Saturday, August 08, 2015

Cool Off This Summer at Icy Bar!

One of my favourite places to go in the summer are Asian dessert places and shaved ice is always welcome, especially with the hot weather we've been having. When Chinese Bites held an event last week at Icy Bar, I jumped at the chance to go!

Shaved ice desserts have been gaining popularity in Vancouver and Icy Bar now has four locations in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby (and a stall at the Richmond Night Market). It's the best way to beat the heat in the summer! The restaurant is always packed so make sure you have time to wait for a seat, or you can take your desserts to-go.

Here are some of the desserts we tried:

Clockwise from top left: Mango Ice Cream Mochi Icy, Traditional Eight Mix Icy (customizable toppings), Strawberry Mango Ice Cream Icy, another Eight Mix Icy with fruit toppings and green tea ice cream.
Clockwise from top left: Tea Egg, Plant Pudding (Flavours: Original, Durian, Mango, Oreo, Tiramisu), Black Rice with Coconut Milk (hot dessert), Red Bean Green Tea Ice Cream on Thick Toast.
Pancake series: Strawberry, Mango, Durian, Taro. Filled with whipped cream and the corresponding fruit.
Chocolate Honey Toast. One of my favourite desserts of the evening, the toast cubes are smothered in syrup and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tofu pudding, with your choice of toppings.
Fererro Rocher and Durian smoothies. Not as sweet as most drinks, and very filling!
Icy Bar is decently priced and cheaper than some of the other shaved ice places I've been to. Their flavoured shaved ice (I tried this on my own, so it is not picture in this post) is one of the better ones I've had and is only $6 (plus $1 for each topping). The portion size of most of the desserts are good and are large enough to share. I'll definitely be going back to Icy Bar soon to try more items on their menu!

Disclaimer: The desserts mentioned above were provided free of charge by ChineseBites and Icy Bar. The opinions expressed in this post are those of Savvy Shopping, Deals and Reviews and have not been influenced in any other way. 

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Bistro 101 on Granville Island

I love visiting the Bistro 101 Restaurant on Granville Island because of their rotating monthly menu and the great price for a three-course meal ($28). The food at Bistro 101 is prepared by students who are studying at the cooking school. July had sablefish as one of the main courses so of course, I had to bring my family since my mum is a huge lover of sablefish! The food was delicious and beautifully prepared and presented.

An assorted bread basket to start the meal.
An amuse bouche - tuna tataki on a crispy wonton.
Sautéed Clams with Chil, Thai Basil & Lime.
Korean Inspired Beef Tartare.
Miso Glazed Sablefish with Sweet Pea Risotto, Heirloom Carrots, and Ginger Butter Sauce.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Provencal Flavours and Squash Puree.
10 Layer Cake with White Chocolate Struesel and Mango Sorbet.
Tiramisu Verrine with Mascarpone Mousse, Brown Butter Streusel and Espresso Granite.
White Chocolate Raspberry Pistachio Pave with Meringue and Raspberries.
An assortment of jellies (pineapple and raspberry) and chocolates.
Check out the August lunch and dinner menu here and make a reservation today!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tuc Craft Kitchen

I met up with a friend from California visiting Vancouver for the first time and she chose Tuc Craft Kitchen in Gastown for dinner. The food at Tuc is simple and rustic. Our group ordered a bunch of dishes to share! Many of the dishes are things you can find at pubs, though it's a bit pricer at Tuc Craft Kitchen.

Pork belly crackling.
Crispy bacon and egg.
Mussels and clams in white wine with pork crackling and croutons.
Parsnip fries.
Orange glazed lamb ribs with jalapeno pepper and orange glaze.
Steelhead salad with fennel and green apple salad, tabbouleh and panissa bread.
Cabernet braised beef cheeks with red wine glace, gratin potatoes, shallots and wilted spinach. A bit sour on the bottom, I wasn't too big a fan of this dish.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Ramen Butcher

The Ramen Butcher is one of the newer ramen places that has opened up in Vancouver recently. Located on Georgia St in Chinatown, The Ramen Butcher serves fresh ramen (7 types to choose from!) as well as sides such as gyoza and karaage. It is a bit pricer than some ramen places, with each bowl going for between $10 - $12. However, they do give you one batch of noodles for free - just save your soup and throw those noodles in! Any extra batches of noodles after that is $1.25. Pretty good if you have a large appetite! The ramen noodles are the very thin kinds, reminiscent of the noodles you get in wonton soup, and not as chewy. Not my favourite, but not bad either!

Spacious restaurant with cute pig knick knacks everywhere.
Ramen in tonkotsu broth with roasted garlic oil.
Chicken karaage.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Boiling Point Hot Pot

When the weather gets hot, where do you go to eat? Hot pot! ChineseBites invited a group last week to try out Boiling Point, a place serving personal sized Taiwanese style hot pot. Boiling Point originated in California and have opened in Washington and now have two locations in Canada - Burnaby and Richmond.

Their hot soups are made with the freshest ingredients and there are 11 flavours to choose from. You are able to customize the level of spiciness, from none to flaming. Because each hot pot bowl has different ingredients, they each have a distinct flavour, which makes it different than most cook-it-yourself hot pot places.

