The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant

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The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant opened up a few months ago in Richmond. It is located next to Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity.

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The restaurant offers dim sum in the early mornings and lunch and switches to Cantonese cuisine for dinner service. What is more interesting is that they serve sushi and sashimi during dim sum service. Yes…that is a sushi bar behind the counter. Honestly, that made me question the food even more because who comes to a dim sum restaurant for sushi?

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The decor inside is definitely pretty nice, on par with the Yuan’s next door. They also have private rooms if you are hosting parties.

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Tea came in a fancy teapot along with a heater. However, because of all these appliances, we found it took up way too much space on the table.

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Shrimp Dumplings

We started off with the Shrimp Dumplings which were quite typical. Large shrimps inside but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Beef Rice Roll

The Beef Rice Roll came accompanied with two gai lans. The rice roll itself was quite thin and smooth.

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Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf was a decent size with a variety of ingredients including minced pork, dried shrimp and egg yolk.

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Steamed Custard Bun

Next up were the Steamed Custard Buns. Not super pretty in appearance with the odd bumps here and there, but there was a good amount of filling and the bun itself was light and fluffy.

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Pork Shiu Mai

They offer truffle shiu mai here as well, but we opted for the regular Pork Shiu Mai as my mom doesn’t like the taste of truffle. These were quite large and the wrapper was thin.

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Taro Mushroom Bun

An interesting dish was the Taro Mushroom Bun. The bun itself is actually filled with taro and the outside is decorated with cocoa powder to imitate a mushroom.

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Is this cute or what? Even has the stem! The bun itself is nothing special but the appearance definitely won us over.

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Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake

To finish our meal, we had the Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake. This was a big portion but I found it to be a little too dense for my liking.

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Overall, we found The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant to be quite average for the price we were paying. The price is slightly higher than average, but the food was nothing too special. We also found the selection of food to be quite limited unless you want to venture into trying their sushi (which is quite expensive by the way). Not sure if I would return given the many options there are in Richmond.

Pros:
– Luxury ambiance
– Decent eats

Cons:
– Limited selection
– On the pricier side for the quality of food

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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21 Nautical Miles – ChineseBites Media Event

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Seafood boils have been exploding in Vancouver and appears to be the new trend. I guess that means we don’t need to go down to Seattle for Crab Pot! A few weeks ago, I was invited by ChineseBites to attend a tasting at 21 Nautical Miles in Yaletown.

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The restaurant took over the previous tenant, Society, so the decor is still somewhat similar with high ceilings. High tables and chairs with a bar feel is what I would describe the restaurant. I do find that the decor is slightly odd for the type of food we’re eating, but we are in Yaletown.

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At the entrance though, you get the Asian decor with modernized paintings and cute chairs. As you can tell, the restaurant features seafood boils with Asian flavours.

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We started off with a 3 litre tower of beer. Definitely reminded me of the times when we had this in Spain, but I haven’t seen this anywhere in Vancouver yet. Great to share across the table! They also have wine and pretty much any other drink you want since they have a large bar.

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Seafood Party: Garlic Butter

And then the Seafood Party started! The seafood boils come in a metal bowl and are dumped onto your table which has been covered with parchment paper. Each diner will have a mallet and wooden board so you can smash open your crab. You’ll also get plastic gloves and a bib so you can get as messy as you want! There is a two person minimum order and it’ll cost you $38.95 per person. This will get you BC Dungeness crab, selva tiger prawns, blue mussels, clams, corn and potato. If you want to get fancy like we did, you can also add on Alaskan king crab, lobster tail, and snow crab. There are also four flavours to choose from, and pictured here is the Garlic Butter. This is perfect for those who can’t eat spicy and is really the only option since the other three are all spicy. This was a crowd pleaser since you really can’t go wrong with garlic butter flavoured anything!

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Seafood Party: Black Pepper

Moving on to something a little spicy was the Black Pepper flavour. This flavour reminded me of the late night clams you get at Cantonese restaurants. The Alaskan king crab was delicious by the way. Normally, I don’t really care for king crab because I find that our BC Dungeness crabs are quite meaty already, but man, these were juicy! I highly recommend splurging a little to get the king crab here! One leg is plenty to share with your guests.

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Seafood Party: Xi’an Spicy

Another level up in terms of spice gets you the Xi’an Spicy. With red chili peppers giving that extra kick, I actually really enjoyed this as it had a depth of flavour and wasn’t just plain spicy and numbing. Oh and the tiny lobster tails were juicy and delicious.

