Thursday, October 23, 2014

Japanese food crawl in Burnaby: Sushi Oyama and Kamamarui

The biggest daily dilemma each day is perhaps figuring out what you want to eat for dinner, especially when you're in the area you're somewhat foreign in. That's right for me, it's Burnaby.

Thus, I turned to my trusty apps Urbanspoon and Yelp, exploring photos of dishes that catch my eye. I stumbled upon delicious looking ramen at Kamamarui and intriguing images of sushi pizza from Sushi Oyama. Both places seemed equally tantalizing and when you roll with me, when both options are desirable, why choose ? My fellow diner and I decided to go to both. 

Our first stop was at Sushi Oyama, a giant restaurant that looked like it was converted from a gigantic historic mansion.  Line up was starting to form around 6:30 pm but luckily we didn't have to wait long. The staff moved quite quickly and were well organized. However, if you're looking for authentic Japanese cuisine , this place isn't it. However, they have a large variety with pages of special house rolls. The price is about mid range and very competitive when compared to other similar sushi restaurants. I'd say they're probably Sushi Garden's biggest competitor, if they're still in the same league.

The place was huge and it gets filled up very quickly. We ordered lightly as it was our first stop: negitoro roll, kaki fry (fried oysters), toro nigiri, Las Vegas roll, and of course sushi pizza. 
Kaki fry was quick to arrive. The oysters were baby size but there were about 6-7 on a bed of greens (I ate way too fast to properly count). The sauce that accompanied the dish was a sweet concoction of honey mustard. 

Negitoro roll was pretty comparable to any other negitoro roll, but you pay slightly less for it. I was super impressed with the $1.55 toro nigiri because I haven't seen anywhere else that serves them for lower than $1.75. Of course, they're incomparable to places like Hachi when it comes to sashimi grade. I'm a huge fan of toro though, and I'd have to say that right there was value. 

I saw as many Las Vegas roll photos popping up so being a queen of deep frys, I had to figure this out. They're basically maki roll filled with salmon and imitation crab meat topped with generous amount of sauces and bonito flakes. The roll was deep fried with golden crispy crust.  I've tried deep fried rolls before and they were always either too hard or the rice was too crusty. Sushi Oyama did a pretty good job preserving the sushi rice without making them go soggy with oil or overcooked to the point of no return. 

Finally, what we came here for. The glorious sushi pizza, also a concept I've tried at Mikado in Edmonton. Topped with spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, tobiko and generous amount of sauces, you really get a nice full and flavorful bite. The "crust" was again made with deep fried rice cut into pizza slices. The exterior was really crispy.  There was quite a bit of rice so of course both Las Vegas roll and sushi pizza will fill you up before you realize it. 

My, my. The two of us polished off all the starters and we were stuffed by all the rice. Nonetheless our gluttony carried us down to block to our next destination. 

Kamamarui 

The menu was simple and to the point.  It seems they want to focus on their unique specialties rather than trying to cater to everything. Being rather stuffed, I was quoted distraught that their fried chicken only came in full-order and no half sizes. So I ordered prawn tempura instead. They were served with a thick, sweet sauce. The kind they serve with tendon in Japan. And this is the dish I am most excited writing about. I have yet to find a place in Vancouver that serves the most divine bowl of tendon. So if any readers out there could make recommendation and guide me to the right direction, I'll be forever in your debt. 

Now, the tempura. Just looking at the textured batter, I already knew it was going to be a delight. I was right. It was light, EXTREMELY crispy, and the prawn inside was crunchy not rubbery. Combined with that sweet and savory sauce, order a bowl of rice, maybe a size of poached egg. Boom. Close to my tendon fantasy. 

The poached egg we ordered was served with a soy-yuzu sauce and came with a small cute scoopy spoon. Two of us shared a bowl of chasiu miso ramen. While Ramen Santouka still reigns of Vancouver ramen champion in my heart, Kamamarui still delivered a solid ramen with their own signature. The barbecue pork slices were tender with a hint of smokiness. The broth was flavorful, comforting during a cold rainy night. There were condiments at the table with 2 kinds of chili sauces. I love my food with a spicy kick, but I didn't feel the need to add any this time. 

We later suffered the consequences of overeating but we still enjoyed our food adventures nonetheless. If you can still enjoy a dish despite being really full, that's gotta say something about the food, right ? 
Sushi Oyama on Urbanspoon Kamamarui Ramen & Don on Urbanspoon





Monday, October 6, 2014

Yolk's Restaurant and Commissionary

I decided to return from a long blogging slumber with the coverage of an east-side neighbourhood diner that is probably the most raved about in city at the moment; Yolk's!

My previous trip to New York City has seriously left me longing for a seriously good wholesome brunch, which is comparably scarce in Vancouver in my opinion.  I've been gawking at photos of oozing runny poached eggs from Yolk's for quite sometime on Urbanspoon.  Work schedule, however, only left me to write it up as a wish list up until last Sunday.

Located on Clarke and East Hastings, a lazy individual such as myself could only describe it as 'a road trip', or a mini 'journey' coming up from Richmond.  Since Yolk's doesn't take reservation, I already predicted that the wait would be long and eternal.  We should either go extremely early, or just before closing.  Nonetheless, we showed up at the door right around 11:30 am and met with the rest of the population crowding outside.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Omakase at Octopus Garden

P and I have always wanted to try the omakase (chef’s choice) menu. So we chose Octopus Garden and aimed for the gold star $100 menu. Hey, we don’t do this every day if we’re going to try it out might as well go big right?

Advice
- prepare your stomach for an epic battle
- spare at least 2.5h for the meal (and we eat pretty darn fast)
- menu changes every day so don’t expect to get the exact same thing if you do revisit