| 2 comments ]

After extolling the virtues of the Taiwanese beef noodle, I would be remiss if I didn’t also tell you about laksa. A mixture of all things good from the Chinese and the Malay, found throughout Singpore, Malaysia and Indonesia, the laksa soup noodle is an equally wonderous thing, for which the city now also has a self-proclaimed monarch: Bo Laksa King.

Bo Laksa King isn’t the easiest place to find, and if not for consistently glowing reviews and support from the likes of Chowtimes and folks on Chowhound, it would be downright impossible. Instead of a proper storefront, Bo Laksa King is a separate counter set within the Joyce-Way Food Market, run hawker-style in proper homage to your typical laksa joint in Asia. With that said, unless you like eating within the aisles of the neighbourhood grocery market on tables set beside the boxed juice, Bo Laksa King is strictly takeout.

It is highly considerate, then, that Bo packs the soup separate from the noodles, so that the latter doesn’t sit stewing in the soup for the long car trip home. The soup is the true attraction, a curry-based, coconut milk elixir, replete with flavours of lemongrass, shallots, tumeric…the list goes on ad infinitum. This is served with your choice of vermicelli or yellow Hokkien noodles, alongside fish balls, prawns, chicken, tofu puffs and chopped shallots and cilantro. Compared with other places in town, this laksa is rich without being overly dense or heavy, and intricate in flavour without any reliance on MSG.

We re-plated our laksa so you get the full effect:

Among the few constant items on the menu - the laksa, roti, wraps - Bo Laksa King also features weekend specials, typically of a dish of southeast Asian descent. This is largely due to Bo’s background, having left his native home of Burma to cook in kitchens throughout the region. We ordered a coconut rice with chicken curry, served with a spicy cucumber relish. The Thai yellow curry was as great, but the coconut rice was incredibly flavored, and a real testament in how a simple side dish can vary incredibly from place to place, with Bo Laksa King’s being the top of the heap.

Again, (a small portion) replated at home:

The hawker stand also does home delivery now as well, a salvation from the navigational complexities of finding the place. The menu is strictly online, and features a wider range of options than at the stand itself.

Joe.

Bo Laksa King
4910 Joyce Street
Vancouver BC
(604)339-0038

Bo Laksa King's on Urbanspoon

| 3 comments ]


Locals have long since found a baseline standard for Taiwanese beef noodles at Tony’s Beef Noodle on Cambie and 41st Ave. For years, the place has been held up as among the top, if not the best, of its genre. However, rumor had it that the original owner of Tony’s (assumedly, “Tony”) has moved around over the recent past, setting up successive beef noodle joint after another, and staying at each for short periods of time. When word spread that he had since relocated to open as the self-declared “Taiwan Beef Noodle King” on Oak and 64th, I had to go.

On paper, the Taiwanese beef noodle may seem like simple fare. Noodles, soup, braised beef, the odd green and preserved vegetables. The initiated, however, will tell you that the Taiwanese beef noodle is something magical, a bowl of complex flavours that needs hours of cajoling, and one of the obvious rivals to Vietnamese pho as the best noodle soup around.

We ordered the classic: the stewed beef noodle, otherwise known as an underemphatic “A5” on the menu. This is a “red braised” beef, so named for its deep reddish colour, having been cooked in a rich, deep mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, star anise, and sugar, with a hint of Szechuan peppercorn thrown into mix. Each cut of beef is nicely marbled with fat and tendon, tender as all the motherly love in the world.

The soup in itself is something to cherish as well. The Taiwanese beef noodle is itself a re-interpretation of a Northern Chinese staple for the abundant Muslim population, and often served Halal. After an influx of mainland Chinese fleeing the Communist revolution, the beef noodle soup found ground in Taiwan, but quickly morphed over time to suit local tastes and become one of the most recognizable dishes in Taiwanese cuisine. The result is a darker, richer soup, made of stock that has been simmered indefinitely, flavoured with spices, ginger, green onion, garlic, and (from what I can tell) carrot. This is served with housemade noodles, of the thicker, doughy variety.

To round things out, we also ordered the “beef in Chinese pancake,” which at some places is similar to beef flank rolled up in a Chinese roti, but here was rolled up in a Chinese green onion cake. The key is the beef, also braised and flavourful, its tenderness contrasted with the flakiness of the green onion cake, with a light touch of hoisin sauce to provide some sweetness. While the beef pancake was great, the beef noodle is the main attraction: the Beef Noodle King has earned its crown, and there need not be any distractions for its subjects.


Joe.

Taiwan Beef Noodle King
8335 Oak Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 266-8718

Taiwan Beef Noodle King on Urbanspoon

| 4 comments ]


Here is a little something something that I was trying to get done before my vacation but was never really happy with. Either way I put in the work so I figured I would share it with you. At the very least it counts as a post.

Vancouver Slop Magazine


Matt

| 2 comments ]


Since I am out of town I wanted to line up some posts so the readership wouldn't die. I had some saved in draft but they seemed to have disappeared.

Regardless, here is the Part II to the popular Favourite Things Under $6.50. Still lots of things to add on there but I don't have photos of them yet.

Still missing
-Gyoza King potstickers
-Purdy's Ice Cream Bar
- plus more...

Check out the feature here

Matt (in India with a stomach ache)

| 2 comments ]



Here's the low down, fruit smoothie bubble tea for 2 bucks. You can get ice cream bubble tea, tons of different fruit combinations etc etc all for two bucks. I often wonder how the heck can this guy make money off the $2 bubble tea. The owner of the place is super nice he remembered what drink I always ordered (Very Berry Strawberry). I tried the avocado drink there before and it was surprisingly refreshing.....yo an avocado is like $1.50 for one, if he uses half an avocado plus the cost of the cup, straw and tapioca is he even clearing a dollar for a drink? I know I'm harping on this $2 thing a lot but seriously $2?????? The $2 drink is for the small, the large ranges from $3.50 to $4.00 which is still a great deal for a refreshing fruit smoothie.


A few doors down there's an Indian place (Bhaia Sweet Shop) that has 3 veggie samsosa's for $1. The guy grills you down while you order and I've never seen him smile, but the samosas are good.



Green Leaf Natural Food
5756 Fraser St.
Vancouver, B.C. V5W 2Z5‎
604-327-8766‎


Love,

Vince

| 3 comments ]

As xiao long baos and all things Shanghainese and north grow more prevalent and hog the limelight, the won ton, that classic old staple, has been relegated to yesterday’s news. That’s a shame, because the GVRD is home to some of the best won tons around.

The Michigan Noodle Shop is tucked near the back end of Alexander Road in Richmond, a street lined with nothing but restaurants of all sorts, and the odd hotel and car wash at its culmination. It is non-descript, overly bright and cash-only: all hallmarks of your classic Cantonese won ton noodle shop.

What sets Michigan apart from most, though, are their house-made noodles. With Hon’s and other manufacturers distributing egg noodles en masse, it is all-too-infrequent to find a Cantonese noodle shop that still makes its own noodles, particularly as most of them strive to keep costs down to a minimum. Michigan’s noodles are a chewy, elastic, toothsome wonder – so good that they will sell them in bulk to make at home – and alone worth the complexities of driving through Richmond.

We ordered a bowl of noodles, with won tons and seui gau. The former, translated literally to “swallowing clouds,” are the prawn dumplings familiar to most. The latter, translated to “water dumplings,” are of a larger variety, filled with pork, wood ear mush rooms and bamboo shoot. Both were fantastic, encased in thin wrappers foreign to lesser noodle shops, seasoned to perfection. To the discerning, a splash of vinegar provides a good counter to the lye water used to make the wrappers and the noodles: the alkaline ingredient is used in many Asian noodles to enhance that sought-after elasticity. Quite simply, these are the best won ton noodles in Vancouver, and stack up with the top won ton shops in Hong Kong.

Michigan is also famed for its congee (rice porridge), the other staple that all Cantonese noodle shops are measured against. There is a menu page full of congee options, from the classic to the exotic. We settled for a shitake mushroom and chicken congee, which fared well, if not even better, than the noodles. The rice porridge in itself has slowly simmered to become a milky smooth, comforting mix, akin to velvet. Strips of chicken breast were just as tender, a feat in itself when most other places would have overcooked it to oblivion.

We also ordered salt and pepper tofu, served with hot pepper enfused vinegar. The tofu was crisp without being overly dry or oily, but probably not anything overly different from anywhere else.

