Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge (at Fairmont Pacific Rim)

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Torched Wagyu Beef Salad; Bloody Mary

Back in December, I took S out for her birthday at the Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim. In the winter months, they had a five-course cocktail brunch for $42 per person with the cocktail pairing for an additional $28.

For the first course, there are two selections, so of course we got one of each. I chose the Torched Wagyu Beef Salad which comes with red onion, sake-beet puree, scallion-ginger emulsion, nori chips and miso creme fraiche. The wagyu beef was tender and melted in my mouth! The only complaint was that the beef was served cold, but I guess since it is a salad, the rest of the ingredients are cold.

The cocktail pairing was a Bloody Mary with vodka, lemon, tomato juice, sriracha, horseradish, salt, and pepper. I normally don’t like Bloody Marys but I actually quite enjoyed this one as the spice level was just right.

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Red Tuna Tataki

S got the Red Tuna Tataki  with yusuf cosh vinaigrette, soy glee, daikon, and micro greens. This was beautifully presented and the tatami was seared just enough while keeping the centre a beautiful pink.

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Light- Zaiten

The tuna tataki was paired with a Light-Zaiten which consisted of gin, organic green tea, dry vermouth, rosemary, cucumber and lime. This was a light and refreshing drink which paired well with the fresh tuna.

 

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Signature Bacon and Sable Miso

The second course was the same for everyone which was the Signature Bacon and Sable Miso. This soup featured bacon dashi, house-cured sablefish, ginger and scallions. This is definitely a gourmet miso soup and we both really enjoyed it. The bacon bits with the sablefish was absolutely delicious and paired so well together! I only wish this came out piping hot as it was served warm rather than hot.

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Beer Makes Miso Happy

The miso soup was paired with Beer Makes Miso Happy which we thought would be beer at first, but it was served in a tall cocktail glass. Turns out it consists of Grand Marnier, wheat beer, ginger, and lemon. The ginger flavour was very strong so if you’re not a beer drinker, you can still enjoy this. Love how they put puns in their menu names by the way!

 

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Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”

For the third course, S chose the Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”. This is their take on an eggs Benedict as it’s not what you would usually see. It came with a poached egg, sweet milk bread, inure, miso hollandaise and avocado. Unfortunately, the egg rolled off and broke once our server placed it down. However, S really enjoyed the dish and the twist from the traditional.

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Kurobuta Pork Kakuni

For myself, I had the Kurobuta Pork Kakuni, which feature braised pork belly, 62 degrees egg, sweet soy broth, daikon, carrot, potato, and tamanishiki rice served on the side. The pork was very tender with the fatness bringing some richness to the dish. The soy broth was delicious with the rice and the egg was poached perfectly with the yolk oozing out. By this course, we were starting to get full, so the rice itself makes this course even more filling.

 

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Pepe Le Pew; Pork ‘N’ Cider

The cocktail pairing for the salmon benny was the Pepe Le Pew, which featured a Lillet rose, sherry, and sparkling brut. This was definitely sweeter but I enjoyed the fizz from the sparkling brut. The cocktail pairing for the pork belly was the Pork ‘N’ Cider which featured Lonetree cider, sweet vermouth and sherry. The sherry paired really well with the pork although I found the drink on the sweeter side.

 

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Sushi Omakase; Sparkling Junmai Sake

The fourth course was the Sushi Omakase, which featured a spicy tuna maki, temari sushi topped with crab meat, halo sushi topped with cured saba, and salmon and tuna nigiri. Honestly, this was one of the courses I was excited for, but I felt that the sushi left me disappointed. The presentation was not as nice as I expected, and the fish was cut sort of choppy. The seafood is oceanwise here, which is a plus, but I just didn’t find the fish very fresh. As for the pairing, this came with Sparkling Junmai Sake, which I really enjoyed. It can be quite strong for some though.

