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

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

Cafe D’Lite Express

Cafe D’Lite is another popular food stand at the Aberdeen food court. Their most popular items are the Hainanese chicken rice and their laksa. Baby-Paca, Mamallama and I usually get the Hainanese chicken rice, but it was a cold, blustery day and we were in need of some soupy comfort that would warm us up from the inside out. We decided on the Hainanese chicken laksa ($8.25). I was not a fan of laksa previously, but it may largely be due to the fact that I’ve never had good laksa. So I got adventurous and decided to test if my taste has changed.

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I’m slightly appalled and reluctant about eating anything that has a film of oil floating on top, but I’m glad I tried it because the coconut curry broth was creamy, fragrant and flavourful. I was expecting it to be spicy, considering the amount of chili oil floating around, but it was barely spicy at all. There were plenty of Hainanese chicken, a bunch of bean sprouts and a few tofu puffs. Their chicken were plump, juicy, tender morsels. The best part is that it’s boneless. But there’s been agreement that their Hainanese chicken used to be better, I find that they’ve recently lost some of its flavour. I was surprised to find rice vermicelli noodles at the bottom. Completely random, but it was a pleasant surprise because I didn’t really like the thick dense yellow noodles. They were kind of bland as the soup just kind of slipped off the strand of noodles. The flavour of the soup clung onto the rice vermicelli better.

The final verdict? This bowl of laksa was pretty decent, not amazing, but I think it sparked my interest. Now I’ll be off on the hunt for that perfect bowl of laksa.

Cafe D'Lite Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CAFE D’LITE EXPRESS
+1 604 295 6603
Central Richmond
Aberdeen Centre, 3210-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond

Kamamarui Ramen & Don

Kamamarui is a small (Korean run?) ramen joint tucked away on Hastings that just opened up recently. While I’ve heard about the branch in Royal Oak, I never actually tried it personally. One day, Totoro, Mamallama, Baby-Paca and I were driving out to lunch and we passed by Kamamarui, I told them I heard from some of my friends that Kamamarui Ramen serves up decent ramen. While it’s not the quality you get from ramen joints downtown, it’s a fair option when you don’t want to travel all the way out. Moreover, Kamamarui’s more gentle on your wallet.

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The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the little doggie butts on the wall. I think they’re hooks for clothing, bags and such? Cute and practical, I like that. It was completely empty when we walked in. The waitress apologized and informed us that they weren’t open yet, but I heard a voice from the kitchen say something in Korean to our waitress and she told us that we can wait inside as they open at 11:30 (it was 11:25), so we were seated.

The heat was turned all the way up and it was like a sauna inside, we had to request for the heat to be turned down. 10 minutes after our request, it  felt like the temperature actually increased and we asked the waitress again to lower the temperature. She opened the door to let some cool air in and it was a lot less stuffy afterwards.

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It was rather dim inside the quaint little restaurant, but It seems that Ghibli/Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away may have had a little influence over Kamamarui’s decor, which is a +5 points from me. Can you spot No Face? Hahah.

Kamamarui’s menu is limited, they only offer 2 kinds of broth, miso and tonkotsu, but you get the choice of making your ramen a combo with their selection of add ons (ranging from an extra $1.5-$6). We decided to try a bit of everything.

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I ordered a chashu miso ramen with Kamamuri’s “Twinkle” ($11.5 + $5). The description on the menu was deep fried pork in a sweet, spicy and sour sauce. The sauce had slices of caramelized onions in it and tasted like a plum sauce. It wasn’t spicy, but it was very flavourful, and it was actually my favourite component of this plate. The batter on the meatballs weren’t very crispy, and the dry, flossy consistency of the pork kind of threw me off.

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(To my disappointment) The chashu miso ramen had a generous helping of bean sprouts instead of the usual toppings like bamboo shoots and onsen egg. The chashu had a nice smokey BBQ charred flavour to them, but they were a tad too lean and didn’t have that melt in your mouth decadent quality you’d expect from good chashu.The noodles were decent, a little gummy, but had a bounce to them. The broth was light without being bland, but it was missing that depth of flavour. I also didn’t really like the taste  of cracked blacked pepper in my ramen, but it wasn’t a big issue.

Mamallama ordered the tonkotsu ramen with prawn and yam tempura ($9 + $5). The prawn and yams tasted fresh, but the batter could’ve been a little thinner and crispier. The dipping sauce was more concentrated and thicker than the dipping sauces that are usually served with tempura at other restaurants. I thought it was a nice change as I typically find the dipping sauces too watered down.

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Mamallama’s bowl of tonkotsu ramen looked pretty similar to mine, except with less chashu. The toppings were essentially the same. However, I actually preferred her broth over mine. It had a more clear pork flavour and it was creamier.

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Baby-Paca got the same ramen I ordered but with the side of the mini Chicken Flame (+$5). The Chicken Flame is a spicy chicken don. The chicken was slathered in a tasty spicy sauce that tasted like gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and teriyaki sauce. The chicken flame definitely had a Korean flair to it. I find that Japanese dishes generally don’t get very spicy, even when they advertise that they are, but the spiciness of the Chicken Flame creeps in on you after a few bites.

