Saturday, 15 November 2014

Taishoken - Vancouver, BC

We wen to Taishoken on Rememberance day and we were glad we didn't drive as a lot of the roads were blocked due to the parade. When we got there, there was a lineup, but not too long. We got seated in probably around 15 mins. The place itself isn't very big. There were around 4 small tables with a big communal table and 5 seats at the bar. Taishoken is famous for their Tsukemen which is noodles and soup separated. I decided to get just the regular Shoyu Tonkatsu though as every ramen place has that and it would be easier to compare. Calvin got the Kimchi Tonkatsu Ramen. We get a choice of pork shoulder or pork belly for the chasiu. I chose half and half and Calvin chose pork belly because he likes his fat. 

The soup was super rich. It tasted different than other soup base. There was an interesting after-taste which I couldn't seem to figure out what it was. The soup definitely had a good proportion of fat as you could tell with the oils in the soup. When I drank the soup, it seemed as though the soup and the oil kind of separated in my mouth. It was very interesting but I did like the soup. I really liked the noodles as well. It was very al dente and tasted like what ramen noodle should taste like. Between the pork shoulder and the pork belly, I would also pick the pork belly next time because there were more taste and because of the fat, the meat was softer. The pork shoulder still tasted better than the ones I've had in Vancouver before. It was marinaded well and the taste came through. It wasn't tough like rubber. The egg was pretty good too. It was boiled property with a soft yolk although the yolk wasn't oozing out. 

Calvin did enjoy his kimchi noodle too especially when that day was super cold. The kimchi wasn't too overpowering or spicy that he couldn't taste the soup base. He really enjoyed his pork belly. It was done quite well. 

The pork shoulder on the left and pork belly beside it. You can tell after one bite, the meat didn't look tough and hard to separate as the meat around bite mark was cut off nicely. 

You can tell how clear the soup looked and that the oil sits above the soup base. 

Overall, we would definitely come back again but we are worried there would be a huge line up soon just like Kintaro. We like this place over Yah Yah Ya, Gyoza Bar, and Santouku. Kintaro is still one of my favorite because of the fattiness in the soup and the thickness and taste of the cha siu. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Samsoonie Noodle & Rice

Noticed a while ago that Man Ri Sung in Richmond closed. I heard that they moved to a bigger location in Aberdeen but I have yet to confirm that. Walked by this new place a few times and decided to give it a try. First thing I noticed that it is opened by Koreans, which is a good sign that the food would be authentic. We went there on Sunday afternoon and there were quite a few tables. 

As the name of the place suggested, they have a lot of noodles and rice to choose from. I was craving bulgogi so decided to order that. The prices are pretty reasonable. 

They have done some renovations compared to the old place but there isn't too many tables available. 

One thing to note, the menu mentioned there is self-serve miso soup with the bulgogi that I ordered but they didn't direct me where I should go. There wasn't any signs letting me know where the miso soup was located. It wasn't a big deal but if they mentioned it in the menu, they should explain it better or just remove that. 

We wanted to try their sushi roll compared to Man Ri Sung's. Theirs is pretty good. First thing I noticed is that it was wrapped pretty tightly. I really don't like it when the rolls are so loose that whey you pick them up with the chop stick, everything falls apart. The ingredients tasted pretty fresh and all went pretty well together. It was pretty good. 

The lunch came with two side dishes which is less than the usual Korean place. I didn't really like that kimchi that much. I wasn't sure if they made it or if they bought it. It was a bit too spicy but not enough sweetness to it. The sweet potato was pretty soft. They didn't deep fry them ahead of them which some restaurants do. The potato was pretty good.

This was the bulgogi and there were a lot of rice on the bulgogi. It was harder to eat the rice on the teppan plate though. I can tell that they didn't want to give you so much meat by filling half the plate with rice. It tasted pretty good though. It was seasoned well. It wasn't too salty or too sweet. I did like that they had a lot of green onions in the dish. 

Calvin ordered the braised spicy chicken hot pot. There were a lot of chicken in the pot but there were all chicken wings. There were a lot of ingredients in the hot pot and it was filling. The hot pot wasn't too too spicy. We did  enjoy it as the chicken had the kimchi flavour too. We thought they would just add the chicken at the end and the chicken would be kind of bland. Overall, the food there is pretty decent. Of course it's still not my top choice, but as a Korean restaurant in Richmond, it would be one of the top choices I go to. 

One thing to note is that don't expect to get really good service there as I find their service is average. 

Samsoonie Noodle & Rice on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Gyoza Bar - Vancouver, BC

This was a restaurant which received so much hype but I was very underwhelmed by it. Parts of it was good, parts of it was average. 

They don't take reservation so I would not suggest coming here with a large party as it may take a while. We went at around 6 something and they told us it would be around 20 mins wait already. down our name and walked around. We came back pretty quickly because there was nothing really in that area. We got called less than 20 mins and got seated at a communal table meaning there would be people beside us. 

I do like that their menu is not too complicated so many choices. Each category only has a few choices. 

Because of the restaurant's name, we had to order their gyoza. We ordered their original Teppan Gyoza which came with a chilli sauce and a green onion sauce.  

The dumpling was super thin. The filling was peaking through the dumpling skin. The proportion of meat and veggies was good although I would've wanted more chives or green onions in there. However, it was lacking a bit of seasoning. It wasn't salty enough. We had to put a lot of sauce on it.

I ordered their Tomato Seafood Ramen which looked pretty good. The soup base was quite good. It was full of tomato and seafood flavour, very rich. It reminded me of italian cuisine. It was as if I was having an italian dish. Having that said, it didn't go too well with the ramen. The noodles itself was cooked but it wasn't as al dente as it should be. Most of the seafood were pretty fresh. 

Calvin ordered the Pork Tonkatsu ramen. Again the soup/ broth was good. It was very rich in pork flavour but the cha-siu itself was lacking taste and the noodles wasn't as al dente as it should be. 

I would say it was definitely worth trying once but I don't know if I would come back again although the restaurant is quite new and perhaps everything will be refined later on.

Gyoza Bar + Ramen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Yolk's - Vancouver, BC

The first time I had Yolk's was probably one and half years ago when they only had the food truck. Knowing they have expanded to a store front now, we decided to go back again. The restaurant was definitely was easy to spot with the bright yellow and blue colour. We went on a Monday so there wasn't a lot of people. The restaurant is quite big and and fit a lot of people. If you have been to Red Wagon, Yolk's would be twice the size of Red Wagon. 

I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice which was $4 and Calvin ordered the Chocolate Milk with Calleburt Chocolate. That was one expensive orange juice. 

Since their Egg Sandwich was so popular, that was what I ordered while Calvin ordered their daily special which comes with 2 eggs and sausage with hollandaise. Their hollandaise was decent though it wasn't very well-balanced. 

I ordered the sandwich with their truffle oil infused fries which was super delicious with the spring onions. Though as we ate more, it was starting to taste salty. 

This was my egg sandwich. Considering the price, I was expecting a larger portion but it wasn't enough... The portion was quite small compared to Red Wagon. 

Given their name Yolk's, the best part would have to be the yolk and no doubt it is definitely a runny yolk. The yolk was cooked perfectly. The sandwich itself was pretty good though. The muffin was toasted, the ham went well with the egg yolk. 

If I have a choice between Yolk's and Red Wagon, I would pick Red Wagon. One because they have more choices but two because their portions are bigger. Don't get me wrong, Yolk's is really good but I prefer one over the other.

Yolk's Breakfast Restaurant and Commissary on Urbanspoon

Takeya Sushi

Simple decor, decent food is what I would use to describe Takeya Sushi. Takeya Sushi is located in the Seafair mall which is on No.1 and Francis, right beside the Safeway in the mall. I used to be quite familiar as I lived in the area and from what I've heard before, this sushi place wasn't the greatest. So when my parents recommended this place, I hesitated until my dad told me they changed owners. So I decided to give it a try. 

The place isn't very big and they have very simple decor. We were greeted by a Japanese waitress and only waited a few minutes before we got a table. I was so overwhelmed by the menu. They had 6 pages of food and rolls alone, they probably had over 20 kinds. It was very hard deciding what to order. 

In the end, we ordered 3 of their chef's special which were Takeya nigiri, Mango Philadelphia roll and Ebi Shu-mai.

First came the Ebi Shu-mai. We ordered it because it is not a common dish we see at Japanese restaurant. The dish is quite creative but it was kind of bland. I couldn't really taste the shrimp although the filling was all shrimp. 

Then came this platter, which they put 3 rolls we ordered onto one plate. There was the salmon roll, which I always love. There was also the Futomaki which was half a roll, and then the chef's special, Mango Philadelphia roll. 

The salmon was pretty fresh and I was quite disappointment at the other two rolls. The futomaki is pretty average futomaki but it wasn't rolled properly. It was really loose. I don't know if you can tell from the picture but the two pieces at the back pretty much fell apart. We couldn't pick up each piece without the filling falling out. 

The Mango Philadelphia roll had very strong cream cheese. The mango on the top didn't seem like was actual mango pieces as the color of the "mango" was very pale yellow. The avacado wasn't ripe yet as it was quite hard to chew.  

This dish is what I enjoyed the most. This is the Takeya Nigiri which had seared salmon and tuna as well as unagi, shrimp and saba. All the sushi on this dish were quite good. Of course the seared salmon can't be compared to Miku or Minami's seared salmon sushi and considering the price, it was pretty good. 

Their service is pretty good too. Their waitresses always have a smile on. 

Overall, this is not the best sushi I've had in Vancouver but considering the affordable price, their sushi is pretty good. I would come back here for some decent and reasonable priced sushi. 

Takeya Sushi on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Yah Yah Ya Ramen - Richmond, BC

This is probably the best ramen place in Richmond. I heard from a friend that there's this new ramen place that opened. Being ramen lovers, Calvin and I had to go try it. Yah Yah Ya is located in the Union square mall, right beside Richmond Sushi. This place was only opened in July so we thought it would be empty but we were wrong. I think we waited around 20-30 mins for a table on a Friday night. The place isn't very big. There are probably around 10 tables. 

*update: We went back again on Tuesday night and there was no wait at all. 

Please keep in mind they are only opened until 9pm and their last call is 8:50pm so make sure you get there before then! 

You get to choose the type of noodle, the intensity of taste, the the amount of oil.
Noodles: hard, normal soft
Taste:  Heavy, normal, light
Oil: More, Normal, Less

Based on their menu, they also have the option of lean or fat chasiu but it wasn't available when we ordered.

The ambience is nice and relaxing.

I ordered my favourite Shoyu ramen and Calvin ordered his favourite Miso.  We ordered normal for everything. Below is the Shoyu.

Miso Ramen. There was a lot of bean sprouts in the Miso. We both liked the Shoyu base better. The Shoyu has a stronger taste where the Miso was more mild. Calvin said next time he will get soup with "heavy" taste instead of "normal". 

As you can tell, the chasiu looks kind of bland and it was. There wasn't really a taste to it. It pulled apart very easily but it basically felt like the meat was cooked in the soup for hours and has lost its flavour into the soup.

The noodle was decent though. We like our noodles slightly chewy and this was exactly that. The egg was pretty good though I would've enjoyed it more if it was marinaded longer.

We also ordered the gyoza and this was $5. They bring you sauces for you to mix on your own. All the pieces were stuck together so when we were trying to pick one up, the filling fell out. We weren't able to pick up one piece as a whole. The gyoza wasn't very special. There was more meat than veggies so the proportion wasn't very good. It was lacking some taste. I think they probably buy it outside though I can't be certain.

*Update: When we ordered it again second time on a Tuesday night, the gyoza was cooked better. We were able to separate them apart one by one without falling apart. The taste was still lacking but the skin was thinner.

Overall, I would definitely come back to this place again as I really enjoyed their soup base and their noodle. Although there are better ramen places in Vancouver, this one is pretty good too. 

Yah Yah Ya Ramen on Urbanspoon