Shizen Ya

16 Jul

shizenyaWhenever I have guests who are vegetarian, I would bring them to Shizen Ya. First, this place is very close to where I live. Second, they serve creative dishes with organic greens. Third, they have a decent environment which won’t make you feel too serious or fancy to walk in and they have good service.

It was my first time to order the Wild Rice Tofu Salad with Quinoa. The dressings, cold tofu, cherry tomatoes, greens and Quinoa are all very fresh, nicely blended in with the vinegary dressing, cool down your nerves and I am sure this is one of the most healthy dish on earth. This salad is my favourite dish. If you like a low-carb, gluten-free the green roll would be perfect because they are with all the vegetable that you could imagine and were wrapped with dried seaweed. I don’t know how they could wrap it so nice and they won’t fall apart. Again, all the greens are crunchy and fresh. Most of the rolls they served involve avocado, like the natural bomber roll. Their sashimi is not as outstanding as their organic greens, the Sakura blossom roll is on the soft side, the taste is good but there is not much texture as the nature of the ingredients used.

Overall, I am happy with the healthy, fresh and creative choices of dishes at Shizen Ya.

Shizen Ya on Urbanspoon


Pho Queen

8 Jul

queenphoIt’s summer time. Most of us do not have an appetite for hot food. No soup, no spicy, no steamy food, please. Only under certain conditions, you will crave hot, comfort food if you are:
1. hungry
2. very hungry
3. Asian in blood

Yes. Hunger strike in Richmond. After we went to speed shop at IKEA on Sunday (we spend only 30 minutes to shop at ikea because we don’t know they close at 5pm), our energy level was down to zero. Looking for food in Richmond is easy if you got a car and a cell phone with internet.

Pho Queen is a clean little restaurant with basic Chinese wooden chairs and dining tables. You won’t feel much air-conditioning inside but you could sit near the entrance as the fresh air will flow in decently. By the way, great tips for surviving this hot weather will be staying calm and order a cold drink. I ordered Grilled Lemon Grass Chicken with spring roll on steamed rice. The spring roll was crispy and fresh, the skin of the roll was not wrapped with rice paper but the typical chinese egg roll skin. I prefer the ones with rice paper because it will give more texture to it. Both the grilled chicken and spring roll cooked very well without any burnt bits and taste, it tasted fresh and juicy. My friend ordered the seafood egg noodle with liver since she needed some iron in her diet. It was a very plain dish with no spicy or beef flavour in the soup, if you like plain and healthy option (well, let’s say iron is healthy), that’s the dish to order.

Last, but not least, the 5-stars steamed rice roll – the skin: so thin and clear. the fillings inside: mushroom, grounded pork and vegetable (I forgot the name is English, it’s texture is similar to water chestnut) are chopped in tiny pieces, all blended into one… yum, it’s so hard to find a restaurant that served such good quality steamed roll. They are either with thick skin or the fillings are too little. I figured out it is not easy to find a Vietnamese restaurant in Vancouver that served Authentic Vietnamese dishes like this, it’s worth a visit to Pho Queen just for the steamed rice roll.

Or if you lost too energy after shopping at IKEA.

Pho Queen 皇后越南餐廳 on Urbanspoon


18 Dec

bawans2It is Christmas time. I feel so bad because I have not writing since September. I feel guilty. Yes, my new year resolution will be: write more (next year). Okay, that said, I have taken many great pictures of the food I ate recently, but they have been sitting in my hard drive for ages. In order to make a good review, I guess I should gather them up. Surprisingly, I figured out that I have a tendency to visit one restaurant many times. I hope this review helps, especially for people who care about the consistency of a restaurant that serves good food.

Bawan’s is a Greek restaurant located on West Broadway. If you go on to Yelp or Urbanspoon, most people would tell you that’s not a good place to have a date. They are right, but just to let you know this is a good place for roast lamb. Yum, yes, they serve good roast lamb. Also, their price is relatively cheap. In fact, if you are student or tight with your pocket money, you could still have a date in Bawan’s. Maybe make up a dessert/ movie plan after dinner. In my experience, I would say their Souvlaki and Roast Lamb were the best as they were freshly prepared. The Donair was not as good because the meat were not cut from a Kebab machine but pre-cooked in a slow cooker. All the side dishes tasted great and they came in a generous portions. Last but not least, ordering pasta dishes in a greek restaurant was an adventure for us. They were not as good as I thought, but of course, it’s a greek restaurant. But I have read reviews that this restaurant makes good pizzas.

After all, I enjoyed my visits. It’s a small family owned business that makes good roast lamb, and the lady who served us is very nice.

Bawan's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Steveston Bakery

5 Sep

sbakeryThis place got an ordinary name – Steveston Bakery located in Steveston, ordinary decorations but with extraordinary bake goods. The women worked there were very nice, don’t expect things went fast like the Porto’s Bakery in LA. This is more like a family style bakery. I liked it.

