Richmond: Teppanyaki & Meat @ Kanpeki

Ah, one of the few places that have not been blogged about, according to Urbanspoon. First! Kanpeki on Alexandra Road is one of the few teppanyaki places in the Lower Mainland… and possibly the only one in Richmond (if I recall correctly).

 Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond
We each ordered our own sets, rather than a la carte. I ordered the set with: steak, sliced beef rolls, and scallops ($28). All sets came with miso soup, a salad, fried rice, and sesame. It was actually a lot of food in retrospect.

 Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond

The scallops were good. I think, perhaps the best thing in my set. They were sashimi grade and cooked to order, so I had mine a bit on the rarer side. Good decision. It was pretty lightly seasoned, and I enjoyed it with the lemon-y sauce.

Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond

I liked the beef rolls which were fried garlic bits and green onion wrapped in thin slices of beef. The insides were crunchy, yet the beef outside (done to your liking) was soft and moist.

Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond

The steak was a bit thin and mine in particular was quite greasy. Once again, it was done exactly how I wanted it to be, and although it was good, it was really greasy.

Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond

The fried rice which was done on the teppan as well was alright. It had bits of beef and other stuff, but I found the rice a little bit unevenly coated for the egg and oil. I wasn't that fond of the vegetables, which were a bit greasy and plain. By then I was quite full anyway, though.

Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant in Richmond

We also ordered the special set (which was available for a limited time) with scallop, duck breast, lobster, and the extras ($25). There was a lot more lobster than that (probably about four pieces more) and this was cooked pretty well -- as in not overcooked nor undercooked.

Kanpeki Restaurant in Richmond Kanpeki Restaurant in Richmond

The duck was a bit of a disappointment as it was overcooked, probably because it was sliced beforehand and quite thinly, too.
Kanpeki Restaurant in Richmond

Overall, I didn't dislike Kanpeki, and it was a very visual experience. Some hits and some misses, food-wise, but still a feast for the eyes.

Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant
#140-8351 Alexandra Road
Richmond, BC
(604) 821-1323
Kanpeki Teppanyaki Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Vancouver: Cherry Blossoms & Tea @ The Urban Tea Merchant

Spring has finally sprung here in Vancouver! Has anyone seen the cherry blossoms out recently? Of course, as I'm typing this, it's raining... so who knows how long they'll last. To celebrate spring, The Urban Tea Merchant has graciously invited me to try out their Sakura Tea Service ($38 per person).

urban tea merchant sakura tea service

Serve on a platter, rather than the more traditional 3-tier tea service, the Sakura Tea Service definitely has a more west-coast and fusion feel to it.

urban tea merchant sakura tea service

We sample some TWG teas, including the geisha blossom tea, a green tea with peachy notes; the white spring tea, a white tea with blossoms; and the tung ting, a white tea which we chose. My favourite was the geisha blossom, which smelled so much like fuzzy peaches, even when pouring! At first it felt like I was drinking the fuzzy peach candy, but afterwards, I really enjoyed the flavour more and more.

urban tea merchant sakura tea service

This is what the tea service looked like! It's actually quite a bit of food for two people, even though we hadn't eaten anything prior and were starving.

urban tea merchant sakura tea service

The savouries here are always fancy and delicious. I love their attention to detail! The miso-maple glazed sable fish in butter lettuce and smoked salmon ribbon with ponzu jelly which are favourites at Urban Tea Merchant were present. The smoked salmon is less fancy, but always one of my favourites with that light wasabi horseradish taste and that strip of ponzu jelly. The “Dignitary’s Tea” chicken cone looked and felt a bit different from before -- they do have a new chef, so that could be why. It's a bit chunkier than before, but I still enjoyed it. I don't think I've tried the “Red Chai” beef carpaccio with horseradish foam, nor the “Singapore Breakfast Tea” seared tuna tataki before. I liked the addition of the shiitake mushrooms on the tataki.

urban tea merchant sakura tea service

On the dessert side of things, there was a mix of new and classic items. As always, the TWG Tea macarons were great. As I sometimes complain, there are those macarons that I bite into and it's all air in the shells. Never the case with these ones! The “Rum Tea” pecan tart, which I hadn't tried before was good and delicious. Although the “Sakura! Sakura!” dessert sushi is a cool concept, I didn't really enjoy it. The “Matcha Nara” madeleine felt quite big after a whole meal, but was good nevertheless.
urban tea merchant sakura tea service

Overall, it was a great experience at The Urban Tea Merchant, despite the groggy day. Oh yeah, try to get a seat near the window with all the cherry blossoms and admire them while you can!

1070 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 692-0071
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Seoul: Ginseng & Chicken Soup @ Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌 삼계탕

While visiting Seoul, we learned that this is one of the restaurants to visit (according to many touristy sites): Tosokchon Samgyetang. They specialize in samgyetang 삼계탕 which literally means ginseng chicken soup.

It was a bit hard to find from Gyeongbokgung Station, but the building in the alley was rather recognizable, even when peering down from a larger street.