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Totoro ordered the miso ramen with the mini tonkatsu ($9 + $6). The fried breaded pork cutlet was served with a homemade tomato sauce and lettuce salad. The breaded pork was not bad, but not good. It wasn’t oily or greasy. The breading was crispy, but could’ve been crispier. I didn’t like the tomato sauce though, it was reminiscent of borscht soup. I would’ve preferred if it were served with the usual tonkatsu sauce.

While our waitress was courteous, she seemed a little airy, but maybe it’s just the lack of experience. We ended up over-ordering and had enough left over for another meal. I could’ve done with just the ramen, but I was unaware that the original came with (2 slices of) chashu. If we ever feel like ramen again, we may come back to try their reman with a side of their Bombs. Apparently their seasoned seaweed teriyaki rice balls are literally the bomb. Baby-Paca had the genius idea of looking up reviews AFTER we had ordered.

Kamamarui Ramen & Don Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KAMAMARUI RAMEN & DON
+1 (778) 379-8077
North Burnaby
4219 Hastings Street, Burnaby

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

After an awesome day of slip and slide with an enthusiastic hub of Vancouverites, we changed out of our bikinis, deflated our inner tubes and hopped on the SeaBus. KitKat wanted to slurp some noodles, so we scurried off to Santouka for ramen. It was around 10pm when we got there but it was still bustling with people. Luckily they had seats for us at the bar.

Santouka is by far our favourite authentic ramen joint in Vancouver. You know they’re good when there’s always a long line up outside their shop. Service is swift and their noodles are always perfectly cooked to al dente, and quality is consistent. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Santouka.

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KitKat and I ordered their goro-niku gyoza ($5.95) to share. These pan fried pork dumplings were delectable. The skin was thin and perfectly crispy on the bottom. The pork inside was juicy and full of flavour.

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KitKat ordered the kara miso ($11.45). Initially, I was going to get the kara miso too since I was feeling a little chilly from being in and out of the water, but after our long walk down Robson, my body warmed up and I no longer wanted something steamy and hot. I opted for the tsuke-men ($12.45) instead, where the ramen is served cold on the side with a bowl of their hot simmered pork bone soup seasoned with shoyu for dipping. The tonkotsu broth was rich and creamy and had deep, concentrated flavours, without being overly fatty or salty. There were pieces of menma (fermented/braised bamboo shoots) tender cubes of pork, aji-tama (soft boiled egg) and green onions in the soup. While I expected the egg to have a semi runny centre, it was overcooked and not short of being hardboiled. The ramen noodles in the tsuke-men are different from the usual noodles they use in all their other ramen selections. These dipping noodles are slightly thicker, denser, and chewier. The portion of noodles are also bigger. I ended up packing about a third of my ramen home. I’ve had Santouka’s tsuke-men before, but I had forgotten what it tasted like and thought I’d try it again. While it was good, it wasn’t as amazing as the kara miso. I prefer the smaller portion size, complexity of the spicy miso broth and thinner noodles.

After ramen, we frolicked over to Chatime to top off our day with some tasty boba. While a cellphone (water damage) and a pair of (KitKat’s) sandals were lost (twice) today, we still had a fantastic time. The following day I made the upgrade and got a new phone (finally). Some memories are gone forever, but that makes room for new and better ones, right? At least that’s what I try to convince myself.  In the end, we just gotta cherish what we have while we still have it. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the concept of loss, but good food and awesome company undoubtedly makes the disheartening task easier. Carrying on…

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HOKKAIDO RAMEN SANTOUKA
+1 604 681 8121
West End
1690 Robson Street, Vancouver

Thai Son Restaurant

Baby-Paca has been suggesting that we go for Pho for the longest time, but I just have not been feeling Pho lately. On this day however, I woke up feeling slightly under the weather. Something warm, soupy and comforting sounded like a good idea. Pho 99 is usually our go-to Pho spot, but we decided to go to Thai Son this time since we wanted to grocery shop at T&T afterwards.

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Spring roll ($5.75): the spring roll had ground pork and vegetables densely packed inside. While it was crispy and tasty with the fish sauce, It definitely tasted a lot more like a Chinese style spring roll than a Vietnamese style spring roll. Take away the sauce, and it would be something straight out of a dim sum restaurant. Definitely not what we were expecting at a Vietnamese place at all.
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#10 Sliced rare beef, well done beef brisket and tripe with rice noodle and soup ($6.75): The noodles were good and the broth wasn’t too salty. The well done beef brisket was flavourful and tender, however, Baby-Paca thought that the sliced rare beef didn’t taste very fresh. And like most other Pho places, they aways only give little shreds of tripe, which was barely enough to split between the 2 of us. Other than the tripe, everything else was plentiful. The spring rolls and a small Pho to share was enough to fill us up.

Baby-Paca said that she still prefers Pho 99 over Thai Son as their Pho soup is more flavourful. Service was quick, and our food arrived literally like 5 minutes after we ordered. My only complaint is that some of their spoons and chopsticks were dirty and we had to sift through the stash on the table to find ones that looked relatively more clean.

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THAI SON RESTAURANT
+1 604 255 6436
Hastings-Sunrise
230-2800 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver