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Posts Tagged ‘oysters’

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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The Vancouver Fish Company has opened its door since September 2014. Located right at the entrance of the Granville Island, this seafood restaurant has been using Ocean Wise ingredients but only just recently that it has officially signed on as an Ocean Wise partner. And to celebrate, it’s running its first ever Ocean Wise Festival and I was invited for a tasting of the menu.

Vancouver Fish Company's Ocean Wise Festival 2016 Menu

Food

Not all festival menu items are new; some are simply customer favourites that they want to highlight during this time. First up, Fresh Shucked Zen & Glacier Oysters. According to the restaurant, Zen & Glacier are two lesser used varieties farmed in BC, and they’re more affordable than some more commonly known ones.

Zen reminded me of Kusshi – thinner flesh, delicate, crisp with a cucumber finish.

Fresh Shucked Zen Oysters

Glacier, on the other hand, is more plump in shape.

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Last year, Beach Bay Cafe popped up in the space where Raincity Grill used to be. Since then, they’ve made some slight adjustments on the menu direction, as well as found a new executive chef, so with their Dine Out participation, I decided to give it a try.

Food

To start, Mr. ordered the Seafood Chowder. It’s creamy, wasn’t super thick, yet loaded with lots of ingredients. Every spoonful there were chunks of potato and carrot and seafood such as shrimp, mussels and squid. There’s smokiness and savoury flavours coming from the bacon as well as crispy leeks. I had a few spoons and I quite liked it; Mr. had most of it and thought it’s a bit too salty for him.

seafood chowder

For an extra $4, I had 1/2 Dozen Oysters for appetizer. The night’s feature was Little Wing oysters; they were not too big in size, but had a deep cup shell. The flesh tasted clean and crisp with a hint of sweetness. I’ve never had this kind before and thought they were pretty good. The oysters were paired with an apple mignonette, which was on the sweet side, so you had to add a squeeze of lemon juice to bring a bit more acidity.

half dozen west coast oyster

I’ve ordered mostly seafood dishes during Dine Out, so I switched things up with an order of the Confit Duck Leg. Wow loved the crispy skin on the duck leg! (more…)

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Even though I work in downtown Vancouver, I don’t usually get to enjoy Happy Hour. Generally runs 3-6pm, by the time I get off work, and I don’t leave work right at 5pm on the dot, it would be near the tail-end of Happy Hour or worse, I would miss it completely. Luckily for me, Rodney’s Oyster House offers its Happy Hour menu on Saturday, and my girlfriends and I checked it out as part of a birthday celebration.

Food

With the 4 of us, we went through most of its Low Tide (aka Happy Hour) menu. First, we ordered a dozen of Raw Oysters to start. They were $1.50 each Fanny Bay oysters. The sizes were pretty consistent, maybe with a couple that were slightly smaller. The taste was light and crisp, not creamy. We ordered another half-dozen afterwards.

Raw Oysters

The Raw Oysters came with a number of sauces, from mild to super hot, and it was quite fun to test our spice tolerance. Turns out I didn’t do so bad; I think I got to the 4th jar!

Sauces for Oysters

Next, there was an abundance of Steamed Clams! (more…)

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What happens when you have 5 Chinese people having dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant? You order weird food!! Flipping through the menu at Maji and we basically picked out some of the weirdest items there.

Food

OK, so it’s “weird” in terms of Canadian standard but the ingredients were no stranger to the 5 of us. Did you know you can order just chicken skin as a dish? The Crispy Chicken Skin was basically Chicharrón with chicken. It’s like eating chicken-flavoured chips. It was crispy, crunchy, seasoned with some garlic, salt and pepper, and a little bit of heat from the sliced chili peppers. It reminded me of the Taiwanese popcorn chicken, except it’s all skin. And because it was really just the skin, there was no fatty bits and it wasn’t too greasy either. Perfect to go with beer!

Crispy Chicken Skin

The Five Flavour Squid was very refreshing. The squid pieces were beautifully scored so they curled up to a nice presentation. They were blenched just right, not chewy, and with a hint of sweetness in the meat. Then they were mixed with a “five flavour” sauce, which had the savoury, umami flavours. The cucumber slices were lightly pickled, so it’s a perfect starter to whet your appetite. It looked simple but a really tasty dish.

Five Flavour Squid

Having had Fried Pork Intestines for quite some time, and I forgot how good they could taste! (more…)

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The Fish Shack, along with other members of the Glowbal Restaurant Group, extended their Dine Out menu for a week. With the full intent to try the Fish Shack’s DOVF menu, we ended up ordering off the regular menu, because, the Fishermen’s Catch was calling.

The Fish Shack

Food

For the 4 of us, we created our own seafood feast here. First, a dozen of Kusshi Oysters, my favourite.

Kusshi oysters

Fresh oysters here come with 4 sauces: mignonette, cocktail sauce, yuzu and house-made hot sauce. With the exception of the hot sauce, they were all on the light side. Not necessarily a bad thing, since the light sauces added some flavour to the oysters without taking away the taste of the sea. Another good way to eat fresh oysters? Ketchup with a bit of Tabasco.

Sauces for fresh oysters

Then, we shared the Small Fishermen’s Catch. You need to order a minimum of two; even though an order of 4 would give us more to share, we wanted to try other things so two orders made more sense. And as expected, the amount of food was probably more appropriate for two people. It had a good amount of mussels, clams, calamari, prawns, 2 snow crab legs and half a dungeness crab, as well as corn and chorizo sausages. It definitely reminded us of Crab Pot, but the tools here were much more refined than the wooden mallet at Crab Pot.

Tools for the Fisherman's Catch

As the seafood boil arrived, the server helped toss some seasoning and butter into the seafood. The seasoning is quite light, so I would suggest to be slightly less conservative with the seasoning shake.

Adding the seasoning

Everything tasted fresh, with its natural sweetness. (more…)

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Believe it or not, to this day I still haven’t been to Vij’s. Yes, I know. The closest thing was Vij’s Railway Express, the food truck. So when My Shanti was opened last year in South Surrey, it presented the perfect opportunity for me to get one step closer to Vij’s. We invited WK and MS to join us on a double date.

Dinner at My Shanti

Food

Going to an Indian restaurant, it’s hard for Mr. to not order a Mango Lassi. So he did. It’s relatively light for a mango lassi, not overwhelmingly thick. There were lots of acidity from the yogurt but just a hint of sweetness from the mango puree. It tasted natural and Mr. liked it.

Mango Lassi

I ordered the Shaam Masti, a very fruit-forward cocktail. It reminded me of a mojito, refreshing but a bit more tart from the use of citrus juice and blueberry jam. I quite enjoyed it.

Shaam Masti

We shared a couple of appetizers to start. First, Chhatra Sagar’s Wild Boar Kebabs were nicely charred, well seasoned with a good mix of herbs and spices. To WK and MS it was a bit dry, but knowing that wild boar is leaner than pork I thought they were tasty with just the right amount of juiciness. The accompanying chutney offered some sweetness and tartness that worked well with the sausage-like kebabs.

Chhatra Sagar’s wild boar kebabs

We’ve had pakoras before, but never oyster ones. Here the Goan Oyster Pakoras were an excellent deal!
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