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Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

Matcha lovers rejoice! Considered the Starbucks in Japan, Nana’s Green Tea has arrived in North America. In fact, their first ever North American location will be right here in Vancouver! On June 6, their Kerrisdale location will open its door to the public.

Established around 10 years ago in Japan, Nana’s Green Tea was brought to us by Kazuto Kutami. He was inspired by the Starbucks concept while wanting to preserve the history and tradition of Japanese tea culture. Their matcha is sourced solely from Uji, Kyoto. To-date, there are more 80 Nana’s locations around the globe.

Food

Lucky for me, I was invited to a media preview of their menu. Here are a few items we’ve tasted:

(From left) Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, Azuki Strawberry Latte

These are only taster size. Of the three beverages, my favourite was the Hoji-cha Shiratama Float. Shiratama in this case means sticky rice, which means there are mochi (aka sticky rice) balls in them. Hoji-cha is roasted green tea, so there’s some nutty flavour in the drink, as well as in the Hoji-cha ice cream. It’s quite unique and I don’t think I’ve seen something like this in Vancouver yet.

Azuki (red bean) Strawberry Latte is on the sweeter side, but not overly sweet. There is red bean paste and small pieces of strawberry in the drink so it’s quite fun to drink. It kind of reminds me of the HK style Iced Red Bean Drink 紅豆冰.

Although tasty, relatively the Matcha Chocolate Latte wasn’t super interesting. That being said, the matcha flavour was very strong, with just a hint of sweetness from the chocolate.

Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, Azuki Strawberry Latte

I should note that there are many other options for beverages on the menu. There are 12 matcha options, 5 for hoji-cha, 5 azuki, and 5 options for just green tea.

Fresh Tuna with Curry Tartar Sauce Donburi

The only savoury dish we tried. This donburi was very good. Tuna was flavourful; the curry tartar (think curry mayo egg salad) was fragrant with a hint of spices.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you would see in my IG Stories that yesterday I received a pretty neat surprise at lunch. Tourism Richmond delivered some freshly made dumplings from a number of Richmond restaurants. Why, you ask? There’s now a Dumpling Trail in Richmond!

Dumplings for Lunch

Dumplings for Lunch

The Dumpling Trail is a self-guided tour of 15 restaurants in Richmond that serve up a wide variety of dumplings.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve enrolled in a course. Even though it’s just a 3-day course, and it’s a course meant for working professionals. Still, the concept of carrying a backpack and dressing casually had been a distant memory. So when work sent me to a 3-day class downtown, I had to scout out my lunch spots. And then there was Kita no Donburi right across from the campus (I was at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue).

Let me first start by saying, it’s weird to eat alone. I don’t like sitting by myself and all I have is my phone, emails and social media. Occasionally I like to chat with my dining companion too, you know. Not having made any friends in class just yet, I had to eat alone at Kita no Donburi.

Food

On the first day, I ordered the Chanko Don. It caught my eyes right away on the menu because it just had everything – beef, chicken, prawn, tofu, enoki mushroom, shitake mushroom – all ingredients I love! And it came with a miso soup. It was a satisfying rice bowl. It had some nice umami flavours from the combination of tempura sauce and seafood dressing – it was sweet, it was salty, it had a hint of seafood/seaweed. The beef was the shabu shabu kind, so it was thinly sliced, which helped soak in the flavour from the sauces. It’s really fun to eat because every spoonful gave me different combination of ingredients (it would drive Mr. crazy though, as he likes having a little bit everything in one bite). What would make this even better would be a soft pouched egg, so I would stir in the runny egg yolk into the rice bowl. That would be soooo good!

Chanko Don

I returned the next day, and tried something else. The Chicken Karaage (appetizer version) was a decent portion. (more…)

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An impromptu dinner on a Friday evening took us to Torafuku, the new brick and mortar location brought to you by the Le Tigre food truck team. Frankly, and feeling guilty to admit to it, I never ate at Le Tigre. With the rave reviews about Le Tigre, I was quite excited to try Torafuku.

TorafukuTorafuku

Food

The Rye So Messy Chicken Wings was an award winning dish. The gochujang marinate really came through as you can taste this garlicky, spicy flavour. The skin was crispy, meat was juicy, and I like the ramen crumble to add even more texture to it. These were really good wings, but 5 wings for $12 maybe a bit too expensive.

Rye So Messy Chicken Wings

Dr. Octopus vs. Mr. Tuna seriously sounds like a superhero movie title!
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[Editor’s Note: After being MIA for a month planning and holding the “Joyce becomes Mrs. and Mr. officially becomes Mr. party, we’re back! Hope you didn’t miss us too much ;)]

Pepper Lunch opened its first Canada location in Richmond earlier this year. When it first opened, there was usually a line-up, so it took us awhile before we finally avoided the line-up and checked out the restaurant just a few weeks ago.

Pepper Lunch is a DIY quick service concept and the menu is relatively straightforward. Everything on a sizzling pan. Meat with rice, or just meat, served on a hot sizzling pan and diners have to cook the meat to their heart’s content. It reminds me of Stonegrill except this is a more casual meal.

Food

As first timers, we asked the staff for ideas and they suggested that we tried its signature pepper rice. And we did. For an extra $2.75, I made my Beef Pepper Rice into a combo so it also came with a drink and miso soup.

Beef Pepper Rice Combo

There was a good amount of thin beef slices, but boy, did they cook fast. It took no time to cook the meat, so I had to stir quickly to mix everything (meat, rice and loads of corn kernels) together.

Beef Pepper Rice

The basic flavouring of the pepper rice is black pepper, hence the dish name, and that on its own was already quite flavourful. For extra flavours, you are also given two house sauces to add to your plate: Honey Brown Sauce and Garlic Soy Sauce. (more…)

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My family and I used to frequent Nagano near Coquitlam Centre a lot, before it’s closed temporarily due to a fire. Since then, we have been going to Matoi at Sunwood Square by Lougheed Highway.

Food

This time around, in addition to our usual staple, we also tried a few new things. First, Fresh Sea Urchin (uni). I mean, the whole thing! If you follow me on Instagram, then you would see the video of the live sea urchin as it arrived at our table. The flesh had some natural sweetness, not stringy, and didn’t have the unpleasant fishy taste that some may have. It was served with strips of nori (seaweed), and with a few drops of soy sauce, the taste of sea was accentuated. It’s not cheap but definitely an occasional treat that’s worth every nickel (as we phased out our pennies hehe).

Fresh Sea Urchin (Uni)

Usually Japanese restaurants serve Beef Sashimi almost tataki style, with a quick sear on the outside. Not here. It was straight up slices of raw beef, and with a dip into the yuzu based sauce, you can actually taste the beefy flavour. Our order had some nice marbling, so the meat slices just melt in your mouth. I was hesitant about the 100% raw beef but it was actually really good.

Beef Sashimi

We usually add conch to our soup, so Conch Shell Sashimi was a first for all of us. (more…)

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It’s date night. And once again, we were craving for sushi, so we continued our journey in exploring sushi restaurants in Richmond. Tokyo Joe’s is always busy whenever we are in the area and take a peek inside, so on this day, we finally walked inside.

Food

We ordered a number of things, and unexpectedly, they all arrived on one big plate. The Salmon Sashimi tasted fresh, not too fatty and with firm texture. The slices were pretty big, too, and cost us $13.25. BanZai is still on top of our list for offering the best bang for the buck.

The Stamina Roll had unagi (BBQ eel), avocado, crab meat and smoked salmon. It was packed with lots of ingredients; with a good mix of sweetness from the BBQ eel sauce and saltiness in the smoked salmon. It reminded me of a dragon roll (crab meat, fake or not, with avocado, unagi and tobiko – but some dragon rolls may not have the crab meat part), which is what I usually order because I like unagi.

Salmon Sashimi + Stamina Roll + Chopped Scallop Roll + Negitoro Roll

The Chopped Scallop Roll, my sushi staple, was quite good.
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