Previous Food Posts on my Vancouver Trip
Dim Sum at Kirin Seafood Restaurant
I had very high expectations for Kirin b/c my friends who have visited speak very highly of it. I know the prices would be higher b/c the restaurant is considered high-end. My mom and I decided to only order items that we wouldn’t normally find in Calgary.
Deep Fried Minced Fish and Tofu Cubes (琵琶豆腐) – $4.58
This was an interesting dish and I’ve never had anything like it before. These tofu cubes contain a mixture of minced fish paste and are lightly fried. I wasn’t sure what to think of it at first but it’s actually quite good. The tofu was perfectly crispy without much grease and the fish paste mixture is seasoned well with no fishy taste. I do wonder if there should be some kind of dipping sauce to go with this.
Double Boiled Milk with Ginger Juice (薑汁雙皮奶) – $4.58
My mom loves this HK dessert so she was quite happy to see it on the menu. Silky smooth egg custard infused with very strong ginger juice. I like how it wasn’t overly sweet and the ginger taste is very welcoming (that is, if you like ginger).
Shrimp, Scallop and Pumpkin Dumpling – $5.38
I wanted some form of a shrimp dumpling but not just the regular kind, so I picked this. Crunchy shrimp mixed with cilantro and pumpkin bits, topped with a scallop and masago. It was decent but the pumpkin (probably kaboocha) was surprisingly hard. I personally think it should and would’ve preferred it to be soft, although maybe it’s supposed to be hard to give it a bit of a contrast between the soft shrimp?
Seafood Dumpling in Supreme Broth – $5.98
Another favorite of my mom’s. A good amount of delicious seafood enveloped in a soft, doughy skin – basking in a light, tasty broth. I love how flavorful the broth is – pretty much the essence of the entire dish and you can taste the quality of ingredients they used for it. My dad makes a really good supreme broth and I’ve seen the premium stuff that he uses. I don’t even like eating the stuff he puts in it – I just like drinking the soup haha.
A fun little fact: my dad is an executive chef at a high end Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong and I just googled him – he showed up! Lol. He has tons of photos with HK celebrities that visit at the restaurant and he said he’s good friends with Choi Lan – I told my dad that I better be introduced to the next time I visit HK and he just smirks.
Braised Tendon and Brisket on Rice Noodles (陳村粉) – $7.38
This was my favorite dish. The braised tendons and brisket was very well made. The brisket was really soft and tender and the tendons were cooked to the right doneness. I can’t stand it when briskets are not braised for long enough so the meat gets caught in between your teeth or when tendons are overcooked to a mush. The sauce was absolutely flavorful and was absorbed by all the noodles underneath. This was a big pot of food and we struggled to finish it – we ate all of the meat and left half of the noodles untouched b/c it was very filling.
Service was decent. The servers don’t seem to be too friendly but they do provide adequate service and are attentive. Prices are just about what I was expecting but it was totally worth it for the quality of the food! I would love to come back here for dinner next time.
Lunch at Hawker’s Delight
My mom and I both really like Hainanese chicken and the reviews seem positive here. Since the prices are very attractive we decided to have lunch here. The place is quite busy though it is a small restaurant. I was looking around at what other patrons ordered and the portions are massive!
Hainanese Chicken and Rice – $6.80
The chicken was marinaded very well and the meat was smooth and tender. I haven’t had Hainanese chicken with rice for so long and this was a real treat! The rice is nice and oily and had great chicken flavors. The dipping sauce was a great infusion of chili, garlic and ginger. This dish of food was absolutely delicious!
Side order of Hainanese Chicken Leg – $4.25
My mom loved the chicken and couldn’t resist ordering another portion!
Laksa – $6.80
This was a very tasty laksa. The soup was full of coconut and satay flavors and there was an abundance of toppings of noodles in here. It was mildly spicy so perfect for someone like me who can’t tolerate strong spices. My only complaint is the type of noodles they used – it was wheat egg noodles and just didn’t go well with the soup at all. It just made everything very thick and goopy as the noodles started to get soggy. I think it would be better with rice noodles – the soup could also be a bit thinner.
Service was limited to patrons walking up to the counter to order and someone else bringing you your food to your table. However, the ordering process was smooth and efficient. Prices are more than fair for what is served and food is definitely tasty.
Treats from Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie
I decided that I had to try the macarons from here from all the rave reviews! It was very busy when I went with a ton of people buying cakes. I like their ordering system – someone grabs your order, marks it on a form, then passes onto another person who will gather everything for you.
Brioche – $2.50
I got this for my toddler to snack on. Buttery, sweet brioche bread topped with a sprinkle of sugar. He finished this in no time. I am kicking myself for not buying another one for myself to enjoy. Must… bake… some… this… weekend!
Lemon Lemon Tart – $5.80
There were so many tarts I wanted to try but I only got one (just b/c I have to save my appetite for other things!). We ate this the next day after our fabulous dinner at Sushi Hachi. I now know why this is called lemon lemon tart – it was very lemony. There was a generous amount of sweet and tart lemon curd in this and I loved every bit of it! The crust was buttery and crunchy. Hmmmm. Lemon tarts remain as one of my favorite desserts and this one definitely reconfirms it.
Macarons – 1/2 dozen for $10
I didn’t eat these until I got back to Calgary. However when I started eating them I wish I bought like 5 dozen of them instead. They were so good that I refused to share with hubby. [I secretly ate them all while he went to work] :p I’m not mean – I did share the ones I got from Bakery Nouveau with him! [sharing meaning he can only eat half of each flavor so I can try it too] Yeah I know… I’m a glutton. If I didn’t need to carry a carseat, a stroller and a baby bag onto the plane then my carry-ons would be boxes of macarons instead! Yes, we have good macarons in Calgary – we’re not deprived, but these ones at Thomas Haas are definitely the BEST ones I have ever tasted. Each piece was perfectly shaped and uniform in size and thickness. The texture was soft, crispy, airy, chewy – all had a good amount of filling, and they taste what the flavors state them to be. I was so sad and shed a tear as I ate my last piece, and then I immediately texted C to ask her to bring me back a dozen of them when she goes to Vancouver in August.
I am absolutely pleased with everything I’ve tried and I’m sad this place is thousands of km away from me (but also glad or I don’t know how many more pounds I would gain…). My favorite place in Calgary for macarons is Yann Haute and although it doesn’t happen very often, I have drove all the way from home (about half an hour) just to buy macarons for no apparent reason other than wanting to eat them. Anyways, prices are pretty fair and I wish I would’ve been able to try more things!
Treats from Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe
I decided to hit up another patisserie just because. I’ve also learned a valuable lesson: don’t drive from downtown Vancouver to Burnaby during rush hour and expect to be there in less than an hour >.< It was also really busy when I went – a lot of people were eating in. I wasn’t interested in chocolates so I didn’t look at any of them, although they did look tasty. Their selection of pastries that day were mostly chocolate flavored one way or another so I picked the only one that wasn’t. One item I would’ve loved to try is the mille feuille – maybe next time?
Pistachio Cherry Eclair – $4.75
This was also enjoyed on the next day. I got this for my mom b/c she enjoys cream puffs, profiteroles and the likes. I really love the tartness from the cherries – it helped broke some of the sweetness from the pistachio cream but overall this was a delight to eat.
Vanilla Macaron – $1.95/pc
The selection of macarons were very disappointing that day at Thierry, so I only got a couple of the vanilla ones to try. It was quite big in size but the taste was all there – soft, chewy, and lightly crispy with good vanilla flavors.
Service was not as good or efficient as Thomas Haas. I couldn’t tell who was busy helping someone or not and one of the servers behind the counter saw me standing there but didn’t offer help at all. Finally another server at the register came to help me after she was finished with her customer – only then did that previous one started helping. Prices are definitely on the high side.
Dinner at Kiriri Japanese Cuisine
I had very high hopes for this restaurant. I enjoy traditional, authentic Japanese cuisine and I thought that’s what I would get here at Kiriri. While the food wasn’t bad (it was actually pretty good), why I disliked this restaurant was the non-existing, yet horrible service when we did get some. The servers seemed inexperienced and barely smiled. The one that sat us down didn’t give us menu, no drinks, nothing. After sitting there for about 5 minutes, I had to flag someone else for a menu and drinks. That person seemed shocked that we weren’t given any. And any other time I tried to flag someone, they conveniently looked away. The same server who sat us down cannot do a thing – if we gave her a request, she sent someone else to come to our table.
Then the food service – how come the table behind us got their food first, yet we ordered 15 minutes before them? Their platter of rolls must’ve taken more time to prepare than my simple chirashi, but why did that take so long to arrive? The table across from us got their massive platter of assorted sashimi before I got my two dinky pieces of nigiri. How come when we added a second order of the unagi don, that arrived before I even got my first round of food? My mom got all her food before I did – it was painful to watch her eat b/c I was starving. The other factor was the high prices. I don’t mind paying top $ for quality food. In fact, I spend a lot on sushi. However, for the price they charge me, the food better be mind blowing and the service better be more than decent. Nope – I certainly didn’t get that here tonight. I was pretty mad at the end of the meal that even though I was still hungry, I decided to call it a night and ate elsewhere.
Saikyo (Miso Black Cod) – $14
That is the smallest piece of black cod we have ever paid for and especially at that price. Look at that lemon wedge for comparison. Although it was tasty, it’s not like I can’t get this at another restaurant for a smaller price.
Wild Salmon Sashimi (4 pcs) – $10; Shima Aji Sashimi – $5/pc
$10 is quite expensive for only four slices of wild salmon sashimi. However, they were sliced quite thick so one slice is about two slices elsewhere. My mom said it was really fresh and sweet tasting. The shima aji was a special for the day. I was pretty sure I ordered it as nigiri so I wasn’t sure what I was looking at at first when this arrived. This was also nicely thick and very fresh, but way overpriced for what it was. Near the end of the meal the server actually came by to ask if the slice of shima aji sashimi was served with this order. They’re lucky I’m an honest person.
Unagi Don – $13
I ordered this for my toddler and he happily ate most of it. It looks like a huge portion, but it wasn’t. The layer of rice is about half an inch thick. I do quite like the layer of shredded omelet that they laid on top of the rice. The unagi is definitely of the frozen variety so nothing to really comment on that. After my toddler finished this my mom decided she wanted one as well, so we flagged someone down and added the order. The server actually asked us, can this come out anytime? We were expecting a long wait except… the second order came out before even my first round of food arrived.
Served with Unagi Don and Chirashi Don
Standard tasting miso soup.
Served with Unagi Don and Chirashi Don
Chirashi Don – $13
This is the dish that took about 45 minutes to arrive. The sushi rice was nicely flavored with sugar and vinegar. The fish selection was salmon, tuna, tamago, tako, mackerel, ika and I’m not sure what the one under the wasabi blob was. I was pretty ticked off and hungry at this time and wanted to finish this so I could get the hell out of there. There was way more rice than fish so I had quite a bit of rice leftover. The fish was definitely fresh but the cut was a bit small. On their menu there’s another item called chirashi for $22 – I wonder what that one is but I guess I will never find out now.
Chopped Scallop Nigiri – $2, Toro Nigiri – $3
This was the last item to arrive. I had also ordered a piece of the uni and some other special of the day [can’t remember what it was] but I was told they ran out of that special one. I didn’t see the uni arrived with this plate, so I asked someone and they said oh sorry, we ran out of uni as well and I forgot to tell you. Then 10 minutes after that another server came by and said, we have uni now, do you still want it? Uh what? Did someone just run out to buy a tray of uni? You probably guessed by now that I was no longer interested in ordering anything else so I just said no. So how did these taste like? I quite liked the chopped scallop, but the scallop was the mini variety, not actually chopped. The mayo was creamy and a bit sweet – I used this mixture to eat some of my chirashi with. The toro was not creamy or oily and as you can see from the picture, didn’t look anything special. The chopped scallop was decently priced but the toro was definitely expensive.
This was the most unsatisfying sushi meal ever and I’m so mad that I wasted my meal quota here. Even though the food was good nothing else was enjoyable so it makes it a pretty negative dining experience. This was not a cheap meal either so that made everything worse. I can’t even say I’m glad I gave it a try b/c I wish I went elsewhere. I can safely say I would never return.
Second Dinner at Matsuyama
I was not planning to visit Matsuyama at all but since I had such an unsatisfactory meal at Kiriri I decided I just needed to stuff myself with cheap, raw fish! This place came to mind b/c I remember reading their late night specials.
Salmon and Toro Sashimi (5 pcs) – $4.95, Nigiri – $0.99/pc
I don’t think I was given toro sashimi – I swear they were tuna but maybe it was a cheap cut of toro. However, for the price I was not expecting premium quality. They were decent tasting but sliced way too thick – I feel like I was eating raw fish rather than sashimi. For my nigiri I chose chopped scallop, amaebi and negi-toro. The amaebi was actually quite sweet – I liked it. The chopped scallop had way too much tobiko and masago mixed into it – I wonder if that’s why the mixture is so orangey-red? The negi-toro taste like tuna and chopped green onion… the mixture was not creamy like I would expect from toro. For all the nigiri I only ate the fish and left the rice behind. I was actually pretty full after those thick slabs of sashimi.
Crab Salad with Cucumber and Tobiko $3.50
As the server set this down, my mom was wondering why I ordered a bowl of rice. No, it was a huge bowl of crab mixture (the stuff you use for California Roll). There was so much in this bowl that could easily fill 20+ portions of California Rolls – I kid you not. There were about 20 small julienne pieces of cucumber at the bottom of the bowl – I wish there was more cucumber than crab meat. As for the taste, it was pretty standard. Creamy but light and sweet tasting. I just think there was way too much of it. The server asked if I wanted the remainder to go and I was happy they offered that, but unfortunately as we left my mom dropped the entire container in the parking lot. Oops.
Service was decent – again, I was not expecting much but it was better than I expected. Prices are very cheap and portions are very generous. Don’t compare the quality to a high end place but it wasn’t bad by any means. Great place for a nightly hang out and to fill your tummies for low prices. Tea is also complimentary!