Since we biked all the way from Broadway to Steveston, we were exhausted. I ordered a piece of almond slice, raspberry danish and my friend ordered a piece of carrot cake. I tried a bite of the carrot cake, it’s moist inside. But it tasted like spice…well, I am not so used to “Christmas-like” kind of cake. I would rather enjoy my almond slice. Oh, both the texture and the taste were great, better than marzipan! It’s flaky enough that the clumps fell all over my shirt. It’s like biting a piece of soft almond with flaky skin (it’s not a crispy kind of pastry though). The raspberry danish was not as special compared to the almond slice. I wish I could go back later and try the other sweets, their counter have so many selections.

Just too bad that they don’t serve expresso but only coffee. Well, a good slice of almond pastry was good enough to recharge my wobbly legs and fuzzy brain.

Steveston Bakery on Urbanspoon

Taco Lobo

5 Sep

tacolobo taco

Travel to the States is a fun thing to do if you live close to the US border. It took two hours for us to drive down to Washington, the only thing that bothered us is usually lineups through the custom. Last night, we were hanging out at Bellingham in order to avoid the rush hour traffic along the border. That is the reason why we were at Taco Lobo. Although I am not a big fan of Mexican food, I found the food in this place is above average. The food was actually very good. I don’t know if I should use the term “authentic” to describe it since I have never been to Mexico before.

I don’t like beans. Therefore I am not going to talk about the beans on the Tamale plate. And normally, I don’t like Tamale, too (so, what are you going to talk about?). But this time, I could not stop eating the Tamale because they didn’t not put sauce on them and they did not look gooey to me. The chicken one is better than the pork, I think it’s because chicken meat is usually more tender and this chicken Tamale had some chilli inside. If you want to add some spicy flavour to it, you could goto their awesome salsa bar. They have salsa, sauce with different spicy level and guacamole (sauce like). The great part is you could mix your own unique sauce (oooooh… that’s my favourite part). Anyway, the chips were included with your order (if you ordered $6.5 of food). Sounds like a good deal.

I ordered two tacos. One ox tongue and one pineapple pork. Oh my OMG. They are the best taco I have ever had. First I would say their taco skin is unique, it’s soft and thicker but fluffy with air holes in it. I would say it’s so much better than giving you three stack of taco skins like La Taqueria and I usually end up filling up with the ready-made skins. Here, in Taco Lobo, their ox tongue is so tender and not over done. And the pineapple and pork is just like perfect, there are no chunks of pineapple there but the pineapple taste is there blend in with the pork. After all, I feel like wow. Finally Taco could be good and cheap. Sorry, I have to compare to La Taqueria in Vancouver because I only went to La Taqueria for tacos and I think they are really good before… But now, I would say Taco Lobo is the best.

You should not take my review seriously because I have never been to Mexico before. But everything just taste right in here, it’s a hard thing to do in cooking. I guess we all know that. Take a look at their menu and visit Bellingham if you have a chance. Afterall, it is a very nice little town with plenty of cute little stores.

Taco Lobo on Urbanspoon

Still Life Polaroids

5 Aug


Thai Pudpong

5 Aug

thai pudpong

A hiking trip at the lighthouse park bought us to this restaurant in West Vancouver. We have walked for an hour from the park, got no idea what to eat. Since there are many luxury houses in West Vancouver, the prices of food seems relatively high. We passed by two Chinese restaurants but did not go in. First, two of us could not order much and would be too much trouble to take food home. Second, pricy Chinese food with not so decent environment made me pondered. Oh, I am just too cheap. Yes, maybe. That is the reason why I loved to have Chinese food in Richmond.

Anyway, we ended up in Thai Pudpong for dinner with a whole bunch of menus from different restaurants in hand. The waiter saw them and joked that we could order take out from the other restaurants and ate here. I liked his humour.

Pawn and Crab Roll
marinated prawns and crab delight filling with carrots and lettuce wrapped in spring roll paper then deep fried, served with a sweet & spicy sauce
This dish was similar to the spring rolls that we ate in a Chinese restaurant. I think what made it special was the sauce.

Som Tum
Green papaya, carrots, tomatoes, peanuts and green beans in a lime, chili and garlic dressing
Not as spicy as I expected although I ordered every dishes with medium (spicy). There is a good balance between the sour and saltiness. But I guess it needed more time to marinated because it tasted like three different things rather then all the ingredients merged into one awesome salad.

Genang Phed Ped-yang
Barbecue duck in a red curry sauce with fresh thai basil, cherry tomatoes and pineapple
There were four pieces of barbecue duck meat in this dish ($14). The duck meat for sure was outsourced by a Chinese grocery store. A very sweet dish with some green round things in it. I guess they were grapes but I am not sure as things in curry is hard to distinguish its original look. Be cautious when you bite into the cherry tomato, it was hot and will burn your tongue.

Overall, the service of the restaurant is good. The food came fast, but not as special as I imagined from the description of the dishes.

Thai Pudpong on Urbanspoon

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