 

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Yakult Shooter; Wakayama Beach

For dessert, the five course meal ended with a Yakult Shooter, which featured plum glee, pear, matcha green tea, black sesame powder and yusuf pearls served in oyster shells. This was visually beautiful to look at, but S and I both agreed we were confused with the flavours and ultimately did not enjoy it. Something was just off about it. This came with the Wakayama Beach which featured gin, yuzu, basil, coconut water, and ginger. The drink was a refreshing drink to finish off the meal, although we were quite buzzed after the 5 drinks!

As it was S’s birthday, I mentioned to the server the special occasion hoping to get a message written on our dessert, but they ended up giving us a delicious plate of truffles on the house which I thought was very sweet.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the five course brunch and would highly recommend getting it with the cocktail pairings. You get quite a lot of food and will be stuffed at the end and given its reasonable price, I think it’s a pretty good deal. I did have some issues with service, since I made the reservations a month in advance through email and had received confirmation. Yet, when I arrived, they told me there was no such reservation. Quite disappointed with that given they are such a large hotel, but luckily since it was a snow day, the restaurant was not very busy. Our server also did not tell us what our drinks were each time she placed them down, which would be expected at hotel restaurant. However, the ambiance of the restaurant is A+ since it has amazing natural light coming in and the simplicity of white tables and chairs with the orange chopsticks makes the setting visually appealing. I will be back again if they have other set menus in the future!

Pros:
– Cocktail pairings are on point with overall good food
– Ambiance and plating is visually beautiful

Cons:
– Service was a miss for us

Price Range: $50-80

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 2 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

RawBar at The Lobby Lounge - Fairmont Pacific Rim Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sushi Bar Maumi

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Extreme late post, but for my birthday this year, S took me to Sushi Bar Maumi for dinner. They are known for their fresh fish which is imported daily from Japan and what most believe is as authentic of a sushi bar in Japan as you can get in Vancouver. The restaurant seats only 10 people each time slot and you must reserve the specific time slot in advance. Because the restaurant is only run by the chef and one waitress, they only take reservations from 3-5:30pm. In fact, S said they were extremely strict on the phone stating that they don’t serve any alcohol, that you must order from their omakase menu, and that you better arrive a bit early because latecomers will be frowned upon. They only have 3 seatings: at 6pm, 7:30pm and 9pm.

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Because the restaurant is very small and intimate, I tried to avoid taking too many interior pictures. Essentially, the chef stands in the middle and the seats form a half circle around him. Apparently, this is very different from what it was like a year ago, when you could order off the omakase menu. Now, the nigiris are served one piece at a time. However, we were surprised that all the fish is cut in advance. I guess this saves time so that the service can be done as quick as possible. At the same time, some may find this is not as authentic as what you would experience in Japan. However, for the price point compared to the ones in Japan, I can’t complain.

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Fresh Kisu Tempura

Other than sushi, they do feature some soups and appetizers. We decided to try the Fresh Kisu Tempura, which comes with one silver whiting and three pieces of assorted vegetables. The batter wasn’t too thick but I thought this was quite expensive given how little and thin the vegetables were sliced. I would skip this next time and focus on the nigiri.

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Flounder

When we visited, there were only two omakase menus to choose from. A 10 piece nigiri omakase for $45 and a 12 piece nigiri omakase for $60. The difference is that the more expensive menu comes with Bluefin tuna and Bafun Uni from Hokkaido. We decided to go for the latter to get the best experience. The fish change daily depending on what the chef believes is fresh, so you may get different items from what I experienced. In addition, the chef will ask you if you want wasabi inside or not. In Japan, most restaurants would have wasabi inside already, but I guess they are catering to the clientele in Vancouver. Our first item was the Flounder. I loved this as it was oily and melted in my mouth.

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Amaebi (Spotted Prawn)

Next was the Amaebi (spotted prawn). I usually don’t like this as I find it quite slimy, and if not fresh, it can have a weird aftertaste. However, this was extremely fresh and sweet.

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Fried Amaebi Heads

In Japan, they don’t waste any of their ingredients. This meant that the heads of the prawns were lightly fried. We looked around and everyone was eating the whole thing, so we did the same! I guess it’s like soft shell crab, but I honestly wasn’t very used to eating the shell.

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Surume Ika (Flying Squid)

Next up was the Flying Squid, which was lightly brushed with soy sauce. I’m not usually a fan of squid for sushi because it can be too chewy sometimes, but this was actually very tender.

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Bluefin Tuna

Because we paid for the more expensive option, our menu included the Bluefin Tuna. This was seriously the best part of my meal. The tuna literally melted in my mouth! I highly recommend trying this, but don’t eat too much since this type of tuna has been overfished!

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Hotategai (Scallop)

Onto another favourite and must order of mine at all sushi restaurants is the Scallop nigiri. I love a good fresh scallop, and this was perfect with a subtle sweetness of the sea. Apparently, this is fresh from Hokkaido. I love it paired with the wasabi underneath.

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Buri (Japanese Amberjack)

An unfamiliar fish to me was the Japanese Amberjack. To be honest, I am not very adventurous with my sashimi and usually stick to the typical tuna, salmon, and scallops. I was suprised that the Japanese Amberjack was more of a deep red as I always thought it was more of light pink flesh colour. However, paired with the light soy sauce, it was delicious.

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Aji (Japanese Horse Mackarel)

I’m usually not a fan of Japanese Horse Mackarel because I find that it can be quite fishy sometimes. However, this was very fresh and along with the ginger and green onion, it complemented the fish very well.

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Big Eye Tuna

Another favourite of mine was the Big Eye Tuna which is a cut from the red tuna. It was brushed with soy sauce so it was glistening! This is not the melt in your mouth type of cut, but I actually really enjoyed it. You get more texture from this.

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Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack)

I’ve never had Kanpachi, so this surprised me. It was very fatty and high in oil content and therefore melted in my mouth. So creamy!

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Bafun Uni (Sea Urchin)

I love Uni! Not something for everyone because S tried it for her first time and absolutely hated it. I can see why as it does have a strong sea flavour and can taste funny for first-timers. However, I loved how it was paired with wasabi to bring the sea flavour out. The bafun uni comes from Hokkaido which is the most prized due to the kelp and clean water that they feed on. Absolutely delicious!

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Saba (Mackarel)

Similar to the aji, the Saba came without the garnishes and was also not as tender. It was meatier and had more of a chew.

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Anago (Saltwater Eel)

To finish our omakase, we had the Saltwater Eel, which had a more delicate texture than your typical unagi. It was my first time trying this, and although I usually dislike unagi, I fell in love with anago! The chef torched the eel slightly and therefore the eel just melted in my mouth! A great way to end the meal!

Overall, S and I were very impressed with the quality of sushi at Sushi Bar Maumi. I definitely cannot afford to come here all the time, but it is a nice treat once in a while if you want to experience what a Japanese omakase would be like. Keep in mind that there is a time limit, so it’s not a place to stay long and chat after and your conversations should be kept quiet. Also, after your omakase, they present you with a menu with all the nigiris you can order (many of which are not on the omakase). Each piece is quite expensive but you can try many fish that you might not be able to find elsewhere.

Pros:
– Fresh cuts of fish and skilled chef
– Focuses on high quality nigiri

Cons:
– Wished we could watch the chef cut the fish in front of us!
– Can get quite pricey

Price Range: $45-60

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

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Sushi Bar Maumi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Victoria Sushi

After seeing everyone posting pictures of Victoria Sushi, I decided to visit with my family. I liked it so much that I returned a second time recently! Anyways, Victoria Sushi is located in New Westminster in a residential neighbourhood. Apartment buildings actually sit on top of the restaurant. Because of where it’s situated, it can be quite difficult to find parking during peak hours, although they have an garage that’s connected to the apartment but for customers of retailers.

