Singapore (+ Dinner in Malaysia) & Taiwan Trip (Day 4)

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Day 4 in Singapore started of with breakfast at the Mayflower Market & Food Centre. As we had moved back to the aunt’s place, we were in the Ang Mo Kio district. This is a residential area so the food centre is filled with locals.

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The great thing about eating at the hawker centres is that everyone can choose what they want and eat together. S chose to order from Jin Song which offers a variety of noodle dishes.

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He got the Wonton Char Sew Mee, which is really barbecued pork on top of wonton noodles. It comes with a side of wontons with soup in it and you can dip your noodles or pour the soup onto your noodles. Quite tasty and only around $2 SG.

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For myself, I ordered from this stall which features only three noodle dishes. The stall did not have an English name…

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I got the Laksa which was for a cheap price of $2.50 SG and filled me up. You will find that each stall’s laksa broth is quite different. This one was strong in seafood flavours with ingredients like cockles being prominent in the flavour. It was also topped with various fish cakes. I got a grass iced grass jelly tea as my drink.Yum!

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After breakfast, S’s aunt drove us to the Singapore Zoo. As you can tell, we were driven around quite a lot on our trip, but getting around by public transit in Singapore is very easy too. Check the zoo’s website for easy directions for public transit. The admission fee for adults if you purchase at the booth is $32. It’s cheaper online or if you purchase with their self-serve kiosks at the front. You can save around 10-30%. The cool thing about the zoo is that it has an open concept exhibit where you can get pretty close to the animals. You’ll find monkeys just jumping around which is pretty cool. I also loved the shows that they put on, such as this elephant show. Be sure to scan the schedule and plan out the shows you want to see.

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The park is huge and offered a variety of exhibits. You can really see animals from all over the world including these cute koala bears!

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My favourite had got to be the polar bear exhibit! Watch the feeding show and you can watch him swim and catch his fish. I’d also highly recommend purchasing the tram ride which is $5 SG for adults which includes unlimited rides. It’s great when your feet is getting tired and the tram will take you to different zones where you can get off and continue by foot to see the animals in more detail.

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The Singapore Zoo itself can take you pretty much the whole day to see if you want to walk around casually. We weren’t in Singapore for long though, so we decided to check out the River Safari the same day as well. This costs $28 but I believe it’s cheaper when you buy a package which gives you access to both the Singapore Zoo and River Safari. However, we found this to be huge disappointment… This showcases many marine life animals, but we found the exhibition to be very small and animals underwhelming.

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We also paid an additional $5 SG for the Amazon River Quest Boat Ride. This was really just a log ride that allows you to view various animals along the way. However, many animals were sleeping and it was difficult to take pictures of them while the boat was moving. Would skip this in my opinion.

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The best part of the River Safari was probably the Giant Panda exhibit. Inside, you can find the red panda. So cute!

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You will also find the two giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia. Super cute but hopefully you catch them when they’re not napping!

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After the zoo, S’s aunts picked us up and told us we would be going to Malaysia for dinner. Apparently you can drive to Johor Bahru (also known as JB), one of the closest cities in Malaysia to Singapore. It is less than an hour drive and similar to how we visit Bellingham from Vancouver. You just need to go through customs which is a pretty fast process. We went to KSL City Mall as the aunts wanted to do some grocery shopping and we visited Taste Better.

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They are famous for their one-bite durian puffs. You have to eat them in one-bite because the durian cream inside will explode if you don’t! So good! Even though I’m not a fan of durian, these are delicious!

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After grocery shopping, we drove to Restoran Chua Kee which is famous for their seafood. S and I really wanted to eat crab, so the aunts suggested this spot. It is open concept so you sit in beach chairs. It was relatively clean in my opinion, but just leave your favourite dress behind if you’re visiting here.

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At the grocery store, we had purchased a peeled coconut. This is super cool! They peel the whole coconut so you’re left with all the pulp and juice inside! Only downside is the coconut wasn’t super soft.

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S got this Kickapoo Joy Juice Soda which apparently is American, but highly distributed in Singapore and Malaysia. It tasted like mountain dew.

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We started off with a fried fish and seafood dish. Not bad.

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This was fried butter coated chicken. A bit sweet and and very tasty!

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Some veggies with chili. Fresh and loved the kick of heat.

