Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tropika at Cambie 星馬印

Tropika is a Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian cuisine chain restaurant, with two other locations at Robson and Lansdowne. Whether it be called cheap, boring or typical, I can easily say that I enjoy sticking to safe restaurants. Safe as in those that are consistently reliable and offers if not all, then a few dishes that I enjoy. And Tropika is one of them. To me, the "must orders" at Tropika are roti, satays, lobster tung yam kung and malaccan curry crab, emphasis on the last two. Having visited both the Robson and Lansdowne location, the last one for me to try is the one on Cambie.
I actually planned to come here a few months ago and walking in on a weekday at 5:00pm, we were rejected since most of the tables were reserved for 6:30pm! Oh well, not really a problem since we went to Banana Leaf after (which was not a good experience). So, debating whether we needed to make reservations on another weekday, we took the chance, walked in, and fortunately the restaurant was not busy. Tropika at Cambie has a clean as well as simple interior and does not look too cluttered. The seating arrangements are not tight, there is a good amount of tables to accommodate larger parties and in our case, the restaurant has a relaxing atmosphere with plenty of staff. Although plenty may not mean attentive… 

After settling down and asking for the prices regarding the seafood, we were a bit shocked. The lobster was priced at $26.95/lb and every one weighed at 3lb; I could not justify spending $75.00 on tung yam kung! As for the crab, it was priced at $58.89 for 2 1/2lb which comes to $23.55/lb, and again, I could not justify spending that much on crab. Is an extra $10.00 a big difference? In a way, not really because these two dishes are the only reason why I come here. But, the only reason why I was hesitant is because both dishes at the Lansdowne location was average at best, and I did not want to complain about wasting money. If I was at the Robson location, I would order them in a heartbeat!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yu Xiang Yuan Restaurant 豫湘園 (2nd visit)


Yu Xiang Yuan is one of the few restaurants that I rave about after only one visit. On my first visit, every dish was above average and really good. Also, the owners and staff were friendly as well! My must orders from memory are the mouth watering chicken, xiao long bao and fried pork with green pepper.

Monday, April 28, 2014

IPOH Asian House

Driving down Hastings Street, BF noticed a new restaurant, IPOH Asian House. When he asked to try it out, I said no, thinking it would be a Hong Kong style cafe joint. However after taking a look at the menu outside, we went in because the restaurant serves Malaysian Cuisine and I am always looking for more Malay restaurants to be my regulars. 

IPOH Asian House is newly renovated, has spacious seating arrangements and the layout is setup with two sides, one for parties of more than five and the other, for less than four. The interior sticks to a lime green and neutral scheme with brown tables as well as taupe chairs. After self seating at a comfortable dining space due to the acknowledgement from a waitress, then having a look at the well presented Malaysian cuisine menu with a few unique items and a sheet of Chinese dishes, plus our friendly waiter, I was actually quite excited and could not wait to order. I had high hopes for the restaurant, possibly because of the alluring menu.

Tentatsu (2nd visit)


Rice on sale?

I admit, other than being picky having a sensitive palette, I am big on service and when it comes to revisiting an average restaurant based on convenience, I do not mind. However, if the service was not so great then I am fussy when it comes to revisiting because, well, the food was just average. This was the case for Tentatsu.

The restaurant serves average eats as well as good portions and for the price, is more than reasonable. As for the service, I was not too pleased with the last visit because our waitress kept pushing us to combine almost every dish which did not make any sense since all plates were practically full. Also to reminisce a high school memory of mine, the "Awesome Roll" which I believe is Sushi Town's creation, was written correctly on the menu but made wrong. In a way it is like… for a restaurant to copy someone else's roll (which is fine), at least make it correctly right?

Asides from my personal reasons for not wanting to revisit, my friend has wanted to for a while and since none of the Japanese restaurants seemed appealing to us on Hastings Street, we revisited.

Tentatsu has a few booth seats along the wall, tables in the centre and room seating is available as well.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rain or Shine Ice Cream

Rain or Shine Ice Cream is on C'est la vie Maggi and my to visit list for our next food date and according to her, the ice cream shop is the next "it" place for ice cream. However, since I was literally in the area and had a pretty crappy lunch at Mamalee's, I felt like I deserved something good and made the visit without her. Rain or Shine has a list of "keepers" and seasonal ice cream choices along with toppings, sundaes and shakes. The interior of the ice cream shop looks clean as well as simple, and has a spacious hallway for customers to line up comfortably. When we walked in, a clerk was helping a customer and another staff member who was at the back of the shop, smiled when she made eye contact and shortly came out to serve us. I am big on customer service and something so simple like a smile, goes a long way. 

Rain or Shine offers single scoops with one flavour for $4.50, single scoops with two flavours for $5.00, doubles for $6.00, a flight of four flavours for $9.00 and a pint for $9.00 as well. The good news for those who want to grab a pint is that you can skip the line! Also, Rain or Shine has "Taco Tuesday" which consists of two scoops of ice cream and one topping served on a taco waffle cone for only $6.00 (a pretty good deal!). Since we did not look at the prices before ordering, we went for two doubles and a flight which comes with the same amount of scoops, would have costed $3.00 less!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mamalee Malaysian Delight

Sometimes being picky can bite you in the arse.

The name Mamalee gives the impression of an authentic, rich and home cooked style Malaysian cuisine restaurant. However, could this be the opposite? When looking for a late lunch on West Broadway in Kitsilano, I passed by a few Japanese restaurants that seemed mediocre at best and catered to students (most offer student discounts). So, being stupid and not going one street over to West 4th, I remember an Instagrammer recommended Mamalee Malaysian Delight to me (the hainanese chicken and roti are supposed to be pretty good!).

The restaurant is not very big and has less than twenty seats available. The interior resembles a small bubble tea joint and the restaurant may get busy during peak hours, since there is a self-serve waitlist by the entrance. Walking in, a waiter was having lunch and immediately got up to seat and provide us with the menu.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bubble Queen

Bubble Queen is located in Richmond and is known for serving fresh mango drinks and chocolate slushes (such as Ferrero Roche and Kit Kat). The bubble tea joint has less than fifteen seats available and the tables were quite dirty (spilled drinks and garbage left). Considering there was only one family ordering, the slow period and two staff members at the front, it would have been nice if the place was a bit more clean (although I probably forget how bubble joints are considering I do not visit frequently them anymore).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tak Heng Hot Pot Restaurant 德興火鍋酒家 (2nd visit)


As a self proclaimed "daily diner trying to find my regulars", I am glad to announce that Tak Heng is officially my favourite all you can eat hot pot restaurant (unless the third as well as fourth visits are not good)! When looking for a new hot pot restaurant to try in Richmond, I felt a bit hopeless since I have tried pretty much almost of all of them. So, remembering that I liked Tak Heng and labeled the restaurant as a possible "Richmond's version of Landmark", I decided to make the revisit. Before revisiting, I read my previous post on the restaurant (lesson learned to always check when revisiting) and was surprised that I thought the menu was limited. The menu has pretty much everything that I like and need!

Walking in for a late lunch, err... or early dinner at 5:30pm, the staff was still setting up. Tak Heng is newly renovated, has comfortable seating arrangements, and is one of the most cleanest hot pot restaurants. The restaurant offers a la carte as well as all you can eat, and we tried the AYCE again.

The restaurant offers complimentary drinks as well as sauces (chilli, bean spiral, vinegar, satay, soy and peanut). I am not sure what kind of drink it is but it tastes like the sweet basil seed drinks, minus the seeds. Also like the last visit, no cilantro, green onion or red chilli was available, but may be if asked?

ADULT $18.98 || CHILDREN (5-12) $13.95 
BROTH $8.00 || POP $2.00

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cafe D'Lite Express 椰樹林

Having a late lunch and trying out a few food stalls at Aberdeen Centre, Cafe D'Lite Express was stop number one. Thinking back on it now, I probably should have tried the hainanese chicken too!

SEAFOOD LAKSA ($7.75) + COCA COLA ($1.12.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Candy Meister

Going for a stroll on Commercial Drive since C'est la vie Maggi and I rarely come down here or are familiar with the area, she randomly yelled "candy food truck" and we made our way to Candy Meister. Walking up to the candy truck (the only truck where one can take candy from a stranger!), the friendly clerk offered us some samples while we took a look around. 

Candy Meister offers fruit as well as herbal flavoured hard candies, cough drops, lollipops and marshmallows. Personally, I am not a fan of hard candy because I like to finish sweets right away rather than savouring them in my mouth (also because of fob thoughts such as getting a cavity!), although I do find the cough drops healthier than grocery store brands. The hard candies are priced at $3.81 each or 3/$10.48 and we went for three packs. Maggi's choice is the Green Woodruff Leaves and mine are the Honey Bees as well as the Fizzy Candy. Luckily for me, Maggi is not a big fan of Candy and I got to keep all three packs LOL. Plus, she paid for them too!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery : Abbotsford location

After leaving Harrison, we made the trip out to Hope just to take a ride on the Air Tram. Unfortuantely though, the air tram was not open until a few weeks later so we started heading back to Vancouver. On the way back, I felt light headed as well as car sick so we got off the Whatcom exit to grab a snack.

Sushi Bella 美 : North Vancouver location

You know what? I am going to park and we will walk to the closest restaurant which is Waraku Sushi because we really do not have time to look for a place that looks good right now. Walking up to Waraku Sushi, the restaurant seemed to be closed and was, despite an unlocked door and the open sign lit. After standing there thinking we are in a rush and I rather have a burger and be gone, we walked up to the next restaurant which is Sushi Bella. This is also when a man who was walking his dog overheard us and mentioned the restaurant is great, as well as that he was picking up some take out.

According to my blog, I have posted forty Japanese restaurants in ten months and only two out of the bunch has served not so fresh sashimi. To be fair, one was an AYCE and the other, a slow food stall at Aberdeen Centre which may be expected for not serving the freshest sashimi. However, the third in this case is apparently (according to some reviews on Urbanspoon) quite a busy Japanese restaurant on the Lonsdale strip! Anyhow, trying out Sushi Bella based on convenience rather than looking at photos unlike my last two great Japanese finds (Kaya Japanese and Tokyo Hon), we walked in for lunch.

Walking in, the restaurant did not look very busy and had Korean rap music playing in the background. As for the seating arrangements, there are seats at the sushi bar, a few tables for two and up a couple of steps at the back of the restaurant, tables for four or more. In addition, outdoor seating is available as I overheard a couple's request to be seated outside.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Golden Swan Restaurant 金天鵝海鮮酒家 : Alaskan King Crab


A friend of mine has been wanting to try dinner at Golden Swan for quite a while and as for me, do not have much interest. I used to come here for dim sum a few years ago but stopped due to inconvenience and that there are better restaurants. As for dinner, I have never tried. Golden Swan is located on Victoria Drive and I forgot how big the restaurant is! The restaurant has plenty of seats and comfortable seating arrangements, although there is one crappy table for two near the washroom which was BF and I's seat for our last dim sum visit. Asides from the seating arrangements, the restaurant is fairly clean and is considered one of the "nicer" Chinese restaurants due to the high ceiling, chandeliers, and managers wearing a suit which generally means better than usual typical Chinese service. 

Fortunately for my friend, I was craving for Alaskan King Crab and since Golden Swan is currently offering a great price at $21.99/lb, she finally got her wish to dine here. When only dining for two, I like to find a better deal for AKC since, well, it will be cheaper LOL. Anyways, something I have always liked about Golden Swan is that the restaurant serves glass bottles of Coca Cola! Also, the price is pretty fair considering some restaurants charge the same for a glass of fountain pop. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Aji Hana Japanese Eatery & Udon

My friend and I were craving for sushi but unfortunately, I have not found a restaurant that seems like a must visit or be slightly above average in Richmond. So, when we started our late lunch trying out a few food stalls at Aberdeen Centre, she desperately wanted to try Aji Hana. Aji Hana is a newer food stall that serves udon, tempura and sushi as well as combos. As much as I tried to convince her the food may not be that great based on a hunch and that only a couple of people were ordering udon rather than sushi, somehow we both ended up with four pieces each.

Shanghai Shanghai 上海上海南翔小籠

Continuing with my interest in trying a few food stalls at Aberdeen Centre, Shanghai Shanghai was my next choice after Yougo Chicken. I pretty much went for the usual and obvious, pan fried buns as well as the xiao long bao. When visiting a food stall, I try to sample only a few dishes just in case, well… none tastes good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yougo Chicken

Browsing through the food court at Aberdeen Centre, I noticed quite a few new food stalls such as Yougo Chicken. Yougo Chicken is a food stall serving Taiwanese bento boxes, sausage, fried pork chop, tofu and of course, popcorn chicken. The prices are fairly reasonable and I believe the bento boxes are only $7.50. Yougo Chicken also offers dessert such as Taiwanese style waffles and the thick cut toasts. However, since I wanted to try other food stalls, I stuck with something small and a favourite of mine which is the Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

Royal Tandoori

So... I am guilty of occasionally visiting a wrong restaurant due to being careless and just… never bother looking at the restaurant's exterior. This was the case when I wanted to visit Royal Tandoori a couple of weeks ago but ended up at Indian Star (I did not even know I was at Indian Star and geotagged the restaurant as Royal Tandoori on Instagram LOL). My interest in visiting Royal Tandoori is because most of the comments on Urbanspoon emphasizes the restaurant's use of spiciness, and I love spicy food. I guess to me, spiciness can equal to great food especially for Indian cuisine! 
Coming on a Sunday evening, the restaurant was… not very busy and when we requested for a booth seat prior to a couple of hours before closing, the waitress declined as those seats are reserved for last minute diners of groups of four. Fortunately though after ordering, the waitress asked if we wanted to move as the secret to getting a booth seat is to order for four. The interior has comfortable seating arrangements and the only issue may be there are less than ten tables available, despite having more take out orders than diners. Plus, another table as well as us were the only ones in the restaurant for the entire time.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Cartems Donuterie

Continuing with C'est la vie Maggi and I's food date, we walked across the street from Finch's Tea and Coffee to grab some donuts. I have been wanting to try Cartems Donuterie for a while and was secretly quite happy when Maggi agreed. Cartems Donuterie seems to be the go to place for donuts and in my opinion, is a lot better than Forty Ninth Parallel, food and service wise. The donut shop has a high ceiling and an industrial look with bricked walls, polished wooden floors as well as tables, stools and wood stump seating.

Although the donut shop has less than ten seats, the interior is quite spacious and should not be too cramped if there is a long line up. As for the prices, the donuts are priced at $3.00/each, $15.00/half a dozen and $30.00/dozen. We tried picking out half a dozen but both agreed it was not worth the price since only three of the flavours stood out to us.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tokyo Hon Sushi

Looking for a new Japanese restaurant to try based on photos (hey, it worked the first time and I found a pretty good restaurant using this method, Kaya Japanese!), a next "must visit" for myself was Tokyo Hon. Tokyo Hon is located in Langley near Walmart and Save on Foods. Really? Langley? Yeah, I could not find anything in Burnaby, Coquitlam and Vancouver that seemed like a must visit for me. By the way, I had to wait two days just to make it out here and those felt like the longest days ever! Walking in on a weeknight, the restaurant was not very busy and a friendly waitress asked if we wanted to sit in a room or at a table.

I appreciate her asking considering it was only the two of us and the room (not the same one pictured) was big enough for six! The restaurant has two sides, one with tables sectioned off by dividers and the other with seats by the sushi bar, sofas for those waiting for take out and I believe four private rooms. The interior is pretty big as well as spacious, clean and quite nice. Tokyo Hon has a relaxing atmosphere and is very homey.


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