Kabocha Korroke

The restaurant is Korean run, so they aren’t known for traditional nigiris and such. We started off with some appies, like the Kabocha Korroke. Kabocha is an Asian variety of squash and is overlooked often but has become a popular ingredient in cooking today. I loved how they battered mashed kabocha and deep fried it. The tangy sauce along with the sweet squash was perfect! They also have this at Guu which is just as good!

Atlantic Salmon Sashimi

My parents love sashimi and for some reason, they always go for the Atlantic Salmon Sashimi. I guess it’s because of how fresh salmon is in Vancouver! Also, salmon is a fatty fish known to be a great brain food because of all the vitamins and omega-3 essential fatty acids it provides, so remember to eat lots! I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh the salmon sashimi they offered here. Very reasonably priced with the portions cut to a good size. I hate it when the cut is so large that I feel sick eating it, but I also hate it when the pieces are so small I keep longing for more! These were just right.

Mango Scallop Roll

Onto some of their creative rolls we tried, which included the Mango Scallop Roll. This was essentially your scallop roll but topped with a fresh ripe slice of mango, some avocado, a caper, and some Japanese mayo. Light and refreshing.

Aburi Tobiko Roll

One of my favourite rolls was the Aburi Tobiko Roll. This was essentially a California roll but filled with salmon sashimi and topped generously with tobiko and mayo and lightly seared with a flame on top to melt the mayo. What results is delicious sushi that practically melts in your mouth! A must order!

Salmon Oshi and Scallop Oshi

All the food we had tried were pretty good, but what we came here for was the oshi sushi! If you’re new to the wonders of sushi, then you may be confused over all the different types of sushi. However, with Miku and Minami making the aburi oshi sushi famous in Vancouver, it has literally become the hype here. Everyone is searching for an aburi salmon oshi sushi just as good as Miku’s to be exact! Well, here at Victoria, they do a pretty darn good version of this. We also tried their Scallop Oshi which again is so creamy and melts in your mouth!

Salmon Oshi

We loved the Salmon Oshi so much that we ordered a second order… A layer of salmon sashimi is placed on a rectangular formed rice and topped with mayo. The sushi is then lightly seared on top with a torch so that the mayo melts and the salmon is slightly torched. It’s then topped with a slice of jalapeno pepper to give it that kick. You end up getting a very creamy and smoky piece of sushi that melts in your mouth! Compared to Miku though, I still enjoy Miku’s more. I think it’s the secret sauce they put on that’s so hard to recreate. However, the price of this was only around $10-11 whereas Miku costs $16. So I’d say for the price, Victoria Sushi does a pretty good job.

Aburi Beef Oshi

Continuing on with the oshi trend, we tried the Aburi Beef Oshi. This was the same concept but with beef tataki, red pepper, a genourous amount of mayo and a piece of fried garlic chip. Another worthy dish!

Chicken Yaki Soba

Since S is not a huge fan of sashimi and fish in sushi…(he likes the boring stuff…), he ordered the Chicken Yaki Soba. This was a huge dish with great flavour without being too salty. I quite enjoyed the chewy texture of the soba noodles. Great for sharing.

Overall, we really enjoyed Victoria Sushi, hence we have already made a revisit! It may be quite far for some, but even for myself, it’s less than 30 minutes drive from Richmond, so it’s not that bad when you compare it to Downtown. Service can be a bit slow during peak times (the second time we went, it was late in the afternoon, so they were super quick), but the service is friendly and they try their best with the limited staff and chefs they have. The restaurant itself is quite small, so call in advance for reservations to guarantee you a spot!

Pros:
– Great alternative to Miku’s aburi salmon oshi at lower price
– Creative rolls are on well executed

Cons:
– Service can be a bit slow during peak hours
– Make sure to make reservations as can get packed!

