Rodney’s Oyster House

Restaurant: Rodney’s Oyster House
Cuisine: Seafood
Area: Yaletown
Address: 1228 Hamilton Street
Parking: Pay Parking
Phone: (604)609-0080
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11:30am – 11:00pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

Well, Here you go! The well-known Rodney’s Oyster House. I know… I feel bad even writing a review on this restaurant because I’m sure you can find endless reviews on this place already. This is one of the places that I get shocked when some of my friends tell me they haven’t tried yet. It’s that famous! Even the tourists know about it! Like it or not, I will still write a review on this place because they offer quality oysters in a fun atmosphere and it is like literally less than 5 minutes walking distance from where I live.  The restaurant has a rustic beach theme and the layout is kind of like a loft style where there’s upstairs but isn’t as big as the downstairs and you can sort  of look down and see the floor below you, like an indoor balcony. To me, Rodney’s is like a male version of Hooters! Okay, I’m over exaggerating a bit but all of the wait staffs here are males….I mean hot ones! They are all really fun and energetic too! One time, my girlfriends and I were seated upstairs and our waiter casually sat with us and took our orders. After he was done taking our orders, he literally jumped down to the first floor instead of taking the stairs down! It’s always fun to be in an atmosphere when you can tell that employees are having fun doing their job! Anyways, I was going through my previous food pictures to see what I have for Rodney’s and I discovered that I have none….how could this have happened….well, it’s one of those places I’ve been coming back quite often that I didn’t even bother to take any pictures…..so I had no choice but to go back and take some pictures…which means more oysters for me! Yum Yum!

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I went here on Saturday around three o’clock, just in time for their low tide (happy hour) which is offered from 3 to 6 everyday except for Sundays. On this day, Yaletown was having an event called Candy Festival so the place was packed with people.

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Luckily, we were seated right away but a huge line-up was formed after we were seated.  It is definitely worthwhile coming here during their low tide hours because you get few dollars off from some of their popular menu items.

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Raw oysters are priced $1.50 during the low tide hours and I know it’s not the cheapest since there are a lot of places that offer buck a shuck during their happy hours lately. However, considering their location and quality of their oysters, I think it is a great deal!

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I always order their Oyster Rockefeller and Pasta with Scallops, regardless of the fact that they are not included in their low tide menu, because they are so good. However, I had to skip on Oyster Rockefeller because it was only two of us that day…and I didn’t think we would be able to finish it all…no…I’m lying… I could have finish them all but my workout coach told me to reduce my food intake….sigh…..

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As soon as you order your foods, you are served with these yummy bread! This day, our waiter forgot to bring us the bread so I asked for it…no biggie!
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When you order your oysters, you get these 5 different sauces. It starts off mild from the left hand side and it gets spicier as you move toward your right hand side.
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Raw Oyster– 4.5/5 

  • $1.50 per piece (happy hour price)
  • We got dozen of their raw oysters and they were served with lemon wedges and horseradish.
  • The size of the oysters were huge and they were really fresh!

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Mussels– 4/5 

  • $13.95 (happy hour price)
  • Steamed in dill butter, garlic, and wine.
  • They were huge and soft, yet chewy in some parts in a good way.
  • You need to save your breads and dip them with this sauce!
  • These were really good but the best mussels I’ve had in Vancouver were from Cafe Salade de Fruits.

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Pan Fried Oysters– 4/5 

  • $12.50 (happy hour price)
  • Freshly shucked oyster lightly breaded and served with their own tartar sauce.
  • The oysters were good size and they were fried perfectly with crispy exterior.

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Pasta with Scallops – 4/5 

  • $18.50
  • Tagliatelle pasta in creamy tomato sauce topped with few pieces of large scallops.
  • It is cooked al dente and always taste so good!

For quality seafood, Rodney’s is definitely one of my favorite restaurants. If I am feeling hungry and get the craving for seafood during the happy hour, I always have to make a tough decision of either going to Rodney’s or Joe Fortes, another solid restaurant for seafood. As for value, Joe Fortes has better happy hour menu in my opinion because you get 50% discount on their appetizers. The only setback of their happy hour would be that you need to sit at the bar. At Rodney’s, you get to sit anywhere you would like as long as the seats are available. Besides, their oysters taste different as well! Joe Fortes’ happy hour oysters have rich and creamy taste, whereas Rodney’s happy hour oysters are more fresh tasting. If you haven’t been to Rodney’s, I would suggest you to try them at least once so that you can see for yourself why people are raving about this restaurant so much. I haven’t been to their newer location in Gastown yet so I hope to visit them in the near future!

