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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ 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.

Food

“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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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

Food

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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Since the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver renovated the ground floor restaurant space, naming it Notch8 Restaurant, I’ve been wanting to eat there. I really like the big light fixture in the middle of the restaurant (in case you forgot, I’m often fascinated by lights!) and it just looks like a huge upgrade/improvement from what it was before. Then, without much hesitation, I made a reservation there for Dine Out.

Notch8 Restaurant & Bar

Priced at $40, Notch8’s menu was intriguing and interesting. The menu has items or ingredient combinations that you don’t often see on a Dine Out menu, or they have some unique way of preparing the usual ingredients, so I was quite excited going into it.

Food

The dinner was off to a good start. I was immediately blown away by how pretty my appetizer was. Look at this Savoury Macaron! Caviar, smoked salmon, scallop mousse, roe…all sitting on a piece of slightly sweet, slightly chewy macaron cookie. There was a good balance of sweet and savoury, and umami flavours from the seafood. It’s so pretty!!

Savory Macaron

It was a bit puzzling to us why they would serve the Forest Mushroom Tart on such a big plate, but I guess having negative space on a plate is also a thing. (more…)

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Did you know WildTale’s Dine Out menu is only $30 this year? When my family and I went there for Dine Out last year it was $40! I was invited to a preview of this year’s menu and I was curious to see how it has changed.

Turns out there are a couple repeating items on the menu, which makes this $30 menu a pretty good deal.

Food

One of the repeating items is the WildTale Seafood Chowder. Well, it’s not entirely the same as last year’s, but the idea is there. The chowder was the most memorable appetizer last year, and this year’s chowder was my favourite appetizer on the menu. It was rich, creamy, flavourful – and the corn and crab fritter was nice and crispy, adding some texture to the soup.

WildTale Seafood Chowder

If you look for something lighter in the appetizer, either the Organic Beets & Watercress salad or the Albacore Tuna Carpaccio would make a great option. I love beets, so any beet salad could easily win my heart. These beets were sweet, balanced by the hint of bitterness in watercress. It’s missing some tang and acidity, though – I love me some goat cheese in my beet salad. (more…)

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Have you checked out the Dine Out Vancouver website yet? Are you doing any prix fixe dinner? I was invited to a tour on the Granville Island to visit some restaurants for their menu preview. First up, Dockside Restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel.

Dockside has been around for a long time. I remember going there for the first time for Dine Out back in 2008, then Christmas brunch with family in 2013, my bridal shower in 2015, then here we are again for Dine Out. Food quality was always solid and we always had a good time.

Food

There are three options for appetizer. First, the Winter Green Salad was so pleasing on the eyes. It’s colourful, with a good variety of vegetables. I like that it uses polenta as croutons; not only does it give a crispy texture, but also creamy, cheesy flavours.

Winter Green Salad

My friend JX loves her crab cakes, and I think she’ll enjoy these Dockside Crab and Shrimp Cakes. Perfect two-bite size, crispy on the outside and meaty inside. Not much filler there. The sweetness of mango salsa and creamy aioli balanced it really nicely.

Dockside Crab & Shrimp Cakes

My favourite appetizer was the Duck Prosciutto Tart. (more…)

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This holiday season we’ve had a few home-cooked meals, and we took the opportunity to make some new dishes. One of which we made, and we fell in love with, was cured salmon.

We followed a recipe from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network website. The preparation is essentially the same but we modified the list of ingredients based on our size of fillet and what we had in our pantry. The result was amazing.

Vodka Citrus Cured Salmon

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Imagine you arrived at a restaurant where the exterior was all wrapped up so you couldn’t see the inside, and all you could see was the LED marquee sign by the door. Then, as you were led into the restaurant the interior décor made you feel like you entered a night club, and you started thinking to yourself, what the heck did I get myself into?!

0755 Restaurant & Lounge0755 Restaurant & Lounge

That’s kind of how I felt when I went to 0755 Restaurant and Lounge in Richmond. As part of the Chopstick Fest preview, a few of us were invited to sample the menu of this restaurant. Frankly I didn’t know what to expect even by the time we were seated inside.

0755

According to the menu, 0755 is an area code in Shenzhen. It symbolizes that the restaurant menu is inspired by the food culture of this city in Southern China.

Food

And we were all pleasantly surprised. We tried a number of savoury items and there were many high points. Some of my favourites were:

Sour Jellyfish Head – Jellyfish head is actually the edge of a piece of jellyfish, so it has a crunchier texture that regular jellyfish. Because it didn’t have much flavour on its own, it really took up the black vinegar and chili pepper in the marinade. It’s quite refreshing and the sourness helped whet your appetite.

Sour Jellyfish Head

Garlic Steamed Scallop – This is one of my favourite ways to prepare fresh scallops. It reminds me of my visit back to Hong Kong where we had a big seafood feast in Tuen Mun. The fresh scallops would be steamed on the half shell with a garlic sauce. If you are a garlic fan, you would really enjoy the prominent garlic flavour. It’s light, but luxurious at the same time.

Garlic Steamed Scallop

Braised Spot Prawns – I usually prefer lighter sauces for spot prawns so I could taste their natural sweetness, but this dish really surprised me.

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