DAAN Korean Restaurant

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I’ve been going to DAAN Korean Restaurant many time since it’s opened because it’s close to home and also delicious! Located in the Garden City mall on Blundell and Garden City, the restaurant offers some simple but delicious Korean dishes.

 

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I love their banchan here because I eat all of it! I always hate it when there’s some banchan I’m just not a fan of. I’ve been here quite a few times so have noticed that the sweet potatoes and kimchi are always a staple. They seem to swap between the marinated bean sprouts and marinated broccoli, both of which I enjoy. My favourite is their kimchi though as it’s just the right amount of spice and the radish is extremely juicy. If you order take out, you will only get the kimchi and sweet potato. However, if you eat in, you can also get 1 free refill of all these items.

 

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Korean Style Fried Chicken Wings

After visiting many times, S and I have noticed we always seem to order the same items. S’s must orders are the Korean Style Fried Chicken Wings in the orginal flavour. You can also choose sweet and spicy or soy garlic. The wings are a decent size with the batter very crispy and chicken being juicy. Even when we ordered it for take out, it was still pretty crispy.

 

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Soy Garlic Boneless Korean Fried Chicken Balls

S love Korean chicken so he also loves getting the Soy Garlic Boneless Korean Fried Chicken Balls. I haven’t really seen this at other Korean restaurants, but essentially it’s chicken meat wrapped with some batter and deep fried. They are sticky on the exterior but juicy inside. The garlic flavour is very strong so make sure you’ve got some mints after!

 

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Soft Tofu Soup

My must order is the Soft Tofu Soup which is served with a side of rice. You can choose between seafood, beef, or mushroom and customize your level of spiciness. I always go for the milk with beef. The bowl comes sizzling hot and the broth is extremely flavourful.

 

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Japchae

We also tried their Japchae which is stir-fried potato noodles with beef and mixed vegetables. There are plenty of vegetables in the dish with the veggies giving the dish a nice crunch.

 

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Bossam

We also tried their Bossam which is a popular Korean dish featuring slow cooked miso braised pork belly. We got the small size which costs around $18 but the portion was extremely large for two. The meat was tender with the fat melting in your mouth. They give you some soy bean paste, spicy pickled radishes, jalapeno peppers and raw garlic. You can wrap all of this with the cabbage. We found that their cabbage pieces were all too tiny to wrap the meat easily though. However, the dish still tasted great and I would order this again if we have more friends with us.

DAAN also offers a variety of sizzling plates but we found the portions to be too large for two so haven’t tried them yet. Overall, I enjoy this neighbourhood gem and have been revisiting many times since.

Pros:
– Solid Korean dishes
– Prices are reasonable

Cons:
– May need to wait a bit during peak hours

Price Range: $15-20 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in the complex Overall: 4

 

 

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Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba

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Niku Mazesoba

Last year, a new ramen restaurant opened up and it definitely found itself having long lines as expected. Kokoro Toyko Mazesoba is located just next to the Downtown BCIT campus which makes it a popular spot for all the students. If you come during peak lunch and dinner hours, expect to wait, although it is quite spacious and food comes out fast, so the turnover is quite quick. Mazesoba is essentially a mixed noodle or soupless ramen. I first tried something similar to this when I was in Tokyo.

I decided to try the Niku Mazesoba which seemed to be their most popular mazesoba. It features slow braised pork chashu, spicy minced pork, raw egg yolk, green onion, seaweed flakes, chives, minced garlic, grinded saba fish, and multi-grain noodle made in house. Noodles sit below all the ingredients and you mix all the ingredients and noodles together while breaking the yolk. It reminds me of a dan dan noodle with each noodle strand being coated with some sauce. The noodles were toothsome with a nice al dente texture. They are right when they say not udon but also not ramen as it is really something in between.

 

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Shio Mazesoba

S didn’t really want that raw egg yolk so he got the Shio Mazesoba which featured slow braised pork chashu, bamboo shoot, green onion, spinach, seaweed flakes, minced garlic, grinded saba fish, and multi-grain noodle made in house. Instead, he added a soft boiled egg on the side. His mazesoba was definitely less saucy without the egg so he actually did not have much sauce leftover. If you find the noodles a bit too heavy, you can also try adding vinegar to break the grease and saltiness. They also have chilli flakes on the table if you want to add some kick to your noodles.

 

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Although S’s bowl didn’t have much sauce left, my Niku bowl had plenty of sauce and ingredients left. The waiter will come by and ask if you’d like a free small bowl of rice which you can then drop into your leftover sauce and mix. It surprisingly tasted really good! But I could really only eat half the portion of rice after a whole bowl of noodles. If you’re hungry, then definitely go for the free rice!

 

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Mentaiko Cream Mazesoba

On another occasion, I came back during lunch hours to try their Mentaiko Cream Mazesoba. This featured mentaiko, slow braised pork chashu, raw egg yolk, seaweed flakes, spinach, green onion, minced garlic, japanese cream sauce, grinded saba fish, and multi-grain noodle made in house. I actually preferred this over the Niku Mazesoba as I found that the Niku was a bit heavy and salty for my liking. I found the mentaiko cream helped cut the grease a bit even before I added vinegar.

 

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Overall, I quite enjoyed the mazesobas but like ramen, it’s not something I can eat often as they are more on the heavy side. Plus, the prices are quite steep with most bowls going for $15-16 each. Definitely not a spot I could come for work lunch all the time. They do offer classic ramens with soup and a variety of appetizers and desserts, but I have yet to try those.

Pros:
– Mazesoba noodles are nice and chewy
– Extensive menu so there is something for everyone

Cons:
– Prices are steep for ramen
– Some of the bar seating isn’t very comfortable with the low backs

Price Range: $15-20 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Paid street parking/ paid BCIT parking lot Overall: 3.5

 

 

Win Win Chick-N

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Win Win Chick-N opened up late last year in Steveston Village. The storefront doesn’t look anything too special and is tucked away on First Avenue, away from the main tourist area. It’s definitely more a take away stop as there is only counter seating against the window. Luckily, when we went, there was only one other couple eating in, so we were able to get a seat.

 

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The menu is simple with fried chicken by piece or as a combo. There are also a few side dishes available and I believe they have since added some ube cake desserts to their menu. Prices are around the same as Church’s Chicken but the portions are much smaller, so these do come at a premium cost.

 

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5 piece plus a side

We decided to go for the 5 piece combo as that’s what we would normally get at other fried chicken stores. However, we were surprised at how tiny the chicken were. Definitely left us a little hungry as I think this would be good for one hungry person. We noticed they actually gave us an extra piece though, so that was definitely a nice surprise! I also later learned that their chicken is raised locally so that’s always a plus. Despite the tiny size, the chicken was actually very juicy and the batter had a nice crunch. The seasoning had a bit of a more Asian flavour to it but was not overly salty.

 

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Small Filipino Style Macaroni

We got the combo with a side of fries which weren’t anything too special. However, as the chicken pieces were quite small, I decided to also get a small side of Filipino Style Macaroni. You don’t often see this at fried chicken shops and I heard this is quite tasty. The pasta is mixed with ground pork, sausage and some tasty banana ketchup which gives it that sweet tang. I actually really enjoyed this as it tasted very homey and comforting.

 

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Overall, if you’re in the Steveston area, I’d definitely suggest stopping by Win Win Chick-N to give it a try. I wouldn’t suggest taking these to go if you’re eating it much later though as I think these will get soggy after a while. The chicken is also generally made fresh but we did notice some were sitting in the warmer. I think I still prefer LA Chicken in Richmond, but this is a nice change as well.

Pros:
– Chicken is juicy and has a crispy batter
– Filipino Style Macaroni is sweet and tangy

Cons:
– Seating is minimal and not very comfy (more of a take out spot)
– Portions are a bit small

Price Range: $10-20 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2 Parking: Free parking in the area Overall: 3.5

 

Bánh Mì Très Bon

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Bánh Mì Très Bon was one of the earlier restaurants to open up when Central at Garden City opened up. I heard great things about this new Vietnamese spot, but my heart always fell to Pho 37 when I had a pho craving so it wasn’t until recently that I tried it. The restaurant is very busy during peak hours on the weekends, so try to come a bit earlier. The seating is not the comfiest as the restaurant is pretty small, but the service is extremely friendly and attentive. I especially loved their wooden board menu which is super hipster! The interior is also well decorated and gives you a cute homey feel.

 

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Pho Tai Bo Vien

I decided to go for the Pho Tai Bo Vien or pho noodle soup with beef tenderloin and meatballs. The best part about the pho is it comes with a huge bone marrow as well! They will ask you if you’re okay with it and can take it out if you don’t want it. The broth itself is quite clear and light but there is a slight kick to it from the jalapenos which are already in the soup. You can add bean sprouts, basil and lime to your broth which are in this super cute boat! It should also be noted that their beef is grass fed and hormone free and they do not use any MSG. As the broth was more on the lighter side, I personally preferred Pho37’s pho because I enjoy deeper flavours.

 

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Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

S got the Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl which comes with spring rolls. S noted that the bowl was quite delicious but that it was a bit difficult to mix everything together especially after adding the fish sauce as the bowl was too small and the ingredients were spilling out.

Overall, I enjoyed the food we had but thought the items were priced slightly higher. But then again, the service and ambiance is nicer than many pho shops so you probably pay the extra price for that. Hope to return to try their other items!

Pros:
– Quality ingredients and well presented dishes
– Friendly service and cute ambiance

Cons:
– Menu is slightly more expensive

Price Range: $15-20 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Free parking at complex Overall: 3.5

 

Bánh Mi Très Bon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant

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Kimchi Hot Pot

Morak Koeran Fusion Restaurant has been a spot I’ve wanted to try for quite a while. Finally, we were at Metrotown and looking for lunch nearby so I suggested we go try since it’s only a short walk from the mall. The restaurant is quite small and run by mainly two ladies in the front so service can be a bit slow.

It was a cold and gloomy day so a hot soup was all I wanted. I decided to go for the Kimchi Hot Pot and this was served with a bowl of rice. The soup was piping hot and filled with kimchi, pork and tofu. I really enjoyed this as the soup was extremely flavourful with spice and pickled flavours. This was the individual size but you can choose a larger pot if you have two people sharing.

 

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Gganpoong Chicken

Of course S went for the Gganpoong Chicken and it was surprisingly delicious! At first, I thought the portion was pretty small given it was almost $30, but the chicken was juicy and moist and crispy on the outside. The boneless chicken are cut into smaller pieces and fried with garlic oil and then covered with a sweet and sour sauce. The garlic flavour really came through and this was quite a different flavour from the fried chicken I’ve had at other Korean restaurants. You’ll have a bit of garlic breath after, but I loved it!

 

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We were also given banchan or side dishes to start. These consisted of bean sprouts, sweet potato, and pickled radish. I was surprised there wasn’t kimchi, but to be honest the side dishes didn’t really impress me. I thought the flavours were extremely mild and there was barely any flavour to it. For example, I usually love Korean sweet potatoes but these tasted just like cooked potatoes without any syrup or soy.

The rest of the food we ordered were delicious though and I would love to come back to try the other dishes. Prices are a bit higher than other Korean spots, but the food tastes great.

Pros:
– Flavourful and well executed main dishes

Cons:
– Prices slightly on the higher end
– Seating can be a bit cramped and service a bit slow

Price Range: $15-30 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: Free or meter parking at nearby streets Overall: 4

 

Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Parkside Brewery

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During my visit to Port Moody for sushi, the guys wanted to check out some of the breweries since there is a street filled with them. We decided to check out Parkside Brewery which has both a patio and indoor seating.

 

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Parkside has their own beers but also features a few guest taps which is nice. They not only list the alcohol content but also the IBU or International Bitterness Units scale which I much appreciated since I don’t like bitter beers. You first choose and pay for your beers and then you can bring your beers to any open seating you find.

 

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Dusk Pale Ale, Riot Brewing Dark Mild (Guest Tap), Beauregarde Blueberry Wit, Skate or Dye Mango ISA (left to right)

I decided to share a Park Bench Flight with M since I only wanted to have two beers. The two beers I tried were both fruity and I especially enjoyed the Skate or Dye Mango ISA as it had a passionfruit aftertaste. I felt that the Blueberry Wit didn’t have enough blueberry flavour compared to the mango ISA. For $8 a flight, the price was quite comparable to the other breweries in the area. I loved how they were put on a little wooden bench!

 

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The cool thing about the area is that most of the breweries have teamed up with food trucks to offer food to pair along with the beers. At the Parkside Brewery, they had The Frying Pan dishing up their signature fried chicken sandwiches, but since we were heading to sushi after, we decided to check out The Wandering Mollusk instead. They were serving up some oysters and I wish we had some wine to go with these! Love the idea of collaborating with food trucks!

Pros:
– Great variety of beers including guest taps

Cons:
– Can get quite busy so seating can be difficult to find for larger groups

Price Range: $10-15 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking at nearby streets Overall: 3.5

 

Parkside Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Sen Pad Thai

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I’ve heard many great things about Sen Pad Thai, which is part of the large group of restaurants Chef Angus An runs. The shop used to be inside The Loft at Granville Island, but recently moved to The Granville Island Public Market where the rest of the restaurants are. It is more of a food court set up to be honest, where you order and pay up front first and find your own seat in the area or take out. I liked how they give you a buzzer so you can wander around until it buzzes which means your food is ready.

 

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The shop offers a variety of noodles, curries, and a few appetizers. The prices are roughly all $12- $15 which is a bit pricey given you’re eating in a food court setting. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the portions were pretty reasonable given the price.

 

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Crispy Wings with Thai Garlic

We started off sharing the Crispy Wings with Thai Garlic which were served with a tamarind sauce. The wings were rather small in size but they were very crispy with the inside moist. I enjoyed the flavours and especially when dipped in the tamarind sauce which was a bit acidic and sweet.

 

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Pad Thai

I heard great things about the Pad Thai so had to give this a try. The pad thai was served with tamarind, tofu and egg. The portion of this dish was huge! I kept eating and it didn’t end! This is great to be shared between two if you’re going to have an appetizer as well.

 

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The noodles were chewy and not overly dressed in sauce. It was quite flavourful but I would’ve liked it to have a bit of a kick. Seems like they do not add any spice unless you ask or you can add their homemade chili sauces which is on the side when you pick up your order.

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Pad Siew Beef

My favourite dish we tried was the Pad Siew Beef which featured fresh rice sheet noodles stir-fried with beef, gai lan and egg. This dish had so much “wok-hay” which is hard to find. The noodles were also a new type of noodles I’ve never tried before. They were translucent and wide and very chewy. The beef was tender and I loved the gai lan which added a bit of crunch. A must try if you’d like to try something new.

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Overall, we really enjoyed the dishes at Sen Pad Thai. They have great wok flavour and the portions are very generous for the price. You’ll have to scout around the market place for a seat during peak hours though!

Pros:
– Dishes have great flavour and “wok hay”

Cons:
– A bit pricey for food court setting

Price Range: $15-20 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: N/A Parking: Free and paid parking in Granville Island Overall: 4

 

Sen Pad Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Baiyulan Shanghai Cuisine

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Baiyulan is the new Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen after the old location was being used for redevelopment. The new location is quite spacious and even has a patio during the summer. I have to say it’s a bit odd to eat Chinese food on a patio though! The menu seems to be pretty much the same. During peak hours, there is a short wait as it seems to be quite popular.

 

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Xiao Long Bao

To start, we had the Xiao Long Bao with one order consisting of 6 dumplings. The skin was fairly thin and the inside was pretty juicy. Although I still much prefer the ones from Yuan’s Garden as they have the most soup. Still, these are fairly priced and pretty good.

 

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Beef Wrap

We also tried the Beef Wrap but this was pretty disappointing. The dough was very pale and white but the main issue was there wasn’t enough hoisin sauce so the wrap was rather dry.

 

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Pan Fried Shanghai Noodles

Last but not least, we had the Pan Fried Shanghai Noodles which is a staple dish we order at Shanghainese restaurants. The dish was large with the noodles being chewy and not overly oily. It was very flavourful and the amount of ingredients in the dish was just right.

Overall, Baiyulan is a great option for Shanghainese food in Richmond. Not my favourite one but it’s up on the list when I’m thinking of a spot to go to. Service was actually not bad and they were pretty responsive.

Pros:
– Decent eats at reasonable prices
– Service is pretty quick

Cons:
– Good but nothing to rave about

Price Range: $15-20 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in complex Overall: 3.5

 

Baiyulan Shanghai Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato