Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Simply Good – Sushi Ten

July 25, 2013
Sushi Ten, Richmond BC
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Tiger Roll
Banzai Roll

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ImageGoing out for lunch by myself, I decided to give Sushi Ten a try. They were pretty busy with take out orders for such a small store. There were always people either eating in or taking out.

The Tiger Roll was great, with ebi on the outside covered with spicy sauce, or rather gochujang. I love the mix of sweet and spicy. Inside was your regular California roll – imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. Despite the slight simplicity, the roll was big and fresh, and thus very tasty.Image

The Banzai Roll was also tasty, with two prawn tempura inside along with kani, avocado, and cucumber. On top were unagi sauce and mayonnaise. This roll was also very good, thanks in part to the sauces for all the flavours. The prawn tempura was nice and the size was also very good for the price.

With most of these rolls around $5, Sushi Ten is extremely affordable. More importantly, it is very fresh and thus the sushi tastes great.

Sushi Ten 天壽司 on Urbanspoon

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Sushi is Here to Stay – Togo Sushi

July 18, 2013
Togo Sushi, Richmond BC
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Kamikaze Roll
Awesome Roll

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ImageWho would want McDonald’s when you can have delicious sushi at similar prices right next door? That’s how Togo Sushi first caught my eye – displays of delicious-looking rolls were so tempting when you are lining up for McDonald’s. This little restaurant mostly has to-go customers but also a couple of seats for those who would like to eat there.

The Kamikaze Roll was salmon on top of a spicy salmon roll. This would be perfect for any salmon lover. The fish, even that in the spicy salmon, was very fresh. I liked how the spicy salmon came in pretty large pieces. It was spicy but not burning. The rice was also quite nice. Image

The Awesome Roll did its name justice. On top of the California roll was cooked salmon, masago, green onion, teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo, and a ton of yam strings. I loved the spicy and sweet from the two sauces. The salmon was nice and the imitation crab and avocado inside the roll were sweet and creamy. The yam strings made it outstanding though. With the sauces, it was sweet on two different levels and slightly spicy… and very crunchy. 

Togo Sushi had very friendly service and reasonable prices ($6.50 for the Kamikaze Roll and $7.95 for the Awesome Roll). No, they don’t have reusable plates and chopsticks, but for such a small place in Richmond Centre, they really don’t need to. It’s still a great option – better than Umi up in the food court due to more variety and cheaper prices, and the fact that it is made-to-order. 

Togo Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Spicy, Scallop-y, Stanley – Sushi One

July 6, 2013
Sushi One, Richmond BC
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Spicy Tuna Sashimi
Scallop Magma Roll
Stanley Roll
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ImageMy best friend and I decided to go out for lunch at Sushi One, a fairly new restaurant by the water in Steveston. It was quite crowded inside on a Saturday, with almost every booth taken. The service was friendly and it was a nice little place to chat.Image

I ordered a lunch special with one of their special rolls and had a salad and soup to go along with it. Both were fairly standard.Image

I picked Spicy Tuna Sashimi for my side. The pieces were small but I loved the spicy sauce that had quite the kick and also a touch of sweetness. The tuna was very fresh and, paired with the sauce, was very appetizing.

My Scallop Magma Roll was absolutely delicious, and very creative. Inside was spicy tuna while it was topped with masago, chopped scallop, and a sweet, black sesame sauce. The sauce was rich, creamy, and sweet, balancing out with the spicy tuna and scallops nicely. The ingredients were all very fresh.Image

My friend had the Stanley Roll that was also drool-worthy. It had yam tempura, avocado, and cucumber inside with a unagi tempura and tobiko on top. The two sweet tempuras were excellent, especially since they were not the same kind of sweetness. Still, it was harmonious and interesting all rolled into one.

Sushi One has it in the bag when it comes to creative rolls – so many choices and so many different appetizers and sides to choose from! They also have some great lunch specials that I’m sure this will become a regular hangout lunch spot for me.

Sushi One on Urbanspoon

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Canadian Rock ‘n Roll – Kisha Poppo Japanese Restaurant

July 1, 2013
Kisha Poppo Japanese Restaurant, Richmond BC
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Salmon Sashimi
Chicken Teriyaki
Spicy Tuna Cone
Seafood Yaki Soba
Rock’n Roll
House Special Roll
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ImageNone of us wanted food until 9pm. Since it was Canada Day, many places closed early or just plain closed for the day. Thinking sushi was probably our best bet, we headed to Kisha Poppo after calling to make sure they were on their regular Monday hours – thankfully, they were. The restaurant was more than half filled when we got there so clearly, it would have been a bad decision to close.

We started with Salmon Sashimi. They were out of sockeye so we settled for Atlantic salmon. It was still very fresh but the presentation was a little lacking. Image

The Chicken Teriyaki was nothing too special although it had good flavour with enough sauce covering the slightly fried chicken filet strips. It came with carrots, broccoli, and bean sprouts, which, covered with the sauce, were quite good.Image

The Spicy Tuna Cone was okay. It had a decent kick but did not taste like the freshest tuna. The rice was okay; this was just your average cone.Image

The Seafood Yaki Soba could have used more seafood but the soy flavour was good. It was still sizzling like crazy when we got it. There were some shrimp, salmon, and maybe some other fish, but more seafood was definitely needed just so that it was not all noodles and vegetables.

The Rock’n Roll was the best dish oImagef the night. Kisha Poppo doesn’t really have special rolls so you have to be picking them out of the maki roll section. This one was probably their best roll – and one of the more expensive at $8.95, which is actually not too bad. It was a unagi and cucumber roll with smoked salmon and avocado on top. The flavour from the unagi was good and the salmon was not bland either. The avocado provided a nice creamy texture.Image

Finally, the House Special Roll had a variety of sashimi – salmon, tuna, and some other fish – kani, and cucumbers inside. It was huge pieces but did not have much flavour. Unagi, pickles, or even tamago might have been a nice addition.

Located away from the Asian centres in Richmond, Kisha Poppo has your generic casual Japanese fare at reasonable prices. They also have all you can eat options and is a good choice if you are on the other side of town. 

Kisha Poppo Japanese Restaurant 汽車ポッポ日本料理 on Urbanspoon

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Get Crazy, Get Creative, Get Rollin’ – Crazy Sushi

June 24, 2013
Crazy Sushi, Philadelphia PA
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Puppy Love
Odessa Roll
Bloomingdale Roll
Spicy Cook Scallop Roll
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ImageI love creative, unique sushi rolls. After all, kappa makis were always boring, California rolls have become boring, and even Alaska or Philadelphia rolls are no longer interesting. Crazy Sushi seemed perfect to hang out and catch up with yet another graduated friend one last time this summer.

We started with Puppy Love, a cold appetizer roll of spicy tuna wrapped with sea bass and special sauce. The presentation was quite elegant and it was just a delicious, fishy bite. Like I said, there are always ways to make rolls interesting, and sometimes, one delicious bite is just the best way to start a meal.Image

For our main rolls, we started with the Odessa Roll, with tuna, eel, masago, crunchy, and spicy mayo rolled in salmon. Again, this roll had no rice, just fish and other good stuff. The fish was decently fresh and I always love my rolls with unagi, or BBQ eel. The crunchy bits added texture and the spicy mayo went nicely with the sweet unagi sauce. This was just more delicious bites.Image

Next was the Bloomingdale Roll, with spicy tuna, spicy salmon, spicy kani, spicy yellowtail, spicy shrimp, avocado, and a longan fruit on top. Wrapped in soy paper instead of nori, it was pretty in pink. The spicy fish mixture made it hard to tell what fish was actually in it and only two pieces actually had avocado in it. Consistency is questionable and the spicy mayo makes it hard to taste the actual fish. It had a fair kick, however, and the sweet longan on top was an interesting twist.Image

Finally, the Spicy Cook Scallop Roll was just your regular spicy scallop roll. The scallops had a little too much batter on it and there did not seem to be enough scallops. At least the roll was not overloaded with rice, though.Image

Crazy Sushi was a cute little place and certainly good for creative sushi cravings. With so many different ingredients and fish, they make an incredible number of unique rolls that it will take more than a few meals to try them all. They take rolls to the next level of crazy.

Crazy Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Spicy Hurricane – Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant

June 23, 2013
Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Spicy Beef Gyoza
Shrimp Teriyaki
Hurricane Roll
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A friend recently graduated and so we went out for dinner one last time before he leaves. It was a lovely, sunny evening so we walked all the way over to Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant. The temperature was just perfect so we walked back afterwards as well, a great way to start digesting all that food.

ImageThe restaurant was very quiet but there was a decent number of tables occupied for a Monday evening. The waitresses were all in Japanese-style apparel, which just compliments the whole atmosphere.

We started with the Spicy Beef Gyoza. It did not have as much of a kick as I hoped but was a nice deviation from your traditional pork gyoza. The skin was nice and crispy and the filling was quite flavourful.Image

The Shrimp Teriyaki was served with a small salad and rice. The shrimp were tender and coated with a good amount of the sweet teriyaki. The broccoli and carrots were nicely steamed but I really just liked the yam and sweet potato chips. At least, I think they were yam chips; potatoes just do not get that huge. They were crispy and chewy once they were soaked a little in the sauce.Image

Finally, the Hurricane Roll had tons of flavour with salmon, masago, avocado, and spicy yellowtail. The spicy yellowtail was a nice change and the avocado added the necessary creaminess to balance the decent spicy kick from the fish and the green scallions on top. The rice was good and there was not too much of it.

Fuji Mountain is not exactly the cheapest Japanese restaurants around but it is acceptable for quite decent food compared to some other places around town. It’s a little more high-end than a lot of the smaller lunch spots, with an extensive menu. If you want to sing, just head upstairs for some karaoke.

Fuji Mountain on Urbanspoon

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Japanese Temptations – Tampopo

June 2, 2013
Tampopo, Philadelphia PA
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Fresh Crunch Roll
Vegetable Bowl w/ Chicken Breast
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ImageI have heard of Tampopo, a casual Japanese restaurant a few blocks off campus, since last year but not until recently did I go with a group of friends from dance after a weekend lesson. I liked it so much that I went back for dinner that night as well.

The Fresh Crunch Roll is one of their special rolls for the summer. Inside the cucumber-wrapped rice were ebi, unagi, and avocado. It was certainly a sweet and crunchy mix that was very much to my liking. The thick cucumber was a much better wrap than the regular nori, making it very fresh, just like summer. The sweet unagi paired well with the creamy avocado and the ebi added a chewier texture.Image

That evening, I went back for the Vegetable Bowl w/ Chicken Breast. It was a total of seventeen vegetables – bean sprouts, broccoli florets, broccoli stems, carrots, red peppers, green peppers, celery, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy, and a couple others that I cannot recall – with a sweet teriyaki-soy sauce over brown rice. The chicken breast was sliced and a little tough and dry. It was lightly seared and tasted okay only when I soaked it in the sauce. Still, it was such a satisfying meal.

Tampopo on Urbanspoon

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Deep in a Japanese Coma – Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant

ImageMay 9, 2013
Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant, Richmond BC
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Eda-Mame
Green Salad
Salmon Sashimi
Tuna Sashimi
Spicy Seafood Cone
Chicken Teriyaki Roll
Spring Roll
Deep Fried Gyoza
Shishamo Karaage
Chicken Karaage
ImageChicken Udon
Beef Udon
BBQ Beef Short Rib
BBQ Chicken Wing
BBQ Korean Pork
BBQ Salmon Kama
BBQ Yakitori
Oyster Motoyaki
Salmon Teriyaki
Fruit Jello
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ImageWow, another very long chat late into the night. Seven friends met over dinner and exchanged gossip and stories for hours around a large table at Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant. We were all deep into food comas by the end but unfortunately, there was nowhere to go but home at 11:30, especially with early mornings for some the next morning. Image

The Eda-Mame was standard, which means no where near as good as the ones I have had almost everyday in Tokyo. It just was not flavourful enough – lacking salt while boiling – and the doneness was inconsistent.Image

The Green Salad was the most pathetic way to celebrate National Salad Month. It was such a small portion, with iceberg lettuce, what tasted like a carrot puree with a tangy dressing and sesame seeds, shredded carrot and red cabbage, and some scallions.  Image

The Salmon Sashimi was good, with a nice texture. It was actually quite fresh and the fish was really bouncy but firm. Vancouver’s salmon sashimi rarely disappoints, even the regular kind.Image

The Tuna Sashimi was less impressive. It did not taste as fresh and the fish was not as firm as I would like. It was more mushy than the salmon.

The Spicy Seafood Cone was not extremely spicy. I found the seafood a little dry and the flavour was not bold enough to stand out amidst all the rice in the cone. Image

The Chicken Teriyaki Roll was actually good. The chicken was tender. The teriyaki sauce was sweet and had a good consistency. The vegetables made it refreshing and there was just the right amount of sauce drizzled over it. Image

The Spring Roll tasted like it came out of a package. It was fried nicely but you cannot really screw that up anyways. The vegetable filling was not exactly amazing. This was more generic than anything. Image

The Deep Fried Gyoza looked better than they tasted. The filling was a little small and the wrappers, while very crispy, tasted a little too greasy.

The Shishamo Karaage was a nice change. I have not had these little fish in a very long time. I really like the lot of fish eggs inside each fish. They were the best part of this little thing.

The Chicken Karaage were simply deep fried without much seasoning or anything for that matter. The chicken wings were juicy on the inside but these were just mediocre. Image

The Chicken Udon had one small piece of fried chicken cutlet over udon noodles. The chicken was okay. The broth was decent and the noodles were just a tad overcooked.

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The Beef Udon was pretty bad. The udon and soup were good enough but the beef was incredibly tough to chew; it was just too sinewy and did not have much flavour. ImageImageImage

The series of BBQ included Beef Short Rib, Chicken Wing, Korean Pork, Salmon Kama, and Yakitori. The short ribs were tasty and sweet. The chicken wings were a lot better than the deep fried kind. Clearly, the sweet sauce makes all the difference here! The Korean Pork was dry and tough. There was not much flesh on the salmon kama, or salmon head, and it looked quite intimidating! Finally, the yakitori, or chicken skewer, was actually very flavourful from the spice marinade and very juicy. This was one of the better dishes of the night.Image

The Oyster Motoyaki was creamy but a little too heavy. You really need to be partial to these motoyakis to be able to stomach more than one. The oysters were small and not very fresh either.Image

The Salmon Teriyaki was a little dry but at least it was salmon with the lovely sweet sauce.

Finally, we all ended with Fruit Jello. These were generic, colorful, and kind of fun to play with. They were very jiggly and for someone in a deep food coma at midnight, it might be just the tad bit fascinating.Image

Ninkazu will satisfy your regular craving for generic Japanese food. If you are looking for anything remotely close to fine dining, go somewhere else. If you are just seeking out a place to catch up with friends over A LOT of food, this would be the place for you.

Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant 仁和日本料理 on Urbanspoon

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Meal of 270 Flavours – 東方見聞録

March 8, 2013
東方見聞録, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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居酒屋の定番!! 大盛り枝付き枝豆 (Izakaya-Standard Large Green Soybeans)
茄子の浅漬け (Pickled Eggplant (Tsukemono))
浪速のたこ焼き (Takoyaki (Grilled Octopus Balls))
季節の浅漬け (Seasonal Pickles)
葱めんたいのせ出し巻き玉子 (Japanese Omelette topped Green Onion and Marinated Pollack Roe)
明太カルボうどん (Salted Cod Roe with Carbonara Udon)
選べる胡瓜 (生姜醤) (Cucumber (Ginger Miso Sauce))
揚げピザ&カマンベールディップ (Fried Won-Ton with Camembert Cheese)
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ImageCasey and I were not feeling up to some hardcore partying so we decided to venture out and try our own izakaya at 東方見聞録 near the Shinjuku station. We had seen so many ‘270 yen’ restaurants in the past week. I loved the idea! It was just like having a large variety of a tasting menu. Each item was only 270 yen, with special items – actually quite a few of them – priced slightly higher. It was certainly an interesting experience and I would have loved to try a few more of these if we had more time!

To start, we were served 居酒屋の定番!! 大盛り枝付き枝豆 (Izakaya-Standard Large Green Soybeans). These were boiled perfectly and had the perfect amount of saltiness. The edamame were easy to get out of the pod and soft but not too mushy. Once you start eating these, it is really hard to stop until other plates of food are presented before you.Image

From there, we proceeded to 茄子の浅漬け (Pickled Eggplant (Tsukemono)). I love eggplant and this was decent, but it was not my favourite preparation. The small eggplant was very tender, not too dry, and had a good, firm and chewy texture. However, I found the flavour a bit disappointing. It was salty and a little sour from the pickling whereas I had expected something a little sweeter.Image

The 浪速のたこ焼き (Takoyaki (Grilled Octopus Balls)) were excellent, though. They had crispy exteriors and a piping hot, slightly gooey center. There were not too much octopus inside but the flavour was bang on with the sauces and bonito flakes.Image

The 季節の浅漬け (Seasonal Pickles) were very refreshing with its mix of cucumbers, daikon, and ___. These were a little sour but not as salty as the eggplant, which made it nicer in my opinion. I would suggest them for a nice palate cleanser.Image

The 葱めんたいのせ出し巻き玉子 (Japanese Omelette topped Green Onion and Marinated Pollack Roe) was one of my favourites for the night. The egg omelette was firm but soft and airy. The texture was just excellent, as was the flavour. It was quite sweet, which was perfect for me. Put that together with the salty Pollack roe on top and the sweet and savoury sauce, it was just delicious.Image

The 明太カルボうどん (Salted Cod Roe with Carbonara Udon) was also a very nice dish, and one of the only ones that was more like an entrée. The udon noodles were cooked nicely to al dente, and coated in plenty of the creamy carbonara sauce. What I loved was the spicy roe in the carbonara, giving the creaminess a little kick.Image

Wanting more vegetables, we went with the 選べる胡瓜 (生姜醤) (Cucumber (Ginger Miso Sauce)). The cucumbers were certainly refreshing, especially with the ginger miso sauce. It was coarsely pureed ginger flavoured with miso, a little bit too salty but had a nice gingery kick.Image

Finally, the 揚げピザ&カマンベールディップ (Fried Won-Ton with Camembert Cheese) was another very interesting dish. The fried wontons were crisp and lovely and I thought the camembert cheese dip was a very creative twist. Perhaps not my favourite dish but it was certainly an interesting one. Wontons and cheese, who knew?

The meal was not exactly a filling one, since it was more like small bites of various items. It was a great experience though. My only complaint was that smoking was allowed inside and we almost ended up beside some heavy smokers. The food, though, was exquisite – a splendid final dinner in Tokyo!

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Out of the Water and Onto the Plate – 築地すし鮮 (Tsukiji Sushi Sen)

March 8, 2013
築地すし鮮 (Tsukiji Sushi Sen), Chūō, Tokyo, Japan
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とろろ茶碗蒸し {Chawanmushi}
イタキャタピラオーバーロール {Caterpillar Roll}
海鮮たっぷり丼 {Seafood Don}
玉子 {Tamago Sushi}
[Miso Soup]
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ImageAfter our incredibly cool visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market and looking at the variety of fresh catch of the day, we were craving to try some of the freshest seafood for ourselves. The samples we tried were so good that we could not pass up this opportunity for another amazing sushi lunch. Thus, we found the Tsukiji Sushi Sen and decided to step in.

We started off with complimentary とろろ茶碗蒸し {Chawanmushi}. The egg custard was so soft and delicate. I loved the shiitake mushrooms inside this traditional appetizer!Image

Casey opted for a very cute イタキャタピラオーバーロール {Caterpillar Roll}. The fish roe eyes just stared up at us. The seafood was very fresh and the avocado creamy. The salmon was really good and so was the rice. However, there was nothing amazing flavour-wise. The mayonnaise did not do much to elevate it. Image

I ordered the 海鮮たっぷり丼 {Seafood Don} with various pieces of fresh sashimi. The fish was incredibly fresh and of top quality. From left to right, I had (I think): octopus, halfbeak, pink snapper, salmon, squid, bluefin tuna, scallop, and medium fatty tuna. The bluefin tuna was especially tasty. The octopus (tako) and squid (ika) were so chewy and hard to eat. They were also very fishy. The other assortment were all decent and paired nicely with the bowl of tasty sushi rice. Image

Another friend ordered many pieces of 玉子 {Tamago Sushi}. The sweet egg was so fluffy and airy but firm enough. I love these sweet egg omelettes. These were particularly chewy over delicious vinegary rice. 

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The [Miso Soup] was very good as well since it was made from fish bones. I love a rich bowl of miso soup, not greasy and very refreshing and flavourful. This was such a great lunch and on this super warm and sunny day, our moods were all lightened and it was just delightful to be able to spend the final day in Japan this way. 

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