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We also shared a bowl of shark fin soup.

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We also had this large seafood bowl which consisted of mussels, prawns, and cockles. It had a generous amount of this thick sauce which I wasn’t too fond of.

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As for crab, we started off with the salted egg yolk crab. We loved the coating and this is by far one of my favourite salted egg yolk crab. However, I found that the crabs in Malaysia to have rather small legs compared to the ones in BC. Only the claws had lots of meat.

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We also got the famous Black Pepper Crab. This was so delicious! But at the same time it is very spicy, so be warned. I wanted to keep eating it but it was really too spicy for me.

After dinner, we crossed customs again and headed back to Singapore. Customs again was very quick compared to the one we have at Peace Arch. Who knew our trip to Singapore would take us to Malaysia as well! A fun trip to take if you have some spare time in Singapore.

Details:

Mayflower Market & Food Centre: 162 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, Singapore 560162

Singapore Zoo & River Safari: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826

Taste Better @ KSL City Mall (Malaysia): 33, Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru

Restoran Chua Kee: 67, Jalan Kacang Panjang, Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru 81550, Malaysia

 

Joe Fortes (30th Anniversary)

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A few weeks ago, Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House celebrated their 30th anniversary with select items during lunch at their 1985 prices. S and I decided to head over on Friday at around 11:30am to join the crowds. Of course, there were tons of people waiting and we left our name and number with the hostess who said they would text us when a table was ready. She told us it would be probably a two and a half hour wait, but we stuck with it anyways.

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More than two hours later, we still didn’t hear back so I suggested we go back and check. Turns out there were no patrons waiting anymore and that apparently she had texted us about the seat. I was pretty choked since we were starving and the hostess had clearly entered the wrong phone number into the system. To make things worse, the $12 steak that we were excited about was sold out by now… We had waited so long already, so we settled with it and were led to their upper floor where the patio was. The patio was very nice and was heated so we didn’t need to bare the cold. They also had a beautiful bar on the patio.

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After placing our orders, we were served complimentary bread with lobster oil and balsamic vinegar. This is always a plus at Joe Fortes since the lobster oil is delicious!

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Shrimp Cocktail

Of course we got some items from their anniversary week menu, so we chose the Shrimp Cocktail which was discounted to $5.95. I had imagined them to be big plump shrimps, but they turned out to be baby shrimps already premixed in the cocktail sauce and topped with fresh horseradish. Slightly disappointed, but the shrimp was still very fresh and you got a good amount.

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West Coast Fish Cakes

I didn’t know that Joe has Blue Plate Specials every weekday during lunch, where a dish is on special each day of the week. On Friday, it was the West Coast Fish Cakes for $9.95 so we got that to share as well. These were delicious! Lightly battered with well seasoned fish.

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Blackened Rock Fish

And since we couldn’t get the extremely good $12 deal of New York Steak, we opted for the Blackened Rock Fish which was also offered only for $11.95. The rock fish was actually very moist and the blackened crust had a peppery taste to it. It came along with roasted potatoes and market vegetables. A good deal for sure.

Overall, the food at Joe Fortes didn’t disappoint. However, we were slightly disappointed with the service that day given that I’ve had really good service in my previous visits. Our waitress completely forgot our order and had to come back to ask and she also didn’t appear very friendly until near the end of our meal. Perhaps she was flustered with the busy lunch hours with the anniversary week…

Pros:
– Dishes are well executed
– Nice ambiance

Cons:
– Service we got that day was quite poor

Price Range: $20-25

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

Food: 4 Service: 1.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2 Overall: 3.5

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pajo’s

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The sun is rolling in and what better way than to head down to Steveston to enjoy some fish and chips at Pajo’s. It seems like Pajo’s have added some new items on their menu this summer, and I also got to try some new items, so I decided it would be a good opportunity to blog.

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Large Salmon and Chips

S got the Large Salmon and Chips, which comes with 2 and a half pieces of fish and this is definitely quite a lot for one person. Good for sharing though! I usually get halibut or cod, because I always have a bad feeling that the salmon will become too dry after getting fried. Well, I thought wrong! At Pajo’s, they use pacific wild salmon, and surprisingly, the salmon is cooked to keep its moisture! I feel like you also get more meat compared to the other two fish. The batter is crispy and it is served with their fresh cut fries. Apparently the fries and soda are bottomless, something that seems to be new!

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Soft Shell Tacos

For myself, I had been seeing pictures of their new item, the Soft Shell Tacos, and knew I had to give these a try. I was surprised by the portions, since I was expecting perhaps two tacos only. It ended up being three large soft shell tacos filled with deep fried cod, coleslaw and topped with a delicious Sriracha mayo. This was delicious, with the fish being moist and the batter crispy.

Overall, we were quite happy with the new items we tried. They are always very busy on sunny weekends, so be aware of the long waits. You can also head over to the one at Gary Point to see if there are shorter waits.

Pros:
– Light batter and fish is moist
– Patio is great for sunny days

Cons:
– Long waits on the weekends

Price Range: $15-20

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 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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Chewies (Coal Harbour Happy Hour)

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I’ve been on an oyster craze lately, so when SP and SK asked where to eat, I suggested Chewies at Coal Harbour. We decided to get there right after work so we could get our orders in for happy hour. There’s some construction going around here right now so it’s a bit hidden, but they do have some signs directing you.

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The restaurant wasn’t too busy on a random Thursday night. The patio outside did fill up, but the indoor seating was still quite free. I hear they are quite packed on Fridays and weekends though. The Coal Harbour location has happy hour from 3-6pm daily, and the people were quite nice about it even though we arrived at 5:45. They made sure we got our orders in right before 6pm.

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Whistler Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale

Several of their BC craft beers and boutique wines were featured on their happy hour menu for $5, which is a pretty good deal. Their pints of beer are all 20oz, so it’s actually quite a bit! I chose the Whistler Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale, which I loved! You got that hint of citrusy flavour and I liked how it wasn’t very bitter.

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Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale

SP got the Parrallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale, which is more of a bitter ale. You could definitely taste the contrast from the grapefruit ale, but it’s definitely a lighter beer compared to some of the really strong bitter ones I’ve had.

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We were obviously here for their buck a shuck oysters, so they first started us off with the sauces that go along with the oysters. They have four: a cucumber vinegar, your classic mignonette, cocktail sauce, and a spicy habanero. They also bring you some Tabasco sauce. Our favourite was probably the spicy habanero, but it really wasn’t even that spicy.

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$1 BC Beach Oysters

We got a dozen of their $1 BC Beach Oysters, which were extremely fresh. They switch up their oysters depending on what’s in season, and the server explained to us the name and all, but I didn’t catch it.

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They also offer $2 oysters during happy hour for their premium oysters. These were quite big, but they were still very sweet! The only issue I had was that one oyster or so had some shell bits in it. Always a sign of how good the shucker is.

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Pan Seared Calamari

Their happy hour menu also features a selection of their ‘first bites’. They actually offer quite a large variety – so many that we ended up ordering almost the whole menu… Since it’s 50% off their regular price…why not? Well, first off, we started off with the Pan Seared Calamari. Like its name says, the calamari is seared rather than fried. These were actually really good though and a good alternative to the oily fried calamari. The squid had a nice char to it and was super tender! It came with a cucumber, mint and jalapeno salad with creme fraiche dressing and remoulade. That salad was a killer though as it was way too spicy!

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Dungeness Crab Cakes

Next up were the Dungeness Crab Cakes with a lemon aioli and an avocado & cucumber salad in a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. They come with three pieces, so were perfect for us to share. These were pretty good although I wish they were slightly more seasoned. The lemon aioli helped bring more flavour for sure.

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Fried Fanny Bay Oysters

And then there were the Fried Fanny Bay Oysters. These were parsley and cornmeal battered Fanny Bay oysters and came along with Chewies’ tartar sauce. I felt like these had more batter on it than the actual oyster. I was expecting more fatty oysters, but they were pretty small and felt rather overcooked. Not a huge fan of these.

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Brioche Garlic Toast

The fried fanny bay oysters also come with the Brioche Garlic Toast, which were pretty delicious. Tastes just like your typical garlic bread with a nice crispy texture to it.

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Oysters Rockefeller

Since we’re at Chewies, might as well keep loading up with the oyster dishes… So we got the Oysters Rockefeller, which featured fresh hand shucked BC oysters, absinthe, spinach and herb puree, and topped with Parmesan cheese bread crumbs. An order came with 5 oysters and these were pretty good. The oysters were quite large and fatty and I loved the spinach and herb puree underneath. I still prefer the ones at Joe Fortes a bit more though.

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All Dressed Cajun Fries

We also got the All Dressed Cajun Fries. At first, I was skeptical to order this, since I’m not a huge fries person and I can only imagine how much they can do with fries. However, this was beyond my expectations! It ended up being very simliar to a poutine, with Andouille sausage, fresh garlic, diced tomatoes, cheese curds, Parmesan and garlic mayo. The fries were crispy and sizzling in the pan. The sausage and seasoning gave it a slight kick, but nothing overwhelming. Definitely a great dish to share.

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Crocs & Hush Puppies

Lastly, we got the Crocs & Hush Puppies, which we were all curious about. Yes – crocs meant fried crocodile! Well the menu acutally detailed it as “chicken fried crocodile,” so I’m not really sure if we were eating crocodile or not. The meat was definitely much more chewy, but I actually quite liked the texture. Hush puppies refer to these cornbread balls and these were nothing too special. The dish came with a house vinaigrette and some jalapeno jelly which definitely had a level of spice.

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Overall, happy hour at Chewies definitely met my expectations. They have a good selection of dishes with 50% off, and most of them were good, if not really good. My favourites had got to be the calamari and fries. Their oysters are also extremely fresh and you can even upgrade to their premium! Ambiance is also really nice with high ceilings and a modern environment. Great patio during the summer as well. Service on the other hand was a bit of a hit and miss. Our last two dishes actually didn’t come for the longest time and we had to remind them to cook it up. The server at the end was pretty nice though and apologized for our wait. Oh and by the way, if you end up like us ordering pretty much the whole menu, your happy hour deal isn’t so happy after all since the bill will add up. But hey, at least we left with a full tummy!

Pros:
– Fresh oysters for $1 or $2 during happy hour
– Good selection of dishes during happy hour for 50% off

Cons:
– They forgot two of our dishes at the end

Price Range: $25-30

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

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

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Joe Fortes (Happy Hour)

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Joe Fortes has been around for a long time and it’s known for their seafood and steak. They are your classic North American restaurant and a prime spot for both tourists and locals. Their regular menu can be a bit on the pricey side, so what better way to enjoy than to try some of their bar items by going for happy hour! They offer happy hour from 4-6pm daily and the best part is they have buck a shuck oysters! S, N and I headed over and we were slightly earlier than 4pm, but the hostess still seated us knowing that we were here for happy hour. So be sure to get there early and you’ll be guaranteed a spot!

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Orchard Hill Red Roof Apple Cider

We started off with some drinks, although we ordered off their regular menu. However, they do have happy hour drinks with highballs, house wine and Molson pints on deal for $5. I chose the Orchard Hill Red Roof Apple Cider instead, and this was light and crisp without being overly sweet. Very refreshing!

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“Buck a Shuck” Oyster

Of course we had to go for the Buck a Shuck Oysters. They are literally only $1 each, which is a steal!The oysters were served on top of ice and served with a classic cocktail sauce and horse radish. They also give you Tabasco sauce for those who like it spicy. The oysters were quite large but they were still very sweet! No bits of shell at all in any of mine! That’s a sign of a good oyster shucker. I’d definitely say Joe Fortes is one of my top favourites for oysters. Probably just after Rodney’s, but Rodney’s happy hour is slightly more than a $1.

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Joe’s Shrimp Ceviche

Their happy hour is actually quite extensive and you get to choose from a large variety of snacks. We went for Joe’s Shrimp Ceviche, which featured a mix of shrimp, jalapeno, avocado and tomatoes. This was served with corn chips. The shrimps were very tiny, but they were still fresh and bouncy. Probably not my favourite ceviche, but it’s not bad. I would’ve liked a bit more tang to it.

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Mini Lobster & Shrimp Rolls

And then we got their infamous Mini Lobster & Shrimp Rolls. These are a must order at happy hour! The buns are filled with shrimp, Atlantic lobster meat and a classic French mayonnaise sauce. You actually get quite a bit of lobster here, so it’s definitely a good deal. Plus, something about the rolls are just so delicious. They are buttery and super soft but crispy on the edges.

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Oyster Rockefeller

Lastly, we got the Oyster Rockefellers, which I also highly recommend. An order comes with four large local oysters, which have a spinach base and topped with hollaindaise sauce. The oysters are huge! It’s like an eggs benedict but with an oyster instead. I loved the creamy spinach along with the sauce. A slight bit of paprika sprinkled on top gives it some extra flavour.

Overall, we were extremely pleased with Joe Fortes. They are definitely the place to go for Happy Hour. Service was also very attentive, professional and friendly. Ambiance is rustic and traditional, but no need to dress up. Perfect spot to stop by while shopping on Robson.

Pros:
– Great happy hour menu (must order oysters and shrimp and lobster rolls!)
– Professional service

Cons:
– Restaurant can be busy so may need to wait sometimes

Price Range: $20-30 (Happy hour)

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

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

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Cork & Fin

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To celebrate mother’s day and K’s birthday, we decided to go to Cork & Fin for some seafood. On Sundays, they have buck a shuck oysters after 6 pm, and the best part was they still offered it on Mother’s Day.

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The interior is very homey with wooden accents. Our seating area even had pillows, which was pretty cute. There is a bar here where you can see the chefs shuck the oysters.

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The menu comes in a folder which I thought was a cute touch.

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Tricycle Grapefruit Radler

We got the Tricycle Grapefruit Radler which is a grapefruit beer brewed by Parallel 49. I really enjoyed this beer as it almost tasted like grapefruit juice! The citrus gives it a little bitterness, but it definitely is on the sweeter side.

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Oysters

And of course we came to Cork & Fin for their buck a shuck oysters! The waitress didn’t explain what oysters these were, but they were on the smaller size. It came with a champagne mignonette and horseradish. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the oysters. They weren’t super fresh and the shucking wasn’t done very well. My family and I both found little pieces of shell in our oysters, which wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

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Prawn Ceviche

Next up were the Prawn Ceviche, which was seasoned with peruvian chilles and stafruit. These were actually the whole prawn, rather than chopped up pieces. Very fresh and they were well seasoned and worked well with the crispy tostadas.

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Seafood Tower

On Sundays, Cork & Fin also has a Seafood Sunday promo, where the Seafood Tower is $49, rather than $89. This was such a good deal, we couldn’t resist. The tower offered a chilled half lobster, shucked oysters, prawn ceviche, cured salmon, marinated tuna, and mussels.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t notice that the seafood tower included the prawn ceviche already, so we ended up getting two of these.The chilled half lobster was decent. Just your typical lobster. It was pretty fresh and you got a decent amount of meat.

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Another dozen or so of oysters came along and there was the same problem with the bits of shells. The cured salmon was pretty much your typical smoked salmon and wasn’t too special. The marinated tuna was like your tuna tataki and the mussels came in a marina sauce.

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Baked Oyster Hash

Cork & Fin plates are meant for sharing, so we also shared the Baked Oyster Hash. This came in a sizzling plate and the hash included chorizo, potato, and caramelized onions. The hash was flavourful and had a hint of cheese. However, I found that it lacked oysters. I was hoping for more of that since oysters should have been the star of the dish.

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Braised Veal Cheeks

Another plate we shared was the Braised Veal Cheeks, which came with a pommes puree and veal jus. This was one of my favourite dishes. The veal cheeks were so tender and just flaked off so easily. However, I did find that the potato puree was a bit thin for my liking.

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Pesto Pappardelle

Lastly, we had the Pesto Pappardelle, which was topped with walnut, mushrooms, tomatoes, and vermeer cheese. The pasta was cooked to al dente and very delicious. It seemed like they were made in house. Tons of flavour and I would definitely recommend ordering this.

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Overall, our dinner at Cork & Fin was decent. I was slightly disappointed with their oysters, but the rest of the meal was pretty on point. Prices are on the pricier side for the portions you get. Especially with the amount of seafood dishes you get, it’s hard to get full from the meal. Still, the ambiance is really cute and would make a nice place to chill with a glass of wine.

Pros:
– Buck a shuck after 6pm and promo Seafood Towers on Sundays
– Ambiance is laid back but nicely decorated

Cons:
– Oysters were not shucked very well
– Pricey for the portions

Price Range: $25-30

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

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

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