Crackle Creme

Batman and I had wanted to meet over dessert, feeling in the mood for something not too filling, I suggested Crackle Creme since I’ve been wanting to try their unique creme brulees. I headed out a little after dinner, unaware that Crackle Creme was located in the ghetto part of town until I pulled up Google maps. Luckily for me, a non-sketchy looking guy got off at the same bus stop as me. I jumped at the opportunity and followed this man closely for about 5 blocks until I reached my destination. He may or may not have taken me for a stalker.

Crackle Creme is a very small cafe, run by the owner himself. It can probably house about 10 people with their bar style seating. Upon arrival, I was automatically drawn to the display case of liege waffles. Batman had informed me that he was running late, not wanting to just sit there and hog up a seat, I decided to give their waffles a try. I must confess that I might’ve just used that as an excuse to have waffles too.

IMG_1952 Earl grey liege waffle with earl grey ice cream ($3.75 +$2.50): Being obsessed with all things earl grey, I had to try the earl grey flavoured waffle. The ice cream was scooped into a perfect sphere and I thought the presentation was pretty cute since it resembled a sunny side up egg. I liked the crunch from the pearl sugar that glazed the surface of the waffle. The waffle had a pleasantly dense and doughy texture, and the earl grey flavour was evident. Surprisingly though, I actually didn’t like the flavour of the earl grey in my waffle. The citrusy notes of the earl grey made for a strange sour taste when mixed with the flavour of the waffle, perhaps because it wasn’t very sweet. Luckily, the homemade earl grey icecream came to the rescue, it masked the subtle sour aftertaste. The ice cream was creamy, and smooth.

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Half an hour later, Batman showed up. He treated me to a Thai tea creme brulee ($5). I wanted to try the Jasmine flavour, but I was informed that they only had those in takeout containers. Wanting to take a nice photo, I decided to get a flavour that was available in house in the usual plating. The owner evenly torched the creme brulees in front of our eyes and we watched as the sugar caramelized and cooled to formed a crunchy film that crackled under our spoon. The creme brulee had a nice Thai tea flavour, it was smooth and almost mousse like. It was pretty good, but not phenomenal. I may have liked it more if it was a tad sweeter and thicker in texture.

I had forgotten to ask Batman on his thoughts on the lychee liquor flavoured creme brulee since he was preoccupied telling me his battle stories. I find that I don’t really remember the taste of my food much when I’m talking, or interacting with people unless I actually focus on the taste. I assume that’s the case with Batman as well, so I didn’t bother asking him afterwards. The liquor based creme brulees are a dollar more, but that’s about all I can tell you.

Crackle Crème Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CRACKLE CREME
+1 778 847 8533
Chinatown

245 Union Street, Vancouver


Cafe Eggstatic

An old bubble tea cafe in Crystal mall closed and a new one has taken over its place. I gotta say that the bubble tea addict in me was pretty ecstatic to give them a visit. I totally got lured in with their punny name. And with a name like Eggstatic, the assumption is that they’d whip up decent bubble waffles, right?

Cafe Eggstatic offers 2 specialty drinks. What makes it special is the addition of bird’s nest, which is an ingredient prized as a Chinese delicacy. It supposedly has high nutritional value and is said to have a beautifying effect to those who consume it regularly.

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Curious, I thought I’d give the bird’s nest mango slush infused with aloe vera ($5.70 +50cents for pearls) a try. I don’t think the slush was infused with aloe vera, rather it was an addition, like the boba pearls. The aloe vera was definitely my favourite thing about this drink, super refreshing and fun to eat. The slush didn’t taste of fresh mangoes, but it didn’t taste like syrup either. They probably used mango puree. The boba pearls are smaller than your standard and has a very nice QQ texture. I usually prefer my pearls sweetened, but I hardly noticed that they weren’t. The slush was topped with a dollop of syruped strawberries and 10 grams of supreme bird’s nest. The bird’s nest wasn’t sweetened and doesn’t naturally have much of a flavour, but it provided a textual contrast. I think the strawberries were mostly just for garnish, but the slight tartness went well with the mango slush.

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I also got the original bubble waffle ($3.75). I liked that they embodied that yummy egg flavour. The insides were pleasantly chewy, but it didn’t have that crispy exterior. The batter was spread a little thin, which made for a more hollow and airy center. Some people may prefer it this way as it makes for a lighter snack. I had visited during their recent opening, so I understand that they might still be tampering around and trying to get the timing and consistency right.

On two other visits, I got the chance to try the original milk tea and the cream float green tea. I wouldn’t get the milk tea again. It wasn’t substantial. It lacked tea flavour and tasted predominately of milk powder. The cream float green tea on the other hand had a nice Jasmine green tea flavour, but I didn’t like their cream float/milk cap. The milk cap was too thin and frothy. The taste of milk cap is very peculiar, it should be a sweet and a little salty, but the one here just didn’t get it right. I just kind of felt like I wasted my quota of calories on it. Lol. I should’ve just gotten the Jasmine green tea on its own.

I think the option of adding aloe vera to my drink is what’ll bring me back to this cafe. Not many other bubble tea shops offer the addition of aloe vera. I’d also like to give their bubble waffles another shot.

Cafe Eggstatic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CAFE EGGSTATIC
+1 604 616 7623
Central Burnaby
Crystal Mall, 1021 – 4500 Kingsway, Burnaby

720 Sweets

720 Sweets is a new ice cream shop that just recently joined the dessert scene on West Broadway. They haven’t been in business for very long, but they have garnered quite a bit of publicity already due to their eye-catching, insta-worthy soft serves. The wow factor in their little cups of delight are really the novel use of liquid nitrogen/dry ice that creates a theatrical smoky effect. But when I say novel, I just mean in terms of Vancouver because smoky soft serves have been really popular in certain parts of Asia. It’s about time Vancouver got on the hype.

I had some business around the area and thought I’d give them a try during their first few days of opening. The store is small and has limited table top bar style seating. It was clean and bright and had an upbeat vibe to it. One of the walls had “My head says go to the gym but my heart says ice cream” painted on. I thought that was pretty accurate. Hahah.
IMG_0349I got the Milky Way ($5.95), but I think it’s been renamed the Milk’ee. Essentially, it’s a milk tea soft serve topped with crushed walnuts, light caramel drizzle, espresso grass jelly and a big piece of crunchy almond cookie/biscotti. The milk tea soft serve was creamy, smooth and had a delicious milk tea flavour with just the right amount of sweetness. The almond cookie/biscotti provided a nice textural contrast and the flavour paired well with the milk tea. However, I did not taste any espresso flavour in the espresso grass jelly. It just tasted like regular grass jelly when I had it. Maybe they changed it. But honestly, I didn’t care very much for it, it didn’t really go with the ice cream or the other toppings. It would’ve been a lot better if they were switched with boba pearls instead.

The final verdict? I’d come back again if I’m in the area, but most of my initial excitement is now gone since I have a video and picture of the cool smoky soft serve to post on my blog and Instagram. Nevertheless, the ice cream was pretty tasty.

720 Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

720 SWEETS
+1 778 229 9278
Kitsilano
3278 West Broadway, Vancouver

Shanghai Elan Restaurant

After I got off work last weekend, Mamallama and I had met up for our weekly grocery run. Seeing as how I spend a majority of my days out at school, or at work, I always need to pack food for convenience. Things Baby-Paca and I can bring on the go like bread, buns, salads, etc whenever we won’t be home for lunch or dinner. Afterwards, Mamallama and I sat down at Shanghai Elan and ordered before Mamallama scurried off to pick up Baby-Paca from work (yes, Baby-Paca is working her first real job. I couldn’t help but feel old, they all grow up so fast. She’ll always be my baby sister though), Mamallama didn’t have much time before she had to go off to work. Things at my household have been pretty hectic lately as we all have our own schedules and we’re caught up doing what we gotta do.

The restaurant was pretty much empty when we got there at 5:45pm, probably because dinner shift just started. The restaurant began to fill up with people and all the food had arrived before Mamallama came back with Baby-Paca. I didn’t want to start without them, so I was just there awkwardly trying to occupy myself, moving the dishes around and taking a million photos.

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Chicken with spicy sauce ( 口水雞 $8.50): The chicken was sitting in a pool of chili sauce and had a dollop of peanut sauce on top under the chopped cilantro and fried peanuts. This dish is aptly named as the sauce is mouth-wateringly good, though it’s not too spicy (in Chinese, 口水 means saliva. It sounds unappealing in English, but it works in Chinese).

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Pan fried pork with bean sprouts (京醬肉絲 $14.50): The English name of this plate on the menu is misleading, there are (and should be) no bean sprouts in this dish. I think they got them confused with green onions. Good thing I read Chinese. The saucy Beijing style pork was served with 8 crepes. The crepe is the kind that you would get with Peking duck. I love interactive dishes that let me play with my food. We wrapped the pork up in the crepe and gobbled them up.

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Chicken vermicelli ( 雞絲粉皮 $8.50): Again, the English translation is incredibly misleading. This is not a vermicelli, instead these are Shanghai noodle sheets made from green bean starch. It has a slippery texture and doesn’t have much of a taste on its own. This dish comes in a vinegary peanut/sesame sauce. This was a rather light tasting dish and did not have enough sauce to go around. Baby-Paca and I had left over starch sheets which we mixed with the spicy sauce from the saliva chicken dish, it was delicious. In fact, these green bean starch sheets are usually done two ways, usually with the peanut/sesame sauce, or with the chili sauce similar to the one in the spicy chicken dish.

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Shrimp in honey mayo sauce (松沙汁蝦): The shrimp were battered and fried, then tossed with chunks of pineapples in a honey mayo sauce. The shrimp remained crunchy despite being covered in ample amounts of sauce. I actually had to wipe away some of the sauce before I ate them, but I love the combination of sweet and savoury. The tang of the pineapples helped to cut away some of the richness of the mayo.

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Baked white turnip cakes (蘿蔔絲酥餅 $5.50): These are not turnip cakes, they’re daikon pastries. white turnip cake would be an entirely different thing (蘿蔔糕). But the poor translation is the only complaint I have for this dish. The pastry was crisp and flaky with just the right thickness. The julienned daikon filling was accented with tiny bits of bacon, which provided a great flavour profile. I can’t name any other restaurants that make good savoury daikon pastries.

Overall, I had a very satisfying meal, but I think it’s largely due to the fact that I haven’t had the time to sit down and have an actual dinner for a week or two. I guess I just appreciate the simple things in life.

Shanghai Elan Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

SHANGHAI ELAN RESTAURANT
+1 604 569 2955
Central Burnaby
4500 Kingsway, Burnaby

Wah Lun Chinese Restaurant

Finally, a dim sum post! I’ve grown up eating dim sum, so I know how to tell the good from the bad, but it’s just so typical and ordinary to me that I feel like it’s unnecessary to write about the experience. Do people even read dim sum reviews? I know I don’t. Lol.

Anyway, Baby-Paca had a short break from class and wanted to sit down somewhere for a quick bite for brunch. We couldn’t go anywhere far, and not many restaurants near Burnaby North were open at 10:45am, so we settled for dim sum at Wah Lun.

We were seated promptly, and we quickly marked off our orders on the dim sum sheet. For all the regular menu items, smalls are $3.30, mediums are $4.25 and larges are $4.55, but I am surprised that a few of the popular dishes (like the crystal shrimp dumpling/har gau (蝦餃) and rice flour rolls/cheong fun (腸粉)) were not included in these price ranges.

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Wah Lun special baked BBQ pork buns (貴妃包 $4.55): My favourite BBQ pork bun is the kind that’s baked with a crumble on top. The sweet crumble contrasts the savoury BBQ pork, it most certainly brings out the flavour. The pork inside was saucy and had a nice fat to lean meat ratio, the bun was warm, soft and not too doughy.

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Deep fried squid in peppery salt (椒鹽鮮魷 $7.99): I feel like the description for this dish should be deep fried squid in red chili pepper and salt instead. It lacked that distinct peppery salt flavour that I’m fond of. The batter on the squid was a bit thick and hard and I didn’t appreciate the rubbery texture of the previously frozen squid. Now I don’t expect fresh squid, but it tasted like the squid’s been in the freezer for a bit too long.

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Steamed five spice beef tripe (五香金錢牛肚 $4.95): The beef tripe were piping hot and tender, and had soaked up the braising sauce like sponges. It gushed out flavour when you bite into it and it had a little bit of a citrus peel (果皮) scent to it.

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Pork dumpling with tobiko/shiu mai (飛魚子燒賣王 $4.55): These pork dumplings were plump and juicy. The shrimp and meat mixture had an al dente (彈牙) texture where there was still a bit of a pleasant chewiness. It also had bits of shitake mushroom that provided a lovely umami flavour. I find that shiu mai that don’t contain shitake mushroom generally lacking in the flavour department.

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Deep fried dumplings with meat and dried shrimp (炸安蝦鹹水角 $4.25): These fried rice flour dough ovals had a crunchy exterior and was sticky and sweet, while the filling inside was moist and savoury. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the meat filling, I especially don’t like the dried shrimp. I usually hollow out the dumpling and just eat the shell. I found the dough here a little too gooey though.

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Sticky rice wrap (珍珠糯米雞 $4.55 ) I love the chewy texture of glutinous rice. The lotus leaf wrapper is not eaten, but its delectable aroma is infused into the rice. saucy ground bits of chicken and diced shitake mushroom was mixed evenly into the rice. There was also a small slice of Chinese sausage (臘腸) that I picked out and gave to Mamallama. One steamer basket contains three of these lotus leaf glutinous rice wraps, and they were quite big and filling, so I shared one with Baby-Paca.

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Steamed milky bun with egg yolk (流沙包 $4.25): The steamed bun wasn’t fluffy, but it wasn’t dry or dense either. It was kind of like a mantou (饅頭), but with a filling. The sweet egg yolk was too liquidy and thin, which made for a messy experience, but I also found a few odd chunks of egg yolk that made for a weird texture. It would’ve also been better if it had a higher filling to bun ratio.

Overall, Wah Lun serves decent dim sum for an OK price, but it’s definitely not anywhere near the top of my list for dim sum restaurants. Usually, I only come here with my family for convenience, just like today where we only had like 45 minutes to spare.

Wah Lun Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WAH LUN CHINESE RESTAURANT
+1 604 294 8059
North Burnaby
4524 Hastings Street, Burnaby

Beard Papa’s

A little over a week ago, I had accompanied KitKat to Richmond to pick up some goodies that she had ordered online on the premise that dessert was to come after (Jokes. I would’ve gladly went with her anyway.) After her facetrade at Richmond Center, we wandered around trying to find Beard Papa’s. Google maps had told us that the little cafe was inside Richmond Center, but it was nowhere to be found. We ended up asking the information desk for directions and the lady told us that Beard Papa had moved just down the block.

Unlike most Beard Papa franchises in Vancouver, this location is a sit down cafe instead of just a stall and they offer a more extensive menu. I’ve been eyeing the mochi waffles for some time now, but I don’t travel to Richmond very often,  and when I do, I usually go to the places that are tried and true.

The cafe was bright and had a very upbeat, modern and invigorating atmosphere to it. On the same note, KitKat and I agreed that it looked like a typical sweet little cafe you’d find in Asia.

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KitKat and I ordered a mochi waffle with red bean and green tea ice cream ($8.75). The waffles were cut in adorable heart shapes, perfect for sharing with my lovely date. The waffles, drizzled in condensed milk, were lightly crisp on the surface and had a warm and soft interior. I just wish that the waffle had a little more of that denser, chewier mochi like consistency. The texture wasn’t too distinguishable from an ordinary waffle. The red beans were well cooked, tender and not too sweet. And the ice cream had a nice, strong matcha flavour. I love the contrast of something cold along with something warm.

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KitKat and I also individually ordered a cream puff. i had wanted their milk tea flavour, but they didn’t have them that day, so I settled for the original cream puff ($2). Beard Papa’s cream puffs are baked in small batches and filled to order to ensure that they’re consistently fresh. The choux pastry is always light, airy, flaky and crisp. The vanilla scented cream in my puff was silky smooth, with just enough vanilla flavour. It tasted rich, but it wasn’t heavy at all.

KitKat and I were pretty full after we finished our last bites, but as we pretty much had dessert for breakfast, it left us craving something savoury. Usually dessert would come after our main meal, but I guess we were operating backwards today. We didn’t end up eating again though, KitKat was on a mission, and so we had to ration our time (for shopping. Lol).

Beard Papa's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 BEARD PAPA’S
+1 778 297 7339
East Richmond
1514 – 6551 Number 3 Road, Richmond

Mimibuluvme

After dinner at Zakkushi, KitKat asked me for dessert suggestions. Mimibuluvme came out the top of my head, I had been there once before. Richa had to leave us, so it was down to the 3 musketeers. I just love how it’s a mutual assumption that we’ll be going for dessert after our main meal whenever we hangout, no need for pondering or subtle hint dropping.

Mimibuluvme is a cute little cafe with very limited seating. I’ve always wondered how they came up with their random name, but I guess the obscurity helps the guests remember the cafe. If it’s your first time giving them a visit, you should know that the sign on their store front says “Bubble Tea” in giant letters, instead of the actual name of the shop.

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KitKat and I both felt like something light and refreshing so we ordered the frozen yogurt parfait ($7.10) to share. It came with frozen yogurt ice cream, fresh seasonal berries, whip cream and honey pound cake. The yogurt ice cream had a bright, tangy flavour. The fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries were all sweet and didn’t leave us picking seeds out of our teeth. The menu had advertised a blueberry compote, but KitKat and I found that missing. Maybe they had meant to refer the berry syrup. But overall, we were very satisfied.

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Jujube got the mini coffee parfait since no one wanted to share with her (Sorry!). I think it’s about $2 less than the regular size, but just with less ice cream. The coffee ice cream was creamy and flavourful, and the puffed cereal added a fun crunch. The coffee jelly didn’t have a very strong coffee taste, but the ice cream made up for that. It also came topped with honey pound cake, whip and strawberry pocky.

After we finished our dessert, Jujube wanted to stay awhile longer to make a sketch of the cafe. The place was empty when we arrived, but it began to fill up as the night progressed. But it totally makes sense since Mimibuluvme’s parfaits are yummy and the area lacked late night dessert shops.

image On a tangent, KitKat has once again captured me basking in the glow of all my unduly awkwardness. I know precisely how OCD and goofy I am when trying to get a decent shot. While these guys make a game out of teasing me, they not only put up with my ridiculousness, they help me out with action shots and lighting. My girls are the real MVPs ❤

Mimibuloveme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MIMIBULUVME
+1 604 327 6368
Riley Park & Little Mountain
5556 Cambie Street, Vancouver

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill

Last week, Kitkat treated Jujube, Richa and I to dinner at Zakkushi Charcoal Grill in celebration of her graduation. Bill Nye the Science Guy is gonna have a guest appearance at her graduation ceremony. I’m super stoked for her to begin the next chapter of life. I’m sure it’s going to be full of challenges, accomplishments, laughter, good times with awesome friends and delicious food of course.

We had forgotten to make a reservation and were told that there was gonna be about a 45 minute wait when we arrived. Hungry, and not wanting to wait outside in the bone-chilling wind, we scurried off to 49th Parallel Coffee and Lucky’s to grab some coffee and gourmet doughnuts. About 15 minutes in, we got a call from Zakkushi telling us that they had a table ready for us, so we grabbed our stuff to go.

Zakkushi mainly sells Japanese grilled skewers by the stick, but they also offer appetizers and small dishes to share (or not to share).

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The beef tataki ($8.70) was served in a spicy sweet sauce with a side of grated daikon and chopped green onions that you can roll up with the tataki. While the slices of beef weren’t as thin as I had expected, it was tender and soft nevertheless. The sauce was predominantly sweet with just a hint of heat. We all really enjoyed this dish and ended up ordering another plate for our second round.

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Mochi is one of my favourite things ever, so naturally, I had to get the cheese mochi maki ($2.80/skewer). These were just okay. The cheese tasted like Kraft singles. The mochi had a nice char and was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It had the right texture, but I felt like it was missing something in flavour. A sauce would’ve been a good idea.

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We got one each of the cheese tsukune ($2.40) and nori mayo tsukune ($2.20). I only tried the cheese one, but the other tsukune probably tastes the same, but topped with mayo and seaweed instead. My cheese tsukune pretty much just took up the flavour of the cheese melted on top, I highly suspect it’s Kraft singles processed cheese. The chicken meatball lacked seasoning and did not have that plump, juicy quality I was looking for.

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The ebi mayo with house cocktail sauce ($8.80) was great. The batter was thin, crispy and light tasting. While I’m sure they used frozen shrimp, it didn’t have that freezer taste and the consistency of the shrimp meat wasn’t mushy at all.

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The appetizer sashimi platter ($16.80) came with 2 slices each of albacore tuna, sockeye salmon, yellowtail, scallops, spotted prawns. You can taste the quality of the seafood in this platter. Everything was fresh without any hints of fishiness.

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For $8.90, this mentai kimchi udon was incredibly small (don’t be fooled by my picture, my close up shot makes it appear much bigger than reality). This one pales in comparison to the one at Guu. It did not have enough mentaiko (pollock roe), and it’s a little on the bland side.

IMG_1862The karaage ($5.80) was decent. The chicken was juicy, lightly battered and fried. It wasn’t oily at all. However, I felt like it didn’t pair well with the daikon oroshi sauce. It would’ve worked much better with a mayo based sauce, or something more savoury. The chicken kaarage weren’t really seasoned on their own.

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The first plate is comprised of premium beef tongue with just salt and pepper ($4.70/skewer), negi p-toro ($2.50/skewer) and duck breast in a citrus ponzu chili ($3.80/skewer). The second plate has the g beef ($2.60/skewer), oropon beef ($2.60/skewer) and more negi p-toro on it because it was yummy and we wanted seconds. The g beef came in a teriyaki sauce topped with minuscule garlic chips that were more like crumbs. The oropon beef was topped with grated daikon and ponzu sauce. The quality of the meat were good, none of them were tough or chewy but flavour-wise, I felt like seasoning was on the mild side, with the exception of the negi p-toro. The chunky negi onion sauce was addictive, and I found myself putting it on the other skewers.

We had also ordered zucchini, but our one vegetable never made it to our table. Our server probably forgot to put our order in. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Overall, we had a great time, I even learned something. While we were browsing through the menu, Richa had come across the term bukkake and everyone found that super amusing. Confused, I asked what it was all about, and my friends had referred me to Google, advising me to turn the safe search on and to keep away from images. Needless to say, it was inappropriate. Bukkake is the noun form of the Japanese verb bukkakeru ぶっ掛ける, to dash or sprinkle water, but I can see how this can also be easily used to describe less innocent acts. Please excuse my hentai friends. (Lol! Jokes).  Anyway, Zakkushi was decent, but not as satisfying as I had hoped. Definitely not up to par with the the places I’ve been in Hawaii and in LA. The skewers were more flavourful, and for a fairer price. With the abundance of Japanese restaurants, I would expect there to be more yakitori restaurants in Vancouver, but unfortunately, it seems that we’re still premature when it comes to Japanese grilled skewers. The market is definitely there, and competition is rather lackluster as of now. Might I add, skewers are also very profitable considering that they’re usually sold a few dollars per stick. I think it’s only a matter of time before more yakitori spots pop up. I can’t wait.

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ZAKKUSHI CHARCOAL GRILL
+1 604 874 9455
Riley Park & Little Mountain
4075 Main Street, Vancouver