Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Food Court Redeemed – Thai Express

July 16, 2013
Thai Express, Richmond BC
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Shrimp Spring Roll
Tofu Pad Thai

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ImageEver since Thai Express landed in Richmond Centre a few years back, my faith in food courts had been restored. It is seriously a great little stall with fresh, made-to-order generic Thai dishes. The flavours are usually pretty good, though!

The Shrimp Spring Roll was like one of those from Vietnam, with vermicelli, lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts, and shrimp inside, wrapped in rice paper. The peanut dipping sauce was sweet and lovely.Image

The Tofu Pad Thai had great flavour. No, it’s not real tamarind and instead, was more of a ketchup-based sauce. Still, it was good, and I did not really expect authentic. The portion was decent. I could have used more vegetables and the tofu did not really stay crispy but rather had soggy batter. The noodles were not overcooked though and it was still pretty good!

Now that Richmond Centre has built the Dining Terrace food court, the dining environment is so much more elegant, with comfy booth seats, high seats, group tables, couches, and convenient trash stations. This is certainly one of the best food courts I have been to, especially thanks to the decor.

Thai Express on Urbanspoon

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Warmed Up by the Bowl – Le Petit Saigon

July 11, 2013
Le Petit Saigon, Victoria BC
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Seafood Noodle Soup
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ImageWith so much food at the conference centre and a chilly sea breeze throughout town, we opted for a warm bowl of pho noodle soup at Le Petit Saigon.

The Seafood Noodle Soup included fish, prawns, and squid but was otherwise very bland. The seafood did not have much taste and the broth was just okay. The noodles were way overcooked and in very short pieces. Maybe it was because it was almost closing time but the quality should not have to suffer. For around $10, I expected something better with more, fresher seafood. 

Le Petit Saigon on Urbanspoon

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Thai on the Island – Baan Thai Restaurant

July 10, 2013
Baan Thai Restaurant, Victoria BC
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Lychee Martini
Som Tum Goong
Phad Thai Gai
Macua Pad Moo

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ImageI recently went with my dad and his colleague to Vancouver Island and though it was a great opportunity to try some of the Island’s best restaurants.

Our first night after checking in at the hotel led us to Baan Thai Restaurant, which is apparently the best Thai restaurant on the Island. About half of the restaurant was filled and the service was very friendly. The food was quite good overall, despite being a tad bit pricey for some of the dishes.

I started with a Lychee Martini. I just love lychees and so the sweetness with the Smirnoff vodka, Soho, and white grape juice tasted quite pleasant.Image

My Som Tum Goong – green papaya salad with prawns – was absolutely mouthwatering. I asked for extremely spicy and boy, that turned up the heat. My mouth was not just burning but probably charred by the end. I loved it though! The prawns were tender and there were loads of green papaya shred. It was a tad pricey but a great-tasting dish.Image

Dad ordered the Phad Thai Gai – stir-fried thin rice noodles with tamarind, ground peanuts, and chicken. A good pad Thai is hard to find and this was average. It had a good, sweet and spicy flavour but a little bland. More sauce would have helped. Also lacking was the amount of scrambled eggs. I always love the eggs in my pad Thai and so does Dad. The chicken was a little dry as well.Image

Finally, we shared the Macua Pad Moo – stir-fried eggplant with pork. The pork was okay but the eggplant was soft and delicious. It had a nice spicy and sweet flavour with a little soy taste as well. It was a little greasy but considering they were eggplants, I totally understand.

It’s hard to find good Thai food in BC so I’m not surprised this is considered the best on the Island. While it was not the best I’ve ever had, it was certainly above average and satisfied my cravings for overly spicy foods.

Baan Thai Restaurants 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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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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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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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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Thai in Times Square – Pongsri Thai Restaurant

March 29, 2013
Pongsri Thai Restaurant, New York NY
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Tom Yum Goong
Chicken Pad Ped Nor-mai
Shrimp Pad See Ew
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ImageI met up with Kitty to stay overnight for competition at NYU the next day. We were planning to go to Central Park and find the Alice in Wonderland statue since we could not get tickets to Mamma Mia! but it was windy and freezing. Feeling like some comforting Asian cuisine, we decided to give Pongsri Thai Restaurant a try since the reviews were good and it was nearby.

The Tom Yum Goong was a nice start. There were quite a few tender jumbo shrimp inside and lots of button mushrooms. The soup was hot and sour and not too greasy, which is why I like a good tom yum soup. The lemongrass was quite pronounced as well.Image

The Chicken Pad Ped Nor-mai was a stir-fry dish with plenty of bamboo shoots, onions, carrots, and bell peppers in a hot chili paste. We asked for very spicy and boy, it was VERY spicy. I loved it! Yes, I had to drink water, but it certainly warmed us up good. The chicken was overcooked, though, and so a little dry. The presentation was quite nice for a stir-fry dish, though!Image

The Shrimp Pad See Ew was really good with lots of shrimp, despite the shrimp being a little overdone and not as springy as I would like. The sweet soy sauce was a little oily but the flavour was mild and really good. I especially liked the broad rice noodles with the Chinese broccoli. There was not much egg to be found but the flavour made up for that.

The restaurant was crowded and clearly a popular casual place with friendly service, tucked away in a relatively unseen spot near Times Square. The food was quite good for the price and I would definitely come back here again for some great tasting good. 

Pongsri Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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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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South Asia Food Comas – Vietnam Palace Restaurant

March 23, 2013
Vietnam Palace Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Papaya Salad w. Shrimp
Chicken Pad Thai
Broken Rice Deluxe

Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef
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ImageDinner with the team after a long day is always incredibly fun, especially considering how everyone is going in starving and coming out in food comas. That was and always will be the case. Everyone on this night felt like going to Chinatown since we were already there so we headed to Vietnam Palace Restaurant. 

My Papaya Salad w. Shrimp came first. There was a mound of that lovely shredded green papaya with several large shrimp that were tender and succulent. The two were both unflavoured apart from the fish sauce dressing that was sweet, sour, and a little spicy. I was in heaven with this salad. The peanuts added a nice crunch.Image

The Chicken Pad Thai some people got was okay. The noodles were a little sticky and there was not enough sauce to coat everything completely. There were plenty of bean sprouts and peanuts but I thought it lacked some egg. The chicken was also dry.Image

The Broken Rice Deluxe was basically rice served with pork chop, shredded pork, egg quiche, and a fried egg. The pork chop was juicy but a little tough. The shredded pork was very flavourful and tasty. The egg quiche was a little dry but okay and the fried egg was nice with the runny yolk. This was served with a side of the fish sauce dressing for the greens salad. I liked the combination but individually, only the egg quiche and shredded pork were appealing.Image

The Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef was actually decent. The vermicelli soaked up some of the slightly sweet sauce and the beef did as well, making it juicy and tender. I loved the array of vegetables, including mushrooms, bamboo shoots, broccoli, snow peas, and carrots. They were crunchy and refreshing. 

The decor was nice and service okay, although they did mess up the bill. It took a while for us to sort out everything but overall, we were all satisfied with our meal. Finally, I have found my perfect salad that is both economically and tastefully the best I have had. 

Vietnam Palace on Urbanspoon

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