#1 House Special - Napa, Fermented Tofu, Sliced Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Kamaboko, Meat Ball, Clam, Quail Egg, Pork Blood, Pork Intesetine, Nira, Preserved Vegetables, Tomato, Cilantro.
#2 Seafood and Tofu - Taiwanese Bok Choy, Shrimp, Sliced Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Frozen Tofu, Baby Octopus, Clam, Cuttlefish Ring, Fish Fillet, Fuzhou Fish Ball, Vermicelli, Egg, Green Onion.
#3 Korean Kimchi - Napa, Vermicelli, Sliced Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Egg, Kamaboko, Meat Ball (Pork) Tempura, Clam, Fuzhou Fish Ball, Kichi, Firm Tofu, Fried Tofu Skin, Imitation Crab Stick, Green Onion.
#4 Beef - Napa, Vermicelli, Sliced Angus Beef, Enoki Mushroom, Tomato, Firm Tofu, Tempura, Corn, Meat Ball (Pork), Kamaboko, Fried Tofu Skin, Imitation Crab Stick, Green Onion, Cilantro.
#5 Lamb - Napa, Vermicelli, Sliced Lamb, Enoki Mushroom, Imitation Crab Stick, Kamanoko, Pork Blood Rice Cake, Organic Maitake Mushroom, Clam, Pickled Mustard Greens, Firm Tofu, Tempura, Fried Tofu Skin, Egg, Green Onion, Cilantro.
#6 Curry Fish Balls - Napa, Vermicelli, Slice Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Imitation Crab Stick, Fish Ball, Fried Tofu Skin, Corn, Tempura, Mountain Yam, Chinese String Bean, Egg, Green Onion.
#7 Tomato Veggie - Napa, Vermicelli, Slice Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Firm Tofu, Corn, Lotus Root, Bean Curd, Chinese String Bean, King Oyster Mushroom, Taiwanese Bok Choy.
#8 Taiwanese Spicy - Cabbage, Instant Noodle, Sliced Angus Beef, Tempura, Enoki Mushroom, Clam, Fuzhou Fish Ball, Cuttlefish Ring, Pork Intestine, Pork Blood Rice Cake, Fried Tofu Skin, Maitake Mushroom, Frozen Tofu, Green Onion, Cilantro.
#9 Japanese Miso - Cabbage, Udon, Sliced Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Clam, Fuzhou Fish Ball, Fish Fillet, Organic Maitake Mushroom, Crab, Fried Tofu Skin, Soft Tofu, Egg, Green Onion.
#10 - Thai Flavour - Cabbage, Taro Stem, Sliced Pork, Enoki Mushroom, Cuttlefish Ring, Fuzhou Fish Ball, Clam, Crab, Baby Octopus, Organic Maitake Mushroom, Shrimp, Cilantro.
#11 Organic Tofu - a new item on their menu with sliced pork, organic tofu, lobster ball.
We also tried some noodles: original and spinach wok. They are sort of like instant noodles, but chewier. They come packaged like instant noodles and is a good addition to your hot pot soup!

For those with an adventurous taste bud, try the spicy fermented tofu! Also known as stinky tofu, this Taiwanese dish is either a hit or miss for people. The smell is pretty strong and the taste lingers on your tongue after you have swallowed. It's definitely an acquired taste!

To end the meal, we had snow cubes - frozen blocks that were like a mix of ice cream and popscicles. There are six different flavours to choose from: black sesame, taro, strawberry, chocolate, green tea and Hokkaido milk tea. I tried most of them and they were all delicious - very unique flavours! It was definitely a good, cold palette cleanser after the hot soups!

Disclaimer: The meal mentioned above was provided free of charge by ChineseBites and Boiling Point. The opinions expressed in this post are those of Savvy Shopping, Deals and Reviews and have not been influenced in any other way. 

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Doolami - Asian Dessert Shop

With summer approaching, I'm always on the lookout for the next place to get a cool treat (also because I like dessert, heehee). J and I happened to be near Doolami, a place to get shaved ice and ice cream. I've been seeing a lot of photos on my Instagram feed, so we decided to try it out.

Their most popular dessert dish is the mango, papaya or lychee shaved ice for $7.99. The ice is milky and flavoured and gets shaved off in "sheets" so it has a lighter texture than normal shaved ice.

The shaved ice tasted as good as it looks! It wasn't too sweet, and since mango is in season now, the fruit was ripe and lended to the sweetness of the dessert. The balls on top I could have done without though.

Doolami also has pints of ice cream you can buy for takeout (think Earnest Ice Cream, but more Asian flavours) and one of the flavours I am interested in trying is durian! I think I will be back this summer to try other shaved ice flavours!

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kao Tong Tong Invasian at Robson Square

There was a Kao Tong Tong invasion at Robson Square last weekend. This adorable agricultural mascot representing Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was there to showcase the best fruits of Kaohsiung. There was a sampling station where you could try the different fruits - golden diamond pineapple, red dragon fruit, pearl guava and Chin-Huang mango. Patisserie LeBeau was there with their food truck to make some delicious waffles and cakes that incorporated the fruits that were showcased. All the fruits were so delicious!

Sampling station.
Small sample cups for anyone interested in trying these delicious fruits!

Kao Tong Tong mascots everywhere!
Pineapple filled waffle by Patisserie LeBeau.