Dinesty Dumpling House

I have heard a lot of about Dinesty Dumpling House so I was estactic to hear that a new location opened up near Metrotown. Mamallama and Totoro wanted to go eat at Dinesty on Monday without me, but upon arrival, they found out that they weren’t open. Luckily for me, Mamallama and Totoro decided to try again with me the next day.

There were plenty of open tables, yet there was a lineup at the door. You could tell that the front of house was severely understaffed. In contrast, the kitchen was like a factory with a thousand people churning out orders, so service was very slow but our food arrived almost instantaneously once we were able to put our order in with the waitress.

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Chinese fried donuts wrapped in egg pancake ($3.95): the Chinese fried donuts were soft and doughy. The egg pancake is actually more like an egg crepe and it was topped with a sprinkle of pork floss. This dish lacked seasoning, it needed a sauce to go with it.

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Bean curd mushroom roll ($8.50): The bean curd roll was crispy and wasn’t greasy, but again, it lacked seasoning. Apparently this comes with a sweet and sour sauce but the server had forgotten to bring it to our table until a lot later when we had already eaten half of it.

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Stewed duck leg in brown sauce ($7.50): The duck meat was a little dry and tough, the  sauce was a little too sweet and the flavour of the sauce did not seep into the duck so the dish was quite bland.

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Steamed pork soup dumplings ($7.50): There are 8 soup dumplings in one order. They were bite sized pockets of soupy goodness. The skin wasn’t too thick and the pork was juicy.

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Noodle soup with beef ($8.95): The noodle soup had a clear broth that lacked the distinct concentrated braised flavour that this type of beef noodle soup should have. The noodles were a little overcooked and soft, on the otherhand, the beef was tender and flavourful.

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Pan-fried radish slice cake ($3.95): There are 3 radish slice cakes in 1 order, though I think it’s more accurate to call them pastries. The warm flaky pastry was filled with julienned daikon and a tiny bit of bacon and dried shrimp for added flavour.

Overall, we were disappointed with Dinesty. Shanghainese food should be very flavourful, however, the dishes we tried were bland. Other than the pork soup dumplings and the pan-fried radish slice cake, everything lacked seasoning. We probably won’t be back any time soon as there are better Shanghainese restaurants in the area.

Dinesty Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

DINESTY DUMPLING HOUSE
+1 604 439 0009
South Burnaby
4501 Kingsway, Suite 104, Burnaby

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

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

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

Lucky Gate Chinese Restaurant

Lucky Gate is a restaurant that serves authentic northern Chinese cuisine. Mamallama, Baby-Paca and I used to visit this restaurant often when we still used to live in the Burquitlam area. Now that we’re in a different neighbourhood, we don’t drop by so often anymore.

We were pressed for time and needed to grab a quick bite before running our errands, so we decided to go to Lucky Gate. Mamallama gave me the responsibility of dragging Baby-Paca’s butt out of bed (you would not understand how much of a struggle this is), so when we sat down, we were all feeling rather passive aggressive towards each other. But as I was handing out the plates that the waitress had dropped off at our table, Mamallama discovered this giant piece of bell pepper sneakily hiding under my plate. It was so random that I guess it broke the tension between all of us and we just laughed it off and carried on.

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Lucky Gate’s noodles are all made fresh in house. Sometimes we even get to see the chef pulling the noodles through the window that peeks into the kitchen.  Lucky Gate is definitely one of my favourite places for Chinese noodles, we always order a noodle dish when we’re here. We decided on the seafood and vegetable chow mein 三鮮炒麵 ($10.99) since Mamallama likes seafood. For all noodle dishes, you get the choice between their hand stretched noodles or their thick shaved noodles. We got it with the hand stretched noodles, which has a dense, chewy texture that I love. The noodles were stir fried with shrimp, scallops and bokchoi in a soy based sauce.

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Chinese style pancake 手抓餅 is also one of our staples at Lucky Gate. While it’s called a “pancake” I think a ringed pastry would be a more accurate description. The compact pastry was slightly crunchy on the surface and soft yet dense on the inside. It has a pleasant subtle sweet flavour. We couldn’t finish the pastry, so we brought the leftovers home. Baby-Paca and I reheated it in the oven later that day and ate it with sweetened condense milk, which of course made it taste even better.

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We also love their shredded chicken with green bean starch sheets 雞絲粉皮 ($5.99)I must say that a lot of Chinese dishes sound pretty strange and far from appetizing when translated into English, but this is a very typical dish that can be found in restaurants in Beijing, or in restaurants that offer northern Chinese cuisine. I have tried this dish in various Chinese restaurants in Vancouver, but a lot of the restaurants don’t do it quite right. Either the sauce is too thin or too vinegary, or the texture of the green bean starch sheets are off, but I quite like the one at Lucky Gate. I do think that this dish may be an acquired taste though. Some people may find the cold and slippery green bean starch sheets kind of strange. I think someone even compared it to snot. I can see why, but Baby-Paca and I still think it’s great, especially on hot days when we feel like eating something cool, light and refreshing. The green bean starch sheets themselves donn’t taste like much, they take up the flavours of the slightly vinegary sesame sauce. The chicken wasn’t too dry, and the slices of cucumber paired well with dish.

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Lucky Gate‘s home style steamed pork dumplings 前門小籠包 (8pcs/$5.99) are usually pretty decent too. However, on this visit, our dumplings were dry and did not have soup in them (which was evident by just their appearance). We told our waitress and she said she’ll talk to the owner, who came over to apologize. She informed us that the timer went off and they were too busy to notice, so the steamed pork dumplings ended up being overcooked. She offered us a new batch, but we were already pretty full and did not want to wait for them to steam, so we declined and she took it off of our bill instead.

Like most casual Chinese restaurants, service was pretty non existent, but the owner was accommodating with their mishap. Luckily, our experience at Lucky Gate didn’t end on a sour note, because we’ll probably miss their food if Mamallama decides to take her business elsewhere as a result of poor service (like Boiling Point. Consequently, I only visit with friends now, so Baby-Paca’s receiving the brunt of it. No more personal hotpot action for her).

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LUCKY GATE RESTAURANT
+1 604 939 8630