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

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Sof Peaks: Ice Milk Bars Media Tasting

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Note: All items were complimentary.

The last time I was at Soft Peaks was when they first opened. Fast forward a year later, they have revamped their menu and earlier this month, they launched their new Ice Milk Bars. Thanks to Jacqueline, a few other food bloggers and I were invited to get a taste of their new menu.

There aren’t too many seats on the first floor, but upstairs has more seating. Plus, on a sunny day, Soft Peaks is perfect to indulge in while exploring Gastown.

The soft serves are still on the menu with many additions since they first opened. They now have milkshakes as well. Our event was focused on the Ice Milk Bars which are $4 without any toppings or syrups. PS. Ice Milk Sandwiches are supposed to be launching in June!!

The new Milk Ice Bars currently feature four flavours: mango, milk & honey, and matcha.

Milk and Honey Ice Milk Bar, Matcha Ice Milk Bar

The Milk and Honey flavour is quite like their original honey soft serve. I liked the subtle sweetness along with the creamy milkiness. The Matcha flavour was your typical strong tea flavour, so I didn’t find that flavour too special. Their ice milk bars are made with organic Avalon milk and have no preservatives added, and therefore they melt quicker than off-the-shelf bars. A good excuse to eat them quickly!

Mango Ice Milk Bar, Blueberry Ice Milk Bar

My favourites were actually their fruit flavoured bars. Both the Mango and Blueberry were not overly sweet. Again, no preservatives, so you can really taste the natural ingredients!

Mango Mango Milk Ice Bar

Other than the original flavours, you can also add various toppings and syrups to customize your bars. You can also ask the servers to replicate a similar topping to their soft serves. For example, the Mango Mango Milk Ice Bar comes loaded with mango cubes and drizzled with honey. You’ll need a spoon to eat this though.

We ended up trying a wide variety of their toppings and syrups. The toppings really make the bars much more fancy looking, but I think I prefer the bars on their own so you can really taste the original flavour itself. Plus, you need two hands to eat these when they have toppings! Nevertheless, one of my favouties was the yuzu marmalade (in the center) as I’m a sucker for anything yuzu and I liked how the sweetness of the marmalade paired really well with the milky flavour.

North Pole Breakfast

Although we were here for the launch of the ice milk bars, we couldn’t leave without trying some of their soft serves. Perfect since I had only tried two flavours back when they opened. First up was the North Pole Breakfast, which featured cereal flakes and a caramel syrup. Simple so you can still taste the original milk flavour, but the cereal gives it some texture.

Blue Mountain, Honeycomb Peak

Onto the Blue Mountain on the left which was loaded with blueberries and a homemade blueberry puree. I liked how the puree wasn’t overly sweet again. And on the right was their famous Honeycomb Peak, which features a piece of local honeycomb on top and cereal flakes at the bottom.

Green Forest

The Green Forest on the right features organic premium matcha powder, sweet red beans and condensed milk. This was definitely an improvement from when they first opened. I remember complaining how the toppings and syrups were not distributed throughout the cup so you only got the flavours at the top. They have clearly taken that into consideration and you get a bite of everything throughout now.

Rocky Mountain

Lastly, we tried the Rocky Mountain which features toasted coconut and your choice of syrup, which in this case we got the chocolate sauce. Again, the toasted coconut gives a light crunch for some texture.

Soft Peaks has stepped it up with an alternative to their soft serve ice cream. Same quality ingredients, but a different form and way of eating. Overall, I quite enjoyed the bars, but would prefer them on their own. I would prefer getting the toppings on the soft serve ice cream instead. Soft Peak ice cream isn’t cheap, but great when you want to give yourself a treat! Looking forward to the launch of their ice cream sandwiches!

Soft Peaks Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gang Nam Korean BBQ

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Gang Nam Korean BBQ is located on the corner of Empire Centre and has been around for quite some time, but for some reason or another, I never gave it a try. Finally, on a weekday night, I headed over with S, J, and M for a Korean bbq night.

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Each table has a grill in the middle, so space-wise, you don’t get a lot and it gets rather crowded to eat.

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Banchan

Once you’ve placed your order, they bring you a large assortment of complimentary Banchan, which included marinated bean sprouts, kimchi, sweet potatoes, pickled radish, green salad, and lettuce to wrap your meat in.

