Tasty Rice Noodles

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If you haven’t noticed already, Deer Garden at Continental Centre has moved to Union Square (where Richmond Sushi is). What’s replaced it is Tasty Rice Noodles. Thinking it would be a new restaurant, we decided to go give it a try. Upon arriving, we noticed that the logo and colours still looked like Deer Garden’s.

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The interior has also not changed. The menus have been updated to show Tasty Rice Noodles, but all the menu items and layout is exactly the same… Even the piece of paper to order your noodles has not changed.

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Original Fish Soup with Instant Noodles, Pork Balls and Vietnamese Style Pork

We both decided to do the customized fish soup noodles where you can choose a soup base, two toppings, noodles, and a drink for $8.95. S got the Original Fish Soup with Instant Noodles, Pork Balls and Vietnamese Style Pork. Everything looked the same as Deer Garden. Even the choices to customize were the same! Soup tasted just the same and was delicious and filling.

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Malay Laksa Soup with Rice Noodles, Cuttlefish Balls and Fish Puffs

For myself, I got the Malay Laksa Soup with Rice Noodles, Cuttlefish Balls and Fish Puffs. I like how the laksa soup isn’t too spicy. All the soup noodles already come with bean curd, cabbage, and mushrooms too. They’re big portions so you will be filled up for sure.

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Deep Fried Pork Chop

When you order the noodle combos, you can also get a side order by paying an additional $1.95. It always seems like a good deal, but we never realize how much food we end up ordering… We got the Deep Fried Pork Chop, which S loves.

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Desert Wings with Ginger

I suggested to get the Desert Wings with Ginger. They are always plump and the flavour is on point.

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For our drinks, we both paid an additional $1 to get it cold. We both got the Lemon Ribena. For under $25, you will be very full and satisfied. So I guess we can conclude that Tasty Rice Noodles is essentially the same as Deer Garden… Another location to get the same the food and you don’t need to fight the parking on Alexandra. Plus, it seems like there aren’t as many line ups to wait for a seat here.

Pros:
– Reasonable prices
– Huge portions

Cons:
– Don’t expect much service

Price Range: $10-15

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

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

Tasty Rice Noodles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pho Han Vietnamese Restaurant

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I’ve been trying to convince S that good food sometimes comes in the dingiest looking restaurants. So that’s when I tried to convince S that Pho Han might be one of them after reading some of the positive reviews on Zomato. Pho Han is located on Garden City in the same mall as Capstone and Manzo. It’s on the very corner, so you usually only see a sign pointing into the mall, but not the actual store front.

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The outside already looks pretty dingy looking, but the inside is quite the same. It fits less than 20 diners at a time and is run by husband and wife. We were seated on the side next to the windows and there were bars on the windows for security. S described that it felt like he was in a prison… Anyways, first thing I noticed was that the prices had increased from what I had saw online. Previously, a small pho was only $5.99, but it was now $6.50, so quite comparable to other pho spots.

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House Special Beef Noodle Soup

I chose the House Special Beef Noodle Soup and it came with rare sliced sirloin beef which were presented laying on the side of the dish. For some reason, that didn’t feel really appetizing to me, even though I eat rare beef. The bowl also came with beef flank, brisket, tendon, meatballs and tripe. The bean sprouts that came with the noodles were old and wilted. The soup itself was okay, but not mind blowing. There is definitely better pho around Richmond.

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Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chop on Rice

S got the Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chop on Rice, which S complained throughout dinner. The pork chop was dry and most of it was inedible since it was either fat or too chewy. The dish also came with shredded pork, fried egg, and vegetables on rice. To be honest, the plate looked pretty sad and I felt like my parents could do a better job. S obviously was unhappy with the dish.

Overall, I guess S proved me right with Pho Han that it was dingy looking and also had poorly executed food. They also completely forgot our order of spring rolls, but we didn’t want to give it a try anyways after having our food. Service is also basically non-existent and we had to go up to pay since we weren’t able to get the attention of anyone. Still, I have yet to prove to S that there are spots with poor ambiance but delicious food.

Pros:
– 10% off on Mondays
– Pho is somewhat cheaper than other spots

Cons:
– Poor ambiance and service
– Pho is average and pork chop was poor

Price Range: $10-15

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

Food: 2 Service: 1 Ambiance: 1 Parking: 3 Overall: 2

Click to add a blog post for Pho Han on Zomato

Pho TEN

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Pho Ten is located across Ironwood mall, in the same strip mall as Original Joes. I’ve heard pretty good things about it, so I decided to check it out for lunch. The restaurant was pretty packed, but we still managed to get a seat. The interior is slightly nicer than most pho restaurants, but some of the leather on the couches were still peeling off…

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Spring Rolls

We started off with the two orders of Spring Rolls. The spring rolls were quite small compared to most spring rolls at other restaurants, with very little filling. I also didn’t really like the wrapper they used, although it was still very crunchy. I would skip these spring rolls next time.

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Bean sprouts and lime were served with our noodles.

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Pho Ga Dac Biet

S chose the Pho Ga Dac Biet, which featured flat rice noodles with boneless chicken and quail eggs in chicken soup. S said it was decent.

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Pho Ten Special

For myself, I got the Pho Ten Special, since I like my pho with all the ingredients. It came with rare sliced steak, brisket, fatty flank, tendon, tripe, crunchy flank, and beef balls. You get a good amount of ingredients, but I found the broth to lack flavour.

Overall, Pho Ten is decent. I wouldn’t say it’s the best, but it does it’s job for pho. Service is also pretty friendly.

Pros:
– Decent eats
– Service is friendlier than many pho restaurants

Cons:
– Seating may not be the best
– Just average – nothing too special

Price Range: $10-15

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

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

Pho TEN on Urbanspoon

Liquids & Solids

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Liquids & Solids is just a few blocks away from work and is perfect whenever you feel like some soup and sandwich. You can grab lunch, which will fill you up for around $10, which is pretty decent around the Broadway area. The shop is bustling at lunch time and you need to first line up to order. They then call your name and you can grab your order to go or to dine in. They offer mainly soups and sandwiches, but also quiches. They change their menu daily, so you may see some daily specials.

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Heavenly Pesto Chicken and Salmon Chowder

On the first occasion, D recommended I try the Heavenly Pesto Chicken. This was delicious! The sandwich was filled with slow roasted chicken topped with aged cheddar, spinach, tomatoes and their popular pesto aioli. This was grilled up on sourdough, which was toasted perfect. The sandwiches are around $7.95, and you can add an extra $2 for soup. I chose the Salmon Chowder, which was filled with salmon pieces and vegetables. Very flavourful!

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Cheesus Crust and Chili

E got the Cheesus Crust, which features a blend of cheddar, provolone, Parmesan and blue cheese. It is topped with a cilantro pesto, roasted red pepper antipasta and a touch of sour cream. She said it was very cheesy and had a slight heat. She also added the Chili to her meal.

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Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork and Chili

On another occasion, I had the Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork, which featured slow roasted pork cooked for hours in Jack Daniel’s sauce. It was topped with carmelized onions and served grilled on Yukon gold, scallion foccacia bread. I also had the Chili which was filled with beans and shredded meat. The chili wasn’t too spicy, but full of ingredients and flavour.

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The pulled pork was very moist and was slightly sweet. You couldn’t really taste the alcohol in it. Overall, great sandwiches and soups and reasonable prices. Not much service, but they are still friendly.

Pros:
– Great variety of sandwiches and soups
– Reasonable prices

Cons:
– Not much service
– Not too many seats for larger groups

Price Range: $5-15

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

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

Liquids + Solids Cafe & Market on Urbanspoon

Insadong Geujip (인사동그집) – Seoul

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After a day of exploring the Insadong area, we began to look for food. There’s so many restaurants on the main street and we came across Insadong Geujip. It had a huge line up, but surprisingly, when we asked for a table of 4, we were able to get a seat immediately. The restaurant is huge! He took us behind the kitchen and there were more rooms set up which gave you some privacy. The restaurant is in a traditional hanok house, so it’s pretty neat!

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First, we were presented with the complimentary appetizers. There was cold tofu with a spicy sauce, marinated radish, mayonnaise salad, kimchi, and seaweed soup. K’s favourite was the cold tofu as usual. It has no flavour on its own, but is delicious with some spicy sauce. My favourite was actually the marinated radish. I don’t normally like radish, but it was the spicy pickled flavour that I enjoyed. It also had a great crunch to it!

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Nakji Dolsop Bibimbap (bibimbap in a hot stone pot)

We decided to share three dishes between the four of us since we weren’t very hungry. First, we got the Nakji Dolsop Bibimbap. It was our first bibimbap in Korea, and it definitely didn’t disappoint us. Mixed with beansprouts, zuchhinis, cloud ear fungus, carrots and seaweed, it gave you a crunchy texture and bursts of flavours. Instead of the typical egg yolk that they normally use, there was octopus in it! Tiny baby tako which were marinated in a spicy sauce. Super tender and flavourful. We much preferred this bibimbap compared to the ones we just plain old veggies!

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Doenjang-jjigae (soybean paste stew)

Next, we had the Doenjang-jjigae, which is a soybean paste stew. It’s a bit different from the typical tofu soup, because you can really taste the soybean. It’s pretty much like miso soup with tofu in it. The soybean flavour was very rich and strong. A very small hint of spice as well, but I was addicted to this!

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Gungjung Tteokbokki (Royal Palace Rice Cake)

Last but not least, we had Gungjung Tteokbokki, which can be translated to the Royal Palace Rice Cake. We had plenty of spicy rice cake, so we decided to go for the non-spicy version. Filled with marinated bulgogi (beef), carrots, mushrooms, chestnuts and a sprinkle of sesame, it was absolutely delicious! The rice cakes were super soft but still remained the chewiness. The sauce was sweet and not overly salty. We definitely agreed this was our favourite dish!

I’d definitely recommend checking Insadong Geujip out if you’re in the Insadong area. Prices are fair and service was pretty quick. Best of all, the food is delicious!

Address: 3, Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Dwaeji Gukbap, Jagalchi Market, BIFF – Busan

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Garlic chives, kimchi, garlic, green peppers, onions, radish kimchi fermented baby shrimp, noodles

Our second day in Busan would also be our last full day, so we headed out early to try and hit up most of the tourist spots. For breakfast/lunch, we wanted to try the famous Dwaeji Gukbap, which is also known as pork soup and rice. Busan prides itself to have the best of this soup and there is even a street in the Seomyeon district that is filled with shops selling this soup. We headed there and just chose a shop. After placing our order, they brought us a huge dish. At first, I thought they were appetizers to eat, but we later figured out that you should put this into the pork soup. We didn’t end up throwing all these things in, since we weren’t sure. We did however throw the fermented baby shrimp in, which was quite interesting. It brings a bit of saltiness to the soup.

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Dwaeji Gukbap

And the Dwaeji Gukbap arrived! The broth is a milky colour due to hours of boiling pork bone. You’ll find slices of pork shank and green onions in it. The soup is light but full of flavour. Super homey and is perfect on a rainy day. You are also supposed to put your rice in, but we didn’t know until later. Even just by drinking the soup on its own was absolutely delicious. I would say it’s one of my favourite Korean dishes! A must try in Busan!

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Gamjatang

We also added a Gamjatang, which is a very popular Korean dish. I’ve tried it in Vancouver as well, but I found the broth to taste a little different here. Gamjatang is a soup made of pork spine, vegetables, green onions, and hot peppers. It comes sizzling on a hot pot to keep the soup hot. The soup is quite spicy, and is absolutely delicious with rice. It came with potatoes, enoki mushroom and other green veggies. The pork spines have bone marrow in it which is supposed to be really good for you. There’s surprsingly quite a lot of meat hanging on the bones, so you actually get very full. However, I still favour the Dwaeji Gukbap over this one.

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After lunch we headed to the Nampo-dong area. Nampo is famous for shopping, but nearby, you will also find BIFF or Busan International Film Festival. The festival is held in October and is one of the largest film festivals in Asia.

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Obviously the festival wasn’t happening when we were there, but you can still see something similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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There are also various food stalls with long line ups. Food looked pretty good! We were all still full from lunch though.

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Also within walking distance is the Jagalchi Market. It is the largest seafood market in Korea and is a top tourist spot in Busan. There are many restaurants here who will cook your seafood right away for you.

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There is an outdoor market area as well as an indoor one. We took a peak in the indoor market and the floor was all wet and it smelled really fishy. We didn’t feel like going in, so we headed over to the outdoor market. The stalls sell a variety of seafood, from shellfish to prawns, crab, and fresh fish.

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I think the most impressive part of the market were these huge octopi. Pretty much every stall sold octopus. They are ginormous! I believe you can also eat raw octopus here. They are supposed to suck on your tongue and lips, so you need to chew very quickly! I saw some that had been cut into bits already, but they are still squirming! Crazy… As a foodie, I should’ve probably tried it, but I just couldn’t… However, my Korean friends said they are really good and a delicacy!

Overall, Nampo is definitely worth checking out! Plus, you can check out BIFF and Jagalchi Market at the same time!

Myeongdong Yongyang Juk Yongyang Gyoza 明洞榮養粥、榮養餃子 – Seoul

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Our friend had a Seoul tour guide book she bought in Hong Kong, so we decided to put it to use and find a good restaurant. Off we went to Myeongdong Yongyang Juk Yongyang Gyoza, which is famous for their porridge and gyozas! It was only half empty when we first arrived, but it soon became packed with office people closer to lunch time. They speak a bit of Mandarin Chinese here, so if you know some, it’s pretty easy to communicate.

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Vegetable Gyozas

First, we shared their famous Vegetable Gyozas. One order gives you 8 of these plump dumplings. They are just steamed, so there’s no crispy texture that you may find when they are pan-fried. The wrappers were thin to medium and filled with mainly chives and other green veggies. The chives definitely made the dumplings very flavourful. You dip these into a gyoza sauce that has a little bit of acidity. Very good!

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Abalone Porridge

Next up, K and I shared their also very famous Abalone Porridge. In Korea, they call it “juk.” Whereas porridge we have in Canada is usually oatmeal, Korean porridge is usually cooked rice. This is very similar to Chinese porridge as well. Here, they also top it off with roasted ground seaweed and roasted sesame seeds. I should have probably put my spoon in to show the abalone as well. You actually get quite a few abalones in here! However, I found the abalone to be too tough and hard to chew. Would’ve liked it to be slightly softer. The porridge was very flavourful with a seafood taste to it. It also came with a side of roasted seaweed and seaweed salad. A little pricey, but definitely recommend trying an abalone porridge in Seoul!

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Seafood and Green Onion Pancake

Since we shared the porridge, K and I also added the Seafood and Green Onion Pancake. Again, this was just average, with the ones in Richmond, like Haroo being much better. This one had squid and shrimp, and they didn’t cheap out on the seafood. I found it funny that they don’t really cut up their green onions, but rather lay them diagonally so it completely fills the pancake. The pancake wasn’t as crispy as I would’ve liked it.

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Ginseng Chicken Soup

The other girls each got the Ginseng Chicken Soup. Ginseng is a super popular ingredient to use in Korean cooking, and they are famous for their Ginseng soups. The chicken is a whole chicken and was filled with rice. You should pull the rice out so that the rice is in the broth. Koreans love to eat rice in soup. Yummy!

Overall, I was very satisfied with the food here. A great place to try Korean gyozas and porridge. Average prices and you will get full! They also come with complimentary side dishes like kimchi, which you can serve yourself.

Address: 199-58 Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Korean Food in Myeong-dong – Seoul

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Bulgogi

Hungry after a day of shopping in Myeong-dong once again, it was time to look for some food. There’s food literally everywhere on the streets, with many of them on higher levels of the buildings. So many choices that it’s actually hard to figure out what’s good. We ended up walking down the main street of Myeong-dong and closer towards Euljiro-1-ga station, we found a Korean restaurant that featured many barbeque dishes. They barely knew English, but with some hand movements, we were able to communicate. First, we got the Bulgogi, which had an amazing sauce, but we felt ripped off by the meat. Apparently, you are supposed to grill the meat on the grill on our own, but we were lazy, so we asked to have it grilled for us in the back room. We ended up getting a dish of meat that looked like leftover meat. Bits of minced up meat that you could barely pick up with a pair of chopsticks. The sauce however was very flavourful. We felt sort of ripped off since we got leftover meat, whereas other tables had normal looking meat…

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Spicy Tofu Soup

Next was the Spicy Tofu Soup. It came in a bowl that would be suitable for a one person meal, but we shared it anyways. A spicy kimchi flavoured broth, with lots of soft tofu. The spice wasn’t too hot, and was delicious when eaten with rice. Tofu was silky smooth. It lacked any other ingredients though. Purely green onions and tofu.

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Seafood Pancake

Last but not least was the Seafood Pancake. It came with squid and green onions. No other seafood. We were slightly disappointed with this since we’ve had way better seafood pancakes in Vancouver. This was seriously under average and it wasn’t even cheap. Prices were quite average here.

Overall, we were quite disappointed with this restaurant. I wish I had got the name down, but it was all in Korean. I’m also not able to locate it on Google Maps. But then again, food in Korea can’t be too terrible. It’s whether you want above average or not.