Rodney's Oyster House

Octopus’ Garden

Restaurant: Octopus’ Garden
Cuisine: Japanese
Area: Kitsilano
Address: 1995 Cornwall Avenue
Parking: Street Parking
Phone: (604)734-8971
Hours of Operation: Mon-Tues & Thurs-Sun 5:00pm – 10:30pm  (closed on Wednesdays)

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

As a sushi addict, I feel like it is my mission to try all the Japanese Restaurants in Lower Mainland. I just love the feeling when I find a new hidden gem and share it with people. When I found Sushi By Yuji and posted pictures on my sns, almost all my friends started visiting the restaurant. Joy of sharing right 😉 I guess that’s the main reason why I started this blog anyways. However, I will try my best not to make this blog too focused on Japanese restaurant although I have to admit Japanese is my favorite cuisine! Anyways, on this day, I finally got to try Octopus’ Garden in Kitsilano. I am sure a lot of you have already been here or at least heard of this place because it is pretty famous for good quality Japanese Restaurant. I really don’t know what held me back from trying this restaurant until now since I live so close by. I think it is because I was told that it is super pricey and I am usually hesitant trying out extremely expensive places because not many restaurants justified the price in my previous experiences. I took a look at their online menu and I noticed that the price is definitely on higher side but it was not overly expensive either (I mean not like Tojo’s expensive) .

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This is the entrance of Octopus’ Garden and how cute is their noren (traditional Japanese fabric divider)? By the way, it says fish on it for those of you who are curious!
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Their menu does not have huge selections but I thought it was simple and nice. Interestingly, nigiri comes in set of two so the price reflects two pieces of nigiri sushi. This is pretty common in the States but I don’t think I have seen Japanese restaurants doing this in Vancouver. This may be inconvenient for people like me who likes to order individual pieces to try out all the different nigiri selections! At the same time, I can understand how annoying it would be for the chef to make one piece of every kinds of nigiri sushi for people like me especially during the peak time lol.
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I loved their chopstick rest! Look at the adorable octopus! Even their napkins are fancy looking! Anyways, moving on the most important part, the FOOD!
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‘Sada’s own’ Nomu Uni Shooter– 3.5/5 

  • $7.50 (regular size)
  • Sea urchin, mountain potato, rice, quail egg, and wasabi
  • I’ve tried uni shooter at few other places but this one was quite unique in a way that it had rice in it.
  • Uni and the quail egg gave that slimy yet creamy taste, meanwhile, mountain potato gave crunchy texture.

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Sada’s Nigiri Sampler (8 pieces)– 4/5 

  • $28
  • Kanpachi, Waru, Seared Tuna, Octopus, Blue Fin tuna, Tai, Sockeye Salmon, and Hamachi
  • The selection is decided by the chef according to the freshest fish of the day.
  • The rice, which is really important part of the nigiri, was nicely prepared and the fish were all very fresh.
  • It was my first time trying Waru (Butterfish). It’s not commonly seen in other Japanese restaurants. It had firm texture and light flavor.

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Tamago – 4.5/5    Chopped Scallop  – 4/5

  • Tamago $5.00 (2 pieces), Chop Chop $ 7.00 (2 pieces)
  • I always order Tamago if they are made in the restaurant (not those factory made ones) because it is really hard to make a decent tamagoyaki so it assesses chef’s skill.
  • Wow, tamogo was really nicely prepared! It was not overly sweet and the charcoal taste gave a kick to it!
  • Chop chop, or more commonly known as Chopped Scallop, was really fresh and yummy.

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Gintoro (Braised Black Cod Belly)– 4/5      Saba (Mackerel) – 4/5

  • Gintoro $8 (2 pieces), Saba $7 (2 pieces)
  • Gintoro is another nigiri sushi that is very rare in Vancouver. It had nice salty, yet buttery taste.
  • Saba was also nicely prepared without any fishy taste.

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S.A.D.A roll– 3.5/5 

  • $15
  • Prawn tempura, red pepper, asparagus, tobiko & mayo. Your choice of avocado or swiss cheese on top.
  • It was nice and simple but nothing special.
  • However, I was not expecting any crazy fusion rolls, I can get those from other restaurants.

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Here is more closer look of the S.A.D.A. roll showing what’s inside.
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Octopus gummy was served after meal and I liked how they are really serious about their octopus theme!

Overall, Octopus’ Garden was definitely one of the nicer Japanese Restaurants in Lower Mainland for authentic Japanese cuisine. After visiting this restaurant, I was asked from many of my friends whether it would be one of my top five restaurant for Sushi. It is hard to say since some of my discoveries lately are about the same in terms of ranking. If it is included in my top five, Octopus’ Garden would be the fifth place. However, I need to try more of their menu before I can make a fair judgement. For now, I have to say Hanako in Surrey still remains as my No.1 Japanese Restaurant in terms of freshest nigiri sushi. I will post review of Hanako in the near future!

Octopus' Garden

Pink Sugar Cafe

Restaurant: Pink Sugar Cafe
Cuisine: Japanese Style Cafe
Area: Coquitlam
Address:#115-3030 Lincoln Avenue
Parking: Parking Available
Phone: (778)838-9205
Hours of Operation: Mon 10:00am – 2:00 pm, Tues-Fri 10:00am – 4:30pm, Sat 10:00am – 2:00pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

My mom loves hanging out with me. Why? Mostly because I am the NICEST daughter of hers (my sister may object to this but hey! she doesn’t read my blog lol). However, part of the reason is that I take her out to all these new restaurants! My daddy only takes her to the same restaurant every time they dine out and I am talking about this Korean-Chinese restaurant in Surrey called Mal Li Jang Sung (They went 4 straight days to this restaurant last week). So, my mom always sounds so excited whenever I phone her to ask if she wants to meet me for lunch! On this day, it was time to take my car for maintenance schedule so I picked up my mom and dropped off my car at the shop and took her to a breakfast/lunch restaurant in Coquitlam.

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Pink Sugar Cafe is located in the Lincoln center in Coquitlam (right next to the Henderson Mall). This small cafe is owned by a very nice couple and serving Japanese style breakfast and lunch. Not a lot of people know about this place because it is pretty much hidden in a small mall in Coquitlam. However, their food is carefully executed in a cute presentation.
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Here is their drink menu. You can check the food menu from their website (just click on the button at the very bottom of this review)!
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Japanese Lunch Special – 4/5 

  • $10.99
  • The menu changes everyday.
  • Toady, it came with Japanese tofu, chicken teriyaki, Soba noodle, rice, and a piece of roll cake for dessert.
  • The main was the chicken teriyaki and it reminded me of nice home-style chicken teriyaki.
  • Chicken Teriyaki was served on a salad.
  • You get tea or coffee after the meal.

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Soba (Buckwheat noodle)  

  • Soba noodle was part of the set meal.
  • Served in chilled soy-based dashi broth and thin sliced egg omelette, cucumber, and imitation crab meat stick.

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Japanese Cold Tofu

  • This dish is commonly eaten in Japanese homes and usually called Hiyayakko.
  • This version had slightly different sauce than I am accustomed to (I am guessing spicy mayo sauce).
  • It is fresh and cold, and perfect appetizer during summer time.

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Roll Cake 

  • How cute is the strawberry on top! It is cut in heart shape!
  • I love Japanese roll cakes as it is not overwhelmingly sweet.

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Spicy Panini– 4.5/5 

  • $7.99
  • This panini was yum!
  • It had tuna, ham, lettuce, onions, and tomato inside the panini and was served with side of salad.
  • It was served warm and the crispness of the panini and the savory filling made this dish finger licking good!

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French Toast – 4.5/5 

  • $5.99
  • It was served perfectly with bread being creamy buttery soft and the sweetness of the maple syrup made this a perfect dessert.
  • Fruits (strawberry, orange, and blueberry) were all very fresh.

Pink Sugar Cafe is a small cafe serving home-style Japanese lunch set meals. Since I’m one of those people who love to taste variety of dishes in one meal, I loved their lunch set meal. They serve different menu every day for their lunch special so you will never get tired of it! I would love to come back and try their Japanese style cheesecake next time. My mom and I both enjoyed our meal at Pink Sugar Cafe and would recommend this restaurant who are in that area for lunch. (Note: they don’t accept credit card!)

Pink Sugar Cafe

Taka’s Take-Out sushi

Restaurant: Taka’s Take-Out Sushi
Cuisine: Japanese
Area: White Rock
Address: 15214 Pacific Avenue
Parking: Parking Available
Phone: (604)538-8587
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 11:30am – 9:00pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

For the last few months, I’ve been looking for a reason to go to White Rock because there was this one Japanese restaurant I was dying to try. Well, my sister wanted to try horseback riding lesson in Langley and she asked me to come with her. Lately, my sister is trying out every activities she can think of…. you name it… yoga, surfing, rock climbing, scuba diving, and now horseback riding! I think it is something to do with her turning 30. She regrets that she hasn’t done any of these when she was in her twenties…Hey! you only live once right?  Why not enjoy your life! So when she asked me to come with her to Langley, I was like hmmm…. Langley?….that’s close enough to White Rock! I told her I will go only on one condition, we get lunch from Taka’s take-out Sushi!

Taka’s Take-Out Sushi is a super tiny restaurant located close to the beach in White Rock. I am not exaggerating when I say tiny because this restaurant only has three tables and few chairs by the sushi bar. In my opinion, the word “take-out” in their name kind of misleads people. When you hear take-out restaurant, people usually imagine cheap, fast, and subpar sushi restaurants. Well, this restaurant is certainly not one of those! The chefs here really cares about quality and the presentation of their dishes. I can see that the owner really cares about his restaurant and attempts to make every details perfect.
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Aburi Nigiri Sushi – 4.5/5 

  • Albacore Toro $2.75, Sea Scallop $3.25, Sable Fish $.3.25, Flounder Fringe $3.75, Wagyu Beef $6.25, Amber Jack Toro $3.50, Super White $2.75, Mackerel $2.25
  • We ordered most of the aburi nigiri sushi that were available that day.
  • They were all so good but the highlights for me were flounder fringe (literally melted in my mouth), Super White, and Wagyu Beef.
  • No need for soy sauce as they are all served with sauce.

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Snowy Rocky Roll– 4.5/5 

  • $11.00
  • Inside: spicy tuna & cucumber  On top: BBQ eel, crunchy flakes, sesame seeds, and onions
  • The roll was served warm and the mild spiciness of the tuna and the sweetness of bbq eel with the crunchy texture of the flakes went very well together.

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Amaebi (Sweet Shirmp) – 3.5/5 

  • $2.00 per piece
  • Interestingly, it had masago on top.
  • Amaebi was fresh and masago on top went pretty nicely with it.

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Tamago (Egg omelette) – 3.5/5 

  • $2.00
  • It was on the sweeter side.
  • It was prepared nicely but nothing memorable.

Overall, all the dishes we tried were prepared carefully but the aburi nigiri sushi were the highlights of this restaurant. The price is definitely on the higher side but I thought the quality makes up for it. Although the ambiance may not be as good due to its limited space, the service we received was very attentive. If you are a sushi snob like me and looking for good quality nigiri sushi, I would definitely recommend this restaurant!

Taka's Take-Out Sushi

Grand Dynasty

Restaurant: Grand Dynasty
Cuisine: Chinese
Area: North Burnaby
Address: 4331 Dominion Street
Parking: Street Parking
Phone: (604)432-6002
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 9:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:00pm – 10:30 pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

Statutory holidays for a foodie is just another full day of food exploration! I haven’t had dim sum since I got back from Hong Kong vacation so it was definitely time for me to have some….but…where should I go? My first choice was Western Lake Chinese Seafood on Victoria Drive because I heard really good things about them. I phoned them with hopes to make reservation but how foolish I was! Making same-day reservation on a statutory holiday for dim sum? Duh! What was I thinking? I was politely told that they were super busy that I may need to wait couple hours if I do walk-in. So, I phoned my second choice, Grand Dynasty in Burnaby, to see whether they are super busy as well. The person said they are very busy but she offered to take my phone number for phone-in reservation! We got there around 11:30am and I saw huge crowd of people lined up already. I was told to wait 20 more minutes for my table and I was like “No Problem!” (20 minutes is really nothing if you’ve seen the line up!). Besides, there’s a casino right next door for us to kill the time!

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Grand Dynasty is located right next to Grand Villa Casino/Delta Hotel. The restaurant was higher class Chinese restaurant with nice ambiance and provides relatively good service (compared to other dim sum places).

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As soon as you are seated, you are given this menu where you can pencil in the items you want to order. I was in charge of penciling in the orders and everybody started yelling out what they wanted.

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Deep Fried Squid with House Seasoning – 4.5/5 

  • $4.95
  • It had good crispy and salty exterior yet the squid itself had soft chewy texture.
  • I thought it was perfectly deep fried and really yummy.

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Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf – 4/5 

  • $5.95
  • The portion was good size.
  • It had some pork, Chinese mushrooms, Chinese sausage, and salted egg at the bottom.

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Baked BBQ Pork Bun – 4/5 

  • $5.50
  • After having this dish in Hong Kong, I had to order it here too!
  • Compared to the one I had in Hong Kong, exterior was on a sweeter side.
  • It had a slightly crispy exterior with good amount of filling inside.

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Steamed Prawn Dumplings – 4.5/5 

  • $5.95
  • It was filled with good amount of shrimp filling inside
  • Wrapped around with very thin dumpling skin which I really liked.

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Shu Mai(Steamed Pork Dumpling with Tobiko) – 4.5/5 

  • $5.50
  • It had ample amount of shrimp (much more shrimp than the pork).
  • The tobiko on top gave nice mild crunchy taste.
  • It was juicy and tasted good.

