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Posts Tagged ‘Soup’

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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Once in awhile we organize an “in-law dinner” where my parents and Mr.‘s parents can hang out and catch up. They always look to me for picking a unique place to go. No pressure. Well, this time around, Toe Dam in Coquitlam.

The restaurant is located in the “Korea Town” — the North Road area — alongside many other Korean stores and restaurants. It’s in the same strip mall as H-Mart. Online reviews all seem decent and I was intrigued.

Food

On the menu was a Roasted Duck, so I thought it would be like Man Ri Sung in Richmond, serving roasted duck Peking Duck style, with crepe and all the fixing. When it arrived at our table, our jaws dropped. It was a big plate of duck meat, raw, waiting to be cooked on the BBQ grill in the centre of our table. Well now it makes sense why they removed the grill cover, I thought it was for the soup later.

Roasted Duck Korean BBQ

And then we adapted, we changed gear, and went into grilling mode right away. The sliced duck meat all looked quite uniform, so we think they were all breast meat. And there’s easily meat of 6 duck breasts! (more…)

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In Richmond, you will never run out of ideas for Chinese food: seafood restaurant, Hong Kong cafe, noodle house, Shanghainese, etc. There are many long-standing restaurants, but new ones also pop up all over the city. Recently, a soup house was opened on Alexandra Road, specialized in hearty soups without the use of MSG. I took the soup expert, aka Mama Lam, along with Papa Lam and Mr., to give them a try.

Zhao's Soup House

Food

Of course we had to try their soups. The small size, which serves up 3 bowls of soup, costs $12 each; some soup items are available in a bigger size for $48. To allow us to try more, we ordered two small soups. The Dried Vegetable, Almonds & Lung Soup brought nostalgic feelings to us as my grandparents used to make it for us when we were living in HK. You can taste a hint of sweetness from the dried bok choy and meaty flavours from the pig’s lung. The lung is soft and mushy yet spongy, not at all an unpleasant texture (for me anyway, non-Chinese may think otherwise). I quite liked eating it.

Dried Vegetable, Almonds & Lung Soup

The elegant clay soup pot was piping hot when it arrived at the table and we must leave it to the trained server to pour out the soup, to avoid burning our hands. And as advertised, it’s not heavily salted (borderline under-seasoned) nor do you feel thirsty afterwards (the common side effect of eating a lot of MSG). I was convinced that they didn’t use MSG in their soups.

Dried Vegetable, Almonds & Lung Soup

The second one was the Zhao’s Free-Range Chicken Soup. It’s named after the restaurant so I would assume it’s their signature soup. (more…)

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Overview

The Soup Meister

Often referred to as the best soup place in town, The Soup Meister is a local business that produces soups, stocks and sauces. Located at the Lonsdale Quay, it claims to use only freshest ingredients available in all its products with no preservatives.

The retail outlet sells only a few varieties of “soup of the day”, but most of their business appears to be in frozen goods. The layout of the business is diner-like, with the kitchen/prep area in plain-sight.

What went in

With only three varieties of hot soup available (looks like one was erased, probably sold out earlier) on “tap”, there’s not a whole lot to choose from. We ordered a Mexican Bean and a Seafood Chowder, both in small. Each bowl of soup came with a large bun, which is awesome because I got to make my own bread bowl (best invention ever since the wheel). (more…)

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Despite its sea of ethnic food restaurants, Northern Chinese Cuisine is vastly underrepresented in Vancouver.

What exactly is Northern Chinese food you say? Well the term itself is pretty vague. There are 8 types of Chinese Cuisine; Northern Chinese food is often known as dishes from “Lu”—the food of the kings, and one of the oldest cuisines in the world. They are known for their hearty flavouring and extensive use of wheat.

Overview

Inside

With two locations in the city, the Legendary Noodle House serves up big dishes of tasty Northern Chinese style hand-made noodles. We visited the Denman store; and as with all shops on Denman, it was a little crowded. The decorations are fitting of the place, maybe they are trying a little too hard on the “Chineseness” of it, but I could see its appeal to the general public. The kitchen is a semi-open style, which is great because you get to see the chef prepare your noodles made-to-order. It’s quite an art form; it takes a lot of pulling, slamming, and kneading to produce a fine firmness (think al dente pasta but better). Overall it reminded me of the street-side noodle joints in Tianjin. (more…)

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