Price Range: $10-30

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

Food: 4 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2 Overall: 4

Victoria Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beard Papa Sweets Cafe

I’m sure most of you know about Beard Papa by now. It was the hype when it was first brought here from Japan, but they have locations everywhere now that it’s pretty accessible to everyone. However, a year ago, they closed down their stall inside of Richmond Centre and opened up a cafe under the London Drugs complex on No. 3 Road.

This got me really intrigued especially when I noticed that there were always customers sitting in the cafe everytime I drove by, no matter what time it was. Finally, I suggested to S that we take a small dinner and instead fill up with desserts! The cafe here has more than just their famous cream puffs and I could see why people liked to chill here. There were a mix of young and old and it was a great place to sit and chat since it is typically not packed.

Red Bean with Green Tea Ice Cream Waffle (+mochi)

We started off with the Red Bean with Green Tea Ice Cream Waffle but we paid extra to get mochi filling inside our waffle. The preset version with mochi inside doesn’t come with green tea or red bean. This reminded me of the time we first tried mochi waffles in Taipei. This was delicious with the warm and cold mix and is a great item to share with friends.

Cocoa Puff

Onto the cream puffs. We didn’t want to try the original ones since we’ve all had those. This time, we tried out their Cocoa Puff, which is essentially the same as the original but the puff itself is cocoa flavoured and the centre is filled with vanilla cream.

To be honest, I found the puff to be rather dense, so I much prefer their original batter.

Eclair

The Eclair was essentially what the name is. It’s the original cream puff with vanilla cream filling and dipped with chocolate sauce on top. I quite liked this as I’m a sucker for chocolate and this gave just the right amount of sweetness and chocolate flavour without the dense puff that the Cocoa Puff had.

Chocolate Fondant

Last but not least, we tried the Chocolate Fondant which also comes with the flavour choice of green tea.

Unfortunately, the chocolate did not ooze out as much as I wanted. These fondants are pre-made and then they reheat them so perhaps that’s why the ooze isn’t as apparent as those in restaurants. This was just average and too sweet for me personally.

Overall, we quite enjoyed Beard Papa’s Sweet Cafe. I think this would be a great spot to catch up with friends over drinks and sweets without having to crowd at the typical shaved ice and bubble tea joints. Service was also very friendly. Other than sweets, they also have savoury snacks and sandwiches, which seems a little odd. But I haven’t tried these, so I can’t comment.

Pros:
– Wide selection of both sweets and savoury
– Service is friendly and good spot to chill

Cons:
– Some hits and misses
– Many of their desserts seem to be pre-made so may not be super fresh based on traffic

Price Range: $10-20

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

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

Beard Papa's Sweet Cafe  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spaghetei

Source: Canadoo

NOTE: All food was complimentary but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

A few weeks ago, we were invited by Spaghetei for a menu tasting. Read along to find out how you can get 10% off on your dinner during weekdays! Spaghetei originates from Aomori, Japan where the original store is located. Around 3 years ago, they decided to open a store here in Vancouver on Robson Street near Denman Street. They specialize in Japanese style spaghetti and has an open air concept during the summer months.

Garlic Pesto Toast

We started off with their famous Garlic Pesto Toast. The secret ingredient to this delicious toast is honey which brings a subtle sweet flavour to the usually savoury bread. So addicting!

Pork Chili Oil Bread

Next, we tried the Pork Chili Oil Bread. The pork and eggplant was cooked to tender and served in a piping hot bowl so be sure to cool it off before you eat it! S and I loved how it was slightly spicy. I highly recommend this as an appie.

Clam Spaghetti

Onto their spaghettis, we started off with the Clam Spaghetti. I’m a huge fan of clams so this was perfect for me. The spaghettis come in two sizes: medium or large. All the ones we sampled were medium and I found it to be a good size if you have a smaller appetite. The Clam Spaghetti came with clams, mushrooms, tobiko, dried seaweed, shiso leaves, and a home-made ginger soy sauce. It was light and perfect for seafood lovers.

