Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Shrimp Simple and Complicated – 粵之醉-Rainflower Restaurant

May 18, 2013
粵之醉 – Rainflower Restaurant, Richmond BC
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天天老火例汤 (Daily Special Soup)
清蒸游水虾 (Steamed Live Shrimp)

秘制香叶老虎虾 (Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Basil)
家乡杂菌牛仔柳 (Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms)
黑鱼火腩豆腐煲 (Black Cod Hot Pot with Tofu)
[Cookies]

[Sweet Bean Soup]
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ImageA family friend and his daughter went out to dinner with us since we have to met each other in quite a while, let alone had a nice chat. He picked Rainflower Restaurant, which I had always wanted to try despite never hearing any compliments. Not surprising, the place that is known for dim sum was quite empty on a Saturday evening. Even so, it took very long to get our dishes as the kitchen could not keep up with the minimal demand.Image

The 天天老火例汤 (Daily Special Soup) was very generic at best. I liked the winter melon and carrots but it could use more of those little almonds.Image

The 清蒸游水虾 (Steamed Live Shrimp) were very fresh. The shrimp were so juicy and succulent – I loved the bite. The dipping sauce was a little generic but had a nice soy flavour nonetheless. 

ImageThe 秘制香叶老虎虾 (Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Basil) was delicious although very expensive. The basil flavour was light but present and the sweet soy flavour really came through. The shrimp were again very succulent and had a lovely bite to them. They were fortunately not overcooked.Image

The 家乡杂菌牛仔柳 (Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms) was not very special. The shiitake and button mushrooms were good and juicy. The beef was okay. The flavour was just sort of salty and did not have any particular flavour. It was a little oily but also a tad sweet, which I do like. Image

The cod in the 黑鱼火腩豆腐煲 (Black Cod Hot Pot with Tofu) was tender and flaky with a nice, slightly soggy exterior. It did soak up the sweet soy flavour so it was all good. The cod was in cubes and was firm enough to stay together. The tofu was mediocre and the portion was extremely small.Image

For complimentary dessert, we got almond cookies and fried dough cookies. They were crunchy and lightly sweetened, going well with the sweeter red bean soup. 

Overall, I think the restaurant is seriously overpriced. I cannot say anything about the dim sum. While I love the slightly sweet flavour of most dishes, the taste still does not justify the small portions and extremely high prices.

Rainflower Restaurant 粵之醉海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

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Happy Mother’s Day – 九记-No. 9 Restaurant

May 12, 2013
九记 – No. 9 Restaurant, Richmond BC
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干煸四季豆 (Minced Pork & Green Bean in Chili Sauce)
豉椒牛肉饭 (Beef w/ Black Bean Sauce on Steamed Rice)
柠檬虾球 (Lemon Prawns)
鱼香茄子 (Minced Pork w/ Eggplant)
宫保鸡丁 (Diced Chicken & Cashews Marinated w/ Chili Peppers)
干炒牛河 (Soy Beef Rice Noodle (Dry))
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ImageGrandma liked 九记 (No. 9 Restaurant) during her last lunch there so we went there for Mother’s Day. It was one of the few restaurants that did not have a wait. It has been there for as long as I can remember, way back when there were only a few Chinese restaurants in Richmond. We did not like it back then. Now, it’s just place for a quick meal and family gathering.

We started with the 干煸四季豆 (Minced Pork & Green Bean in Chili Sauce) which was actually pretty decent. Deep fried green beans are just something you can’t do at home. The minced pork had quite a good, spicy and savoury flavour.

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The 豉椒牛肉饭 (Beef w/ Black Bean Sauce on Steamed Rice) was very generic but perhaps that’s why it was quite satisfying. The beef was tender and the black bean sauce thick and covering the rice. The peppers and onions were still crisp.Image

The 柠檬虾球 (Lemon Prawns) were not my favourite. The shrimp was still tender but the batter had no flavour. The lemon sauce was very sweet and made it kind of weird. It was like eating dessert with an entree.Image

The 鱼香茄子 (Minced Pork w/ Eggplant) was not as good as the previous time, according to my mother. It was not cooked long enough so while the eggplant were tender, the flavour did not penetrate the thick, long pieces. The sauce was good but it was just lacking some more time in the wok.Image

The 宫保鸡丁 (Diced Chicken & Cashews Marinated w/ Chili Peppers) was not authentic at all. There was a lot of cashews, though, despite somewhat lacking chicken. At least they did not just put in a bunch of peanuts. It needed more of a kick from the chili peppers.Image

The 干炒牛河 (Soy Beef Rice Noodle (Dry)) was actually more like a beef dish with accompanying rice noodles. It had a decent soy sauce flavour and the beef was plenty and flavourful. It was such a large portion that it did justify the price.

Overall, the portions were all humongous. The food is by no means fine dining quality, but for a casual restaurant serving up comfort food, it was decent enough!

No.9 Restaurant 九記 on Urbanspoon

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Drexel’s Dragon Food – Kim’s Dragon Asian Food

April 3, 2013
Kim’s Dragon Asian Food, Philadelphia PA
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General Tso’s Chicken
Ramen with Shrimp and Vegetables
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ImageKim’s Dragon Asian Food is one of the most popular food trucks in Drexel’s food truck row, with such a long line! I liked the photos on the menu and everything looked clean and colourful, unlike some of the old, rusty Chinese food trucks. 

The General Tso’s Chicken was quite decent. The sweet, sour, and spicy sauce was tasty and had the right texture. The broccoli soaked it up nicely. The chicken had a nice, thin, but crunchy batter, although it got a little soggy after a while. I was also surprised there were mushrooms and cabbage in it, but I liked them.

ImageThe Ramen with Shrimp and Vegetables was a nice change to the regular lo mein. It was basically instant noodles ramen but not too overcooked so was still a little ‘toothsome.’ I liked the spicy chili oil that had flavour and not too greasy. The shrimp was tender but a little overdone while the mushrooms were a little underdone. The other vegetables were good, though, especially the baby bok choy. 

I can definitely see why this truck is so popular, especially considering how few Chinese food trucks there are around Drexel, unlike around Penn. And you just can go wrong with having school colours and mascot either. 

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Simple and Sweet – Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen

April 1, 2013
Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen, Philadelphia PA
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Szechuan Tofu
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ImageI was honestly disappointed when I opened the container of Szechuan Tofu from Yue Kee. I was hoping for a more authentic spicy sauce and an array of vegetables. What greeted me were fried tofu cubes and plenty of bamboo strips. However, the sweet, thick sauce caught on to my palate and the pungent but familiar taste of the bamboo was welcomed. The tofu could have been softer since it was steamed and not fried, but it was simple and not too greasy.

Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Get it Fast – Kim’s Oriental Food

March 26, 2013
Kim’s Oriental Food, Philadelphia PA
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Ginger Chicken
Hunan Tofu
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ImageKim’s runs out of Ginger Chicken, fast. So on my previous visit, I was not successful. This time, I managed to get some. It was surprisingly not too greasy, with a light gravy sauce and lots of ginger strips to add that zing and warmth to the chicken. The chicken was mostly dark meat and very tender. It also came with vegetables, mostly cabbage and broccoli, to cut through the richness of the dish.Image

The Hunan Tofu was decently spicy and came with lots of broccoli, onions, green peppers, and bamboo shoots. The sauce was okay as it was pretty generic and the pungent smell of the bamboo was very present. 

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Plainly Pork – Kim’s Oriental Food

March 24, 2013
Kim’s Oriental Food, Philadelphia PA
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Pork Lo Mein
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ImageHaving had a lovely stuffed French toast for brunch and a late snack, I needed a change of tastes for dinner, something comforting, familiar, simple, and of course, savoury.

The Pork Lo Mein from Kim’s did just that. The pork was average but tender. The noodles were slightly overcooked but had a decent light soy sauce flavour. I liked how there was plenty of vegetables inside, not just some bean sprouts. It was a bit greasy but better than most food trucks. 

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From Tokyo to Beijing – 大学城-Beijing

March 15, 2013
大学城 – Beijing, Philadelphia PA
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本楼炒饭 (House Special Fried Rice)
麻婆豆腐 (Ma Po Tofu)
左宗鸡 (General Tso’s Chicken)
麻辣牛肉面 (Spicy Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup)
西兰牛肉 (Beef with Broccoli)
茄子鲜鱿煲 (Squid with Baby Eggplant in Garlic Sauce)
炸云吞 (Fried Wonton)
上海鸡卷 (Chicken Spring Roll)
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ImageOur group from Tokyo decided to get together to celebrate a birthday for someone and realized we wanted to be on campus and could not go to any Japanese restaurants, since all of us would be complaining anyhow. That’s how we ended up at Beijing, which personally I do not frequent because the prices are higher and tastes are worse than Sang Kee in my opinion. Still, it at least tasted somewhat Asian.

The 本楼炒饭 (House Special Fried Rice) was decent enough, but since it was such a generic dish, it would have just been totally unacceptable for them to screw it up. The rice was not overcooked and not too greasy. The pork and chicken were both a little tough and dry and there could have been more meat and vegetables. Image

The 麻婆豆腐 (Ma Po Tofu) was no where near authentic. Instead of chilli oil covered sauce, it was like a sweetened gravy with the slightest bit of spicy from the red peppers. There was no peppercorns either. The tofu was soft and I like sweet dishes, but the name was just very misleading. Image

The 左宗鸡 (General Tso’s Chicken) was okay. The chicken was fried nicely but I thought the batter was a little too thick with not enough actual meat inside. The broccoli tasted nice with the sauce, despite the sauce being a little greasy. Image

The 麻辣牛肉面 (Spicy Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup) actually had a decent amount of spice. The noodles were slightly overcooked but the ground beef mixture was flavourful. A little greasy perhaps but this dish was not too bland.

ImageThe beef in the 西兰牛肉 (Beef with Broccoli) was very tough to bite but not exactly dry, just a little too sinewy. It had decent flavour though, with a slightly sweetened gravy sauce. The broccoli was actually cooked nicely and was also sweet.Image

The 茄子鲜鱿煲 (Squid with Baby Eggplant in Garlic Sauce) was quite good, with basically just eggplant, squid, and some cabbage lining the bottom. The ingredients were plentiful – not too much filler – but the flavour of the garlic sauce was again lacking. There was almost no spice and it was more of a gravy than a sweet sauce. That’s just how they make it here though.Image

The 炸云吞 (Fried Wonton) was actually a decent appetizer with tender shrimp filling and a sweet and sour dipping sauce. I liked the sauce, which cut into the greasy aftertaste of the fried wonton wrappers. Image

The 上海鸡卷 (Chicken Spring Roll) were a little disappointing. Nicely fried and with a lot of filling, the filling was rather bland, especially when it came to the shredded, slightly dry chicken. The vegetables did not offer much in the way of flavour. While I did not like the spicy mustard, I did like eating the spring rolls with the sweet chili sauce.

The dinner was enjoyable and the service friendly enough. It was great to catch up with everyone. Beijing is as convenient as you can get on campus so not having to travel much was definitely a plus, especially on a cold night!

Beijing on Urbanspoon

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Comfort in the Rain – 大学城-Beijing

February 26, 2013
大学城 – Beijing, Philadelphia PA
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甜酸菜 (Chinese Pickle Salad w. Sesame Seed)
鱼香干贝 (Scallop in Garlic Sauce)
上海炒粗面 (Shanghai Noodle)
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I just really needed some scallops and some sweet, Americanized Chinese sauce so fear not, I went to Beijing on this drizzly and cold night. Their takeout prices are about $1 lower than their dine-in price, which seems odd as they would be making tips on top of that. However, being a student on budget, I just got takeout.
13-02-26 - 甜酸菜 - 大学城

To start, I got the 甜酸菜 (Chinese Pickle Salad w. Sesame Seed) since I needed some refreshing vegetables without oil. The sweet and tangy pickle flavour was delightful. THe julienned daikon radish, cabbage, cucumber, and carrots were very crunchy indeed – certainly a good starter. 13-02-26 - 鱼香干贝 - 大学城

The 鱼香干贝 (Scallop in Garlic Sauce) was quite expensive, at $9.95 for a small takeout order. However, they were jumbo scallops and were very tender and juicy. I loved the mix of vegetables (straw mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, black wood ear fungus, water chestnuts, and baby corn) and they were crunchy and tasty. However, the sauce, while coating everything, was not very spicy or sweet and tangy. It was more like a gravy sauce and not a garlic sauce.13-02-26 - 上海炒粗面 - 大学城

The 上海炒粗面 (Shanghai Noodle) were decent. The udon noodles were just a tad overcooked, but I was expecting that since it is very typical of casual Chinese restaurants to overcook udon noodles in a fried noodle dish. The pork was okay and I liked the shiitake mushrooms. I appreciated them heeding my request to hold back on the oil as it was not incredibly greasy.

Beijing is great in that it is close, but it is more expensive than Sang Kee Noodle House and certainly more so than the food trucks. Thus, it is only worth it to get the dishes not available elsewhere on campus. Otherwise, the flavors are not enough to justify the higher prices.

Beijing on Urbanspoon

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Where Are My Scallops? – 生记–Sang Kee Noodle House

February 16, 2013
生记 – Sang Kee Noodle House, Philadelphia PA
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叉烧包 (Steamed Char Sui Bao)
冬阴汤 (Tom Yum Seafood Soup)
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ImageDespite being so close to Sang Kee, I have not been there since my parents left. So when I got a discount on LivingSocial, I took the chance and ordered take-out dinner. Service was fine, but a problem I had was that the food did not live up to the description.Image

The 叉烧包 (Steamed Char Sui Bao) were decent enough. I doubt they made these in-house, thinking that they bought these. The BBQ sauce inside was sweet with a slight tang, just the way I like it. The pork was tender and there was an okay amount of sticky filling. The bun was soft and sweet.Image

The 冬阴汤 (Tom Yum Seafood Soup) had good flavour. It was not traditional tom yum soup flavours, though. There was no lemongrass, basil, and the other various Thai spices. Instead, there were a lot of chilli pepper flavour and pineapple chunks. Seafood wise, I was really disappointed. They only put in flounder fish fillets, shrimp, clams, and squid. The one thing I was looking forward to eating the most – scallops – were missing! Vegetables wise, there was an array of snow peas, carrots, straw mushroom, water chestnuts, and grape tomatoes. The noodles started to clump together, despite being put in a separate container until I combined the two myself. At least I enjoyed the seafood and vegetables with the spicy, hot soup.

A good thing about takeout is that you do not have to pay tips and you get to eat in the comfort of your own room. A downside, though, is that the container may be a little awkward, less convenient than a large bowl with a large opening. 

Sang Kee Noodle House on Urbanspoon

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The New Tang – Panda Express

February 13, 2013
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Tangy Jumbo Shrimp

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ImagePanda Express was promoting their new item, Tangy Jumbo Shrimp, and offered a free side entree portion with an online coupon. The side was supposed to have three shrimp, I think, but I got four. I actually liked this entrée. Even though it was considered low in calories and a healthier option, the tangy Asian was lovely and comforting, American Chinese fast food at its finest. The jumbo shrimp were quite large and tender on the inside, with the batter slightly crispy but also a bit soggy from the sauce on the exterior.  The sugar peas and red bell peppers looked so vibrant and colourful, contrasting the orange and making the dish look much better. They were crunchy but just slightly greasy. I do not think a sauce needs so much oil but the flavour was good.

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