Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Vancouver: Corner 23

Date of visit: May 24, 2014 and May 31, 2014

Corner 23, recently opened up a branch in Richmond called "Uncle Lu", is well-known for its Taiwanese style Pork Hock. It's been a while since my last visit to Corner 23. I realized that the menu; on the menu it says "Uncle Lu", but the store sign still says Corner 23, so I am not quite sure if they will be changing the name as well. It was a new menu, but they still serve pretty much the same stuff, i.e., meal set, bubble tea, mini hot pot... etc.

I came here twice in May. I ordered their signature "Wan Luan Pork Hock Rice Meal" ($8.95) during the first visit. When I visit Taiwanese restaurant, I usually prefer ordering my own set meal / combo rather than ordering a bunch of food and then share with other people. I find the portion for the combo was quite decent, and the side dishes were fine. In fact, I like how they spent more effort to provide better side dishes than Pearl Castle. The three side dishes on the plate were broccoli, radish and bean curd.

I would not say the pork hock here is perfect, though it is what they're known for. I have come here a quite a few times, and sometimes the pork hock was dry but sometimes it was okay. I always eat the pork hock with the garlic sauce (in the picture). The garlic smell is so strong, but the sauce is what makes the dish 10x better.

On my second visit, I ordered "Pork with Red Fermented Sauce Rice Meal" ($8.95). Pork with red fermented sauce is a kind of Taiwanese pork chop. The boneless pork chop is marinated with red fermented sauce, and deep-fried. It's a very authentic Taiwanese dish that is not as famous among tourists/ foreigners, but it's very popular in Taiwan. So, I had a strong craving of this dish on that day, though I have not yet found anywhere outside of Taiwan that serves very food pork with red fermented. I ordered it anyway.

As usual, the rice meal comes with three side dishes. The side dishes of that way were Taiwanese cabbage, cucumbers and tofu. When I got the pork with red fermented sauce, I immediately dig into it. The pork was freshly fried, so it was very hot. It did not really taste like the usual pork with red fermented sauce, but, I will take it. You can tell that they marinated it with red fermented sauce, but probably not long enough as it was very bland. The appearance also did not look like an authentic one as it's supposed to have more batter. The meat was not super dry so it was acceptable.

By ordering this dish, I think I once proved myself that I should stick with the more popular dishes when I go to Corner 23 next time. Though the quality of the food is not very consistent here, I will still come here if I feel like some "Wan Luan Pork Hock".

Service: 2/5
Value: 4/5
Food: 3.5/5

Corner 23 萬巒豬腳 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Richmond: Tsim Chai Noodles

Date of visit: June 11, 2014

When I was a kid, our family used to go to Tsim Chai Noodles quite often. When we came, we always ordered the Chili Wonton, because both their wontons and spicy sauce were very good. Now we sort of prefer to dine in a HK style cafe restaurant, as we get more variety of items to choose from, but we sort of forgot how great the food is here at Tsim Chai Noodles.

My boyfriend and I decided to come to Tsim Chai Noodles for the late night menu after catching a movie in Richmond. Price has definitely increased quite a lot comparing to the last time I was here, which was probably two years ago. I believe there's $1+ increase on average for every item. Congee is included if total bill is $23 from the late night menu, which is $3 more from before.

We ordered Spareribs with Garlic & Honey, Beef with Pineapple & Green Pepper in Satay Sauce, and Pan Fried Clams.

The Spareribs with Garlic & Honey is still as good as before. Spareribs were super crispy, and full of meat. I hate it when I ordered spareribs at a restaurant, and then it comes with mostly fat or bones. However, this is definitely not the case here. While there are bigger and smaller pieces of spareribs, there was reasonable amount of bones and not so much fat. The spareribs were also not overly coated with batter, which was very nice as well.

The Beef with Pineapple & Green Pepper in Satay Sauce did not really taste like satay to me. It came with quite a lot of vegetables, but there was still quite a lot of meat too.   

The Pan Fried Clams was fine. I do not like clams here in Vancouver because they just do not taste as good and fresh as the kinds in Asia. I personally thought the dish was quite salty. The clams were huge, though. 

The congee that was included in the meal.

My favorite was the spareribs. In fact, that was the only item that I ordered. I did not really like/ intend to order the other two dishes, but my boyfriend did... Overall, I think the restaurant still serves very good quality food for late night menu. They do not skimp out on the portion just because it's from the late night menu. The portion was still quite decent and the taste was great.

Our total bill was around $26 after tax? We used to order four items with a congee for around $23 after tax. Those good old times....

I also found out that they actually serve lunch meal, not sure if they had this in the past. Maybe next time I will come and try the lunch meal.

Tsim Chai Noodles 沾仔記 on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 23, 2014

Vancouver: Damso Modern Korean Cuisine

Date of visit: June 8, 2014

Damso is a very tiny Korean restaurant located on Denman St. I have come here once with a big group of people, and our experience with the food was very positive. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to come back again because the food was so delicious here. We also felt that the portion was quite tiny, so it's better to come as a small group rather than with a large group of people.

On my second visit, I was unfortunately not feeling well, so I only ordered one of their "Korean Taco". While I feel the food here is quite overpriced for the small portion, the Korean Taco offers a very good value. For $1.99 per taco, I would say there's plenty of beef and great amount of onion and lettuce. I love the sauce that they put on the taco as well; it gave you a hint of spiciness and sweet.

One thing I realized on my second visit was that the Korean Taco was actually very oily. I took my first bite and then immediately felt the the greasiness. I believe the oil was from the marinade or the sauce. There was so much oil that I had to let it dripped before I continued to eat it. Overall, I still really liked the taste of it and I will order it again if I come next time.

Other than the Korean Taco, boyfriend also ordered "Pork Belly with Lettuce Wrap" ($13.95), but I think he meant to order "Bo Saam" instead. Anyways, it took them a long time to have this dish ready, and it wasn't busy at the restaurant at all. We were the only customers.

Similar to Bo Saam, you get some Korean kimchi and some lettuce. I was not happy with how the pork belly looked. They looked like they were a bunch of dry pieces of meat. They were so thick and tough, but you could taste the greasiness of the pork belly. I do not think they were marinaded either.

Overall, my second visit to Damso was a very negative experience. Not only the food was disappointing, so was the atmosphere of the restaurant. As soon as we entered the restaurant, there was a very strong smell of greasiness; the kind of smell that you would normally get from a very old Chinese restaurant.

Not sure if I will come again, although I have to admit I really liked everything we ordered on our first visit. We ordered almost everything, such as stone bowl rice, bo saam, fried chicken, beef tongue, meat balls and those were all very delicious. Unfortunately we did not have a good experience on our second visit.

Service: 3/5
Value: 2.5/5
Food: 3/5

Damso Modern Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vancouver: Gold Stone Bakery Restaurant

Date of visit: June 4, 2014

Gold Stone Bakery Restaurant, located in Chinatown, is my favorite restaurant to go for HK-style cafe breakfast. Convenience is actually the main reason; it's super close to where I live, so I just walk there whenever I have craving for HK-style cafe food.

Gold Stone Bakery Restaurant has been around for decades, but I never knew about the restaurant until I moved to downtown. I would never have walked in to the restaurant if my boyfriend didn't introduce it to me, because the restaurant just looks so shady from the outside. The restaurant lacks of decoration and is very dark inside.

Like all other HK-style cafe restaurants in Chinatown, i.e., Maxim's, Boss... etc., the menu is huge and the price is higher comparing with HK-style cafe restaurants in East Vancouver and Richmond. However, Gold Stone is very traditional in terms of the portion; though the price may be slightly higher, the portion is much bigger. The servers here are also quite friendly, which is not normal for a HK-style cafe restaurant at all.

In the past, I only have come here for breakfast. The breakfast is available all day here. I usually get the combo that includes a type of soup noodle, 2 sausages, 2 eggs and substitute the bread with pineapple bun. The combo is $7.95 including the drink.

However, this time we finally got a chance to try the dinner here. There were a quite a few choices on the daily special menu. I think there were at least 6 of them. The special is $8.95 includes a hot drink; add $1 for cold drink.

We both ordered iced lemon tea. Mine was quite bland, but then that was quite expected because I requested less sugar for mine.

My boyfriend ordered Satay Chicken on Rice. The portion was very big. I personally would not order it at any restaurant because it is something that I could simply make at home. It tasted good though; not too salty and there was a lot of chicken.

For my dish, I decided to go with Baked Pork Chop with Rice, because it requires so much work to make at home and I'd rather just order it when I'm in a restaurant. I was disappointed by the amount of cheese that they used, but other than that, the portion was decent. I also liked the tomato sauce as it wasn't super sour. There wasn't too much fat on the pork chop which was good.

The dinner was quite a positive experience. The staffs were very friendly. We arrived at 6:45pm and it closes at 7pm, so we checked with him before we sat down. He just told us that we would need to order right away as the kitchen is closing. Once we got our meal, the staff did not rush us at all, and told us to take our time. We left at around 7:20pm. 

Service: 4/5
Value: 4.5/5
Food: 4/5

Gold Stone Bakery Restaurant 金石餐廳餅店 on Urbanspoon