Wings & MSG @ Phnom Penh

I'm a little bit embarrassed to say this, but I have never been to Phnom Penh -- even though it's been on top of the Urbanspoon leaderboard since forever.  Fortunately, I found out that krispymilk and eatingwithkirby haven't been there either! We finally made it there on an early (well somewhat early) Sunday lunch.

Phnom Penh is a Cambodian restaurant, and a lot of the dishes are similar to Vietnamese cuisine as well since they were both apart of the French colonial empire.  Despite this, all the staff seemed to speak fluent Cantonese, and the majority of patrons were Chinese as well.

The Phnom Penh dried egg noodles ($6) was good.  I actually don't have dry noodle that much, since it's not all that common in Cantonese cuisine.  It came with many slices of pork and what seemed like beef liver.  Actually, I don't love liver normally, but this was good because it was so thinly sliced.  The noodles were firm but not too hard.  At the bottom of the bowl was a soy-sauce based sauce to be mixed.  I liked the sauce, but we didn't mix it too well.  Some parts were overly salty.  This turned out to be a reccuring theme throughout the meal.


DTES & Breakfast @ Ovaltine Cafe

Since I take the 135 bus to get to school, I guess you can say I've spent quite a bit of time staring outside during the ride down Hastings. I've always noticed Ovaltine Cafe, since the name is not unfamiliar to the Hong Kong culture.  And I always noticed it had a huge sign promoting its $3.95 breakfast combo.  


Grand Openings & Cutlet @ Saboten Japanese Cutlet

The day before Chinese New Years, I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of Saboten, a stall in the Aberdeen food court specializing in pork cutlet, or tonkatsu 豚カツ (not to be confused with tonkotsu 豚骨, which is pork bone soup).  Saboten is a popular franchise in Asia, with locations in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and more. It's a bit unfortunate that it's not a restaurant here, but I guess better than nothing.

I got to meet Eating in Vancouver and had eatingwithkirby and Krispymilk to join me since we all live in Richmond and didn't mind fried pork cutlet for breakfast.

The executive chef talked to us a bit about Saboten, such as how the Canadian pork is sourced, as well as his the cabbage has to be California cabbage. I found it interesting that the panko bread crumbs were made daily from fresh bread -- bread that couldn't have to many sugars, since that would make the crust brown too fast and burn. I don't know; I never think about these details, especially about sourcing materials, until someone blatantly points it out.

Anyway, this really was a full on breakfast. We got to try all three if their offerings in their Saboten set ($8.95) the loin, the prawn, and the tenderloin cutlets.  It also included the cabbage I was talking about earlier.

The loin, which was the bigger of the two pork cutlets, was a fattier cut of meat.  Although in terms of tenderness, this one would not fair as well, but I felt the loin and tenderloin pieces I had were pretty comparable.  Actually, everyone else's (except krispymilk) did say they had significantly tougher pieces of loin compared to tenderloin.  It might have just been that we got the end of the loin that was softer.  Panko-wise, it was better than most restaurants here -- not soggy at all and not overdone.

The prawn was actually really pleasant since the meat was quite crisp and not mushy.  It wasn't that heavily breaded either, so it was quite big and not just covered in a lot of panko.  The tenderloin on the right was about two-thirds the size of the loin and did not have sections of fat in it.  Still, it was tender, but firm.

We also got a whole bunch of sauces: the yuzu sauce for the cabbage, tartar sauce, fresh ground black sesame, tonkatsu sauce, and curry sauce.  All of them were pretty standard, except I was quite intrigued by the yuzu sauce -- there was a slight tartness and a bit of sweetness from the citrus based sauce.  The ground black sesame was also very soft.  I was a bit sad we didn't get to grind our own, but that would never make sense logistically at a food court.

Overall, it was a good experience -- food is solid, but I'm more of a beef person than pork person, so I didn't find it mind-blowingly amazing.  Also, I had super good tonkatsu with fancy cuts of pork in Tokyo (also at a specialty shop), so I guess my standards are kind of up there.

More: Good Eat - Yum

Saboten (Aberdeen Centre Food Court)
4151 Hazelbridge Way
Richmond, BC
(604) 295-9351
Saboten (Aberdeen Centre) on Urbanspoon


Whip Cream & Cake @ Cheesecake Etc.

After Dorothy's birthday dinner at Whet, of course, we had to go for more food -- namely, cake! (We may or may not have gone for bubble tea after this.... just because we are awesome like that.) Doro had actually picked Whet because it was close to Cheesecake Etc. -- we were craving for some cheesecake the whole week!  I hadn't been there for almost two years, so I basically forgot what the cake was like.


Dine Out Vancouver's Street Food City 2012: Re-up BBQ, La Brasserie Street, and Tacofino

Since it's winter and nobody likes to walk around in the rain, Dine Out Vancouver had teamed up with several food carts to form Street Food City at the Vancouver Art Gallery, running from January 23-25, 2012, 11am-3pm.

Gloria (here's her post) and I decided to follow through with our plans and brave the rain today. There were more people than I had expected! (I took the pics above when both the crowd and the rain died down.)  The tables were a brilliant idea! It was so warm and it was nice to have tables for a change, especially covered ones! 

With so many choices, it was tough making food decisions! Gloria was set on trying the bacon explosion sandwich from Re-Up BBQ ($8), which I believe is a special to this DOV event.

To my surprise, the sandwich was filled with "pork meat loaf" stuffed with cheese, back bacon, carmelized onions, all wrapped in bacon and then smoked plus tomato and lettuce. I thought it would be crispy bacon! Still, with the BBQ sauce, it was really flavourful and really and "explosion" (of flavours). I don't usually like raw tomatoes, but I was too lazy to take them out this time, but I actually couldn't really taste it because of the delicious sauce.  Unfortunately, it was sort of small.

On my list was La Brasserie Street! It's been on my wishlist for a year now, but I never get the chance to have it because it's always sold out or closed by the time I get to downtown.  

I finally got to try the brass chicken sandwich ($7)! It was so delicious and lived up to all my expectations.  The beer-brined rotisserie chicken with gravy so creamy and flavourful.  I like how they used chicken breast, but it still wasn't dry.  The gravy reminds me (well, I haven't tried) of Fresh Local Wild's seafood poutine (or what I would imagine it to be after watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives).  The onions were also quite crispy! This sandwich was a bit bigger than the bacon explosion.  This one is super messy, so I loved that we had tables at this event!

That was not enough for us! We had to try the fish taco ($4.50) from Tacofino.  These aren't really the traditional Mexican taco.  The cod was battered and deep-fried, and reminded me of fish and chips.  Not sure if it was because we split it in half, but it was quite messy with all the sauce dripping everywhere.  I liked it though, since the sauce was tangy and light -- a good way to end our lunch.  The soft tortilla was also a little bit crisp since it was toasted.
More: Good Eat - Yum

Re-Up BBQ Foodcart
700 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 724-0894
Re-Up BBQ Foodcart on Urbanspoon
La Brasserie Street
West Georgia St. and Granville St.  
Vancouver, BC
(778) 989-4883
La Brasserie Street (West Georgia & Granville) on Urbanspoon
TacoFino Cantina
Howe St & Robson St
Vancouver, BC
(604) 726-8642
TacoFino Cantina on Urbanspoon


Birthdays & Oysters @ Whet Kitchen.Bar.Patio at Granville Island

That's right.  More birthday dinners.  December was a good month in terms of food! For Dorothy's birthday dinner, she suggested we try Whet, located at Granville Island.  Frankly, I've never heard of this place before and it doesn't garner that much attention on Urbanspoon.  I guess it's because Sandbar is right there and just gets a bit more attention since it's apart of the Sequoia Group.

Whet is actually located right near the entrance of Granville Island.  If you look to your left immediately after you cross the bridge, it's right there.


Golf & Tuna @ Lakeside Grill

Don't know if you remember where I worked, but I think I mentioned it enough for everyone to remember that I worked in the middle of nowhere. Well, more specifically, in the land of cranberries in East Richmond. Not anymore! I think as a farewell to such an important employee (me, obviously) and as well as an accumulation of birthday lunches our boss owed us, he took us the the Lakeside Grill at Mayfair Lakes Golf and Country Club during my last week.

The restaurant, which is right inside the clubhouse, has high ceilings with windows that drop all the way down to the floor (there's probably a technical term for this) to present a nice view of the golf course.  I don't know how to golf, but the golf course was quite pretty.  I'm not quite sure what to categorize what cuisine they serve, but I guess it is a bit of a fusion-y pacific northwest thing, since they serve burgers as well as other entrees with an Asian twist.  I don't really know what to call it.  You can be the judge of that -- their menu is here.


Smoked Meat & Soup @ Dunn's Famous

Because of our failed attempt to meet up at Accord Food House since it was closed for the winter, I still met up with I'm Busy Eating, Foodology, Food Queen, Kirby, and Jenny -- all of whom are also from SFU! We went to Dunn's Famous, which specializes in Montreal smoked meat.  


Pizza & More Pizza @ Novo Pizzeria

Recently, Vincent invited me to a tasting event at Novo Pizzeria with other bloggers and guests. Neapolitan pizzas seem to be popping up everywhere in Vancouver these days -- it's slated as one of the top 10 Vancouver food trends -- and I didn't even have a try yet! (Well actually I went to Verace a week after I RSVP'd this event, but that's for another post.)  I decided to that I needed to give it a shot.


Breakfast & Crepes @ Doux Crepes

A while back, I got a $25 group buy certificate to Doux Crepes in Yaletown.  It's actually a bit of a walk from the Yaletown skytrain station, but it was a pretty nice morning.  Mel and I spotted a lot of dogs on the way there!


Chinese Herbal Soup & Fish Maw @ Shi-Art

It's been a while since our last visit at Shi-Art in Richmond Centre. The last visit was during king crab season! I don't know why we don't come here more often, I actually quite like it. They have very interesting dishes that no other restaurants offer, and the prices are quite reasonable.


Stewed Pork & Clay Pot Soup @ Dinesty Chinese Restaurant 聚

After I had my dim sum lunch at Dinesty, I wanted to go back and treat my family since it's one of the Chinese restaurants that have pretty reasonable prices (I'm a student -- not going to treat them to anything fancy), décor that is quite modern and clean, and food that is pretty good.


Noodles & Soy Milk @ Shang Noodle House

On the way to Sweet Bubble the other day, I noticed a new restaurant had popped up in Richmond right on Saba Road.  Actually, this post isn't about that restaurant.  It's about Shang Noodle House -- the one at Starlight Casino.  Another one just opened recently at Saba Road!

Since it was a coworker's birthday, a few of us had to treat him for lunch.  Honestly I would've preferred the pasta lunch for $6.99 at Salt and Pepper Cafe, but that makes it look like we're being cheap apparently.  (I much rather have cheap good food than expensive mediocre food.)  Also because I was the lowly intern.  I don't have any say in anything, including food.  (Which reminds me... I have to go back even though I'm not working near there anymore.) 


Birthdays & Poire @ Bistrot Bistro

For Kemily's belated birthday dinner, we went to Bistro Bistro in Kitsilano. This was on my wishlist since forever after I read posts by Sherman, Follow Me Foodie, and Kim Ho. I kinda forgot about it though, so thanks Kem for choosing this place!
It's pretty cozy inside and quite packed as well. And they give you blankets if you're sitting near the door!

The pommes allumettes and mayo ($5) are thinner versions of French fries, known as matchstick potatoes (yes, all those years of studying French paid off). Everyone liked them a lot since they were freshly fried and actually quite crispy (but not too much crisp). The mayo was SO good. I like mayo more than ketchup.

At first we didn't order the mix baguette tapenade (1/2 for $3) because we thought the fries would be enough, but after getting our entrees, we (more like I) decided to get it. It's not complimentary, but it's actually quite a bit so it ended up being 60 cents or so per person.

Since I've heard so many good things about the rabbit with two mustards and white wine cream ($21), I had to get it. I've actually never had rabbit before I think, and some of my friends were not very open-minded about it when I offered some. The texture kind of feels like chicken (the free-range kind since it's fairly lean) and tastes a bit more gamey. I liked it because it was a nice change from other meats.

Mel's duck confit macaroni & cheese ($18) was also pretty good. The macaroni was really creamy but didn't have a lot of cheese flavour to it unfortunately. The duck (from the bit I tried) was quite good and juicy though.

Kem liked her sole meuniere -- filet of sole in almond butter ($17), which I only had a little sample of.

Doro really liked her filet mignon with scallion butter sauce ($23). It was cooked perfectly to medium-rare and I thought it was quite tender and juicy as well.

She added a ratatouille ($4) on the side as well. I don't really like ratatouille that much because there's so many tomatoes and feels like very chunky and hearty salsa to me. Also, I've never watched Ratatouille (the Disney movie), which I should do. I'll do that during the winter break.

We got the perfect dessert to share, the poire belle Hélène ($6), which is a French version of a sundae made with pears poached in sugar syrup, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. I love the whole combo and the pears were delicious.  It was a mess and that made it all the better for sharing.  

The prices here are somewhat reasonable and the food is good, but I don't love it enough to come back here regularly (since I am a poor student and W 4th is too expensive for me).  It would be good to come back here once in a while though especially with friends.

Bistrot Bistro
1961 W 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 732-0004
Bistrot Bistro on Urbanspoon


Spicy Ramen & Tonkotsu Ramen @ Ramen Sanpachi

After watching The Belle Game at the Grey Cup Fest, Doro and I headed to grab something to eat before Hey Ocean! played.  (As much as I wanted to watch The Zolas, I've seen them a few times already and I was hungry.)  One of Doro's favourite ramen places is Ramen Sanpachi on Robson.  The restaurant is actually quite big compared to other places like Hokkaido Santouka and Motomachi Shokudo.

I've been meaning to try this place a few times since I keep seeing it pop up on Groupon Now, but I never did.  And that day they didn't have the Groupon.  Darn.