A word of warning: as with many Cantonese noodle shops, the service is hit and miss. There can be a charm to this if you wish: a mom n’ pop diner or café would be a good Western comparison, service-wise, and you wouldn’t expect Michelin star service at those, either. With that said, our choy sum with oyster sauce, as fresh and light-of-hand as it was, came well after we finished all of the other dishes, with the service at a loss to explain why.

That expected blip aside, Michigan Noodle Shop is still within the top echelon of Cantonese noodle shops: if you’ve lost touch with the won ton, it’s time to get re-acquainted. Cynics everywhere may disagree with Conde Nast’s high esteem for Vancouver’s Chinese fare – yours truly included - but the Michigan Noodle Shop is one of those rare gems that is truly among the better Chinese food the world over.

Joe.


Michigan Noodle Shop on Urbanspoon

Michigan Noodle Shop
1160-8580 Alexandra Rd
Richmond, BC V6X 4B3
(604) 276-0882

| 0 comments ]

Mis Trucos (which means "my tricks" in Spanish) is a Mediterranean tapas restaurant that opened up about five months ago. It is the creation of Kris Barnholden, a former sous-chef of Parkside; also on board is GM Eryn Dorman (from Fuel) and barman Jonathan James (formerly of Uva). Mis Trucos is located up a flight of stairs on the second floor of a converted 1920’s character house, right next to the Shoppers Drug Mart on Davie (the location of the former Davie Village Café). The decor is clean and simple: white seating, natural wood tables and bar, with art covered white walls. It's cozy and candlelit, and was toasty warm; it feels like you are over at a friend's for dinner.

The menu consists of seafood crudos, tapas, share plates and a few mains. The nice part about the tapas is that you can order just one (should no one share your desire to try a particular item), or they can be ordered as a set of four. I started with a refreshingly tasty gin gin mule cocktail: gin, house made ginger beef, mint, lime ($9). The friend I dined with is not a big beef fan, so I ordered one of the wild venison tartar, brioche, truffle + quail's egg ($3.70), and to share we ordered four of the qualicum scallop, squash, crisp ham, parmesan ($10), the pine-nut, raisin, spinach + parmesan dip with crostini ($7), and the braised chicken + porcini mushroom papardelle ($16). Everything on the menu is under $20.

Both the tartar and scallops were delicious, each individual tapa presented beautifully on white dishware; our plates were left sparkling clean, we were literally using our fingers to lick the squash purée out from the scallop dish (in which the crisp ham was a nice addition) and wanted to order four more right away. The dip was a tasty follow up, served hot and fresh, the raisins add a nice sweetness; they also brought us extra crostinis to finish off the dish. The pasta was good with lovely presentation, but was also the only menu item of the night I wouldn't re-order. The papardelle was really fresh and cooked to the right tenderness, but the braised chicken could have been more flavourful; we agreed it was too closely reminiscent of tuna, more so in texture, but also likely due to our expectations of the flavour, which we both assumed would be a bit more like a rotisserie chicken flavour.

The service was great, friendly and attentive, our server made sure we were enjoying our meal. Also, for those of you with iPhones, you can get 20% off of your bill if paid through Mobio.

From other reviews I've read about Mis Trucos, it appears as though the menu changes, and there were many dishes mentioned that I would love to try. Tasty, tasty, tasty, I will go back for more.

D
Mis Trucos on Urbanspoon
Mis Trucos
1141 Davie Street
Tel: 604.566.3960

| 2 comments ]

I am out of town right now and I have been leaving the updating to the other people on Slop (thanks Joe).

Olympics are starting soon and I wanted to make something for the Olympics but I ran out of time, so instead you get this. The basis is what you see on most blogs, what would you do if you had 4 days in the city. I didn't quite follow that format because I know that most restaurants are either going to be booked up or have long lines.

Take a look at the following URL.

Vancouver Slop Olympic Guide

What are your must have meals?

Matt from India.

| 6 comments ]

As the world descends on our fair town for the Olympics, they might be disappointed to find that Vancouver’s street food is comprised of 99.9% hot dog carts and the odd roast chestnut cart, with even that slight exception dependent on the season. Kushi Box isn’t quite street food, but the impetus is all the same.

Kushi Box is Zakkushi’s fast food option on Robson (between Richards and Seymour), and serves up a smaller selection of Japanese skewers on a purely to-go basis. You have your pick between grilled items in a rice box, grilled items on a skewer, or a small assortment of other quick fixes like oden (which are various things stewed in dashi broth). This is food for those in a rush, or food after drinking…or street food, conveniently housed indoors.

For the rice boxes, you can take your pick among a four or five options, and supersize it for around $10 with either chicken karaage or kushi (ie skewers) and a pop or miso soup. Oden items run a bit more than a $1.20 a pop, or $6.50 to try all six.

We opted for two kushi combos, a chicken tsukune (teriyaki meatballs) rice box and an onion “P-toro” (short for pork belly) rice box with a half-cooked egg. The tsukune and pork, with that slight grilled char, hit the right spot, though the p-toro box had a slight edge when mixed in with egg yolk.

There’s really not much one can say about the skewers – they’re pretty hard to mess up. (To contrast, the karaage tended to be mushy, largely from sitting under a heat lamp while sitting in its own juices.) I do wish they had shitake mushrooms instead of the regular brown, but that’s not much of a complaint. The tofu skewers were great; we ordered the tsukune skewers out of plain greediness.

We tried a few oden items as well, given their relative rarity despite the enormous number of Japanese places in town. Daikon, fish cakes, ikamaki (a fish cake tube stuffed with squid), mochi kinchaku: all great winter comforts. While the ikamaki won’t please those with aversions to fishiness, the daikon was meltingly soft and warming, while the savoury kinchaku will be a huge hit for anyone remotely familiar with mochi.

(I realize that photo of the tub of oden might not look overly appealing, so we plated the daikon and mochi kinchaku on a separate plate to make it look at least half as delicious as they actually were.)

Overall, there’s little to argue with at Kushi Box, which really elevates simplicity to its best. It may not fulfill our dreams of having other food cart options in town, but Kushi Box, sandwiched between the soon-to-open Gyudon Gyu and Japadog, has staked its lead in what may soon be the holy trinity of cheap Japanese eats.

Joe.


Kushi Box
520 Robson Street (between Richards and Seymour)
604 689 9455
Hours: 11:30 am to 8:00pm

www.kushibox.ca

12B
| 13 comments ]


As the new guy horning in on an established blog, it would only be apropos to review a dinner organized by another venerable blog - Chowtimes - at 12B, the secret ‘underground’ restaurant that recently received hype in the mainstream press.

12B works on a simple premise: organize a bunch of friends for a dinner party, scrape together $65 a head for a six course dinner, and pray that you know someone that can get a booking. That’s in two respects: (a) as a restaurant without any of the proper licenses or permits, Chef Todd, owner and proprietor, necessarily needs to know his clientele, and (b) the guy’s booked solid for months (at least for weekends).

That premise has been replicated and repeated by other chefs in town and elsewhere for the past few years, indicative of either an emerging new business model, a booming fad, or both. Ask Chef Todd and he’d probably disagree: my assumption is that he simply likes to work from home, and telecommuting isn’t an option.

The first course was a cream of asparagus soup with white wine and truffles “four ways” (truffle salt, oil, and, uh, a couple of other preparations). I worried at first that this would be far too filling with five courses to go, but the soup was surprisingly light.

This was followed with halibut seared in brown butter, served on a jardinière brunoise and quinoa, with a fennel, orange and poppyseed salad on the side. The brunoise also had bits of smoked bacon in it, which was probably more of a highlight than the halibut itself.

The next course started a wave of beloved meats. Duck breast was rubbed with za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that tied a plate full of regional flavours. Berkshire pork came with spaetzle, cabbage and also a couple of apple slices flavoured with birch syrup, with a beer stein being the only missing element. Venison shortloin was served with blueberry jus, baby potatoes, minty peas and carrots. Each was great, though the first two tied together more thoroughly.

(While the apples were enough to make the pork dish my favourite, the carrots cut into Wu Tang logos made the venison dish the most entertaining. Where else can you eat in town while listening to Jeru the Damaja?)

The night ended with two ice creams (star anise and pistachio), shortbreads and glazed pecans. The pistachio ice cream was almost savoury, or at least not sweetened enough, which, after a few bites, seemed to be the point.

At that point, a guest book passes around, a subtle hint that the $65 ‘donation’ is due. For six courses, that’s a real steal, particularly when a similar dinner of this calibre at a proper restaurant would probably cost twice as much. After serving food like this for a couple of years, there’s a reason why 12B ain’t much of a secret anymore.

Joe.

12B

(Sorry, no address)