They have a relatively simple menu with three different samgyetangs: ginseng chicken soup with extra ginseng roots on the side (21,000 won), ginseng chicken soup (15,000 won), and ginseng soup with silkie chicken and extra ginseng roots (28,000 won).

As always, banchan were served. This is the "extra ginseng" that were with the two more expensive options. It's served in a small jar, filled with about two tablespoons of the ginseng roots. They also served two small glasses (basically shot glasses) of ginseng wine, which was super rich and potent. Tasted pretty good albeit quite bitter. I could feel the health emanating from my stomach.

We ordered the first two soups and found them to be exactly the same, except for the small jar of ginseng roots for 6000 won more. The soup was rich, hearty, and delicious. The two key ingredients -- the ginseng and chicken -- were both strong and were complimented nicely with the garlic and jujube date flavours.

The chicken itself was stuffed with glutinous rice and fresh ginseng. So delicious. I've tried to recreate samgyetang at home, but the glutinous rice doesn't turn out as well. This was definitely one of the best meals I've had in Korea. And in case you're wondering, one bowl per person is a little bit much, but half per person would result in people trying to take more soup for themselves.

Tosokchon Samgyetang
Metro: Gyeongbokgung Station
5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil,
Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울 종로구 자하문로5길 5 (체부동)


Vancouver: Humboldt Squid & Crispy Pork Belly @ Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 寶貝小館

Hello, long time no blog again. Admittedly I've been a bit lazy and have just been marathoning (TV, obviously) for the past while. Anyway, Dorothy and I decided to go to Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 寶貝小館 in Chinatown, where we shared quite a few dishes for a nice evening.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

First, the beef tartare ($14) -- pemberton beef tenderloin, preserved mustard root, crispy shallot, ginger, quail egg, watercress, burnt scallion oil, and taro chips. I really liked the idea of having taro chips to scoop up the beef tartare, which was quite delicious.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

Doro really liked the steamed truffled pork dumplings ($7.50), which I thought were quite intricately wrapped. It was a bit different from the traditional Chinese dumplings with the truffle flavour and quite fragrant. Some of the dumplings had popped though, sadly.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

We also enjoyed the more classical flavour -- the steamed prawn and chive dumplings ($7.50). These definitely had a lot of filling in them and had a nice crunch and bounce from the prawns.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

The crispy pork belly ($16) was so soft and tender inside. I should've taken a photo of the inside, but I was too busy eating. It was not overly fatty as some braised pork done Asian style can be, and rather moist. Served with an interesting star anise tomato sauce, I thought it was pretty good.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

This was probably one of my favourite dishes of the evening, the Humboldt squid ($18). We had to order it after the folks sharing the table with us had it because it smelled so good. The squid was nicely done and not tough, yet had a nice slightly chewy texture to it. It was really the housemade spicy sausage and the black bean that made the dish, since it was so fragrant and really added a lot of flavour to the squid.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

The kick ass house fried rice ($13) was not bad. We topped it off with a fried egg for an extra dollar. My memory of this is kind of vague since we definitely over ordered and I was pretty full (and busy eating squid) by the time this came. Overall, it was a mildly expensive evening, but definitely a tasty one. Definitely one of the few Chinese fusion places doing it right.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 寶貝小館
163 Keefer St
Vancouver, BC
(604) 688-0876
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 寶貝小館 on Urbanspoon


Vancouver: Akakuro-buta Pork (極上赤黑豚) @ Tastings & At Home

Last week, I was invited to try out the a new Wingtat Akakuro-buta Premium Pork at several restaurants. As you may notice from the fancy Japanese name of the pork, this type of pork itself is just as fancy, with hogs being raised Japanese black hog style ("Kurobuta"-style) in Alberta. Previously, these hogs were distributed to Japan, but now Wingtat has just launched these products in the Canadian market as well, exclusively at all T&T Supermarkets. They're also available at several restaurants in Vancouver as well, for a limited time -- recipes for these dishes can be found on the Wingtat website.

Stop #1: Kingyo Izakaya

Akakuro-buta at Kingyo Izakaya

At Kingyo, our first stop, we tried out the Akakurobuta pork in tonteki, or Japanese style pork steak with sweet onion and garlic sauce. As our first taste of the pork, I liked it. It was really quite moist and rather tender -- definitely not tough nor dry as is the case with pork sometimes.

Stop #2: Damso Modern Korean Cuisine  

Akakuro-buta at Damso

We eventually made our way to the Damso next doors to try out three different styles of the Akakuro-buta pork. The first was the pork taco, which seemed to be hand shredded. It kind of reminded me of pulled pork but sweeter and spicier.

Akakuro-buta at Damso

The kimchi jim, which was really quite soft, was also good. It was definitely flavourful, having been marinated and cooked with kimchi.

Akakuro-buta at Damso

I liked the gamjatang more though -- maybe because it was a relatively cold day and perfect for stew. Also, while the pork usually in gamjatang is rather rough and dry, but the akakuro-buta pork which was cooked separately, was quite moist and flavourful.

Akakuro-buta at Damso

Moreover though, it was flavourful from the chicken and pork stock, in combination with the doenjang and gochujang.

Snowman Yuzu Sorbet at Damso

Non-pork related, but the yuzu sorbet was cute and refreshing.

Stop #3: Secret Location

Akakuro-buta at Secret Location

At our final stop of the day, we tried out the burnt apple crusted akakuro-buta collar butt. This pork was served basically in a steak style and quite unique, with a crispy exterior that had a sweet and mildly burnt taste from the apple crust. The interior was surprisingly quite pink as well. It was really moist and soft, and definitely one of the best pork steaks I've had.

Akakuro-buta at Home

Homemade Akakuro-buta Tonkatsu

We were also given some akakuro-buta steaks to try and play with at home, including the boneless loin (the leaner cut on top) and the collar butt (the higher marbled cut) -- both available at T&T.

Homemade Akakuro-buta Tonkatsu

I did them all tonkatsu-style or Japanese pork cutlet style. Since the pork was pretty high quality, I didn't really mess it up and the pork was quite flavourful and juicy. I followed this recipe but nearly doubled the cooking time given due to the thickness of the cutlets.

Kingyo Izakaya / Damso Modern Korean Cuisine / Secret Location
Kingyo Izakaya 金魚居酒屋 on Urbanspoon Damso Modern Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon Secret Location on Urbanspoon


Vancouver: #ManCakesMadness by VANEATSca @ ManCakes Bakery

Once again VANEATS.ca invited me to try out another of their dining packages, but this time, it was more dessert oriented and a package for ManCakes Bakery called ManCakes Madness.

ManCakes Bakery Vaneats ManCakesMadness

For $9.95, you get 6 ManCakes mini cupcakes (valued at $9.98) and two hot beverages. However, they didn't have any of the six packs ready to go, so instead they offered me another six cupcakes for an additional $5. Not bad -- $15 for a dozen cupcakes and two drinks, plus that meant I could try all the flavours and not just six.

ManCakes Bakery

Beverage-wise they had three options:
  • "49th Parallel", medium roast
  • "Death Wish", the only place in Vancouver to try the world’s STRONGEST dark roast coffee. 200% stronger than any other dark roast on the market!
  • "Teapigs", hailing from the UK, the tea capital of the world, the only place in Vancouver to get it!
I had to try out the Death Wish coffee even though it was already nearly 8pm. Anticipating that it would basically be an espresso shot, I was surprised it was smooth and pretty good -- I'm not huge on drip coffee, but this was easy to drink. I definitely felt a kick from the caffeine, but it's 1am now and despite the half a cup, I am sleepy. 

ManCakes Bakery ManCakes Bakery

They have twelve different cupcake options with eleven regular ones and a "featured one". Because I got a dozen, we got to try all twelve, including: Bacon Chili Chocolate, Apple Brie, Breakfast,
Buffalo Wing, Chocolate Red Wine, King Kong, Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit, Rum & Coke, Tequila Pineapple, and Whiskey Lime. What seemed to be quite unique to the Mancakes were that they had filling in them! The centres had different flavoured fillings that complimented the cake itself and the icing and toppings. This adds another dimension to the cakes, rather than solely relying on the icing and cake

ManCakes Bakery Vaneats ManCakesMadness

What I liked about these cupcakes was that there wasn't an overly large amount of icing. Sometimes the icing takes up half of the total cupcake volume. I didn't try them all (though I did eat most of them... heh), but I had good feedback from friends and family about the bacon chili chocolate and breakfast cupcakes. My personal favourites were the rum and coke and the whiskey lime. Oh yeah, I did indeed have all the liquor based ones.

ManCakes Bakery
288 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
(778) 886-5323
ManCakes Bakery on Urbanspoon


Burnaby: Coffee & Macarons @ Cafe Joie

After lunch at Crystal Mall, Camille and I dropped by the relatively new Cafe Joie across the street for some coffee.

Cafe Joie Burnaby

It's a nice, very clean, and quite unexpected in a random location. We thought it was weird they were playing some sort of house music though.

Cafe Joie Burnaby

They're known for their macarons ($1.65 each). Camille got a green tea one, which looked strangely quite teal/turqoise-y. I had a bite and thought the shells were a bit too "empty"... as in there was a huge empty bubble layer between a thin outer crust and the bottom of each shell, leading to a macaron that collapses easily. This might have been just a one off though.

Cafe Joie Burnaby

The cafe uses JJ Beans coffee and this latte was pretty good. One of the better ones I've had in the past while. Smooth microfoam. This place is cool, and a comfortable place to sit in (except for that music last time...) I would consider lounging around here to work if I lived in Burnaby.

Cafe Joie
110-6125 Sussex Ave
Burnaby, BC
(604) 559-6125
Cafe Joie on Urbanspoon