Showing posts with label Chinese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chinese. Show all posts

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Four Seasons Chinese restaurant

On my last day in Bangkok, I was faced with a tough choice to make at Siam Paragon, 
"where to have lunch?"
After about 15 minutes of pondering, I narrowed down my choices to two; Coffee Bean by Dow and Four Seasons.   I weighed my options carefully.  Coffee Bean by Dow is a fabulous restaurant with a lot of variation.  I would be missing Thai cuisine and fusion a lot when I'm gone.  On the other hand, there was no table available at the moment.  It was after 2 pm, and I was starving.  Four Seasons is known for its world famous roast duck and this is its first international location away from London.  My mother even spoke of dining at this restaurant when she was studying.  It made me really curious.

Monday, May 14, 2012

China Poblana Noodles & Tacos by Jose Andres

I randomly stumbled upon this casual but buzzling concept restaurant, China Poblana at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas.  First thought, "Mexican and Chinese food?" followed by, "by Jose Andres???".  I was curious since I knew very little of the history and relationship between the two cultures.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

East Ocean Chinese restaurant at SC Park Hotel

East Ocean is an authentic Chinese restaurant that serves Cantonese style dim sum and a la carte and 10 course meal menu.  There is a different special at each day of the week at 50 % off such as fried prawn salad and Peking duck.  During the weekend, all tables are filled up with extended families who take their parents and grandparents to enjoy the delicious traditional dim sum. Since the location is near my house, my family has been coming here for years.  They have always been consistent with quality at reasonable prices.  Also, the restaurant has undergone a facelift in becoming an elegant,fine dining Chinese restaurant.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

High end congee at King's Palace Congee & Noodle Bar @ K-Village cured my headache

I was never a huge fan of congee unless it's -40 outside or I'm dying from a flu.  On one hot sunny day in Bangkok, I was struck by a splitting headache in which I could hardly think or talk and on the verge of vomiting.  I was a miserable wretch and since I could careless where my mother and I were going, I let her choose what was for lunch (a rare occasion).  She brought me to a cantonese restaurant she always raved about, King's Palace Congee & Noodle Bar.  The restaurant has several branches in Hong Kong and Bangkok is its first and only international branch so far.  It is well known for simple Cantonese comfort food such as congee, noodle soup, barbecue pork/duck/chicken, wonton and light snacks.
Initially, when I thought of King's Palace, I was thinking of an old small noodle shop by the street.  Nope, I was wrong! It was really nice in there.  The place looks brand new and very elegant for eating noodles. It's quite spacious with high windowns for natural lighting.  The wall paper with animals are also really cute, but not tacky.  The servers are mostly Chinese nationals but they can also speak Thai. 

The prices match the atmosphere, pretty expensive I would say.  However, these are not just ordinary congee, but rather high-end and fancy.  Some congee costs up to 650 bath per dish ($22). The luxuious ingredients they put in do justify the price.  The taste and quality are superior so it's worth the value. 

My mother and I didn't get too fancy.  We only ordered simple barbecue pork noodle soup and pork and preserved egg congee.  Let me tell you that they were they were both amazing.  Particularly the barbecue pork, which was meaty, juicy and tender.  It had a sweet glaze with a savoury sauce poured on top. 

Pork congee was so thick and smooth in consistency, you could tell it had been simmering for hours.  With enough flavour in there already, I didn't need to add anymore seasoning besides the pepper.  Too bad I was dying or I would've ordered chinese donut in rice rolls to go with it too!  After the delicious meal, my migrane magically disappeared.  

The third time around, my sister ordered Lai Wan congee.  When asked what was in it, the staff replied, "everything".  She was right.  The congee had everything from tripe, fish maw, crisp shrimp, squid, chicken and topped with peanuts.  Dang, it was a party.  It was also very delicious.  The wonton soup was a generous portion and filled with succulent shrimp.  At every occasion, the food and service have been consistent and we still haven't found anything at King's Palace that was subpar.  Our experience has always been as good as our first.

Food: 4.5/5
Price: $$$
Service: 3/5
Value: 4/5

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

All you can eat dim sum at Summer Palace, Intercontinental Bangkok


One may ask, "how many hagow can one eat?".  If you like dim sum, and an option of AYCE is put right in front of you, why not try it out if you're in the mood?  That's what I did.  Summer Palace is not just your regular dim sum restaurant.  Located at the 5-star Intercontinental hotel, it is probably one of the most lavish and elegant chinese restaurants one could dine at.  

No, there are no dim sum carts being push around here folks.  You don't have to order all you can eat either.  But should you choose to, there is a separate menu of the Cantonese dim sum favourites such as siu mai, hagow, etc., along with soups, main course dishes, and desserts.

The majority of the dishes are comparable in taste to any other dim sum restaurants.  The dishes that really stood out were deep fried mashed taro stuffed with prawn, duck spring rolls, duck fried rice, bamboo fibre and crab soup, and crispy rice noodles topped with savoury meat sauce.  Their marinated chicken feet were flavourful despite being served in a dish broken in half by the steam.  The desserts offered were traditional, and some are not easily found else where.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dim Sum at Kirin

A tip for going to a restaurant for dim sum: If you dream of going there on a Sunday, and that applies almost anywhere, be sure to go right when they open or make a reservation right when they open or else you will be standing there all day.

Located on the 3rd floor of a building/parking lot adjacent to Richmond centre, I admire the strength and determination of the elders in their 80's who manage to climb up those flights of stairs to get to this restaurant.  I know my grandma hates this place by default due to those stairs.  I do too, but the food made it a little more worth the effort.

Kirin make changes to their menu every few months and I have mixed feelings about that.  It's great that there are always new options and different ingredients and themes are used each season.  However, it's a bummer that sometimes what we want are  no longer always available.

First on the list, steamed chicken feet, with tripe underneath.  I don't even think of them as feet when I'm sucking on them delicious toes, or the fact that I'm just munching on skin.  They're fantastically flavourful skin and cartilage.  The marinade sauce is super flavourful, savoury black bean, a little bit sweet, and A LOT of garlic.  

Deep fried shrimp wrapped with seaweed, yes please.  The shrimp were crunchy and not overcooked.  The seaweed tasted like crispy snacks you can buy at T&T.  They are still fun little snacks and even more delicious when dipped with mayonnaise.

Next, a plate of deep fried shrimp and water chestnuts wrapped with tofu curd.  The tofu skin was paper thin and fried to an extreme crisp.  There were flakes flying off as I bit into them, I must've bitten pretty hard.  I can eat 10 more when dipped in vinegar.

The must-have condiments: mayonnaise which makes all deep fried food 5 x unhealthier and more delicious, vinegar for dumplings, mustard for deep fry's and anything steamed, and chili oil for everything.  

Siu mai, pork dumplings were pretty standard.  We accidentally ordered them because the description of being "topped with egg yolk" somehow made us think of a raw quail egg and totally threw us off.  I don't know why, I think we are obsessed with raw eggs.  So yea, these ones are just plain and simple siu mai. 

More deep fried food please! How about some deep fried shrimp and chive dumpling with consomme?  The fried dumplings were very crispy with a chewy texture from the glutinous shell.  The consomme was a mild flavour broth.  Both the broth and the dumplings were nice, but neither one really complemented the other.

The chicken and abalone steamed buns are spongy soft and they are one of my favourite dishes here, an absolute must try! Personally, I find steamed buns go exquisitely well with chili oil and mustard.  

A server was walking by with a bunch of these deep fried taro paste filled with minced duck meat.  Instinctively, I grabbed one even though we were already stuffed.  The batter was crispy and crumbly while taro paste was soft and delicate with savoury meat filling.

Last but not least, the bamboo pith with prawn and shark fin dumpling in consomme was a nice finish to the meal.  One giant dumpling was swimming in a light broth had a natural sweetness. It was topped with a sheet of bamboo pith had an interesting spongy texture.  Altogether it was a comforting, savoury dish.  

Can you believe all that food was for 2 people? We finished most of it too.

I enjoyed the ambience at Kirin in Richmond to be more comfortable than a lot of restaurants out there.  Also, I found the service at this location to be superior than other chinese restaurants I've been to. Strong words? too strong? Well, from my experiences there, particularly the last, was positive.  We didn't have to sacrifice service over food.  The prices are reasonable.   And despite being extremely busy, our tables were always cleared, and we didn't have to wait long to get the bill.  At one point, a server noticed we were trying to split a dumpling and he immediately came around with a pair of scissors and offered to cut them for us.  We didn't even have to ask, they were pretty proactive.  

Kirin Seafood Restaurant 麒麟海鮮酒家 (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Warming up at Little Sheep Hot Pot

I love hot pot in the fall/winter time.

Cooking raw meat, dumplings and vegetables in a hearty broth one at a time warms you right to the soul.  And it feels pretty healthy, up until you dunk the freshly cooked meat into a sauce and fully coat it with oil. Hot pot is a meal which brings people together, whether it be family or friends as it is often a fairly large meal which may take quite some time to finish.  As conversations take place while you wait for the food to cook, you may find yourself ordering more food after discovering the food you were waiting on have already disappeared before you get to it.  But I guess it's also about the joy of sharing food. In the end, you can always count on leaving overstuffed and happy every time.

Located in Landsdowne Mall in Richmond, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, a large hot pot enterprise from Batou has become one of the busiest hot pot places in Richmond.  With a large dining space, a sufficient number of staff and quick service, as well as fair amount of quality control of ingredients have made first time comers into returning customers.  Our party arrived around 7 pm on a Thursday and had AYCE dinner which, at the end, came up to almost $30 per person.

What makes a hot pot place stand out from the rest?

I feel it's a combination of factors; freshness of ingredients, price, cleanliness does matter (I know some hole in the wall places that are amazing but I wonder about how clean it is sometimes).  Most importantly, it's probably the broth that makes each hotpot place unique. We chose half of Little Sheep's famous original herbal soup and half of the spicy version.   Both broths were flavourful and filled with unique herbs you normally don't find at any other hot pot restaurants.  The spicy broth had more distinct cardamom spice flavour, which was aromatic, but became a bit overwhelming towards the end of the meal.  

Needless to say, hot pot is not spectacular without its side kick, sauce!  There is a condiment station where you can get as creative as you like in making your own sauce.

While having a long hot meal session such as this, I needed a cool refreshment to keep me going.  Arrived the $2 refillable plum drink.  It was a little bit tart and sweet, a very nice and refreshing concoction to go with the heavy duty meal.

The verdict:
Our party had a fairly good experience at Little Sheep.  The food was fresh, and the broth was unique and delicious.  The house made dumplings and various seafood balls were tasty as well. We did not have any issues with service.  Although they were not the friendliest, they worked quite quickly in clearing the dishes, filling our drinks, and did not give us a time limit to finish our meal.

Mongolian Little Sheep Hot Pot 小肥羊 on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kam Do Bakery makes delicious egg tarts

Just before I finished telling my sister how much I love it when company comes over and brings food with them, Jbear walked in with a box of giant egg tarts.  He must be a mindreader or some sort.  It was my first time trying the big egg tarts from Kam Do Bakery and I was thrilled to find out how tasty they are.  

Located right beside Richmond Centre on No. 3 road, I found myself overlooking the chinese bakery.  Even though I could see it from Brighouse Station every morning, I never knew what tasty treats were in store all along until Jbear showed me the way.   It was a busy afternoon at the bakery and I was disappointed to learn that they were sold out of the giant egg tarts.

After I got home, I was once again bummed that we didn't buy half a dozen.  Normally, egg tarts are best eaten fresh out of the oven or lightly baked in the oven.  Kam Do egg tarts still taste amazing without having to be reheated.  The inside is soft, almost pudding like with a subtle amount of sweetness.  I would recommend going for the giant egg tarts but since they are sold out by the afternoon, you might want to head there first thing in the morning.

Kam Do Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 10, 2011

13 years later at Silver Dragon

The last time I visited Silver Dragon in Calgary was over a decade ago.  The restaurant was pretty much a go to dim sum restaurant every time we took a trip down to Calgary.  Each visit had been pleasant and I talked to a few people who are acquainted with the restaurant often referred to as "the place upstairs".   My recent trip to Calgary landed us with the question of where to go for dim sum this time.  Due to time constraint and limited knowledge of the city, it was a coin toss between Silver Dragon and Forbidden City.  Between the 2 restaurants, they both have decent ratings on Urbanspoon which made it even tougher to choose.  In the end, we stuck with what we know and revisited Silver Dragon in Chinatown once again.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reasons why I'll never set foot back in Empire Seafood Restaurant

I've been to enough Chinese restaurants to expect a certain level of service.  Normally, there is more focus on the speed and turnovers, which I am completely fine with as long as I am getting my order.  Since king crab season has just started, several friends and I set out to fill our bellies with the ginormous crustacean.  Unfortunately, my dining experience at Empire Seafood Restaurant on Alexandra road in Richmond was one of the worst I had in years.

Our spirits were high as we sat down and chitchat before ordering some food.  The restaurant was fairly busy with constant turnovers and most tables ordering the Alaskan king crab.  We decided to order 4 dishes: the crab, fried rice, stir-fry vegetables, and chicken.  Time passed and we were getting hungrier.  As we looked around we noticed that many tables that came and ordered after us were already getting their first dish.  As my friend joked that we must've felt hungrier now because everyone else around us were eating but us.  But as more time passed, and we were still the only table that had not gotten one single dish, it wasn't funny anymore.

"Where is our food?"
T politely asked the server that to check up on our order since it was taking longer than normal.  The server reassured us that the kitchen was busy and that it was coming.  More time passed and we still did not get any dishes.  We asked again, and again, they reassured us that it was coming in 20 minutes.  After almost an hour, and still no single dish as we watched other tables that came after us feasting and finishing their meals already.  The longer we waited, our frustrations grew.  No one was checking on our order anymore and we wondered if they forgot about it.  Finally, we decided we would like to speak to the manager so he could tell us what was going on with our order.  One server literally walked into the kitchen and ignored us completely.  So, I got off my chair and went around the restaurant looking for the manager to come see us.  Another employee looked at me perplexed, "Which manager would you like to speak to? The GM? The assistant?" I told her I didn't care, I needed to speak to A manager right away.

Meet the GM
Finally, the general manager, Benjamin, arrived at our table.  We explained to him that we had been waiting for almost an hour with no food arriving when everyone else has gotten theirs.  A simple concern which could've been resolved with an apology, and checking up on our food.  Instead, Benjamin was on the defence stating that that is how long the king crab takes to cook.  While we were asking him why other tables already got theirs and we had not even received a side dish, he simply said that is the way it is.  I was even more infuriated by his unapologetic and indifferent response more than our food arriving late.  Benjamin was quite indifferent and showed us that he really could care less if we were to stay or leave.  After that first conversation, I was ready to get up and leave, but the rest of my party decided they had waited long enough and too hungry to go elsewhere.  Benjamin could not careless whether we stayed or left and it truly really reflects how much the restaurant  does not value its customers. When asked if he was going to do anything about it he said, "Nothing here is free, if you leave now then you don't have to pay." At this point, I'm still not sure why we were still sitting there.  Alas, he promised to take off 2 side dishes off the bill.  Unfortunately, I was already full from the wrath we had all been fed and didn't have anymore appetite to enjoy the king crab dishes that eventually arrived.

After the conversation with Benjamin, the table next to us actually came up and shared their complaint (which Benjamin was also unresponsive to) with us.  Apparently the crab that arrived was much smaller than what they initially saw when the server brought it to them live and should be less than the price that they were paying for.  This is a common issue with several Chinese seafood restaurants serving Alaskan king crab.  Like us, they were unhappy with how their complaint was also dismissed and said that they would not return again.

"Where's the tip?"
Obviously we did not leave any tip, and will not be returning to this restaurant ever again.  As we were leaving, a waiter came up to us and said "Where's the tip? Didn't you tip?".  I remember that gratuity is earned based on the quality of service and dining experience, not mandatory.  Based on our whole dining experience, I could not believe someone from this restaurant had the audacity to come up to us and demanded gratuity.  

Last but not least, when I was in the parking lot, I spotted a giant rat roaming around.  I can only hope the rodents did not find their way in the restaurant.  There is just too many things wrong with this place.  So if you are thinking about going there, please proceed with caution.

Empire Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fried food delights at Jumbo

We got to Jumbo around 11 am on a Tuesday.  With only a few tables settled and it was absolutely dead, we had to order from a menu instead of the usual dim sum carts circulating around until more people show up.  Sometimes, I feel like I like that method better because you never have to wait to get what you want. My sister took charge and checked a dish of pan fried custard buns we haven't noticed before.  When it arrived, the buns looked like porcupines with crispy edges sticking out.  I don't really like sweets, but after much convincing I tried it.  I took a bite into the freshly fried, crispy exterior and greeted by a layer of soft white bun, filled with yellow egg custard.  I think my eyes may have rolled back a little.  It was sublime! I've never seen this dish circulating in the dim sum carts ever.  So the next visit to Jumbo I looked for them in dim sum carts but no luck, they weren't out anywhere.  I tried ordering it from the kitchen and explaining to the servers, describing the porcupine buns.  They were puzzled.  Finally, I showed the the picture I took and I received a big "AH!" They still didn't tell me what it was called though, so I guess I'll have to show them pictures each time I want to order it lol.

The next best thing on my list is the pan fried shrimp cake with chives which is only good when served hot and fresh.  If they're not freshly fried and crispy, then it's a lost cause.  Again, I tried ordering it from the kitchen and getting a puzzled look.  Of course I showed another picture of the shrimp cakes.  The server understood as he laughed and joked "Any more pictures you want to show me?".  Yes, I will never stop taking pictures from now on, because you know what? That's the good thing about being a food nerd and taking pictures of everything.  There's never a miscommunication and I'll get exactly what I want.  This leads me to an idea of saving pictures of everything from food to utensils, glass of water, etc.  So when I go travel to countries like Korea, Japan, I won't have to rely on charades and miming anymore lol. 
For everything else we had that day:

 Fried taro with ground pork filling

 Fried chicken wings.  They are pretty big, well marinated, and oozing hot oil when you bite into them.  

 Steamed chicken feet

Siu mai, they are quite big, but I wish there were more shrimp.

Ha gow, shrimp dumplings, Dim Sum essential.

My staple dim sum food, fried shrimp wontons.

Pan fried tofu wrapped shrimp

Ham Siu Gok, fried rice cakes with ground pork filling

I've been going to Jumbo for years since it's probably one of the better dim sum restaurants in town and it's close to my home.  Price is reasonable, most of the dishes are descent (except for the kebabs, I'm not a fan of those dried meat drenched in sweet sauce).  I never paid much attention to how friendly the service was. Especially when it's usually busy, everyone just focuses on table turnovers.  As long as I was getting what I want, I don't care if I get a smile from the staff who were running around in circles trying to meet everyone's demands.  The past visit was pretty good though, I think after I showed the server my food pictures when I was ordering, he will always recognize me from now on.  As I was leaving, he made sure to bid farewell with "Show me more pictures next time!!".   

Oh yeah, definitely try to order the porcupine bun if you can.

Jumbo Dim Sum Dining on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Easy way making fiery Mapo tofu recipe

I woke up half way through hibernation, hungry and cold.  I glanced outside to the blizzards and wish there was already food on the table so I could quickly eat it and go back to doing my thing.  Since I have a block of tofu in the fridge, and there was a foot of snow outside and still blizzarding, I thought of the spicy mapo tofu to warm me up from inside out.
While I was reminiscing about the best Mapo tofu I've ever had, which was at South Ocean Seafood restaurant in Richmond, BC, I started looking through hundreds of recipes, and each had different ways of making it.  As I was wondering what the easiest way would be to tackle this dish, I have to give thanks to chef Ben who helped me simplify this recipe, making it easier for me to follow through.