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Seafood Party: House Special Spicy (5/5 Spice Level)

Then onto the spiciest you can get is the House Special Spicy. We had ours at 5/5 spice level, but you can choose how spicy you want when you order. Many of our group couldn’t take spice so this was a struggle, but I actually didn’t find it as spicy as I had though. I didn’t mind a few pieces in between the other flavours, but I thought that this was more of just plain numbing and spicy rather than having any additional flavour. If you like spicy, I would suggest the Xi’an Spicy instead since it has more flavour. And to be honest, I found the snow crab to be just average as they have long legs but the abundance of meat is very little. I like my crabs with lots of meat!

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Overall, the seafood boils are great with the seafood being quite fresh although many of the spicier flavours will cover any freshness. If you really want to taste the seafood flavours, I’d recommend getting the Garlic Butter. I also wish there was some bread to soak up all the flavours. The seafood boils are OceanWise by the way, so always a plus!

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Seafood Party: Wok Fried Spicy

Next up was the Wok Fried Spicy, a dry seafood dish which featured crab and spot prawns. These had a nice kick but the flavours really came from the outside crumbs covering the shell as the inside is not seasoned.

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Kung Fu Soup

To clean our palettes, we tried the Kung Fu Soup which is an abalone flavoured soup with goji berries. Served in a beautiful tea pot and cup, the soup was light but full-bodied. I loved this and highly recommend ending your meal with this to calm your palette!

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Stone Cooked Scrambled Eggs

Other than seafood boils, they have some other dishes on the menu including this very interesting Stone Cooked Scrambled Eggs. The staff brings over a very hot pot with hot stones inside. They then pour a blend of eggs, shrimp, and green onions in the pot and cover the pot. Because of the hot pot and stones, the eggs get cooked. It’s fun to watch but the stones are not very practical because you have to scoop them out before eating the egg.

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Grilled Oysters

They also have Grilled Oysters which are filled with lots of garlic. I found these to be slightly too salty and you could barely taste the oysters.

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Chicken Wings

The Chicken Wings are flavoured with preserved plum but tasted like peanut butter to me. Very crispy on the outside but the salty and sweet flavour threw me off a bit.

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Beef and Lamb Skewers

The Beef and Lamb Skewers are flavoured with cumin spices and brings an Asian flavour. I found the beef (top) to be quite dry, so I did prefer the lamb (bottom) much more.

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Sichuan Style Boiled Fish

A new dish that the chef let us try was the Sichuan Style Boiled Fish. This is served with flat glass noodles and tofu. The tofu really soaked up the spicy sauce, while the glass noodles did the opposite. I think a different type of noodles would have worked better and the noodles were also too hard for my liking. This was made with a 5/5 spice level, but it can be customized for milder tastes. This was mostly numbing so I wish there was another dimension of flavour to it.

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Crawfish Tower

Then came the Crawfish Tower which was a crowd pleaser with everyone trying to get the perfect shot with the liquid nitrogen smoke. However, I’m not a huge fan of crawfish just because I find that it’s a lot of work to get so little meat!

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The flavours were the same as the seafood boils, including garlic butter, black pepper, Xi’an spicy, house special spicy (spice level 5/5).

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Blue Crab in Chef’s Special Sauce

As if we did not have enough seafood, the chef brought us the Blue Crab in Chef’s Special Sauce. This turned out to be a favourite with the dish featuring blue crab, chicken wings, chicken feet, and potatoes in a special chef’s secret recipe from his Xi’an hometown. I find that there isn’t much meat in blue crab, but this sauce was tasty!

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Mango Thousand Layer Mille Crepe

To finish off our large meal, we had the Mango Thousand Layer Mille Crepe. These are super popular these days, and even my sisters has been obsessed at making them. This was quite good with a nice layer of mango jelly in the centre. They told us it was directly imported from Taiwan but my sister actually found this at Price Smart when she was looking for crepe cakes to taste test. She’s pretty sure it’s the same one because of the special layer of mango jely in the centre. As well, when I ate it, it was slightly frozen so it seemed like it was frozen and then defrosted. So I guess you could still say it’s imported from Taiwan… It was still good but not even close to the ones at Lady M!

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Overall, 21 Nautical Miles definitely is a great place to visit if you want to try seafood boils with Asian flavours. The prices are not cheap, but you also get a fancier ambiance.

