IPOH Asian House

Originally I had hangout plans, but they were called off last minute. It’s funny how I never have blog material when I eat out with friends. I either forget to bring my DSLR, can’t take nice photos, or forget about how to describe the food I had because I was too preoccupied with/distracted by my friends and not paying as much attention to my food as I should’ve. As such, the majority of the posts on my blog are with Mamallama and Baby-Paca. Anyway, since I had the day free anyway, I decided to accompany Mamallama to bring her car for an oil change when she asked me to tag along. We dropped the car off and sauntered off to IPOH for brunch.

Something about the place made it looked unfinished, and not from the lack of decor. The atmosphere  was very much like a HK style cafe. Service was brisk and efficient.

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Mamallama usually doesn’t have much of a preference when it comes to ordering food, but snake soup’s just one of those preferences. When she saw that it was scribbled on the board of daily specials, she had to get it. The special snake soup (花膠五蛇羹 $6) had lots of stuff in it, there were chicken shreds, shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fish maw and snake. The texture and taste of the snake was like a cross between fish and chicken. The thick soup was very flavourful and tasted quite similar to shark fin soup. There was a discernible dried citus peel (果皮) flavour and a mild taste of ginger. I liked that the soup came in little personal servings, most places that have snake soup on the menu only come in large sizes that serve at least 4-6 people or something.

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Another daily special that caught our eye was the butter walnut prawns (牛油核桃蝦 $14.80) which we ordered as well. The price was a bit steep for the small portion, but it was well executed. The prawns were crispy on the surface without that thick coating of batter. There were plenty of candied walnuts and the buttery mayo sauce was creamy, savoury and sweet. I could taste a little bit of orange juice in the sauce.

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We ordered the beef brisket noodle soup (柱侯牛腩湯河 $8) off the regular menu. It was a big bowl of noodles with lots of bean sprouts. Compared to the previous two items we ordered, this one was a little mild tasting. The beef brisket was tender, it wasn’t bland per say, it was definitely seasoned with salt, but it lacked that typical braised flavour.

Baby-Paca had asked for the details of our brunch and she was exasperated to hear that we had gotten butter walnut prawns because she’s been craving them. I suspect that we may give IPOH another visit for the butter walnut prawns. It was a daily special, so I hope they’ll still have it, or else Baby-Paca’s gonna be in for some disappointment.

IPOH Asian House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IPOH ASIAN HOUSE
+1 604 251 3322
Grandview
2128 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

Cattle Cafe

My family and I have passed by Cattle Cafe numerous times, Baby-Paca has brought up that she’s been wanting to eat there for some time now. We didn’t give them a visit until recently, I don’t know why it took us so long to check them out, but Cattle Cafe has become my go-to casual HK style cafe since it’s convenient for us to get to.

The menu is pretty extensive, but we always seem to gravitate towards the same few selections.

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Japanese style takoyaki ($5.99): These were golden and crisp on the outside while soft, warm and fluffy on the inside. A tender piece of tako (octopus) was in the center of each ball. They were generously drizzled with mayo and takoyaki sauce and sprinkled with dried bonito flakes. They’re a delicious savoury treat, pretty similar to the ones you’ll find at the Richmond Night Market.

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I highly recommend the signature noodle combo ($9.95). This is something we always order. You get to pick the soup base/sauce, type of noodles, 2 toppings ( additional toppings are $1.59 each) and a drink that comes with it. I love having their Malay laksa soup with rice noodles and sliced beef brisket. The laksa soup was creamy, and full of coconut and curry flavour. The noodles were al dente and the slices of brisket were tender and delicious. The meat was neither too lean nor fatty. Baby-Paca picked beef tripe for our other topping on this visit, they only gave us a few pieces, and they were pretty standard. The following few times we ordered this, we just got double the brisket because they were so yummy. The bowl of noodle soup was also chocked full of Chinese cabbage with a few slices of abalone mushroom as well. We always get a hot milk tea alongside. The milk tea’s alright, strong tea flavour like the way HK milk tea should taste.

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The pan fried rice cakes with yaki pork in X.O. sauce ($10.59) isn’t one of our frequently ordered dishes, but it was pretty good as well. The rice cakes were soft and pleasantly chewy, it took on the flavour of the sauce it was pan fried with pretty well. The pork slices were flavourful and supple.

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Bubble waffles appertain to the category of foods that Baby-Paca and I will never tire of. The bubble waffles ($4.59) at Cattle Cafe are definitely well executed, but rather pricey compared to other places. They’re lightly crisp with a soft chewy center and they’re full of sweet eggy goodness.

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We were curious about the ice cream with black glutinous rice ($3.99) so we decided to give it a try. The scoop of ice cream tasted like generic store bought vanilla ice cream, and not the particularly good kind. The glutinous rice was a bit course and grainy. It didn’t have enough of that glutinous-ness.

Service was quick and to the point, but don’t expect much else. The portions are on the smaller side for the price you pay for an HK style cafe, but most of the food I’ve tried here was decent.

 

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

CATTLE CAFE
+1 604 430 8686
Central Burnaby
4877 Kingsway, Burnaby

The Boss Restaurant

The Boss Restaurant is a Hong Kong style cafe (茶餐廳) that Totoro likes to go to, likely due to convenience since it’s right in Metrotown Centre. I on the other hand, never understood its appeal and am constantly surprised by their lineups. I usually just tag along for their buttered pineapple buns. Unfortunately, they usually run out of them at around noon each day, but sometimes we call in and they’ll put some of the buns on reserve for us.

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The pineapple buns with butter here are delicious, but they had accidentally served us plain pineapple buns and had to bring it back to the kitchen to put the slab of butter in. By the time it arrived to our table, the pineapple bun was no longer warm, so it was missing that “oooh” factor brought by the contrast in temperature between the cold butter and warm bun. Nevertheless, the bun was soft and fragrant. While it sounds kind of disgusting for anyone to just put a cold slab of butter in their mouth, the cold butter actually compliments the pineapple bun and tastes a lot better than if it were melted.

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The curry brisket and rice was disappointing. It tasted like instant curry mix and it was goopy instead of creamy. The beef brisket was dry, chewy and bland. The potatoes were undercooked, hard and starchy and you can tell that they were cooked separately from the curry because none of the curry flavour had seeped into the potatoes.

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The curry squid was even worse than the curry brisket. The curry sauce was comparably more bland, Totoro ended up dipping the squid into the brisket curry. I didn’t like the actual squid pieces either, I could tell that they treated the squid to make it more tender, but doing so gives it a texture and flavour that’s off putting to me. It was rubbery and fishy.

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Mamallama got one of the A+B breakfast specials, which comes with a free drink. She chose steak with eggs with beef brisket rice noodles. The steak with eggs were kind of greasy. The thin fillet of beef was tender, but tasted very Chinese style. The beef brisket rice noodles were decent. The broth wasn’t too salty, though I could taste the MSG. The beef brisket came in small shreds, but it was more flavourful than the curry beef brisket.  In contrast to the food, the Hong Kong style milk tea here is fantastic. It’s velvety smooth and strong in tea flavour. The hot milk tea comes unsweetened. There’s a sugar canister on the table for you to adjust the sweetness to your liking. It costs extra to have it cold.

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I got the afternoon special black pepper sauce beef tenderloin (4oz) with fries. The black pepper sauce tasted sour so we sent it back to the kitchen. After they remade it, I was eager to dig in as I didn’t want the entire table to sit there to wait for me to eat, I had totally forgotten to take a picture until after I had taken a few bites, so there’s a few chunks of steak missing in my picture. The fries were completely cold, and the steak was medium well when I asked for medium rare, though it wasn’t too chewy.

All in all, if it were up to me, I would never suggest going to The Boss Restaurant. The only thing I ever actually want to eat there is the pineapple bun with butter and milk tea. Everything else is just mediocre at best for the price you pay.

 

The Boss Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

THE BOSS RESTAURANT
+1 604 438 2677
Central Burnaby
Metropolis at Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby

Wu Fung Dessert

Wu Fung Dessert is a Canton style, food stall in Aberdeen Centre. I don’t know why it’s called Wu Fung Dessert when they don’t specialize in desserts, they sell an assortment of Hong Kong style street food. The girls and I wanted to grab something quick to eat before our drunk costume Karaoke party at Millennium K on Halloween (Honestly, we just threw together a costume last minute for the free shots), Aberdeen was just a few blocks away, so we decided to eat at the food court. Whenever it’s cold, I just want to slurp down something hot and soupy that’ll give me that warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy. I wandered around the food court, checked out every stall and decided on noodles at Wu Fung. Their most popular items are actually their chicken wings and deep fried squid. Mamallama, Baby-Paca and I usually get them whenever we visit Aberdeen, but we haven’t had them in the recent year after their price increase, decrease in portion size and decline in quality. They’re not the same anymore, but now that I’m talking about it, I kind of miss them. Maybe I’m just hungry right now. Their fried full wings were fall off the bone, crispy, plump and juicy. They’re battered just right, and not too oily. Their fried squid’s done just as good, but I’m biased toward wings. They’re not as delicious as they used to be, but they’re still pretty good.

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This is my first time trying their a-la-cart noodles (車仔麵). You get to pick the type of noodle you want and which toppings you’d like from their assortment. For 2 items it’s $5.75, for 3 it’s $6.75 and for 4 it’s $7.75. I got the thick rice noodle(?) (瀨粉) with 3 toppings; curry fishballs, beef brisket and honey comb tripe. It was difficult choosing my toppings as there were a variety of enticing items I could’ve picked. The noodles were al dente. The broth was tasty and didn’t scream MSG, it wasn’t overly salty nor underwhelming. They were pretty generous with the toppings as well. The fish balls were bouncy and had a lovely curry flavour, though I had to eat them first before all the curry bled into my soup. The honey comb tripe was not too chewy, well cooked and well braised. The beef brisket was cooked just right, super tender without any chewiness and had a nice fattiness to them. These were well braised as well and had a great meaty flavour. They also threw in a few stems of gai lan in there so I didn’t feel guilty about not having any veggies, which was totally a bonus in my books.

I don’t usually gravitate towards Canton food, but this time, I’m glad I did. Their noodles were yummy and affordable. I will probably be visiting Wu Fung a lot more often now that I’ve found a new love. Maybe my love for their wings and fried squid will rekindle as well.

Wu Fung Dessert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WU FUNG DESSERT
+1 778 233 0167
Central Richmond
Aberdeen Centre, 3220-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond

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

Bubble Waffle Cafe

For my grandparents’ 55th anniversary, we had the whole family come together in celebration. All 14 of us. I love our family reunions. We used to do yearly trips (which I miss greatly), but due to my grandmother’s deteriorating health, we can no longer afford to travel far. But that’s alright, because all that matters is that the everybody is alive and present. So we packed up our clothes and necessities and hopped in a limo to River Rock Casino (Richmond) where we were going to stay for the next 3 days and 2 nights. It was like a mini getaway but without the distance. Harassing my cousin Potato is among one of me and Baby-Paca’s favourite pass times (Baby-Paca has a picture collection of him in VERY flattering angles and awkward moments on her phone). Our family reunions would definitely be a lot less fun for everybody without our entertaining antics indeed. I was fooling around with my cousins and sisters in our penthouse suit when my grandpa suggested we go out for lunch. Originally he suggested we go to the food court in Richmond Centre where we could buy and eat whatever we wanted, but we had reached a consensus that the food court in Aberdeen was 10x better so we frolicked there instead. Bubble Waffle Cafe’s bubble waffles are one of the first things that come to mind when I think about Aberdeen Centre. Judging by the constant lineup no matter the time of day, you know that Bubble Waffle Cafe is one of the more popular stands in the food court.
IMG_1729By the name of this stand, you’ll know that bubble waffles are a must order item. Baby-Paca and I weren’t very hungry so we just ordered a light snack, a cheesecake bubble waffle ($4.15 tax included) to share. I am a bubble waffle fanatic, so I’ve had my fair share of puffets. While they’re a dime a dozen in Asian populations, good ones are hard to come by (Even a majority of the street vendors in Hong Kong (where they originated) were disappointing when I went last winter). But I gotta say that Bubble Waffle Cafe’s bubble waffles are the bomb. The golden and crispy shell envelopes the moist, doughy, slightly chewy and soft insides of the puffets. The texture and aromatic custardy egg flavour is just on point. There’s nothing I’d change about them. The original flavour is the most popular, but cheesecake is my favourite. 

I also had a bite of my cousin Nate’s curry fish balls. They were just decent. The yellow curry was flavourful, not too oily and just mildly spicy. The fish balls were bite sized and had a bounce to them.

While I rate Bubble waffle Cafe a 3.5 out of 5, if I were to rate the cafe just solely based on their bubble waffles, I’d give them a solid 4.5, with the .5 deducted just for the long wait time and that one time they overcooked my bubble waffle, remade it like 3 times and still ended up a little too crunchy (but I think they were experiencing technical difficulties that day).

After our snack, we shopped around the mall. One of our stops was Candy Land, where Potato needed help deciding which flavours of Pocky to buy. He picked up a box that only had writing in Japanese and asked me what flavour it was. To our amusement, it read 大人のミルク “Adult’s milk.” He maintained a weird disgusted face for a good 5-10 seconds. I assured him that it wasn’t breast milk flavoured (lol!). He ended up getting it and I just couldn’t resist taking a picture to upload onto my Insta.

Bubble Waffle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BUBBLE WAFFLE CAFE
+1 (604) 370-2211
Central Richmond › Aberdeen Centre, Food Court,
3000-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond