Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

A Little Lunch Spot – Village Sushi Bar

July 31, 2013
Village Sushi Bar, Richmond BC
~
Oyako-Don
Deluxe Futomaki
Tamago Nigiri
Inari Nigiri
~

ImageThere is something particularly comforting about sitting in a small lunch spot, a family-owned and operated little place. Village Sushi Bar was such a place – and next time, I must try some of their fish and sashimi.

The Oyako-Don was nice and hot. The chicken was a tad over cooked in places but the flavour was light yet good. I could use a little more sauce and broth with the rice but it was still good – especially for only $6.50.Image

The Deluxe Futomaki had good rice and was wrapped nicely. Nothing fell out despite being such a huge roll. There was unagi and prawn inside and the flavours meshed nicely with the spinach, shiitake, tamago, and cucumber.Image

I always think you can tell a lot with trying certain common items, so I ordered the Tamago Nigiri and the Inari Nigiri. I love sweet and sour flavours mixed with rice. The Tamago was good – not overly sweet but nice and eggy. The inari was sweet enough and at $1 a piece, these were certainly a great deal. Image

This little place has a slow but steady flow of customers who all seem to like the friendly service and affordable prices. It’s certainly a very convenient take-out place in west Richmond.

Leave a comment »

Food Court Redeemed – Thai Express

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

~

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

Leave a comment »

Thai on the Island – Baan Thai Restaurant

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

~

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

Leave a comment »

Shrimp Simple and Complicated – 粵之醉-Rainflower Restaurant

May 18, 2013
粵之醉 – Rainflower Restaurant, Richmond BC
~
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]
~

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

Leave a comment »

Martial Arts Food – Kung Fu Hoagies

April 18, 2013
Kung Fu Hoagies, Philadelphia PA
~
Meatball Bánh Mì
Veggie “Shrimp” Fried Rice
~

ImageI have had my eye on the colorful cart otherwise known as Kung Fu Hoagies for quite a while. Serving up vegetarian Vietnamese street food, they have a small menu of a regular bahn mi and two noodle soups (spicy ramen and pho). 

The Meatball Bánh Mì was actually quite delicious with three tofu meatballs, vegan ham, fried onions, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños, spicy red sauce, and vegan mayo. The roll was crispy and tough on the outside but soft on the inside. The flavours were certainly traditional and some tht I had not tasted for some time. I do feel that for $5 this was overpriced. Food trucks and especially food carts are supposed to be cheap, even if these are vegetarian and vegan ingredients.
Image

The special was the Veggie “Shrimp” Fried Rice, which had vegetarian shrimp that were incredibly chewy. It also had carrots, green beans, and onions with scallions to top it off. I wish there were more vegetables and maybe even some eggs. However, the rice was cooked to a nice texture and had the smoky grill taste that added to the otherwise bland flavour. I would suggest to add either seasoning sauce or the spicy sauce on this.

I do not think I will be back anytime soon but the guys serving the food were nice. This is a great option for vegetarians and vegans but if you are neither, go somewhere cheaper.

Leave a comment »

Simple and Sweet – Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen

April 1, 2013
Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen, Philadelphia PA
~
Szechuan Tofu
~

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

Leave a comment »

Get it Fast – Kim’s Oriental Food

March 26, 2013
Kim’s Oriental Food, Philadelphia PA
~
Ginger Chicken
Hunan Tofu
~

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. 

Leave a comment »

From Tokyo to Beijing – 大学城-Beijing

March 15, 2013
大学城 – Beijing, Philadelphia PA
~
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)
~

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

Leave a comment »

Surprisingly Good Diner Food – Denny’s

March 3, 2013
Denny’s, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
~
翡翠麺 {Jade Noodles}
たっぷり野菜のスープごはん~五豆と五穀~豆腐サラダつき {Rice Soup with Vegetables, 5 Grains and 5 Beans, Salad with Tofu}
~

ImageMy Mom would have flipped had she been there when we discovered the first evening we arrived in Tokyo that we would be going to dinner at Denny’s. Of all the places, Denny’s? Really? Images of wimpy salads, skimpy plates, and overall bad diner food popped into my mind. I thought to myself, this was not going to be a good start to my Tokyo experience. However, as our tour guide, Eiichiro, showed us, even the Denny’s in Tokyo is good, with a Japanese-inspired menu and all.

Casey and Nikila both ordered the 翡翠麺 {Jade Noodles}. I liked the al dente green noodles. The mushrooms were nice, but I loved the cabbage. They were slightly sweet and somewhat crunchy. The best part was the soup, which was so flavourful. Add that touch of chilli oil and it was amazing.Image

I ordered the たっぷり野菜のスープごはん~五豆と五穀~豆腐サラダつき {Rice Soup with Vegetables, 5 Grains and 5 Beans, Salad with Tofu}. It was a vegetable soup poured over white rice and grains that was very refreshing, warm, and comforting after a long, tiresome flight. The tofu was soft and quite unflavoured but the dressing it came in was sweet, tangy, and very tasty. There was a bit too much oil but the diced plum thing on the side was salty and good when added to the soup. 

Well, this certainly changed my opinion of Denny’s… well, the ones in Tokyo anyways. Delightful, light, and flavourful, this was certainly a good start to spring break!

Leave a comment »

Sweet n’ Salty – Street Food Philly

February 25, 2013
Street Food Philly, Philadelphia PA
~
Miso Eggplant Sandwich
Lemon Curd w/ Shortbread Cookies
Pecan Bar w/ Bourbon Cream
~

ImageIt was only a matter of days before I returned to Street Food Philly. Their menu constantly changes and everything just sounds so delicious.

On this occasion, I tried their Miso Eggplant Sandwich, which was fried eggplants, sautéed spinach, grilled slices of firm but still soft tofu, and tomato miso sauce on a long roll. The eggplant was a little thin for me, as I prefer more eggplant than batter. The tofu tasted good with the sauce but the spinach were overly salty. It was okay with the whole sandwich not having much other strong flavors but I prefer my spinach light and healthy-tasting.Image

The Lemon Curd w/ Shortbread Cookies was actually great with all the sweet fresh strawberries and blueberries. The shortbread cookies added a crunchy, buttery sweetness to contrast the smooth and sour lemon curd. It was a tad too sour but not overwhelming.

ImageThe Pecan Bar w/ Bourbon Cream was huge but then again, it was $3. The pecan in the syrup glaze was sweet but I love sweet things that are over the top so it was great. It was sticky and crunchy at the same time. The bottom crust was not too sweet and quite dense. I could not taste much bourbon in the cream and it was not sweet so it was rather light but very bland. It was luckily not greasy but I did not think the bar needed that much of it.

I really do appreciate the variety Street Food Philly provides. It was a good change from Penn’s food trucks so get ready for more!

Street Food Philly on Urbanspoon

Leave a comment »