21 Nautical Miles Seafood Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary but all opinions are based on my personal experience.

As part of a preview for Chopstick Fest, Jacqueline, Dennis, Stephen, Kym, and I were invited to try Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot Restaurant on Robson St., which will be a participiating restaurant for the festival. The festival will run from October 15th – 30th, 2016 and will have a similar concept to Dine Out Vancouver, but feature all Chinese restaurants.

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Liu Yi Shou is a Chong Qing style hot pot chain famous in China. It first brought their chain to Richmond under the name Thumbs Up Hot Pot, which I have yet to try. I think the two restaurant’s menus are pretty much the same though. The interior consists of booth seats with air ventilation from the prior barbecue restaurant.

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I love sauce bars so this is always an added differentiation. Here, I think you pay $2.50 to mix your own sauce with a large variety of ingredients. To be honest though, I usually stick with the simple soy sauce and satay!

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Chong Qing Spicy Broth and Wild Mushrooms Broth

We chose to split the pot in half and have two soup bases. One was non-spicy and was filled with mushrooms and goji berries. The other was their famous Chong Qing Spicy Broth at a medium spice level. They told us that their spicy is quite spicy, so we settled with medium. The medium was a spicy numbing flavour, as expected with Chong Qing style cuisine. However, I think this was tolerable, especially when we had the other soup base to eat in between. I’d definitely say I’ve had spicier at my Szechuan friend’s house.

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Fish Tofu

They have all your typical hot pot ingredients, including fish tofu, fish ball, enoki, bean curd, tofu, lotus root, potato and taro.

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Corn

We also sampled corn, luncheon meat, shrimp paste, fish filet, shrimp, and deep fried pork. All were very standard with everything you could find at your typical Cantonese style hot pot.

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Supreme Lamb

Meat is everything for me at hot pot, so I usually choose a hot pot restaurant based on the quality of meat. We were able to sample Supreme Beef, Supreme Lamb, and Sliced Beef. I loved the Supreme Lamb as it was buttery and tender. It also wasn’t gamey at all so many of the bloggers who don’t normally eat lamb didn’t even realize it was lamb! The Supreme Beef could be slightly more tender if it has more fat, but it wasn’t bad for sure. The Sliced Beef was the most chewy as expected because of the thick cut, but still very fresh.

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Overall, we were all pleasantly surprised by the quality of food at Liu Yi Shou. They are famous for their spicy hot pot, so definitely give that a try if you love spice. If you’re looking to fill up though, your bill might add up since it’s a la carte, rather than AYCE. However, the quality of food is therefore better than AYCE. Oh and for all you hot pot newbies, they have a list showing the time needed to cook different menu items! That’s something I haven’t seen before for sure. And did I mention, this is the only Chinese style hot pot you will find along the Robson/downtown area?

Liuyishou Hotpot Robson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Peaceful Restaurant (Seymour)

S and I enjoy dining at the Broadway and Cambie location of Peaceful Restaurant so when we heard they opened a new one close to where S works, I suggested to go for dinner after work. Peaceful has expanded so quickly, they have just opened their 5th location on Robson.

Peaceful Beef Rolls

We ended up getting similar items to compare. Our favourite at the Broadway location is the Peaceful Beef Rolls.

We found these to be less crispy and the dough to be slightly thicker. However, these were still not too oily which I liked. Still, the Broadway ones are much better.

Xiao Long Bao

The Xiao Long Bao comes with 8 dumplings.

As you can see, the skin is rather thick and upon biting in, there is not enough broth. Not the best XLBs so I would skip these next time.

Mu-Shu Stir-fried Noodles 

We tried the Mu-Shu Stir-fried Noodles again but this time chose them hand pulled instead of knife cut. Again, these are not overly oily and the noodles are chewy with a nice bite. However, I think I do prefer the knife cut noodles since they are more chewy and a bit more special.

Overall, it seems like the Seymour location’s execution of the dishes can’t compare to the original location. Not sure if they are still relatively new, but I feel like there are other restaurants in the area I would rather eat at. I do like that this location has very spacious seating and it isn’t very busy.

Pros:
– Spacious seating
– Noodles are pretty good

Cons:
– Execution is not as good as Broadway location

Price Range: $15-25

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 2 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3

Peaceful Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Your Guide to the Panda Market (2016)

NOTE: As part of the ChineseBites media event, all food and beverages were free, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

Thanks to ChineseBites, we were invited along with other food bloggers to sample over 20 items at the Panda Market. Thanks to the rebranding, you can now clearly figure out which night market is which. The Panda Market is the one near Ikea (also known as the older one). We were invited in 2015 as well, and you can read about it here.

The Panda Market has really shrunk this year in terms of food stalls (down to only one lane!). Admission is free although parking does cost money, but round up your friends and carpool and it’ll come to a dollar per person.

I also liked how there were less people here so you can actually stand around and eat or even find tables in the back alley to sit down and enjoy your food. We checked out the Richmond Night Market by River Rock and there was no chance of that! You could barely move there and the line ups were crazy long…

Xin Jiang A Fan Ti Halal BBQ

I was paired up with Areta from Foodgressing to indulge in our night market adventure. We started off at Xin Jiang A Fan Ti Halal BBQ.

Chicken Skewers, Lamb Skewers

We were able to sample the Chicken Skewers and Lamb Skewers which may be one of my favourite items of the night. The chicken was my favourite because it still remained moist inside. The lamb was good but the one I had had a lot of fat stuck on so those parts were inedible. I loved the spices they used though and you can ask for spicy to get more kick.

BBQ Squid

There are two stands that sell squid at this night market. The one we sampled from was called BBQ Squid.

Fried and Grilled Mix Squid

We tried the Fried and Grilled Mix which as the name says, comes with a variety of grilled and fried squid rings and tentacles. The grilled squid comes with a sweet chili sauce but I found it to be more chewy, although not gummy. My favourite was the fried one as the texture had more bounce to it. This plate is priced at around $8.

Shake Shake

Getting thirsty, we headed to Shake Shake which has the trendiest drinks, including lightbulb drinks, watermelon and pineapple juice in the actual fruit, and liquid nitrogen drinks.

Watermelon Juice

We tried the Watermelon Juice which had liquid nitrogen fuming out on the side making it very picture worthy. The smoke actually lasted for quite a few minutes too. We added some popping balls in the drink, but I found that tasted a little odd. The watermelon juice itself was okay but the watermelon itself clearly wasn’t very sweet. They also have a pineapple version.

Cheese Tarts: Lavender and Original

Next to Shake Shake is Cheese Tarts which sells out fast so may be a stall that you want to check out first. They sell the popular cheese tarts that are the hype in Japan and Asia. Here, you can choose between Lavender and Original and they heat them up for you. I found the center to not be as runny as the ones in Japan but I did enjoy the lavender flavour. Great for those who enjoy floral flavours.

Top Dough

Top Dough brings Czech pastries to Richmond and features Trdelník also known as chimney cakes.

Chimney Cake

They feature three versions: the original, one filled with nutella, and one filled with nutella, whipped cream and topped with a slice of strawberry. We got the last and this one is cone shaped in order to hold all the cream. I liked how the outside was crunchy, but the inside was gooey and I felt like it was undercooked. This is not as good as the ones I had in Prague for sure, but I guess it’s decent for what we have in Richmond.

Mini Doughnuts: Oreo

At Mini Doughnuts, you can get your favourite carnival snacks and mini doughnuts! You can have them plain with just cinnamon and sugar or have them dressed up with some interesting flavours. Each order normally comes with 12 doughnuts, but they were able to give us 6 of each flavour instead. The first was the Oreo which was dressed with icing sugar and topped with crushed Oreo cookies.

Birthday Cake

The second was the Birthday Cake which comes with icing sugar and topped with rainbow sprinkles. They also have a S’mores version. The doughnut itself was great but I find that the ones with icing sugar get quite sweet after a couple. I would order these with just cinnamon sugar instead.

Shanghai Special: Pork Schnitzel

At Shanghai Special, they serve Shanghai food but also Pork Schnitzel! Sort of random, but it turned out to be quite good with the pork being only a tad dry but the batter very crispy.

It’s Toasty: French Toast

It’s Toasty served French Toast which we thought was deep fried tofu at first. It was served with a side of condensed milk and this was again surprisingly very good. The outside was crispy and the center pillowy soft and fluffy!

Pie Pie Okonomiyaki: Squid Okonomiyaki

At Pie Pie Okonomiyaki, they serve variations of Okonomiyaki filled with different ingredients such as pork and beef. We chose the Squid Okonomiyaki which was topped with Japanese mayo and bonito flakes. I found the inside to be rather gooey and doughy and would’ve liked it crispier.

Be Fabulous: Corn Pancake

Be Fabulous served us Corn Pancake along with a side of sweet chili sauce. It was well seasoned but something about it was quite underwhelming.

Orr Street: Green Apple Slush with Pearls

Areta got the Green Apple Slush with Pearls from Orr Street and we found the Mr. Panda to feature our drink. Yes, you’ll find a couple of these pandas walking around!

Twist Potato

There are two stands that sell the famous hurricane potatoes. The first stand was Twist Potato.

Bavarian Cream Korean Waffle

Twist Potato is also the only stand that sells the Korean Taiyaki fish waffles. We filled ours with Bavarian Cream. I found this to be underwhelming and the cream was like a custard which I found too sweet. I’d much rather get the ones at Snowy Village!

J&J Hurricane Potato Fries: Barbecue; Twist Potato: Garlic Mayo

The other stand is J&J Hurricane Potato Fries. Let’s compare it to Twist Potato! By the looks of it, Twist Potato (on the left) is much taller and so you get way more potato, but at the same time it’s more thinly sliced. After trying both, I actualy enjoyed the one from J&J more because of the thick cut texture. However, based on the flavours we tried, we enjoyed the Garlic Mayo from Twist Potato more than the Barbecue at J&J. But then again, you can choose from a variety of flavours so at the end of the day, I would probably go with J&J. J&J also allows you to choose two flavours.

Mr. Pretzels: Neapolitan  Pretzel

Next we tried the Neapolitan Pretzel from Mr. Pretzels. This was topped with Parmesan and some Italian herbs and must be eaten when warm! It was very soft and great for sharing.

Totoro: Mango Bubble Tea; Happy Lemon: Passionfruit Lemonade

Onto more drinks because night market food can make you very thirsty! Areta got the Mango Bubble Tea from Totoro, while I got the Passionfruit Lemonade from Happy Lemon. I love how you can flavour your classic lemonade and this was just the right sweet and tart.

TW Traditional Snacks: Taiwanese Sausage

Yup, this looks funny… but TW Traditional Snacks ran out of popcorn chicken and I had already tried their stinky tofu last year, so I tried their Taiwanese Sausage this time around. Quite typical and is sweet in flavour. Nothing too special. I would stick to their Stinky Tofu or Popcorn Chicken!

Sea Monster

A new addition is the Sea Monster which seemed to be a big hit.

Sweet Onion

They literally deep fry a whole squid on a stick and you can choose a seasoning to go with it of which we chose the sweet onion. This is difficult to eat and can get very messy, but I actually quite enjoyed this. The squid itself was very tender and I loved the crunchy batter and seasoning.

Takoyaki: Squid Takoyaki

Takoyoki is another popular item and here you can choose to add other ingreidents again such as pork. We stuck with the traditional and got Squid. Crispy on the outside and gooey inside. Not bad.

Cocoro: Deep Fried Oreos

Onto some desserts at Cocoro, we tried the Deep Fried Oreos which I had first tried at the PNE. I always found these to be good, so it was no surprise here either. They’re on the sweeter side, so definitely share them.

Mangoholic: Mango Shaved Iced

Mangoholic served us their Mango Shaved Ice, which is perfect for a sunny day. The mangoes were ripe and sweet and came with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Not bad!

Ying Kee: Bubble Waffle

Last but not least, Ying Kee served us Bubble Waffles and I went for the classic original although they have other flavours. The outside was crispy but I wished the inside was more chewy.

And there you have it! We tried almost every single food stall at the Panda Night Market! I have to say, I did appreciate how the line ups and wait times were way shorter than the one at the Richmond Night Market.

Of course, you won’t find as many innovative items here as they tend to open at the Richmond Night Market, but if you are looking for your classics, then I think the Panda Night Market does a pretty good job.

There are also fun and games for the kids and live entertainment. But I mean, I think I most of us go the night market for the food, right?

Panda Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine

Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine is one of the newer additions to Richmond’s Shanghai/ dim sum options. It took over the spot of a Korean restaurant and has renovated.

The decor is probably one of the fanciest in Richmond for Chinese food. There are blue velvet chairs, vases, and statues. Somehow we ended up in a private room too which was pretty cool as you got a lot of privacy.

Even their chinaware is nicer than most Chinese restaurants. With such nice ambiance, you would expect the prices to be rather high, but they were actually quite reasonable and in line with other restaurants.

Soy Braised Kaofu with Assorted Mushrooms

We started off with the Soy Braised Kaofu with Assorted Mushrooms. I really enjoyed the flavours of this dish and it was not overly salty. Loved the abundance of peanuts mixed in to give it some crunch.

Smoked Duck (half)

The half order of Smoked Duck was glazed in a plum sauce with the skin being crispy while the meat remaining moist.

Xiao Long Bao

The Xiao Long Bao may make it on the list of one of the best in Richmond for me. The skin was extremely thin while the pork still remaining very moist and filled with lots of broth! A must order!

Pan Fried Juicy Pork Buns

Another favourite was the Pan Fried Juicy Pork Buns. These were decorated with white sesame seeds on the bottom and the inside was piping hot and filled with a lot of broth once again. I find that these can easily be dry in the center, but not these!

Shredded Chicken and Mung Bean Pasta Salad

Another cold appetizer we ordered was the Shredded Chicken and Mung Bean Pasta Salad. Not really a pasta salad, but Shanghai cuisine likes to use mung bean to make these clear jelly which are delicious when mixed with chicken, cucumber and a delicious peanut sauce. these had just the right amount of sauce and the texture was spot on.

Wok Fried Shanghai Round Noodle

Lastly, we tried the Wok Fried Shanghai Round Noodle which is a staple in Shanghainese cuisine. These were surprisingly not very oily like they usually tend to be. However, it lacked the wok flavour.

Overall, we not only impressed by the decor but also the quality of the food. Service, on the other hand, was slightly rude. We had a hostess come into the room initially accusing us of going in when another host had asked us to. The waiters also just drop off food without saying anything which is unfortunate as you would expect more at a restaurant that looks upscale.

Pros:
– Great dim sum items
– Beautiful decor

Cons:
– Service is lacking
– Some dishes are on the pricier side

Price Range: $15-25/person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food:4 Service: 1.5 Ambiance: 4.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

Yuan's Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sai Woo

Super late post again but back in early May, us accountants finally celebrated the end of tax season! Our firm treated us to dinner and drinks at Sai Woo in the heart of Chinatown. Sai Woo doesn’t server your typical authentic Chinese food, it’s more of a westernized style of Chinese food.

We basically booked the whole restaurant and the inside decor is beautiful! I loved the fairy lights and the ambiance gave a nice chic and elegant feel.

Their cocktails are what I would come here for and they have a long bar on one side where you can come in if you want to just enjoy some drinks.

Sai Woo Sour

E and I decided to go all out that night (since we were’ paying!) and tried to go down the list of the cocktail list. Yes, huge headache the next day, but it was fun! We started off with the Sai Woo Sour which featured Bombay Sapphire East, Benedictine, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and egg white.

Elderflower 75

The Elderflower 75 was my favourite and consisted of Finlandia Vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and sparkling cava. This was the fruitiest drink and extremely easy to drink. Plus, it’s always classy to have some cava in hand.

Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun is the men’s drink and the process in making the drink is super cool to watch. They light up the drink and some smoke comes out then they throw in this huge ice cube. The drink consisted of El Dorado 12 year old rum, bitters, brown sugar, oak, and tea smoke. A very bitter drink and great for those who like to drink straight rum. The guys said it was too sweet from the brown sugar though…but us girls found it bitter!

Carioca

Another favourite was the Carioca with Cacha 51, guava juice, orange juice, lime juice, and sloe Gin float. Another one of those lighter and fruitier drinks which I enjoyed.

Tuna Tartare

As we booked the place up for a private event, our menu was already pre-ordered and it included some canapés to start. I didn’t get pictures of all of them but a memorable one was the Tuna Tartare which came with nori on top. Quite yummy! They also seem to enjoy using raw ingredients at Sai Woo.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

We were able to choose two appetizers each. For myself, I chose the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio which came with broccoli puree, crudite, rye crumble, sorrel, and candied lime. To be honest, I found this to be just average. The beef lacked flavour and the plate itself was also extremely small for the price.

Beet Salad

E got the Beet Salad which came with buckwheat cracker, yoghurt, blackberry sauce, fermented grapes, and herbs. A colourful dish but E also said it was just average.

Sai Woo Salad

My second appetizer was the Sai Woo Salad which comes with smoked sockeye salmon, gem lettuce, frisee, pickled tomato, blue cheese cream, and fennel. Again, something was off about this dish. It was way too acidic with the pickled tomatoes overbearing the whole dish. The smoked salmon was also more like cooked salmon as it was fully cooked. Everyone agreed this dish was too pickled.