Mentaiko Spaghetti

The Mentaiko Spaghetti is one of their most popular items and comes with mentaiko, shrimp, mushrooms, shiso leaves, and dried seaweed. Mentaiko is not for everyone but if you like seafood or fish roe, then this is for you. I loved how this was not too creamy or heavy.

Barayaki Spaghetti

If you’re not into seafood, then the Barayaki Spaghetti is a great option. It comes with pan fried beef and onions with their barayaki sauce which tastes similar to a teriyaki sauce but I would say it’s sweeter. My mom and boyfriend don’t like Italian pasta, but I know they would love this dish as it’s full of Asian flavours.

Salad Spaghetti

And for those who are vegetarians or just love their veggies, then the Salad Spaghetti is perfect as it’s filled with fresh vegetables, slices of hard boiled eggs, and a home-made dressing. We found this to be refreshing and a great option for the summer when you want something very light.

Crème Brûlée

To end our lunch, we tried the Crème Brûlée, which was smooth in the centre with the sugar on top torched perfectly to create a hard brittle tap. We appreciated how they used real vanilla beans instead of just vanilla flavouring.

Powder Snow Milk Syrup

Lastly, the Powder Snow Milk Syrup surprised us for sure. We didn’t expect much for shaved ice at a restaurant that specializes in spaghetti, but this was some real good shaved ice! If you don’t want to wait in line at Snowy Village, then I highly suggest just coming to Spaghetei. The shaved ice is so soft and powdery like snow and the ratio of matcha, milk, and condensed milk is right on. Definitely coming back for this!

Overall, we were extremely pleased with the food at Spaghetei. We really enjoyed how the dishes are light and not overly creamy. In fact, I feel like all the dishes taste very healthy as they are not too salty or oily. Ambiance is casual and service was also very friendly. Prices are very reasonable and there is also happy hour on weekdays from 11:30am to 2:30pm!

Spaghetei is offering my readers 10% off weekday dinners just by showing this coupon on your smartphone. Feel free to bookmark this page and share with your family and friends!

Spaghetei Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Ramenman

The Ramenman opened last year but recently I’ve been seeing tons of posts on this restaurant. Since I’m always on the lookout for good ramen, I suggested to S we give it a try. It’s literally on the other side of Robson from Marutama.

You can watch the chefs in action by sitting right at the bar table. The other tables are communal tables with a few tables for four. It wasn’t very busy on a Friday night.

Water is self serve and comes in these glass bottles.

Chicken Ramen

Ramenman focusses mainly on chicken ramen with variations to it such as the clam, stew, and of course the original. S decided to go with the regular Chicken Broth which comes with your choice of pork or chicken or a mix, bamboo shoots, green onion oil, green onions, corn, garlic , ramen egg and black pepper. S chose pork and their pork char shiu is quite different as it is cooked with a sous-vide method. That’s why you’ll notice it is pink in colour, but it’s actually cooked thoroughly. I loved their meat as it is so soft! The chicken broth also had a lot of depth and was velvety smooth.

Vegetarian Ramen

For myself, I heard that the Vegetarian Ramen was really good so gave it a try and made it non-vegetarian by adding pork char-siu. I usually choose meat options if available, but this vegetarian broth blew my mind. Yes, it lacked the richness of what a pork broth would have, but the vegetarian broth was still very flavourful of shiitake mushrooms and kombu and was not too salty. It came with spinach, corn, bamboo shoots, green onion, cabbage, chili pepper, black pepper and some crispy lotus chips.

As for the noodles, they are the straight kind and were cooked to an al dente.

The vegetarian broth also comes with a 63 degree egg and upon cutting into the egg, the yolk just spilled out. So good!

Overall, I was very impressed with The Ramenman even though they don’t offer my favourite pork based broth. I highly suggest trying the vegetarian broth and adding the pork char-siu. It may not be your traditional ramen with the sous-vide technique, but is definitely worth trying.

