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

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McDonalds’ Great Canadian Taste Adventure

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Yes, I am extremely behind in my posts… and it has been more than a month since McDonalds’ Great Canadian Taste Adventure ended… Anyways, in June, McDonalds in Canada had a limited time offer where they promoted 5 of their Canadian menu items for each province. The big one being the McLobster, which I had been dying to try and I had made it my must try if I went to the east coast. Well, luckily we were able to try it at home here, so off we went to grab take out at the first McDonalds in Canada – the one on No.3 Road in Richmond…(who knew, right?).

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McLobster

Not the most glamorous picture here, but the McLobster is their feature for the East Coast. The sandwich is a bit different here as it is in a roll, and it is filled with lobster chunks, lettuce, and a mixture of celery, lemon juice and mayonnaise. We actually had a decent amount of lobster, but I heard that others had experienced less in their lobster rolls. The lobster was actually pretty good with a nice chewy, bouncy texture to it. However, the sauce had way too much lemon juice to it and I didn’t like that celery flavour. It’s also quite pricey at $7.49 for just the sandwich and it is literally the size of my hand… More like a snack, but a pricey one.

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To feature Quebec, they had the maple and Bacon Poutine.

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Maple and Bacon Poutine

I’ve actually never tried their original poutines, so I was surprised when the fries used for the Maple and Bacon Poutine were the exact same fries from their original menu. The only difference is that there is bacon, cheese curds, and maple gravy on top. This was okay, with the sauce being sweet and salty at the same time. However, I’d much prefer the fries on their own. It was also quite pricey at almost $5 for a small box.

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A&W

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Sriracha Burger

If you haven’t already heard, A&W had been offering coupons to redeem their new Sriracha Teen Burger for free. Unfortunately, the coupons have run out, but if you were lucky to get the coupon, but didn’t redeem it by their previous deadline, July 31, 2015, they extended it until August 9, 2015! The Sriracha Teen Burger features a sesame seed bun, filled with a pure beef patty, processed cheddar cheese, bacon, sriracha aioli, roasted red pepper, tomato and lettuce. It really tastes just like a teen burger but has the roasted red peppers and a hint of that sriracha aioli. I was expecting it to be more spicy, but it really wasn’t. I did like the roasted red peppers in it though.

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Onion Rings

When you sign up with A&W online, they also post various coupons in your account. One of them was upgrading to Onion Rings for free when you purchased fries. So for $2.50, we got onion rings, compared to around $4.50 normally. Not bad! Their onion rings are also always crispy and sweet.

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Chubby Chicken Strips

The must order for S at A&W are the Chubby Chicken Strips. They claim that they use 100% chicken breast from chicken raised without the use of antibiotics. I did think that the chicken tasted much more like real chicken without other random ingredients. They batter and bread the chicken with toasted wheat crumbs, wheat flour and spices. Quite crispy indeed, but I personally think they are quite pricey at around $8 for 5 small strips.

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Poutine

On another visit, K brought take out home and I got to sample their Poutine. This was another deal where she used a coupon to upgrade her fries to a poutine for free. The poutine features Russet thick-cut fries with cheese curds and a poutine gravy sauce. We thought these were just average. The fries were a bit soggy and I would choose New York Fries over these for sure.

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Overall, A&W’s new Srircha Burger is worth a try and I would probably order it again. I also like how when you dine in, your food looks pretty fancy in their little fryer baskets. Seems like a bit of an upgrade compared to your typical fast food restaurants. You don’t get this at the food court though, and we noticed that the food court’s quality was not as good as their restaurants with the food being cold and fries being fried in old oil.

Pros:
– Sriracha Teen Burger and Onion Rings are good
– Good deals when you sign up for their online coupons

Cons:
– Can be a bit pricey for fast food without the coupons

Price Range: $10-15

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

Food: 3 Service: N/A Ambiance: 2 Parking: 3 Overall: 3
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Tubby Dog

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Day 2 in Calgary: Shortly after lunch and some presentations, S, H, J and I decided to go explore the city a bit and look for some snacks. S had previously checked out the top places on Urbanspoon, and Tubby Dog was one of them. Since it was quite a far walk, we decided to take a cab instead. Upon arriving, there was a man cleaning the windows, hence the bizarre picture.

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They had their menu on their door, and it reminded me of Japadog, but North American style. The prices are quite high for a hot dog, so I was hoping they better be good.

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Inside, they have the menu again, but also with some specials. I wish I got a picture of the kitchen area, since  you can watch your hot dog get cooked and assembled in the front. You basically order at the counter, and they call your name when it’s ready.

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The place is super retro and hipster. If I were still in high school, I would probably think that this would be where the “cool” kids hung out. I love how they had a cabinet full of food items that seemed to be collectibles. They definitely weren’t the typical packaging you could find in a grocery anymore. I’m guessing some of them might’ve been limited editions.

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And they even have a mini arcade! I can totally picture some skaters coming here for a hot dog and playing games after school. It’s so old school and almost gives you a “back in the day” vibe. The place has posters hanging around the walls, and they all add to that hip vibe. Even the employees have a retro vibe to them.

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Tubby Dog – homemade chili, bacon, cheese, onions, mustard

And now finally onto the food! We decided to share a Tubby Dog since we had just ate lunch. We weren’t sure which hot dog to choose, but I guess you can’t go wrong with the one that’s named after the store! It was layered with tons of chili, onions, cheese and bacon bits along with a mustard sauce. It is definitely quite a large hot dog for one person, and would be decent to be shared between two for a snack. You basically need to eat this with knives and forks though, since there is no way to avoid a mess. I actually found that the bun was a bit soggy though, and wasn’t as crisp and toasted as I would’ve liked it. The onions were also barely cooked so the taste of raw onions were quite pungent. I loved the chili, bacon bits and loads of cheese though!

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T-Rings

We also ordered a side of T-Rings. These are essentially double battered onion rings. I can almost be sure to say that they are also double fried… These things are deadly and oily! Because they are double battered, the batter is extremely thick and oily. I actually found that distracting and would’ve liked a thinly battered onion ring instead. It felt so unhealthy eating all that oily batter! The onion rings, however, were huge in circumference! Each order came with 5 onion rings.

Overall, I wasn’t extremely impressed with Tubby Dog’s food. I didn’t think it was as amazing as the reviews said. If I were to pay a price of around $7, I  rather buy a Japadog instead. I guess Calgary needs to try some Japadogs, and they may rethink about what a good hot dog is! I do, however, love the atmosphere at Tubby Dog. That retro vibe is difficult to find, and they definitely played it well at this diner. A really cool place to hang out with some friends and devour some greasy food!

Tubby Dog on Urbanspoon

Froshberg Gelato

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Matcha Gelato

The new Dining Terrace at Richmond Centre has been open for quite some time now, and everyone was talking about the new Froshberg Gelato. I finally decided to go try it out during my break from work, and chose the Matcha Gelato. However, I wasn’t too satisfied with the flavour. I found it really sweet and almost artificial. It didn’t have the true matcha tea leaves flavour to it. It almost felt too milky and creamy for it to be a matcha gelato.

I’ve yet to try the other flavours though, so perhaps the other flavours are much better.

Froshberg Gelato on Urbanspoon

Bubble Waffle

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I was told that the Bubble Waffle that used to have their own store is now in the food court of Aberdeen Centre, so I decided to go check it out. The place was packed and had a variety of food to choose from. There were of course bubble waffles, their signature make your own noodles combo, and some surprisingly items like hurricane potato fries and rice rolls!

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Hong Kong Rice Roll Combo – Rice rolls, fish balls, shiu-mai, all mixed with a mixture of sauces

K and I shared some items. We got the Hong Kong Rice Roll Combo because it reminds us of the ones we can get in Hong Kong. I have to say the quality of the rice rolls are nothing special at all, but it’s the fact that you get a bunch of your favourite food all mixed in a tasty sauce in a bowl. I didn’t find the fish balls to be that great, but the Shiu-Mai were pretty good. It was all mixed in a peanut and sweet sauce. Yum! This item, however, took quite a while to be ready. I think I waited 15-20 minutes for it.

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Make Your Own Noodle Combo – Oil Noodles in Minced Pork Fish Soup with Fried Shrimp Ball and Fish Ball with Shrimp

We also got the Make Your Own Noodle Combo. We chose oil noodles, and a minced pork fish soup base. I felt like the soup base was full of MSG, but it was quite flavourful. It was filled with tons of cabbage which were tasty soaked in the soup. We chose to add two toppings, so it ended up for only $4.95, which is an extremely good deal for the portion you get. It is definitely enough for 1 person if you are not a big eater. We chose the Fried Shrimp Ball, which was alright, but I really liked the Fish Ball with Shrimp! It was basically a outer layer which was made of fish, and it was filled with shrimp inside. They looked like little dumplings which were pretty cool!

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Cold Lemon Ribena

Lastly, for my drink, I got the Cold Lemon Ribena, which was fizzy and delicious. I love ribena and lemon tea, so it was the perfect match!

Bubble Waffle Cafe on Urbanspoon

Curry Express

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Butter Chicken and Rice Combo

Dining Terrace has been open for around a month now! I was quite late in actually going to try out their food. I went a week after to check it out while doing some shopping, but never actually tried out any of the food. So finally, during my break at work, I decided to head upstairs and look for a small dinner. The dining terrace is huge, and for someone who is always so indecisive, it’s terrible. I swear I could’ve walked around five times and my break would’ve ended by then. So I decided to head straight to Curry Express. I mean, with work every week, I’m sure to try out every place sooner or later.

Curry Express is also at Lansdowne Centre, but I seldom go there so I’m guessing the last time I had it was when I was a kid. I decided to get a curry and rice combo. There were so many different types of curries in the heating trays, so I asked the cashier what was the most recommended. She immediately said Butter Chicken, so that’s what I went with! I found that the butter chicken was a little more on the watery side, and I would have probably preferred it to be a little thicker. The chicken however, was extremely tender. The sauce was good – quite typical, but I felt it lacked some spices that would be present when you eat at an Indian restaurant. The portion was also less than I had imagined, but I guess that’s food court portions. Overall, I would just say it was average.

Curry Express (Richmond Centre) on Urbanspoon