Pressed Lamb

For my entree, I got the Pressed Lamb which was my favourite of the dishes. The lamb was packed into a rectangle and was crispy on the outside while staying very moist in the inside. It came with seasonal vegetables of what appeared to be brocolini, braised shallots, kale, sherry jus and a side of long grain rice.

Ling Cod

Some of the other diners got the Ling Cod which came with oyster mushrooms, green onion puree, greens, and jasmine rice. Apparently this was extremely salty for some while being perfect for others. Seems like they have inconsistencies in seasoning.

Lemongrass Chicken

The other entree option was the Lemongrass Chicken which came with vermicelli noodles, bitter greens, and a sunny side up fried egg.

Baklava

Dessert was just as disappointing. the Baklava was unappealing to look at and consisted of pistachio nuts, toasted nuts, honey rose pearls, and phyllo chips. This was sort of an deconstructed baklava but something about it just didn’t seem right.

Chocolate Cake

The Chocolate Cake came with candied fennel and orange marmalade and it appeared that most diners did not enjoy this. Perhaps it was gluten free and therefore the cake itself was very hard and dry.

 

Overall, we found the food at Sai Woo to be underwhelming but we think it might be because they aren’t experienced with catering to a large group. Most diners who have gone to Sai Woo on a regular day have had good experiences, so I would probably give them a try during their regular service. I have to say that their drinks are great so I wouldn’t mind coming here to grab a drink. Plus the decor is beautiful inside!

Sai Woo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Victory Seafood Restaurant – ChineseBites Media Event

Note: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions were based on my own personal experience.

I think the last time I visited Crystal Mall has got to be over 10 years ago. Driving in the parkade is the worst experience ever so I avoid this mall at all cost. But when ChineseBites invited me to do a dim sum tour at Victory Seafood Restaurant, I ventured my way out and luckily around 2pm on a Saturday, the parking lot wasn’t as busy (the parking was still pretty bad though!).

We were seated in more of a private room, but outside, the decor is similar with gold being the focus. I could see this as a decent restaurant to host Chinese banquets.

As this was a ChineseBites dim sum tour, we ordered literally almost everything off the dim sum menu – a total of 37 dishes! Dishes range from $4.49-$7.49 depend on size and specialty.

Baked BBQ Pork Buns with Crust Topping looked just like a pineapple bun but was filled with savoury BBQ pork filling. The top was sweet and the bun itself was fluffy.

One of my favourite fried items was the Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls with Garlic. The wrapper was light and crispy and the inside was packed with shrimp and garlic filling.

The Deep Fried Dumplings with Pork & Dried Shrimp were also quite delicious with the outside crispy and interior like a mochi chewy texture. The inside was filled with a savoury pork and dried shrimp filling.

We tried a variety of rice rolls, with my favourite being the Steamed Rice Rolls with Crispy Deep Fried Fish Paste. The rice rolls here are quite silky smooth. The rice rolls with the chinese donuts were also popular.

I like how they give you both the Pan Fried Radish & Shredded Taro Cakes when you order this dish, so you can sample both. The taro cakes are harder as expected, so I do enjoy the softer radish cake personally.

A dish I did not try, but was told by others to skip was the Smoked Salmon with Fruit Salad Sauce Tarts. I guess it’s more a westernized dish, so you can’t expect much at a Chinese restaurant. Apparently, the ingredients just didn’t mesh well.

A new item on their menu was the Steamed Red Rice Rolls with Shrimp. We were all curious about the red colour, but turns out there is no flavour to it. More of a gimmick so I would just stick with the regular rice rolls.

Onto the steamers! Suddenly, everything came out all at once. The Steamed Meat Balls were packed full of flavour and remained moist.

Dim sum isn’t the same without an order of the Steamed Pork Dumplings (Siu Mai). These were topped with flying fish roe and packed full of minced pork.

One of my favourite dim sum items to order is the Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf. Packed tightly in the lotus leaf, the filling to rice proportion was pretty good.

Other than your steamers and fried food, the dim sum menu also features some clay pot rice, including the Steamed Rice with Chicken & Black Fungus. These were decent, but lacked the crispy rice at the bottom.

Overall, some hits and misses, but overall, a decent spot to have dim sum with a large variety and reasonable prices.

Victory Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato