Momo Sushi (Robson)

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Since we were in downtown, I suggested we try something new. A bit of Googling got us settled at Momo Sushi which is down on Robson Street past the shops. Apparently there are tons of Momo Sushi shops around downtown.

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The interior is simple and relatively clean. When we arrived, there were still many seats open, but closer to dinner time, the place was all packed.

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Chicken Teriyaki Roll, Yam Roll, California Roll

I knew we were here for “good value” sushi so I wasn’t expecting much here given the lower prices. S chose a variety of his usual rolls and when the plates came we were surprised how large the portions were! He was beyond full at the end and it didn’t cost us much.

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Spicy Combo (Spicy Tuna Roll and Spicy Chopped Scallop Roll) and Negitoro Roll

For myself, I chose their Spicy Combo and added a side of Negitoro Roll since I thought I would still be hungry… Guessed wrong since I could barely finish my plate. The chopped scallop roll had chopped scallop inside the roll but also piled on top. You could make two rolls with the amount of scallop they put… The only thing that I wasn’t fond of was that cheap spicy sauce they used. But I can’t complain given the prices I paid. The fish was also surprisingly quite fresh!

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Overall, S and I left the restaurant happy that we had a good deal and were pleasantly full. Don’t expect authentic sushi here, but I found that the rolls were decently executed and fish appeared fresh. When I want cheap sushi without sacrificing too much quality, I’ll be returning to Momo!

Pros:
– Reasonable prices
– Large portions

Cons:
– Not your authentic Japanese restaurant
– Very busy during prime hours

Price Range: $10-15

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 2 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3

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

Dunn’s Famous – Relaunch Media Event

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

I’ve been to Dunn’s Famous during the PaintNite events, so I was excited when Peak Communicators contacted me about the Dunn’s Famous Relaunch Media Event. As I was away during the actual event, Peak Communicators was able to arrange for me to visit the restaurant at another time. I met with Yonathan Delgado, the General Manager who gave me a thorough tour of the newly re-opened restaurant.

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Dunn’s Famous is the only franchise outside of Quebec. The store launched in 2011 and the grand re-opening was on October 9, 2015. They have revamped their menu to focus more on their signature dishes, but have also added a couple of new items. My immediate reaction when I entered was how bright the restaurant is now.

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You’ll find brick walls on one side and tables with black and white photography of Quebec.

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The new addition is the deli experience where customers can purchase both quick lunches and also goods to take home. They offer a variety of smoked meat, pickles, salads, and soups. Of course, you can also choose sit-down dining, but it’s great that there’s an option for Downtown workers for a quick sandwich.

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Dunn’s Famous specializes in authentic Montreal smoked meat, an artisan meat product produced from beef brisket that is cured and spiced using old-world techniques before a slow cooking process. It is then steamed again and hand sliced to order, before used to create the iconic Canadian Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

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Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Of course I had to try their signature item, so I ordered the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich. For the sandwiches, you can choose the size, cut of your meat, mustard, and any side add ons. I asked for advice from one of the servers (who by the way, are extremely well-trained and knowledgeable with the products) and chose the smallest size, a 4 oz meat sandwich, with a medium cut, and Dijon mustard. They use rye bread which comes from the local bakery, Brekka, so the bread is extremely fresh. All sandwiches also come with a pickle, which is refreshing to eat between the sandwich. The smoked meat is seriously some of the most melt-in-your-mouth meat I’ve had though. This is because Dunn’s offers the only hand-sliced Montreal smoked meat in Vancouver. The hand slicing is an art that takes years to perfect and allows the meat to be cooked for a longer period of time and it can be cut against the grain. This would not be achievable with a machine. With a medium cut, you get a mix of lean and fat meat, so you still get the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture.

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Quebecoise Poutine

For my add-on, I chose the Quebecoise Poutine. The fries are hand cut and made from Kennebec potatoes, and topped with fresh Canadian cheese curds covered in an original BBQ beef gravy. The gravy is made in house from scratch using roasted beef bones and a signature barbecue spice mix, which I thought was quite different from your typical gravy sauce. I quite liked this and the fries were extremely crispy.

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Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the service and food at Dunn’s Famous. There are very few, if any, Montreal smoked meat restaurants that I’m aware of so it’s great that Dunn’s still keeps the traditions and authenticity of this delicious artisan meat. Great location and I’m loving the new vintage retro ambiance at the restaurant. Plus, you can now bring home the smoked meat to assemble your own sandwich!

Dunn's Famous Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar

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After dinner, we headed over to Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. It was the hype many years ago, but I have been a laggard in trying it out. We arrived at around 8pm and the place was half filled with steady traffic.

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This is the place if you want to try Belgian waffles. They offer two types of waffles: brussels or liege. You can then choose their preset toppings.

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They have a bit of seating outside as well as the inside. You first order, and they will assign you seating. It’s quite small, so we had to sit at the table with others.

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Mocha on Brussels Waffle

We shared the Mocha on Brussels Waffle, which features vanilla ice cream, espresso infused whipped cream and dark Belgian chocolate sauce on top of a light and crispy waffle. I found the waffle to be rather sticky, but it was still quite delicious. Maybe a bit too much of that whipped cream, but it was light so not too heavy.

Overall, we were quite pleased with Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. By the time we left, there was a huge lineup forming, so be sure to go there early! I also liked how they were cool with us ordering one waffle between the three of us. Usually, many smaller shops force you to order a minimum order. Only downside is that the waffles are quite pricey though, with most of them being $8-9. Great to share with friends after dinner though!

Pros:
– Waffles are delicious and variety of toppings
– Friendly service

Cons:
– Quite pricey for waffles

Price Range: $10

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

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

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Roof at Black+Blue (Happy Hour)

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SP, SK and I are always on the lookout to find a new happy hour place. We have our gatherings every few months and we usually go after work, and it’s the perfect time to try new restaurants at a good price. SP is always looking for a deal for drinks too, so what better way than to go for happy hour. This time, we decided to go to The Roof at Black+Blue. Their happy hour is from 2:30-5:30 every day and there is a select menu with 50% off their original price. Select beers, highballs, and featured drinks are $5.

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You enter from Black+Blue door and to your left is an elevator which will take you up to the third floor. You’ll arrive with a huge bull facing you.

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We arrived at 5pm and the place was already bumping. The hostess warned us that we would only be allowed to stay until 7:30pm for happy hour as they have the next group of diners coming in. The patio is awesome but it was also extremely sunny and we were not smart enough to bring our shades like everyone else. The ambiance is nice but not overly fancy. You’ll find a mix of tourists and business people here.

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Charcuterie ($18)

All prices I’ve listed is the regular price, so we got everything 50% off. The Charcuterie came with prosciutto, a selection of salami, parmigiano-reggiano, seasonal marmalade, olives, cornichons, and forno bread. I loved the cheese and the selection of meats were great. A good deal at $9.

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Salt Spring Island Mussels ($18)

Next up were the Salt Spring Island Mussels which came in a coconut Thai curry broth, cilantro, crispy shallots, and another side of forno bread. These were delicious with the mussels being fresh and plump and the broth having a strong coconut flavour. The broth was great to dip your bead in. We soon realized that all our dishes came with the same bread though and that we were filling up with bread…

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Crab and Spinach Dip ($16)

The Crab and Spinach Dip was a gooey mix of artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. It was very heavy and cheesy but I quite enjoyed it. Again, it came with forno bread to dip.

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Atlantic Lobster Flatbread ($24)

Our last item was the Atlantic Lobster Flatbread, which came topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, tarragon, lobster bisque, corn, and pickled onions. This was quite tasty with the corn bringing a sweetness of flavour to the typical savoury dish. We were disappointed that there wasn’t too much lobster though. If you were lucky, you got a few strands on your piece.

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The girls got the feature drink which was a Blueberry Champagne Spritzer, while I had the Driftwood Whitebark Beer. Overall, we were quite pleased with the food, other than the fact that almost all the dishes came with the same bread for the side, so we got a bit sick of that. Our server was pretty friendly at the end, but started off being a bit cold. Not sure what that was all about. She also forgot our order of Calamari, but we were too full to eat that anyways. Prices are reasonable during happy hour, with each of us paying under $20 for our share of food and drinks after tips.

I do want to note that I was quite disappointed with the service I received subsequent to this dinner. I had left my lunch bag from work under the table and went home without it. When I called to ask if it was still there, the manager said that they were not aware and that they would look after closing since there were still diners. She said she would call me back if they found anything. Since I didn’t hear anything back, I called again a few days later, and they said that they were still looking and would call me back. It’s been more than two weeks since, and I have heard nothing back. What I lost is not a big deal and it isn’t their responsibility, but I am quite annoyed at the fact that they disregarded the whole situation. I rather they call me and tell me they looked and could not find anything. The fact that they said they were still looking seemed like they had not even tried to look. As the restaurant is part of such a large restaurant group and consider themselves an upscale restaurant, I would think they know how to better please their customers.

Pros:
– Reasonable prices during Happy Hour
– Nice ambiance

Cons:
– Too much of the same bread on each dish!
– Service was just average for an upscale restaurant

Price Range: $15-25

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3

The Roof at Black + Blue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Li’l Cheese Steak Spot

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Li’l Cheese Steak Spot recently opened up in Royal Centre’s food court. Since I was nearby for work, I headed over to grab take out. The food takes a little longer to get prepared since they make the sandwich when you order. You can wash the cook grill your steak and veggies on spot. They also have other sandwiches and soups to order.

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Cheese Steak Sandwich

I went for their signature, which is the Cheese Steak Sandwich. It doesn’t look appealing because it was all wrapped up and the sauces got all smothered, but this was delicious! If you love steak and cheese, this is for you. The beef was tender and you actually got quite a lot of it. It was also filled with onions, melted cheese, banana peppers, tomatoes, and a white sauce. Only downside is that the sandwich is quite pricey at $9. Nevertheless, it’s filling and the quality of steak is great.

Pros:
– Steak is tender
– Sandwiches are made to order

Cons:
– Pricey sandwich for food court

Price Range: $10

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

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

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The Fish Shack (Happy Hour)

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Fish Shack is part of the Glowbal Group of restaurants. It is one of their more casual restaurants and is located conveniently on Granville Street. We decided to go for happy hour, which is between 2:30 and 5:30 pm. They have a small patio, but it was already filled since it was a sunny day. We ended up sitting indoors.

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The interior is modern with red, black, and brown as their colour theme. They have a huge chalkboard listing the different types of fish, which was pretty cool.

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Captain Jack’s Lemonade
During Happy Hour, there are select drinks for $5. Everyone at my table decided to go for the featured cocktail, which was Captain Jack’s Lemonade. This had Jack Daniel’s whiskey, triple sec, fresh lemon juice, and syrup. It was actually very sweet and tasty. You could barely taste the alcohol.

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Red Truck Lager

For myself, I had the Red Truck Lager, which was 20 oz. I later realized that their draught beers are usually around $6 for a 20 oz anyways, so I didn’t think it was that great of a deal. A 10 oz is roughly $4, so the restaurant is an affordable place to grab a drink.

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Kusshi Oysters

I wanted to try Fish Shack’s Happy Hour because they have oyster specials. During Happy Hour, their specials include their featured oysters, sawmill bay, kusshi, and okeover. All are 50% off their regular price. The Kusshi Oysters after discount were roughly $1.50, so a pretty good deal, since they are usually on the pricier side or not featured during happy hour. They were small, but quite fresh and sweet. I probably only had one that had a bit of shell in it, so the shucking was done quite well.

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They also provide a variety of sauces for the oysters. Their are your traditional mignonette with shallots and cocktail sauces. Then there was one that was a spicy thicker sauce. It gave a kick, but not too overpowering. The last sauce, I couldn’t really figure it out. It wasn’t that good though.

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Salmon and Crab Cakes

During Happy Hour, they also feature a list of items which are 50% off their regular price. We shared the Salmon and Crab Cakes, which came with a chipotle tartar sauce. You don’t usually find the cakes mixed with both salmon and crab, so I found this to be a nice change. However, I don’t think it was executed too well. There could have been more seasoning, the meat seemed to be overcooked.

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Fish and Chips

S got his favourite Fish and Chips, which featured battered ling cod, fries, tartar sauce, lemon & a coleslaw. This was a pretty good deal, at a little more than $5 after the discount. However, I thought the batter was fried to a really dark golden brown. Seemed like the oil being used was old…

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Creole Fish Tacos

For myself, I got the Creole Fish Tacos. The flour tortillas were filled with battered fish, avocado, lime, sour cream & fried onions. An order comes with two tacos and fries. This came to around $6 after discount. I found these to be quite sloppily made. The fish were also bits of fish, rather than a whole piece of fish being fried. Felt like this might’ve been scraps of leftover fish… I guess it’s okay for the price, but I wouldn’t pay full price for it.

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Popcorn Shrimp

Lastly, we also shared the Popcorn Shrimp, which comes with a house-made cocktail sauce. The batter on these shrimp were not crispy, but rather soggy. I felt like I could get better ones at the supermarket where you baked them yourself…

Overall, I was quite disappointed with the food at The Fish Shack based on the items we tried at Happy Hour. The oysters and drinks however were quite a good value and the oysters were fresh. Service was also quite poor. The server didn’t seem too friendly and it was really difficult to get their attention when we needed service.

Pros:
– Oysters are fresh and good value at Happy Hour
– Drinks are reasonably priced

Cons:
– Food we tried at Happy Hour was pretty bad
– Service was poor and unfriendly

Price Range: $20-25

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

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

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VanVan Izakaya – ChineseBites Media Event

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

A few weeks ago, I was invited by ChineseBites to try out the food at VanVan Izakaya along with a few other food bloggers.

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It took over the old Benkei Ramen location not long ago, and I have passed by it many times. Something about their name just threw me off a bit, so I never ended up giving it a try.

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The interior has many wooden accents and gives you that Japanese izakaya feel.

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Raw Octopus with Wasabi

We started off with the Raw Octopus with Wasabi, which is really Tako Wasa. If you love wasabi and raw octopus, this is a great dish for you. I really enjoyed this as the octopus was fresh and you got that kick of spicy wasabi. It comes with seaweed so you can wrap the octopus.

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Beef Carpaccio

The Beef Carpaccio came with mayo, balsamic vinegar, and cheese. The cheese was a stronger cheese and I think it might’ve been gorgonzola. The beef was sliced so thinly, that I couldn’t really taste it. I found this dish to be underwhelming.

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Russian Roulette Octopus Balls

Next up was the Russian Roulette, which is a must order at VanVan. Not really because they are the best takoyakis, but more because of how it’s a fun dish to order with friends. One of these octopus balls are filled with a super spicy wasabi paste. Luckily, I didn’t get it, but apparently it was a very strong kick.

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Beef Short Rib

The Beef Short Ribs were probably one of my favourites of the night. When it arrived, I thought that the beef was cooked rather medium rare compared to other restaurants, but it turned out to be perfect since it was very tender. Short ribs can be easily overcooked to dry, but this kept its moisture. The marinade was also very tasty.

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Pork Jowl

The Pork Jowl was also another favourite of mine. They seem to be doing something right with their grilled dishes! It came with a Japanese citrus sauce, and the meat was extremely tender with that nice chew.

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Ebi Mayo

Next up was Ebi Mayo, which was topped with a garlic chili mayo. These were only average as the batter slipped right out and the prawns were a bit mushy. I also didn’t really like that chili mayo seasoning they used.

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Octopus and Marinated Mackerel Sashimi

Next up, we ordered every type of sashimi they had, which isn’t a lot since they focus more on their izakaya food. We started off with the Octopus and Marinated Mackerel. I really enjoyed the Octopus as it was tender with a slight chew. The Marinated Mackerel was also very fresh and surprisingly wasn’t too fishy for me. I’m usually note a huge fan of saba.

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Albacore Tuna, Atlantic Salmon, Scallop Sashimi

Next were your typical Albacore Tuna and Atlantic Salmon. I found the tuna to be rather mushy and wasn’t as fresh as I’ve had. However, my favourite had got to be the Scallops. They were very fresh and had a great texture.

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Chicken Thigh Karage

Chicken Thigh Karage followed and I found it to be average. It was crispy, but nothing that wowed me.

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Marinated Jellyfish

Marinated Jellyfish tasted quite like your typical, which you can find at Chinese restaurants.

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Curry Poutine

Curry Poutine was an odd dish, but actually tasted pretty good. The fries were crispy and topped generously with a Japanese curry sauce and some cheese.

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Chopped Raw Salmon

The Chopped Raw Salmon came nicely presented in a box form along with some seaweed to wrap it in. The salmon was seasoned with a sweet garlic sauce.

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Dried Squid Snack Tempura

We had originally wanted to order the Squid Tentacles Karage, but apparently they were sold out. Instead, we got the Dried Squid Snack Tempura, which was probably our least favourite at my table. It was literally the dried squid you would get in packs as a snack, but deep fried. I would’ve much rather ate the dried squid unbattered.

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Whole Squid

One of my favourites of the night was the Whole Squid, which was essentially grilled squid. The squid was tender and had a nice char on top. The only issue was why do they put mayo on every dish! This really didn’t need any mayo since it was already very flavourful.

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Japanese Old Style Omelette

The Japanese Old Style Omelette was again drizzled with an overload of mayo. There is supposed to be some pork in it, but it was quite little. My portion ended up having mostly cabbage and it had this odd sour taste to it. Not a fan.

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BBQ Eel Rice in Hot Bowl

Onto some rice and noodle dishes. First up was the BBQ Eel Rice in Hot Bowl. This was pretty good with the eel being very flavourful. However, I wish the rice had that nice char from the hot bowl.

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Pork Fried Noodle

The Pork Fried Noodle was alright. Sort of like a yakisoba. But again, I’m not sure why there’s a huge blob of mayo on the side. You really don’t need to mix that in, since the noodles are already flavoured well.

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BBQ Pork Rice Bowl

Our last savoury dish was the BBQ Pork Rice Bowl, which I quite enjoyed. The BBQ pork was really tender and I enjoyed the light marinade.

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Rice Cake Wrapped Strawberry

We then sampled one of each item on their dessert menu. The Rice Cake Wrapped Strawberry is a mochi ball filled with red bean paste and a whole strawberry. I love mochi and red bean paste, so I quite enjoyed this. However, I found that the strawberry threw things off a bit. It was a bit sour and the texture is much harder, so it didn’t work too well. Although it’s a nice concept, I would’ve preferred it without the strawberry.

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Green Tea Soy Milk Pudding

Although the Green Tea Soy Milk Pudding had a weird texture when you scooped it, it was probably one of my favourite desserts. The pudding is in a very liquid form, but you get a good taste of the soy milk with just the right amount of green tea flavour.

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Green Tea Ice Cream

We also had the Green Tea Ice Cream, which comes with whipped cream and some red bean paste. Nothing too special.

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Black Sesame Ice Cream

And last but not least, we also had the Black Sesame Ice Cream, which is strong in black sesame flavour. Again, it comes with some whipped cream and red bean paste.

Overall, VanVan Izakaya has both hits and misses. I really enjoyed their grilled dishes, especially the short ribs, pork jowl, and squid. They only do sushi rolls during lunch time, but for dinner, you can still enjoy some of their sashimi dishes.

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Ramen Jinya

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Ramen Jinya, located on Robson, closer towards Cambie, has been around Vancouver for many years. Finally, on a sunny weekend, S and I decided to try it out with K. We went at a pretty odd time in the afternoon, so we only had a short wait. Still, the place is packed any time of the day!

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The interior is nice and modern, and seating feels much more spacious than many other ramen shops in Downtown. Service was also extremely friendly and attentive.

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Crispy Chicken with Salad

S went for a combo for his noodles, so by adding an extra $4.50, he got the Crispy Chicken with Salad. I didn’t try this but it had a very nice crispy golden batter.

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Tonkotsu Miso Ramen

K got the Tonkotsu Mison Ramen, which features pork belly char-siu, kikurage, green onion, spicy been sprouts, and corn. He said it was pretty good.

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Tonkotsu Classic Ramen – Shio

S got the Tonkotsu Classic Ramen, which features a shio soup base. It featured pork belly char-siu, Kikurage, green onion, and fried onion.

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JINYA Tonkotsu Black

For myself, I went with the JINYA Tonkotsu Black, which is their number one seller. It offers original pork broth with pork belly char-siu, kikurage, green onions, flavoured boiled egg, seaweed, black garlic oil, and garlic chips. I liked how the garlic oil wasn’t overbearing here, but you still got that hint of garlic flavour. The noodles they use in this broth are thin noodles, which I like since I find them more chewy.

Overall, Jinya didn’t disappoint and is a great option for ramen in Vancouver. Service is also extremely friendly. Jinya recently also opened a new store in Kerrisdale, so hopefully that disperses the crowds at the downtown location.

Pros:
– Great broth and noodles
– Friendly service

Cons:
– Expect waits during prime hours

Price Range: $10-20

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

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

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