, served with a mole sauce. The sauce was rich, thick, and had some smokey flavour that didn’t overpower everything. (more…)

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To celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary, we went to Honey Salt at the Parq Vancouver for dinner. Since its opening, I’ve been seeing photos on Instagram and I’ve been curious about it. Finally our turn to check it out.

Honey Salt Vancouver

So it’s our first time at the restaurant AND the casino. Everything looks shiny new to us. The restaurant interior is quite cute. It reminded me of a modern cottage kitchen/nook, with cupboards and shelves, hanging lights, and a lot of white and green. I quite like the style.

Honey Salt Vancouver Honey Salt Vancouver


The four of us shared a few appetizers. First, the Tofino Fry. Fried calamari and side stripe shrimps on one plate. The batter was thin, outside was crunchy, and the meat was tender. The Japanese mayo dipping sauce had some subtle heat; in my opinion the heat could be dialed up a bit. What surprised me was the few slices of fried lemon. Perhaps the batter took away some of the acidity, so it wasn’t face-puckering sour. The citrus flavour worked well with the seafood.

Tofino Fry

The Crisped Bacon Brussels is listed under Sides, and it’s in small print, so make sure you don’t miss it.


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[Editor’s Note: Keep scrolling past the delicious food pics for a meat-sweaty giveaway!]

Mechanical bull, southern BBQ, country music…do they all exist in one place in Vancouver? Yep, Yale Saloon.

I was invited to a tasting at Yale Saloon, featuring their southern style BBQ selections. Right away at the door I was greeted by a mechanical bull. Then country musicians, the front-end of an old Chevy pick-up, and a moose head mounted on the wall.

Yale Saloon Yale Saloon Yale Saloon

We got to sample a number of items on the menu:

  • Pulled Pork Tacos
  • Cauliflower “Wings”
  • Bite Sized Brisket
  • Texas Smoked Spare Ribs
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Smoked Chicken Wings
  • Potato Salad
  • Nacho

BBQ menu at Yale Saloon

My favourite bites were the Pulled Pork Tacos; the meat was flavourful and juicy. The Cauliflower “Wings” — which are supposed to be the veggie substitute for wings — were surprisingly tasty. They had a nice tang, spicy, almost reminded me of buffalo wings. On the other hand, the real Smoked Chicken Wings had a good coating of BBQ sauce, yet the skin remained crispy. The Brisket and Spare Ribs also had good flavours. 

Texas Smoked Spare Ribs Smoked Chicken Wings Pulled Pork Tacos

Bite Sized Brisket Potato Salad

We also got to take home one of their Jalapeno Cornbread and it was very moist, with nice crumbs. One of the best cornbreads I’ve had around.

The restaurant has a nice, casual atmosphere. It’d make a good hang-out spot with friends on the weekend.

In case you are wondering, I didn’t get on the mechanical bull. I heard it’s fun, though, especially if you’re tipsy. Not recommended for when you’re drunk.

So, would you like to check out Yale Saloon? Here’s your chance:


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[Editor’s Note: The giveaway is now closed.]

I was quite excited when Mon Paris opened up in Burnaby. I was following them on Instagram and the cakes were just beautiful! I also love that it’s near the Metrotown Skytrain station, which means easy access from Coquitlam or downtown.

I took my mom there, who also loves some good pastries. We had the Passionata (left), Opera (right), and a Canele (back in the pic) over Espresso and Americano. I really liked the tartness of passion fruit and mango pieces in the Passionata; the Canele had a crispy, caramelized exterior and soft centre; and the Opera was rich and decadent. We were there for an afternoon pick-me-up and it just hit the spot!

Mon Paris Burnaby


Continuing with our #vanfoodiesturn8 celebration, now is your chance to try some goodies from Mon Paris. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to @devouryvr on winning!]

Speaking of Two Rivers in my last post, they just opened their first public-facing shop and eatery last month, which includes a traditional butchery, a deli counter and an eat-in grill.

Two Rivers - The Shop Dining Room (Photo Credit Adam Blasberg)

Two Rivers – The Shop Dining Room (Photo Credit Adam Blasberg)

With the butchery, customers can find house-made sausages, dry-aged beef, and hand-tooled cuts, etc. At the take-out deli counter, there’s artisanal salumi and charcuterie. (more…)

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