Smart n Save Cafe

1.jpg by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Smart N Save Cafe has been around for quite a few years now, but I didn’t learn about this until recently because the cafe is situated in such a random location in Richmond. It’s on River Road on the second floor of a office complex and does not have too much signage you would notice while driving. The cafe is actually connected to the Smart N Save grocery store in Lansdowne Mall. If you’re craving Hong Kong style cafe food and snacks, then this is the spot for you.

 

2.jpg by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup

I love Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup and I always get this at the night market, so it was no surprise that I had to try it here. The consistency was thick and gooey with a good amount of chicken and vegetables. Pretty good and red vinegar was provided to add a splash of acidity.

 

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Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich

I heard that the Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich were a huge hit here, and it definitely did not disappoint. Such a simple dish, but the beef was extremely tender and the eggs were fluffy. I liked how they also toasted the white bread a bit. And yes, white bread definitely brings back childhood memories. And no crusts please!

 

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Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast

Another dish they are famous for is the Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast. This is such a classic HK style dish which we can’t usually find here. The prawn paste was bouncy and the toast itself was covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. The mayo paired the dish very well.

 

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Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball

Another street food favourite is the Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball. The rice roll was surprisingly thin and smooth and the sweet sauce was delicious paired with the plain rice rolls. To add, the curry fish balls were a delicious complement. Loved the spicy sauce! Highly recommend getting this.

 

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Fish Paste Siu Mai

Last but not least, we had the Fish Paste Siu Mai which comes with 12 pieces and a side of soy sauce. I actually prefer eating the fish paste style siu mai rather than the ones you get at dim sum. Yes, these are the cheaper version, but they are so bouncy!

 

7.jpg by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Overall, I highly recommend checking this hidden gem if you’re craving HK style snacks. You won’t find much service here but it’s pretty cool since they have a QR system in place. Once you sit down, they give you a QR code for your table. Just scan it, and you’ll be taken to their website where you can order your dishes. When you click on a dish, it automatically transfers to the kitchen and you’ll hear a little ring. Then they will bring you your food when it’s ready. Water and utensils are self serve. The interior is actually better than I expected being bright and clean.

Pros:
– Great spot if you’re craving HK snacks
– Items are way cheaper and better than the night market

Cons:
– Don’t expect much service, but QR code system works

Price Range: $10 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in the complex Overall: 3.5

 

Smart n Save Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bubble Waffle Cafe – ChineseBites Media Event

NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Bubble Waffle opened a sit-in location in Kerrisdale and ChineseBites invited us to a media tasting.

The interior is rustic and the owner said he wanted to give a HK style feel to it. The prices here are a little higher than the food court stalls, but they are still affordable.

They even have a mural painted on the wall showcasing Hong Kong.

I sat with Instagrammers, Tina, Sharon, and Elaine. First up, we got to sample all the different soup bases. This was great since there are a few soups that I wouldn’t normally order, like the really spicy ones.

We then got to sample a selection of their Bubble Waffles.

They have a variety of flavours here, including original, chocolate, Oreo, cheesecake, matcha and cinnamon. These were okay, but not crispy enough.

My favourite was still the original although I found the cheesecake flavour surprisingly quite good. The cinnamon flavour was probably my least favourite.

Next up were some Taiwanese snacks. The Taiwanese Sausages were quite a hit at our table. They are a mix of sweet and savoury and have a firm texture.

My favourite snack was the Deep Fried Stinky Tofu. The outside was very crispy and the inside was piping hot. Along with the sweet and spicy sauce, this was delicious. A miss for some because of the fermented smell.

The Fish Siu Mai was quite typical and I found that it was soaked in too much soy sauce. I kind of wished it had a chili sauce on the side.

I enjoyed the Takoyaki quite a lot as these were filled with a generous amount of octopus bits and the inside wasn’t doughy like some I’ve tried.

The Taiwanese Chicken Nuggets were a hit as they were crispy with the chicken itself very moist. I loved the salt and pepper flavouring.

The Fried Shrimp Balls were a beautiful orange colour but I found them to be slightly bland. It needed a sauce to go with it.

Overall, Bubble Waffle Cafe has a great variety of snacks which you can order on its own or pay extra to add on as a side with your noodles.

The drinks came along and I got the HK Style Iced Milk Tea. Their milk teas are actually made with a blend of 5 different Sri Lankan teas. The tea also goes through a filter and is pulled, a common way of making milk teas in Hong Kong. Very silky smooth as a result.

Finally our noodles which we got to customize arrived! E got the Laksa soup base which is one of my usual orders. The soup is flavourful without being too spicy.

T got the Satay soup base which again is very flavourful. It almost tastes like you’re having hot pot!

For myself, I chose the Chiu Chow Style Minced Pork Fish Soup along with rice noodle, sliced beef, sliced beef brisket, fried shrimp ball and fish ball with shrimp. All noodles come with cabbage and bean curd. For some reason, my soup also came with corn.

Overall, Bubble Waffle is great when you’re craving hot noodles in soup on a rainy day. I also love the ability to customize everything from the soup to the toppings. You’ll be very full by the end of your meal for sure with the large portion sizes and affordable prices. A nice option to be able to eat at a location with a nicer ambiance compared to the food court now.

Bubble Waffle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Japanese Snacks

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Last post to wrap up my trip in Japan is going to be about all the random snacks I had along the way. First up, was MOS Burger near the Shibuya station. We grabbed a quick bite here while waiting for our Airbnb host. MOS Burger is a fast food chain and the second largest in Japan after McDonald’s. I got the beef, onion and cheese melt. Tons of flavour from the onions and the cheese was really good.

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In the mornings, we would sometimes go down to Family Mart to grab a quick snack. Family Mart is a convenience store, similar to 7-Eleven. We got the onigiris, which are rice shaped like triangles and wrapped with seaweed. Inside, they are filled with different ingredients, but ume or pickled plum is probably the most common. I chose the Spicy Tuna Onigiri, which was super delicious! It’s under 200 yen for one as well! Such a steal.

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At Family Mart, we also found many alcoholic beverages. We got this lychee cider, which was so good! Wish we have this in Vancouver. Only 4% of alcohol content, so the lychee fruity flavour really comes through.

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We also checked out Tokyu Food Show, which is connected to the Shibuya station. It’s located inside the Tokyu Toyoko Department store and offers many different stalls with food. We decided to get some nigiris at one of the stall. Here is the Tuna Nigiri, which was slightly disappointing. It wasn’t as fresh as the ones we had in restaurants and slightly overpriced.

 

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We also got the Geoduck Nigiri, but it was only alright as well. All the ingredients didn’t seem very fresh for the price we paid.

Address: 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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Hokkaido Milk is very popular, so we had to give it a try. Hokkaido milk has a very unique taste and is very creamy, but light at the same time. It has to do with what they feed the cows. You could definitely immediately taste a distinct flavour, which was very good!

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While in the Harajuku area, we got hungry and spotted a crepe kiosk. It’s called Cafe Crepe Harajuku, and offers many pretty looking crepes. We chose the Matcha Tiramisu Crepe. The crepe was thin and filled with a slice of matcha tiramisu, topped with whipped cream and matcha powder. It was actually very good! Not too sweet!

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While in Yokohama, I picked up this super cute bag of ramen at a shop in World Potters. It features the Sapporo Maruyama Zoo Bear. So cute! I have yet to try it, but hopefully it’s as good as how the package looks!

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At the Cup Noodle Museum, we purchased this cute box of ramen. You add eggs on top of it, and it’s supposed to be sort of like a ramen pancake. However, we made it the other day, and it kind of failed. Definitely did not look as good as the picture. Perhaps it was because we couldn’t read the instructions properly. It wasn’t bad though.

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At the Narita International Airport, we did some Duty Free shopping. We picked up this bottle of Sparkling Ume Wine. The packaging definitely caught our attention. We had it on the plane and it was really good! Sweet and fizzy!

 

 

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We also picked up a box of the Yubari Melon Pocky. They were the giant Pockys, so they are individually packed inside. It actually had a very strong cantaloupe flavour. Yummy!

 

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At the Narita International Airport, after you pass security and customs, there isn’t much to eat in our terminal. We ended up having a last meal of Japanese food. K got the Soba Noodles which came with a side of fried potato croquettes.

 

 

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For myself, I got the Shoyu Ramen. It was quite salty and very oily! Not good at all…

 

 

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This probably shouldn’t be in this post, since it was a Korean snack we bought, but I’ll throw it in here anyways. These were banana puffs! Crispy and light chips with a strong banana flavour. It’s weird how Koreans make banana flavoured everything… So weird, but so good. We found it at Walmart in Vancouver!

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And here were our suitcase filled with our goodies. Just some of them actually… A trip to Asia isn’t complete if you don’t bring back tons of goodies!

Maison Antoine – Brussels

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Some claim that Maison Antoine has the best fries in Belgium and the world, but of course this is all based on personal taste. They have been voted as one of the best and have been all over the media. The fritterie is now operated by its fourth generation so it’s been around for a long time! After C and I took a quick walk to the EU building and the arc, we headed over to grab some lunch here. Yup, we eat fries for lunch. But apparently, a bunch of other people do too! We got there at around maybe 11:15 and there was already a small line up! We quickly lined up too, and later found out they open at 11:30 am. Wow, people actually line up for this place! It was a mix of locals and tourists, and there were several local families as well. The kids were so excited to get their fries! The gates rolled up, and the line began to move quickly on two sides.

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They have an extensive menu! Apparently, when they first started, they only had fries and two sauces though! Now, they have their fries in two sizes, and a whole menu of sauces! The Tartare Maison (House Tartar) still seems to be the most popular. Other than that, they also have a huge menu of snacks and even sandwiches. What surprised me was that many people also ordered items other than the fries. Shows that the rest of their food is also pretty good! However, I can say that pretty much everyone left with some fries!

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When in Belgium, get the Belgian fries. So of course we did. Since it was only ,30 euros more to get a large size and we were sharing, we got the large. It was huge though! We probably would’ve been fine just getting the small. Belgian fries are extremely popular because they are thought to have originated from Belgium, although some say that the French did, hence the name French fries. Belgian fries are cut a bit thicker than French fries though, as French fries are known to be skinny. They are also deep fried twice, therefore it’s soft in the middle and very crispy on the outside. I loved how they continued the tradition to serve the fries in a “cornet de frites” where your fries are wrapped in cone shaped paper. And you get the small plastic forks so you don’t need to get your fingers all dirty. Were the fries good? Yup. Were they amazing? I don’t know if I would say they were amazing. After a while, we both agreed we were sort of sick of the fries and they weren’t that special.

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Oh and of course, we got the sauces. These are for additional costs, and we decided to try two. We got the Maison Tartare and I think the one in the back was the Chili (since we asked the lady which spicy sauce was recommended). The Maison Tartare was our favourite. The Chili was just okay, and it wasn’t even really spicy. Belgian fries always seem to be eaten with some type of sauce. The most popular ones are actually mayonnaise and ketchup. However, today, friteries have come up with a variety of sauces.

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Since we lined up, we also decided to try some of their snacks. We got the Lucifer and the Loempia. The Loempia, which is pictured as the darker brown one was sort of like a sausage roll. Loempias are really spring rolls, so it was a thin outer layer deep fried with some meat inside. It was just alright and nothing too special. The Lucifer was what we liked! It seemed like a new product and they had some advertisements on the windows of it. We weren’t exactly what a Lucifer was but it looked like a matchstick! I did a quick search and still, I’m not sure what it is. It seems like a name that Maison Antoine has just come up with since Lucifers in Belgium usually refer to the beer. Anyways, it’s this crispy coating around some meat like thing, and on the red part, it’s this spicy sort of sauce that is kind of dried up. Not very descriptive I know, but just think of it as some spicy deep fried meat! Pretty good!

Anyways, Maison Antoine was a nice shop to grab a snack, although it ended up being our lunch. The fries are pretty good, but I wouldn’t metro all the way here just for the fries if I wasn’t going to tour around this area as well. I hear there are also great friteries elsewhere in the city, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference. Still, the line up here was constant and longer once it got later in the day. Good thing we came a little earlier!

Kit Kat Craze!

Not a restaurant post today! Just sharing some crazy Kit Kat flavours with you thanks to K who brought them back from Japan 🙂 I don’t even remember all the flavours, but some were Green Tea, Cinnamon, Honeydew Blueberry, Apple, and Cookies and Cream. Some of them were exclusive to Japan I believe. Green Tea is my all time favourite, and you can get them in Vancouver as well at places such as Candyland. Honeydew was also surprisingly pretty good. A bite in, and you were literally filled with honeydew madness. The flavour was so strong! Another flavour that really struck me was the Cinnamon flavour. It was…spicy. Not too good!

Pit Burger Bar (UBC)

Waffle Fries

Barbeque Wings

Went to the Pit Burger Bar to grab some snacks to share with my foodie bff, Steph again. This is like our go to place for snacks during our long breaks now. I kept hearing from other friends that the waffle fries are really good, so I had to try them. They reminded me of the curly fries back in high school. So oily and unhealthy, but yet so good! We also decided to try the wings, but we both thought they were just average. Nothing too special, and not the best we’ve had. Mmmm… more to come from the Pit Burger Bar! We’ll be trying more of their foods in the future for sure!

The Pit Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

The Pit Burger Bar (UBC)

Belgian Fries with Garlic Mayo

Mozza Sticks with Marinara Sauce

Decided to get some snacks at the Pit Burger Bar in the SUB at UBC the other day, and ended up trying their Belgian Fries and Mozza Sticks. I actually didn’t know what belgian fries were, but I decided to give them a try anyways. Both my friend and I  found that there was too much seasoning, and therefore was actually really salty! The garlic mayo was really good though. So perhaps, just fries without seasoning plus the mayo would have been perfect. The Mozza Sticks were not bad, but they were probably just frozen and heated up. Being curious what Belgian Fries really were, I actually quickly googled it and found that Belgian Fries are different from normal french fries, because they are freshly cut, cut thicker than usual, and are baked twice! Now I know!

The Pit Burger Bar on Urbanspoon