4 July 2015
Saturday, July 04, 2015 Dessert, Fusion, Hong Kong Style, Rating: 4.5/5, Richmond, Tapas No comments
You know... sometimes I forget how much of a food crazed nerd I am until I hang around similar, like minded people and we ALL talk about one thing. Food. T'was the story of this Chinese Bites dinner at Hakkasan Bistro Cafe. Myself, along with almost 16 other food bloggers in the Vancouver area had the privilege of trying out this mom and pop restaurant and their specialty items.
Hakkasan is located in the most obscure place imaginable. It's literally at the end of No. 5 Road near River Road where all the industrial companies are. They've been open since 2007 and have just recently gone through a major renovation with dining room area.
When I first walked in, I marveled at their interior design. Such unexpected contemporary furniture from a little mom and pop shop on No. 5 Road!
We started off with the Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks ($20). It was very well executed and tasted kind of like BBQ Char Siu except with pork cheeks instead. The honey flavour was more prominent and the meat definitely had more 'snap' to it than regular pork.
This, ladies and gentlemen, would be the single greatest reason why I would bring my whole family back to try this restaurant. This is called Chef's Signature Whole Coconut Pork and Snow Fungus Soup ($22/coconut).
Even though this is not cheap by any means, the price is a direct reflection of the quality you'll get in the soup. It's hard to explain the flavour of the broth, but trust me, they were so complex it was like a friggin party in your mouth. You can also scrape and eat all the young coconut meat as well which were filled with chicken-y goodness.
This is another one of Hakkasan's Specialty dishes. The Steamed Specialty Odorless Lobster ($22/ half a lobster) is made with 'odorless' garlic which is less pungent and makes your breath less stinky. Even though this is cool, I actually really like pungent, over-the-top smelling garlic in my food, so I wish it wasn't odorless. It would've been nice to have the option of going with regular garlic! :D
It was served over a huge bed of unflavoured jasmine rice which was good but not flavourful enough to bring the lobster to the next level.
The Ancient Style Salt Baked Chicken ($55) needs to be reserved in advance and is made with a technique I don't often see in restaurants.
The chicken is marinated in over ten different herbs and spices, then wrapped and cooked in a traditional clay pot filled with coarse salt.
The salt keeps the chicken moist and juicy, while instilling a type of umami flavour that is impossible to replicate with any other type of cooking style (let's say, just rubbing the chicken with salt prior to cooking).
The chicken was OH MY GOD delicious and oh so tender. I got a breast piece and the white meat was so soft it tasted like dark meat. If I come back for a celebratory dinner, I am so ordering this again.
Another reservation only item, the Braised Pork Hock ($40) was tender and melted like butter in your mouth.
The Mui Choy Stirfry was not bad and filled our veggie quota for the night. I honestly didn't eat much of this because...why waste stomach space on veggies when there's so much meat in front of you!
As one of my favourite dishes of the night, the Steamed Egg with Pork and Duck Yolk ($18) is certainly something I'll order again. It goes great with rice and the addition of duck yolk/ground pork was a nice touch.
I'm personally not a fan of fried fish coated in sauce so I didn't really enjoy the Stir Fried Pickled Cabbage and Fish ($19).
For dessert we had the Steamed Milk Egg White Custard. It looks plain but it was done really really well. It was actually quite similar to the steamed milk custard served at the famous Australian Dairy Company in Hong Kong (post here).
All in all, I thought the food was fantastic and some dishes were truly one of a kind. I am super grateful to have been able to taste test Hakkasan's specialty dishes and I'll certainly bring my family back for more noms!
Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites to attend this media event for Hakkasan Bistro. My meal was comped but the opinions are all my own and unbiased.
Service Rating: N/A (we were here for a media event)
Food Rating: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
that chicken coconut soup was like...
30 June 2015
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Breakfast, Brunch, Burgers, Dessert, Fast Food, Food Cart, French, San Francisco No comments
During my trip to San Fran, Rae and I stopped by Umami Burger because it was close to our apartment. I always just knew of this restaurant as an LA hipster burger joint with a cool "U" stamp on their burger buns.
They seem to be quite popular with line ups spewing onto the streets on a random weekday afternoon.
It's quite casual inside with lots of booths and tables. It kind of reminds me of Romers Burger Bar from Vancouver.
Obviously, their most famous burger is called the Umami Burger but they surprisingly have quite a few options for those that don't feel like eating beef. They've covered all their bases with black bean patties, ahi tuna for fish lovers, and even some 'manlier' patties like the Manly Burger.
Rae and I both got some beer to wash down our burger with. I opted for the highly alcoholic Golden Monkey (9% alc.) and she got a brown pale ale of some kind that she really liked. They also gave us a plate with four different types of aiolis, sauces, and homemade ketchup. We didn't know what they were for, so we kind of just dipped our fries in it.
We both wanted to try the original so we got the classic Umami Burger ($11.50) which has parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, and Umami house ketchup.
Our server praised their chain for using only the most local, organic, and fresh ingredients which include the ground beef they use to make the patty with. That's why all patties are served medium rare unless specified.
I got the burger as is so as you can see, it was quite rare. It's a little freaky to see your burger patty so pink because it looks you'll get salmonella. LOL. It was delicious though and the 'fresh' ingredients really did shine through. One thing Rae and I both noticed though, were the lack of toppings. We literally got two slivers of mushrooms on each burger and that's it.
Last but not least, I ordered a side of Truffle Fries ($5.50) to add some carbs to my diet. Also, if truffle fries are on the menu, I have to try it at least once. These ones were disappointing though. The truffle was only infused in the cheese and the cheese solidified quite quickly after it was brought out so the whole thing was one clumpy mess. Not recommended.
All in all, Umami Burger is solid if you want to just try their burgers and beers. Their burgers are unlike any burger I've tried before and is way beyond the quality of the ones at A&W or Earls. Skip the truffle fries though, they're just not worth it.
Service Rating: 4.5/5
Food Rating: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
this has nothing to do with Umami but I wish I could do this with my brows :D
20 June 2015
Saturday, June 20, 2015 Brunch, Dine Out, Diner, Downtown, Fast Food, Food Truck, Fusion, Japanese, Rating: 5/5, San Francisco, Seafood, Westcoast No comments
When I was on vacay with Rae in San Fran, there was one place on my list that I could not leave without trying. It's called Sushirrito (combination of sushi and burrito) and it's an original concept from San Fran. I can see this going big in Vancouver...unfortunately, it's not available here in the north so you'll have to travel to San Fran to try out these super cool sushi burritos.
In conclusion, GO TO SUSHIRRITO!! SO DELICIOUSSSS!!
Service Rating: 4/5
Food Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
I would be this happy if someone gave me Sushiritto for my birthday XD
Saturday, June 20, 2015 Dessert, Downtown, Fusion, Japanese, Late Night, Rating: 3/5, Tapas, Vancouver, Wine Bar No comments
VanVan Izakaya is an izakaya (Japanese pub) serving up beer and Japanese tapas on Robson street. I've passed by this location many times before but never stopped to give it a try.
Cafe de L'Orangerie so I wasn't surprised when I was right.
Cafe de L'Orangerie so I wasn't surprised when I was right.
All in all, VanVan Izakaya serves up some good izakaya dishes. It's a little pricey because it's on Robson, but it's worth it just to try the Russian Roulette Takoyaki!
Service Rating: N/A
Food Rating: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
when your friend gets the wasabi takoyaki...