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Marinated Pork Short Rib

We ended up ordering one of their BBQ dinner combos which was around $45 and is supposed to fill 2-3 people. It came with 4 meat dishes, a choice of Seafood Pancake or Japchae and a choice of Bibimbop.

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Chicken Bulgogi

All their meats were very flavourful since they were well seasoned. You got quite a lot of meat for the price you pay. Our combo also came with Pork Belly and Pork Jowl.

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Japchae

We chose Japchae as one of our options and it was a large dish (the picture above was half eaten already).

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Bulgogi Bibimbop

For Bibimbop, you can choose between vegetables, beef, seafood or pork. We went for the stir fried beef and it was very flavourful.

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Beef Tongue

We also added the Beef Tongue separately and these were delicious. I love the chew on it.

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Man-du

The last add on we had was the Man-du which are steamed meat dumplings. These were addicting and I loved the sweet soy sauce that came with it.

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Overall, we were extremely happy with Gang Nam Korean BBQ. We were beyond full and could have done with just the combo itself. Prices are quite reasonable, although we had some soju and beer, so it ended up costing over $30 a person. Otherwise, it can be quite reasonable. Service is also quite friendly.

Pros:
– BBQ dinner combos are great value
– Most dishes were well executed

Cons:
– Restaurant is a bit small so can be crowded on weekends
– Table gets very crowded

Price Range: $20-40

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3

Gang Nam Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ole Wings & Tapas

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Another meet up with SP and SK meant looking for a spot with good food and cheap drinks. We decided to give Ole Wings and Tapas a try although the drinks didn’t have any deals going on. It’s pretty hidden since it’s upstairs, but by dinner time, the place was filled with rowdy Koreans playing games while drinking.

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Spicy Soy Boneless Chicken

They have a variety of chicken items and we decided to share the Spicy Soy Boneless Chicken. This was actually a very large plate and we could barely finish it! The batter is very crispy and if you like your chicken with sauce, this is great. At first bite, it was quite spicy, but as you ate it along with the beer, it was actually quite bearable. I think it was a much better deal than Zabu Chicken.

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Seafood Pancake

We also got an order of Seafood Pancake, but I was quite disappointed with this. It wasn’t very crispy and there wasn’t a lot seafood in it. I’d suggest sticking with their chicken here.

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Overall, I was quite satisfied with Ole Wings and Tapas. A good choice among the Korean restaurants in this stretch if you want chicken and beer. Pitchers run at around $15 which is around the same as most restaurants, but I found that the value of the chicken was pretty good since we only needed to order one plate for the three of us. You also get free pickled daikon since it pairs well with spicy food. Service was also quite friendly and attentive even though we were probably the only non-Koreans dining there.

Pros:
– Prices are reasonable for the amount of chicken you get
– Crispy chicken and variety of sauces to choose from

Cons:
– Food other than chicken appears to be just average
– Can get very loud at night

Price Range: $15-20

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

Ole Wings and Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste of Aberdeen – ChineseBites Media Event

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

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining 60 other foodies at the Taste of Aberdeen event hosted by ChineseBites. When you think of the food court, you might be thinking of Flaming Wok, Taco Bell and that sort of stuff. Well, the Aberdeen food court is a whole different story, with stalls serving up cheap, delicious Asian food. You’d be surprised to hear that many people regularly dine here for lunch or dinner. I brought along S to dine with me and we were seated with fellow foodie Instagrammers, Tea.Latte and Vancouverfoodie.

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Dinner started off with an array of drinks from various shops. Starting from left to right was the Matcha Soy Bean from Strike, Iced Lemon Ribena from Bubble Waffle, Iced Honey Matcha Tea from Teppan Kitchen, House Special from 8 Juice, Milk Tea with Pearls and Coconut Jelly from Estea Express, and Iced Genmaicha Tea from Saboten. I was able to try the House Special which consisted of mango coconut juice with tapioca, mango and pomelo bits. It’s like drinking the mango pomelo dessert!

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Sakura Roll

First up was the Sakura Roll from Aji Hana, which is the only Japanese stall selling sushi at the food court. The roll is filled with prawn tempura and avocado and topped with chopped scallop and tobiko. The toppings are quite abundant and I would say it’s pretty good considering it’s from the food court.

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Bubble Waffle

Next was the infamous Bubble Waffle from Bubble Waffle. This was the original flavour and the outside was crispy with the interior having that nice mochi-like chew.

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Curry Fish Balls

Included in my top favourites list (at the bottom of the post) were the Curry Fish Balls from Bubble Waffle. I loved the kick these had without it being numbing. These bite-size fish balls had that bouncy texture and were fun to eat.

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Pan Fried Chinese Chives with Pork Dumplings

Also making it on my favourite list is the Pan Fried Chinese Chives with Pork Chives from Chef of Dumplings. I would have never thought of ordering these at the food court, but these were amazing! The wrappers were pan fried to a nice crispiness and there was a ton of filling inside. Flavours were great!

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Hot Sour Noodle

The Hot Sour Noodle from Szechuan House was average for me. It had the strong numbing effect and reminded me of the Szechuan Boiled Fish Soup. Not sure if I would consider this a soup since I wouldn’t want to drink it… There were mostly glass noodles in it and tons of chilies. If you like spicy and Szechuan food, this is for you.

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Prawn Wontons

The Prawn Wontons at Lung Kee were surprisingly pretty good! The wrappers were thin and the prawn was big and juicy. These are big wontons for sure!

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Deep Fried Squid and Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Always making it on my favourites list is the Deep Fried Chicken Wings from Wu Fung Dessert. They are famous for them and you’ll always find the stall with a line up. What surprised both S and I were how good the Deep Fried Squid were! I never even knew they sold them, but they are just as good as the wings! The squid is extremely tender!

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Drunken Chicken Hot Pot

The Drunken Chicken Hot Pot from Tofu Hot Pot was a crowd-pleaser as the broth was delicious. You get an array of vegetables, chicken and glass noodles in a broth cooked with Chinese wine. I could really taste the Chinese wine in the chicken and it tasted great.

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Popcorn Chicken Nuggets

The Popcorn Chicken Nuggets from Yougo Chicken were nice and crispy and well-seasoned.

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Club House Sandwich

The Club House Sandwiches from Strike were visually pleasing and was a bit of a surprise for us. The triple stacked sandwiches are filled with a meat patty, eggs, cucumbers and tomatoes. It had a sweet flavour to it and wouldn’t be bad for lunch.

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Egg Rolls

Also from Strike were the Egg Rolls, which are filed with a thin slice of egg, canned tuna and corn. The wrapper reminded me of the Chinese chive pancakes. Thought this was just average.

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Baked Pork Chop on Rice

A typical order from Mambo Cafe usually consists of the Baked Pork Chop on Rice. This is a huge filling portion at a cheap price. You can probably share this between two people. You get a ton of pork chop and the cheesy tomato sauce is delicious on top.

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Chicken Bulgogi & Pork Belly

My least favourite item of the night was the Chicken Bulgogi & Pork Belly from Kitchen Korea. I found that both the chicken and pork were rather dry and tough. The flavours were also rather bland. I’ve tasted better Korean meats for sure.

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Sticky Rice

The Sticky Rice from Leung Kee is filled with Chinese sausage and was quite flavourful.

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Soy Sauce Chicken and Long Gong Chicken

Also from Leung Kee was the Soy Sauce Chicken and Long Gong Chicken. Both had a nice gelatinous layer of jelly and were marinated well.

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Saboten Set

From Saboten, we got to try the Saboten Set which came with prawn, pork tenderloin and pork loin. It comes with a large choice of dipping sauces as well as a miso soup. The batter is extremely light and crispy. I preferred the tenderloin and the prawn the most as I found the pork loin to be rather dry.

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Hainanese Chicken on Rice

Making it on my top favourites list is the Hainanese Chicken on Rice from Cafe D’Lite Express. The rice was well seasoned and the chicken had that nice jelly like skin. Loved the chili sauce on the side too!

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‘A’ Grade Ribeye Teppan with Egg and Corn

If you like sizzling meat and rice, then Teppan Kitchen‘s ‘A’ Grade Ribeye Teppan with Egg and Corn will satisfy you. Coming in a hot skillet, the meat is sizzled along with the rice and you just mix everything together. Similar concept as Pepper Lunch.

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Mini Cream Puffs and Cheesecake Sticks

Onto desserts! First up were Mini Cream Puffs and Cheesecake Sticks from Beard Papa’s. Always a good option for desserts!

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Choco Banana Fresh Cream Mini Crepe

The Choco Banana Fresh Cream Mini Crepe from Mazazu Crepe was a bit of a disappointment for me since it had way too much cream. The crepes you normally get when you order the full size is usually really good with delicious fillings.

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A Dream in Eden

To finish off our enormous meal, we got to sample two shaved ice from Frappe Bliss. The first was A Dream in Eden which came in these adorable flower shaped bowls. Almost looks like a bouquet of flowers! This one has strawberries, kiwi, mango, and mango ice cream. I liked the sweetness from the condensed milk.

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Matcha Delight

The second shaved ice from Frappe Bliss was the Matcha Delight and this was one of my favourites. Topped with matcha icream, chewy rice balls and red bean, this is perfect for those who like matcha desserts. I especially like their shaved ice since it is the snow powder type where it isn’t chunks of ice. The powder like ice just melts into your mouth.

Thanks again to ChineseBites for hosting the event. To finish off, here are my favourite items from the night:

  1. Deep Fried Squid
  2. Deep Fried Chicken Wings
  3. Hainanese Chicken on Rice
  4. Curry Fish Balls
  5. Pan Fried Chinese Chives with Pork Dumplings

8 Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Estea Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Aji Hana Japanese Eatery & Udon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Bubble Waffle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Chef of Dumplings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Szechuan House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Wu Fung Dessert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Lung Kee Congee & Noodles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Yougo Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Tofu Hotpot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Mambo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Leung Kee Cantonese Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Strike Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Saboten Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Teppan Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Cafe D'Lite Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Mazazu Crepe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Beard Papa's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Frappe Bliss Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zabu Chicken

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KH and KC finally made our trip to Zabu Chicken after months of talking about fried chicken and beer. We headed over on a random weekday after work, and we were surprised that that it had a decent amount of diners. Zabu Chicken offers Korean fried chicken and beer, and most of their diners are Korean. By 7:00 pm, the place shut off their lights and had some night club music going on. Contrary to what many people had said about their poor service, I actually didn’t find it a problem and the service was quite attentive. Food did take quite some time to come out, but since we had our drinks, it wasn’t too much of a problem.

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Complimentary Coleslaw and Pickled Radish

After you place your order, you get some complimentary dishes. They served us Coleslaw as well as some Pickled Radish. At first, we thought the dishes were pretty underwhelming, but once you have some beer and chicken, you will appreciate it. The sourness of the pickled radish will help you cool down from the spicy chicken.

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Sapporo

With fried chicken, you have to get some beer. We ended up getting two pitchers of Sapporo for the night. Not the cheapest, but at $17, it was a reasonable price to share. I like how they provide you with beer mugs which have been put in the freezer so that your beer is kept cold.

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Zabu Hot Combo (M)

We decided to share a few dishes and started off with the Zabu Hot Combo. You can choose between medium and large size. We went with the medium, and you get a mix of wings and drumsticks. These were delicious! They are spicy, but a tolerable one and great with beer. The batter is so crispy! Something about it just tastes a lot different compared to American fried chicken. The sauce makes the chicken moist, but you still get the crispiness. The meat is also kept moist and tender.

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Zabu Soy Combo (L)

We also got their original Zabu Soy Combo, and we got this in large. These were also very delicious, and it had a nice sweet taste to it. A must order! It’s funny because you can also order a whole chicken… When we asked the server about it, she said they literally chop up the whole chicken and fry it…

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Overall, we were extremely satisfied with Zabu Chicken. The fried chicken isn’t the cheapest, but I’ve realized that fried chicken can be quite expensive. I also liked how we were able to sit around and chat and continue drinking our beer and the servers didn’t kick us out. Cool place to chill at night!

Pros:
– Chicken is crispy and moist
– Fun, chill place to drink and hang with friends

Cons:
– Prices aren’t exactly cheap

Price Range: $15-25

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

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

Click to add a blog post for Zabu Chicken on Zomato

Man Ri Sung Korean Restaurant

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Man Ri Sung used to be located in the strip mall where Banzai is on Westminister. It recently moved to the third floor of Aberdeen Mall and is famous for their peking duck. I believe it is run by Koreans, but they seem to cater to the Chinese. Looking through the menu, there are quite a few dishes that lean towards the Chinese cuisine.

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The interior is quite spacious with many tables. It’s great for large groups, and each table has the grill set up on the table in case you order bbq items.

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Banchan

Dinner started with complimentary banchan, which included kimchi, marinated radish, marinated bean sprouts and sweet potatoes. These were just average, with the kimchi being probably the best as it was just the right amount of spice and sourness for me. The sweet potatoes were underwhelming. The sauce wasn’t that great compared to other restaurants. Seemed a bit watery.

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Pan Fried Potato Noodles

Anyways, we didn’t get their famous peking duck, since you need to pre-order and it was just S and I eating. S chose the Pan Fried Potato Noodles in a small size, and it was quite a huge plate. I think he only ended up finishing half of it. The potato noodles were quite underwhelming. They were not very flavourful and I’ve definitely had better. It also seemed like they lacked beef in the dish.

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Short Beef Rib Soup

For myself, I had the Short Beef Rib Soup. I found the beef short ribs to be overcooked so the meat was quite chewy. The soup itself was pretty good, although it lacked depth in flavour. I ended up dipping my kimchi in to give it some spice and flavour. This was just average.

Overall, Man Ri Sung was quite average based on the dishes we tried. Korean food can be quite pricey, but I think some of their items seem to be quite reasonably priced for the portion sizes. It would definitely be better to eat with a larger group so you can share more items. Service was quite slow near the end and I didn’t find it too friendly. I think I would prefer Sura downstairs even though it’s pricier.

Pros:
– Large portions
– Comfortable seating

Cons:
– Dishes we tried were just average
– Service was a bit slow

Price Range: $15-25

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

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

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Midam Cafe

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Midam Cafe is hidden in a complex just off North Road. It’s been a year since I’ve visited, and K was desperate to get some shikye (a Korean rice drink). So desperate that we drove almost an hour to get here to find out they didn’t offer it right now. Probably because it’s more of a summer drink. Anyways, Midam is famous for their rice cakes, and I have to say they are pretty good! The spot is filled with diners at night for drinks and food, but we were surprised to be the first diners here during your typical lunch time on a weekend.

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We were served the complimentary ban-chan or Korean side dishes. These were all very good, consisting of kimchi, sweet potatoes and marinated kelp. The kimchi was a lot spicier than your typical, but was still delicious.

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Korean Traditional Rice Cake Soup

I chose the Korean Traditional Rice Cake Soup, which was surprisingly a very large bowl of soup. The broth was flavoured well, but definitely not salty. The rice cakes were cooked perfectly, so they were slightly chewy. It was filled with green onions, egg and seaweed. I put some of the kimchi in to give it some spice, which complemented the dish very well.

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Fresh Vegetable Porridge Set

K got the Fresh Vegetable Porridge Set, which again was a very large bowl. It had chopped vegetables and the porridge was flavoured just right. Very delicious!

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Grilled Mochi with Red Bean

We finished off our meal with dessert, which oddly came at the same time as our food. I would’ve appreciated it more if the dessert was served after we finished our meals. The Grilled Mochi with Red Bean came on a hot plate and didn’t look too appetizing, but was actually quite delicious. The mochi was soft with a slight chew, and the sweetness from the red beans and roasted almonds worked well with the dish. The only concern was that the mochi was slightly burnt, so you could taste the charcoal.

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Overall, Midam has solid Korean dishes and is great for desserts and drinks. I would suggest you try their rice cakes as they are probably some of the best in town. Service is just average, and there honestly isn’t much since you need to press the button to get the attention of your server. Parking is pretty good as well, although I can imagine the complex getting busy with the Korean supermarket also located in the complex.

Pros:
– Delicious home-made rice cakes – both savoury and sweet
– Great selection of desserts and drinks

Cons:
– Lack of service

Price Range: $10-20

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

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

Midam Cafe on Urbanspoon