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Steamed Rice Roll with 3 kinds of mushrooms – 2.5/5 

  • $5.95
  • The mushrooms had nice sweet and salty taste.
  • The exterior (rice roll) was thick and bit too plain for my tasting.
  • lacking flavor.

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Steamed Rice Roll with Shrimp– 2.5/5 

  • $5.95
  • Good amount of shrimp inside.
  • Same with the previous one, the rice roll was bit too thick and too plain.
  • Lacking flavor.

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Dried Shrimp and Vegetable Pancake – 3.5/5 

  • $5.50
  • It was my first time trying this dish and I thought it was okay.
  • It was a thin pancake (more like a crepe) filled with vegetables and had slightly salty taste from the dried shrimps.

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Fresh Mango Pudding– 4.5/5 

  • $4.95
  • It was one of the best mango puddings I had in Chinese Restaurants.
  • It was served cold and nice and the pudding actually tasted very fresh.

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Steamed Sponge Cake with Custard – 4/5 

  • $5.50
  • It was served warm.
  • The sponge cake was very soft and it had sweetness from the layers of custard.
  • It had some nuts that gave a crunchy texture to it.

Overall, I enjoyed my dim sum experience at the Grand Dynasty. Sure, there were some hits and misses but their dim sum were pretty good! On top of that, you won’t get yelled at or your food won’t get thrown to you on the table. The service was so much better than the other Chinese Restaurants I’ve been to. When I read about this restaurant, a lot of people said  it’s bit pricey but I found it, not too pricey. We had all these items for 4 of us and the bill came out to around $60. I will definitely come back and taste other dim sum menu in the near future.

Grand Dynasty

Morak

Restaurant: Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant
Cuisine: Korean Fusion
Area: South Burnaby
Address: 6285 Nelson Avenue
Parking: Private parking available
Phone: (604)437-8839
Hours of Operation: Mon-Wed 11:00 am-1:00 am, Thurs-Sat: 11:00am – 2:00 am, Sun 11:00am – 1:00am

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

I can’t remember the last time I went to Metrotown mall for shopping! Living in Downtown is so convenient that I don’t see why I need to get into the car and drive to Metrotown for shopping anymore. Well, on this day, I finally got the reason to go there! My hubby recently got his new job in that area and he asked me to come meet him at Metrotown mall so that we can go for shopping after his work. He told me to get there at six so I got there 10 minutes early and waited for his call….waited….waited…..and waited little bit more…I think I waited for about an hour when he phoned me asking me where I am. He said  that he was late because he was WALKING his coworkers to the skytrain station. Can you believe that? I got really upset because he could have sent me a quick text message saying that he will be late. But instead, he was too busy walking his coworkers to the skytrain station and did not even have the time to text me! When he got to the mall where I was waiting for him, he obviously knew I was upset. I clearly explained to him the reason why I was upset at him because I learned (over many many years of experience) that men don’t really understand us unless we tell them exactly why we are upset. I didn’t want him to think I was upset just because he was late. If he was busy with work or even wanted to chat with his coworkers after work, I don’t mind waiting for him hours and hours. I was upset of the fact that he didn’t even bother to text me that he will be late. My eyes were filled with tears when he arrived and I can tell from his face that he felt really bad. He apologized like hundred times and asked me if I wanted to go eat something….. sigh….damn it….he knows me too well…nothing cheers me up like eating yummy foods! Without hesitation, I took out my cellphone and opened Urbanspoon app to search for a restaurant……

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We decided to go try Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant because it was right across from Metrotwon on Nelson Avenue and we’ve heard good things about them. When we got there, there was a line up which made me want to try their food more. After waiting for about ten minutes, we were seated. The restaurant was relatively small and it looked like a good Korean drinking place.

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We decided to get three items off the menu: Bossam, King Size Korean-Style Bacon Omelette, and the Mapa Chicken.

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Bossam (Boiled Pork Wrap) – 4.5/5 

  • $23.95
  • Slices of boiled pork belly and thin sliced scallion served with hot sauces on top.
  • It was not a typical Bossam. The actual translation of this menu name is “between Bossam (Boiled Pork) and Jokbal (Boneless pig’s feet)”.
  • It was unique and tasted yummy too. The pork was tender and the sauce and scallion went perfectly together with the pork slices.

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King Size Korean-Style Bacon Omelette  – 4.5/5 

  • $10.95
  • This Korean-style omelette had very soft texture, yet the crunchiness of bacon pieces gave a kick to it!

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Mapa Chicken – 4/5 

  • $23.95
  • Garlic oil fried chicken with thin sliced scallion and peanut butter sauce.
  • According to the menu, it looks like you can either choose between boneless or wing.
  • We got boneless (without being asked) and it was crispy exterior, yet tender inside.
  • The sauce went very well with this dish.

Overall, I thought Morak is an addition to very scarce list of decent Korean restaurants in Lower Mainland. I want to come back here in the near future to try different dishes. I heard people from the next table saying how yummy their soup dishes were so I would like to try them as well!

Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant

Taqueria Playa Tropical

Restaurant: Taqueria Playa Tropical
Cuisine: Mexican Cuisine
Area: New Westminster
Address: 334 6th Street
Parking: Street Parking
Phone: (604)544-5006
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11:00 am-9:00pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

Summer time in Vancouver is just so awesome that it makes me want to do so many things. Thinking of what I can do, my friends and I decided to participate in Color Me Rad 5k Run regardless of the fact that I am a horrible runner! For those of you who have done this know that you don’t really need to be a runner to finish this run. It’s more about having fun than anything else. I don’t know about you but having fun makes me super hungry! After having so much fun from the run and getting showered with colors, we decided to try this Mexican restaurant in New Westminster my friend was raving about.

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Apparently, Taqueria Playa Tropical Mexican Restaurant is pretty famous authentic Mexican restaurant in the area. From outside, it did not look very big but it is very spacious when you enter the restaurant. The tables are widely spread out so you will feel comfortable dining there. My friend and I decided to order whole bunch of things so that we can share everything.
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Complimentary Tortilla Chips – 3.5/5 

  • We got some complimentary tortilla chips before the meal.
  • They were crispy and seasoned with salt. If you need more flavor, you can pour some salsa verde (green salsa) or salsa roja (red salsa).

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Pescado taco – 4.5/5 

  • $2.50
  • Pescado taco or the fish taco which came with fish fillet, garlic, celery, onion, cilantro, and  melted cheese.
  • It was so soft that it literally melts in your mouth.
  • The flavors went together very nicely.

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 Champinones– 4.5/5 

  • $2.50
  • Sliced mushrooms, tomato, celery, garlic, onion, cilantro, and melted cheese.
  • It was also very soft and the cheese perfectly melted and blended in with other ingredients.

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Barbacoa taco – 4/5 

  • $2.50
  • Slow cooked beef, onion, and cilantro.
  • It was more of a chewy taco and the beef was well marinated.

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Carne Asada taco – 4/5 

  • $2.50
  • Grilled steak, tomato, onion, cilantro, and guacomole.
  • I loved the combination of the steak and freshly minced vegetables with guacomole.

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Carne Asada – 4/5 

  • $13.00
  • Grilled 8oz sirloin steak with a side of rice, refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, and three corn tortillas.
  • The steak was well marinated and the refried beans were very creamy and tasty.

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Enchiladas – 4/5 

  • $11.00
  • Four soft corn tortillas rolled and filled with shredded chicken breast then covered with salsa verde (you can pick salsa roja too).
  • Topped with melted cheese and sour cream with a side of rice and beans.
  • Enchiladas were moist and had good amount of shredded chicken inside.
  • I thought it went well with salsa verde.

We actually ordered another dish called Monster Burrito but it never showed up. We asked the waiter about it and he told us the chef somehow forgot to make it. We said we didn’t want it anymore because the food we got made us pretty full already. He apologized to us politely and gave us an entertainment book coupons for our next visit. Overall, I found that Taqueria Playa Tropical offered very tasteful authentic Mexican food and their service was pretty good as well. It is definitely a must try place if you are in New Westminster craving for Mexican food. I would definitely go back here again since a lot of my friends are crazy about Mexican food!
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Mal Li Jang Sung Korean Chinese Restaurant

Restaurant: Mal Li Jang Sung Korean Chinese Restaurant
Cuisine: Korean Chinese
Area: Whalley
Address: 13648 105A Avenue
Parking: Private parking available
Phone: (604)588-6100
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11:00 am-9:00pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

Okay… this restaurant is my daddy’s FAVORITE restaurant in entire Lower Mainland. Unfortunately, he is one of those stubborn Korean daddies who does not explore other cuisines (he is still an awesome daddy though!). I keep on telling him he is missing out so much and he keeps on arguing that this is Chinese food rather than Korean food so technically, he is trying out different cuisine. Come on! Korean Chinese cuisine is not really an authentic Chinese cuisine although it is derived from traditional northern Chinese cuisine. Nonetheless, I have to admit I love Korean Chinese cuisine myself but my daddy dines here way too often lol. Mal Li Jang Sung is one of the few Korean restaurants that is serving pretty solid Korean Chinese food  in lower mainland.

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It is very hard to locate this restaurant when you are driving because you can’t really see it from the main road. It is situated in an old building which may not look very appealing for many people. But hey! Don’t judge a book by its cover right? It may look small from the outside but you will find that it is actually a pretty large and decent when you go inside.

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Most well known dishes of Korean Chinese cuisine include Jajangmyeon (noodle with thick black bean sauce on top) , Jjamppong (Spicy seafood noodle soup), Ttangsuyuk (Korean version of sweet and sour pork), Kkangpunggi (Fried chicken glazed in sweet and spicy sauce), and Jajangbab (Fried rice with thick black bean sauce). I know I know… what’s with these crazy hard names right? But just memorize these five dishes and you basically mastered Korean Chinese cuisine! On this trip to Mal Li Jang Sung, we ordered slightly different menus from people commonly order in Korean Chinese restaurant.

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Goon Mandu (Fried Dumplings) – 4/5 

  • $5.50 (5 pieces)
  • Deep fried dumpling with nice crispy exterior.
  • Ample amount of stuffing inside.

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Jokbal Combo – 4.5/5 

  • Small: $28 Medium: $32 Large: $37
  • When you get a Bossam  (Pork Belly) or a Jokbal (Boneless Pigs’ Feet), you get either the noodles or the sweet sour pork for free.
  • I got the large Jokbal Combo with Jajangmyeon (noodle with thick black bean sauce) on this trip.

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Vegetables

  • included in combo (for extra, you need to pay $2 more).
  • Red-leaf lettuce, salted napa cabbage, green chili pepper, and garlic.
  • Koreans eat a lot of meat but we also always eat them with a lot of vegetables.
  • Wrap the meat and other side dishes with red-leaf lettuce or salted napa cabbage.

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Shredded Radish Kimchi

  • included in combo (for extra, you need to pay $2 more).
  • Usually we put this in ssam (literally means ‘wrapped’) and eat it with the meat.

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Jokbal – 4.5/5 

  • This is the main dish I chose for this combo.
  • Jokbal is basically pigs’ feet and it is very popular dish in Korea.
  • I know.. you may be revolted at the idea of eating pigs’ feet but it’s pretty yummy!
  • The meat is boiled with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and many other spices for extensive period which gives it a very tender texture.
  • It has a lot of collagen which is supposedly good for your skin.
  • This Jokbal was prepared perfectly with sweetness and tenderness.

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Jajangmyeon (Noodle with thick black bean sauce) – 4/5 

  • included in the combo.
  • Some of you who have had Jajangmyeon before might be wondering why is the noodle green? Well, the noodle is made with spinach at this restaurant!
  • The noodle was very savory and was mixed with black bean sauce, some vegetables and seafood.

Overall, Mal Li Jang Sung is definitely a solid Korean Chinese restaurant. I thought the quantity was extremely generous considering the fact that you can get all these for roughly $40. We were party of four and it was certainly more than enough for us. If you are in Whalley area and has craving for Korean-Chinese food, this is a good place to visit for sure. Hey! my dad travels all the way from Burnaby to eat here at least three times a week so why not give a try!

Sushi Bar Maumi

Sushi Bar Maumi

Restaurant: Sushi Bar Maumi
Cuisine: Japanese Restaurant
Area: Downtown
Address: 1226 Bute Street
Parking: Street Parking
Phone: (604)609-2286
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat  12:00pm – 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm-9:00pm

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

I’m a sushi snob..period. When people talk about Japanese restaurants in lower mainland, most of the times, I’ve already been to the restaurant or at least heard about the restaurant. However, I was shocked and shameful when this Japanese person told me about her favorite Japanese restaurant in Vancouver. I have NEVER EVER heard about this restaurant until now…. How can it be? I thought I’ve pretty much mastered all Japanese restaurants (at least decent ones)  in Vancouver but I guess I was too self-conceited… The very next day, I decided to go and give it a try since it was so close from where I live!

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Here it is! Sushi Bar Maumi! It is located on Bute and Davie but it is extremely difficult to find if you don’t look hard for it. The place was tiny! I mean TINY! They only had three tables of two and three seats at the bar so don’t go in a big group, I’m not kidding! The restaurant was not very busy and I was able to sit without waiting for a table. Maumi is owned by very nice Japanese couple and I was very excited to try an authentic Japanese restaurant in Downtown which is really hard to find.

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On the menu, it said that the chef has over 20 years of experience in Japan and they serve fresh fish from Japan, stocked every Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So, I decided to try their Chef’s choice fresh fish nigiri sushi combo.

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Chef’s choice fresh nigiri sushi 10pc – 4.5/5 

  • $37.50-> was on special for $25.00
  • Iwashi (Sardine), Aji (Horse Mackerel), Sanma (Pike Mackerel), Isaki (Chicken Grunt), Madai (Redsea Bream), Umeiro (Yellowtail blue snapper), Shimaaji (Striped Jack), Suzuki (Japanese Seabass), Bora (Grey Mullet), Amaebi (Spotted Prawn)
  • All the fishes were very fresh but I enjoyed the Sanma especially.
  • The rice was a little bit on harder side for my liking though but they were still good.

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Uni – 3/5, Toro – 4.5/5, Anago – 4/5, and Unaten Roll– 4.5/5 

  • Uni ($3.50 per piece), Toro ($2.50 per piece), Anago ($3.50 per piece), Unaten roll ($6.50)
  • Uni was creamy but it had a bit of fishy taste in this piece.
  • Toro was very delightful. It had good buttery taste, yet it was not too overwhelming.
  • Anago (Salt water eel) was very good, but I would liked it better if it had softer texture.
  • Unaten roll had prawn tempura inside and BBQ eel on top. The unagi was well grilled and the roll was very tasty.

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Sanma (Pike Mackerel) – 4.5/5, Mirugai (Geoduck)-N/A, Tamago (Japanese omelette)-3/5, Saba (mackerel)-4/5, Chopped Scallop Roll – 3/5 

  • Sanma ($3.50 per piece). I ordered Sanma again because it was so good!
  • Tamago ($1.50 per piece) was just okay. It was too bland with not much taste of sweetness.
  • Saba ($3.50 per piece) was served with shiso and it was nicely executed
  • Chopped Scallop Roll ($4.00). I wish there was a bit more filling inside.

Overall, I really enjoyed the food at Sushi Bar Maumi. I can tell that every dish was carefully executed and it is definitely one of the most decent Japanese Restaurants in this area for sure! It was a great discovery for me because I was always looking for an authentic and decent Japanese restaurant in downtown area. I will definitely come back here to try other dishes in the near future!

Sushi Bar Maumi

Flying Beaver Bar & Grill

Restaurant: Flying Beaver Bar & Grill
Cuisine: Pub Food
Area: Richmond
Address: 4760 Inglis Drive
Parking: Limited Parking Spaces
Phone: (604)273-0278
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 11:00am – 12:00 am, Sat & Sun 9:00 am – 12:00 am

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent

Saying good-bye to an awesome colleague is always hard. One of my colleagues decided to resign his current position to move on with his own business. A few of us decided to go for a quick lunch with him since it was his last day. I work at the airport so finding a decent place to eat is always the most difficult part of planning for lunch out. I’m pretty sure everyone is aware of the horrible food options at the Vancouver International Airport. However, there was this one place I’ve been always wanting to try out. Flying Beaver Bar & Grill is located within the Sea Island at the seaplane terminal. It is definitely a hidden gem because it is almost impossible for people to find it. However, the coolest thing about this place is that it is right on the water and you actually get to watch the seaplanes take off! How cool is that? On top of that, foods here are pretty decent considering the fact it is a pub!

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Wok Style Calamari – 3/5 

  • $12.00
  • crispy calamari served with sweet ginger aioli
  • It was little to fatty for my tasting.

 

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Famous Chicken Wings – 3.5/5 

  • $10.50 (10 pieces)
  • You can get 16 pieces for $14.50.
  • Flavors are Honey Garlic, BBQ, Teriyaki, Thai Chili, Hot, Salt & Pepper, or Lemon Pepper
  • Wings were large in portion and meaty.

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Fish & chips– 3/5 

  • $16.00
  • It was served with coleslaw and some fries.
  • We got the cod for our fish and it was decent but nothing spectacular.
  • The batter was little soggy rather than being crispy.

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Veggie Burger – N/A 

  • $12.00
  • I did not get to try this burger but it had good quantity.

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Surf & Turf – 3/5 

  • $19.00
  • It comes with 7 oz sirloin steak, sauteed garlic prawns, potato, and asparagus.
  • The steak was little bit chewy for my tasting but it was decent for pub food.

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Seafood Grill – 3/5 

  • $19.00
  • It is served with two seafood skewers with salmon, halibut, and tiger prawns.
  • The skewers were marinated with ginger soy glaze and served with jasmine rice.
  • I thought seafood was cooked well and the glaze gave a nice kick to it.

Flying Beaver Bar & Grill serves solid food in a cool atmosphere. I will definitely come back here especially during the summer season to enjoy the nice view with my cold beer :)

 

 

Flying Beaver Bar & Grill