Pros:
– Flavourful broths without being too salty
– Sous-vide pork is tender and moist

Cons:
– Not for you if you’re looking for traditional ramen

Price Range: $10-15/person

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

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

The Ramenman 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

Kinome

K loves soba noodles, so for our family outing, we decided to check out Kinome which has been much talked about for their handmade buckwheat soba noodles. They are only open for dinner and are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Be sure to make reservations as it is usually full.

The decor inside is simple but gives an authentic Japanese feel. They have a fresh sheet that changes up.

The inside is very small. They have around 5 tables of four and the rest is bar seating. Bar seating would be perfect if you order their popular omakase menu. The only downside is there is no air conditioner here so it can get super hot.

Dashi Egg Omelette

We started off with their famous Dashi Egg Omelette. The egg was layered with seaweed and flavoured just enough while remaining a hint of sweetness. So fluffy and moist.

Today’s Sashimi

One order of Today’s Sashimi features whatever the chef believes is most fresh. You can let the server know if you don’t like a specific type of fish. Our order came with 5 types of sashimi. Our selection included Red Tuna (sustainable bluefin tuna), Sockeye Salmon, Tobi-uo (flying fish), Mizu-tako (water octopus) and Shiro-ika (white squid). Flying fish was something new for us and wasn’t too bad! It has a slimier texture but wasn’t too fishy in taste. However, this dish is quite expensive at $30 for very small cuts. Very fresh though!

Grilled Marinated Squid Legs

Next up were Grilled Marinated Squid Legs which came with a side of mayo. I liked how they had a bit of char on the ends and were very tender.

Prawn Tempura

The Prawn Tempura was battered so lightly and the shrimp itself was very fresh because it wasn’t mushy like the ones you get at all you can eat. It had that bounce! It also came with some asparagus.

Braised Berkshire Pork Belly with Grilled Leak & Miso Sauce

The Braised Berkshire Pork Belly was a delicious fatty goodness with the fat melting your mouth.

Chopped Kale & Prawn Kakiage Tempura

A favourite of mine was the Chopped Kale & Prawn Kakiage Tempura. Never though you could tempura kale! It was filled with bits of shrimp and scallop too which was delicious!

Asakusa Soba

Next up was what we came here for – their handmade buckwheat soba! They have three choices. First was the Asakusa Soba which features hand made buckwheat noodle with green onion, tempura bits, radish, seaweed, and sesame. This dish is served cold and you pour a cold broth on top and mix it together. They advise you eat it as quickly as possible so the texture remains. This one was great with a very fresh take on the traditional soba.

Zaru Soba

The Zaru Soba was what I was used to. With this one, you can truly taste how fresh the noodles are. The texture has just the right amount of firmness. I can see why people go crazy over the soba here!

Kamo Seiro Soba

My favourite was the Kamo Seiro Soba though. This was the same handmade buckwheat noodle but served with a warm duck dipping sauce. The sauce was just so flavourful without being too salty. This soba is pricey at $16 but it does come with three tender pieces of duck and is irresistible!

Cold Udon

Kinome’s dishes tend to be smaller in portion size so of course we were still hungry. We decided to try their udon which is new on the menu. There are two choices so we got both. First was the Cold Udon which I absolutely loved. I think I might even like this more than the soba. The udon here is handmade as well and very thin. The cold broth really makes the dish refreshing and keeps that firm texture.

Warm Udon

The Warm Udon featured the same thin noodles, but I felt that because it sat in the broth, the texture of the noodles became slightly soft. Still, I really enjoyed both version of the udon.

Overall, I was very impressed with Kinome’s dishes, especially their soba and udon. Prices are slightly on the higher side for the size of their dishes, but I think it’s well worth it. Plus, they are extremely environmentally friendly which is always a plus. Service was also very friendly.

Pros:
– Handmade buckwheat noodle and udon is a must order!
– Ingredients are extremely fresh

Cons:
– No air conditioning may be a problem in the summer
– Prices are slightly higher for the portions

Price Range: $20-30/person

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

Food:4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4

Kinome Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato