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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lunching @ Mazuya Sushi - Nabs' favourite


I finally had the opportunity to pay Mazuya Sushi a visit after probably a year of not being able to and finding it closed on 3 separate occasions during my vacation from here.  Yea, its like it just was not meant to be.  But today I set out to set my own fate, and with the company of Peanut Butter, there was not much that could have gotten in the way of us eating here.

Mazuya is my favourite sushi restaurant in Vancouver and has been for about 2 years now.  I first came across this place in the summer of 2009 when I was working full time in the area and I used to eat here at least 3 days a week.  It got to the point where they would know who was calling and I would just say that I’ll be there in 15 minutes and they would have my favourite order ready by the time I arrived on my lunch break!  Man, those were the days!  But in those days, I was a student and I was only able to enjoy the standard rolls.  On this visit, I dared to spend more and try some of their specialty rolls.
Friday, 24 February 2012

Stephos – Inexpensive Staple of Downtown

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It had been a long time coming. Ying had been wanting to make yummy in her tummy courtesy of Stepho’s for a few days now and we finally went there a few Mondays ago.  Located in downtown Vancouver, Stepho’s is characterized by budget friendly prices, long line-ups, and calamari dinners.  It is also one of the few unexpected places that serve halal meat so Nabs can eat meat here.  In fact, Nabs can even have the calamari here!  We know what you’re thinking and we were thinking the same thing too.  With all that Stepho’s has going for it, how could we not have been here already??  As a matter of fact, the last time any of us visited here was probably 1.5-2 years ago and a lot can have changed in that time.  So Nabs, being unsure whether they still had halal meat, was hesitant to go.  In the end, we convinced him to tag along, promising that we would find out if it’s halal once we got there.

Stepho’s is located on Davie street and if you’ve ever driven down this street,  you know parking can be a headache and costly before 10 pm.  Fortunately we were headed here after 9:30 pm so we managed to find parking just 2 minutes walk down from the restaurant.  Beware, don’t try to be clever and park at the shoppers across the street, walk around in shoppers, then exit and go to Stepho’s.  Nabs’ friend got ticketed like that.

New Spicy Chili Restaurant (小四川)

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Uncle Tom is a long time friend of mine from back in pharmacy school. Since his birthday is coming up, we used this as an excuse to bring together all the old time buddy old pals from pharmacy school and have dinner. Now I have no idea why Uncle Tom is our uncle.. as he is only a year older than me and a few months older than Rich, but oh well~ We had originally planned to meet up for karaoke before dinner, but I was informed the previous night that Uncle Tom actually had to work that day. Typical! Since we wanted to try something new, we opted for New Spicy Chili Restaurant (小四川 - literally translated as Little Szechuan). This place has been around for a few years. My mother and I started coming here when it first opened. For a fact, the owner is from Szechuan because she spoke to us in Szechuan dialect before. When it was first opened, this place is known as Golden Spring Szechuan Restaurant. I suppose to distinguish itself from Golden Szechuan Restaurant (老四川), which is on the same No. 3 Rd, this new name is better. Finding a parking spot here is an absolute nuisance! The parking lot is small to begin with. To make matter worse, they are mostly reserved parking spots with orange cones on them if they are empty. One side of the parking lot is a narrow dead end. When you discovered that there is no parking, you have to turn your car around in a very small space. In short, the parking experience is absolutely horrid. I'd rather eat my hair than to park there again.
Monday, 13 February 2012

All You Can Eat Sushi–Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant

It had been a weird day ever since I woke up at 12 noon (I have no shame in saying that, and I bet you woke up +/- 1 hour of my waking time too) because I went through at least 3 different food cravings over 8 hours.  First, I craved the beef fried rice from Green Leaf.  Then I craved fast food and fries.  Third, I wanted to eat cake.  At the end of it all, I got none of those and settled on sushi.  Which totally makes sense if you think about it.  Anyways, back in school days I organized many an ayce outing to Tomokazu on W. Broadway near Oak when I had grown used to sushi.
Then Ninkazu opened up.  Owned by the same people and considered a higher end sister store of Tomokazu, Ninkazu makes its home in prime real estate in downtown Richmond just across from Aberdeen mall.  Since then, my sushi tastes had broadened and I discovered better sushi, so I hadn’t come here for a while.  Ninkazu remains one of my favourite places for ayce sushi and reminiscing those days, I was headed here tonight.
Sunday, 12 February 2012

Bubble World (大頭仔) – Richmond

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Bubble World or (大頭仔) is probably one of the most recognized bubble tea places in the lower mainland, with multiple locations in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam. We’ve been to quite a number of their locations as well, but the Richmond branch seems to be most commonly visited one for us. This place is SUPER busy at night, often packed with teenagers hanging out with their friends. In fact, it’s turned us away several times with quotes of 30-45 minute waits. Anyhow, the Yummy crew met up with Turtle, Wei-Gor and Chank for some late night snacks and bubble tea. Turtle and Wei-Gor showed up first and managed to secure us a table within 10 minutes or so. Mr. Chank was working late, so they were showing up later.

Bubble World is basically a typical Taiwanese place, serving various bubble tea and other beverages as well as set meals. Thus, there are two menus: the drink menu (see right picture) and the food menu (see above picture). They offer a variety of snacks, rice and noodle dishes as well as sandwiches and hotpots. With regards to drinks, there’s the typical flavoured red/green teas and milk teas as well as fresh fruit, ice cream as well as shaved ice.
Saturday, 11 February 2012

Post-sushi Bubble Tea: The New Best Dessert?

After we were done at Sushiyama, the three of us still surprisingly had room for dessert.  This was surprising because firstly it was late at night and secondly because we had a rather large amount of food at Sushiyama.  But we must have all really worked our brains because, darn, we consumed a lot this night haha.  Anyhow, after recently having heard of a change in ownership at Green Leaf (a most disheartening news!) we were curious to see how it looks, if it was still busy, and if the bubble tea there was still good and so we set out to pay it a visit.  When we got there though, we saw the place was completely deserted.  The place was definitely renovated but there were no customers and the folks who worked there were sitting looking extremely bored.  This is the first time we have seen the place empty!  Needless to say, after a few moments of hesitation, we defected to L&G Bubble Tea House just a few steps south of here.  A decision we do not regret. 295[10]

Sushi Fix @ Sushiyama

After a long day of intense studying culminating in a midterm exam, and a long day in hell for Rich and a long day in a hospital for Ying, the Yummy In Our Tummies Crew was famished and looking to replenish its energy tank.  Nabs was tasting Green Lettuce Beef Fried Rice, but Ying wanted to try another place called Chili Pepper House, and Rich was busy practicing his TKD skills after a shift in hell.  The end result, was Sushiyama.  Makes sense right?  Yup, it does to us too (this is what happens when you're hypoglycemic, don't try this at home).  And so we were headed to Sushiyama.
Friday, 10 February 2012

The Dynasty of Chinese Food – Dinesty!

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Yesterday, my ma and pa were going back to Hong Kong. Of course, being the good son that I am, I decided to have Ying treat us all to lunch before they take off! Since Dinesty (聚) was closed for a celebration party the other night (see Top Shanghai post), we decided to come again in search of yummy Chinese food :D

DOV 2012 #2: Mistral French Bistro

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IMG_7619 copy Our second and final Dine Out this year was at Mistral French Bistro in Kits and we were fortunate to be accompanied on this outing with the honorable Krispy Bites and Evan.  Having been to Mistral twice in the past 2 years and being very content with my experience each time, I was looking forward to going here and curious to see how the Dine Out menu compares to the regular one.  As good as the food has been, the service here in my past visits has been even better and is by far the BEST I've had in all the years since I've been eating out.  Besides, with a 3 course meal that would average in the $40/person vicinity on the average day, how can you say no to a $28 3 course menu? That's a 25% cost savings!  And we all like saving money!  Just look at the ING Direct guy for example.  Anyhow, here we were late on a Sat evening ready to indulge into frenchly delicacy.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Casual Chinese Dining – Big Feast at Top Shanghai

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It is the time of the year when my parents are back from Hong Kong and they usually like to treat Ying’s family to dinner at a restaurant (because my mother dear, unlike Ying’s mom, cannot cook). Ying and I thought high and low and decided to pay Dinesty a visit after reading so many raving reviews. Reservations at Dinesty is a must, so they say, but no one picked up the phone. Therefore, I decided to just show up! Alas, it was closed to a staff celebration party… Bearing such great disappointment, I was in no mood to look up another place to try. So we walked across the street to visit this trusty Shanghai cuisine restaurant that hasn’t disappointed me since day one.
Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant (上海一只鼎) is a modest looking diner situated in the Pricemart Foods plaza of Ackroyd and No. 3 Rd. This place has been here forever and ever. I was in high school when I first visited this place (and that’s over 7 years ago). The exterior has been roughly the same since then (and they really should put up new decorative pictures outside because their current ones are faded in color). Parking is abundant and freeeeeee :D
Sunday, 5 February 2012

JJ Bean for a Cuppa Joe~

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I just got off after another hectic day of work and Ying was telling me about how similarly crazy her shift was. It was 6pm and I had 2.5 hours to kill before dine out  with Krispymilk, Nabs and Ying. What should I do? I suggested JJ Bean so we could forget about our mind boggling work and have a cuppa joe in a cozy and dimly-lit setting. JJ Bean is a modern coffee shop that offers tranquility on a busy Main St. intersection. It serves tea, coffee, sandwiches and some pastry. I really liked its interior design, especially the fireplace in the middle of the shop. Thus, I made myself comfortable on a big leather chair and rested my brain by reading Sherlock Holmes. 
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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tongue-Numbing Lunch @ Golden Szechuan Restaurant

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Golden Szechuan Restaurant is amongst one of Ying's favourite. Ying always has this obsession of eating spicy food. The more painful her tongue gets, the more pleasurable she finds the experience. One of these days, I will develop a stomach ulcer chasing her dream with her. Golden Szechuan Restaurant has been around for many years and we come back year after year. Its management seems to have changed over the years. They shift their focus from a family oriented eatery to a  higher scale diner. The price has drastically gone up as well compared to the last time we were there (a year ago?). For example, their good value lunch special is no longer available.
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Now this is actually their second location - with their first being located in Vancouver. The original Golden Szechuan (or "Old Szechuan" in literal translation) was on Broadway and Burrard - close to the Future Shop there, and home of Posh now. It had been mainly a hotpot restaurant - featuring the famous tongue-numbing Szechuan hotpot base. Ying recalls that it was one of the first "authentic" Szechuan restaurants that opened in Vancouver and her family had been very eager to try it. In fact, they frequently went there to buy the hotpot soup base ($8 or so) and had their own hotpot at home. The restaurant became quite popular, so they expanded to Richmond in its current location beside Tom Lee in what used to be Knight and Day across from Yaohan. Eventually, the Vancouver location closed down and they no longer offered hotpot. Oh, one more thing, this place was voted as best Szechuan/Hunan restaurant in the Diner's Choice of the 2011 Chinese Restaurant Awards.

Phnom Penh

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IMG_7227 copy IMG_7232 copyAfter hearing so much about this place from friends, I finally had the chance to try Phnom Penh last week. I did have a brief taste of it a few years back when Rich and I volunteered as tour guides in Chinatown. It was one of the stops on our tour and we got to sample some of their food – I think it was spring rolls or something like that.
At the time, this unassuming restaurant didn’t really catch my attention. As I rarely venture into that part of Chinatown, I never felt the urge to specifically go back to try their actual dishes. Then over the years, it seemed like more and more friends were recommending it – especially their famed chicken wings. Now, as you may know, Rich is vehemently opposed to anything chicken-related, so this restaurant was put on the back burner. I certainly didn’t want to go there and have a full plate of fried chicken wings by myself. Last week, Rich’s parents came back from Hong Kong for Chinese New Year, and we were looking for a place to eat. I suggested Phnom Pehn – so off we went to Chinatown.
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