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Posts Tagged ‘richmond’

Continuing on from my previous post…

After a food-coma inducing lunch, fast forward 5-hours where we meet up with our cousins and hit up the Summer Night Market (not to be confused with Richmond Night Market.) They are open in the summer months from May until September every Friday & Saturday from 7pm – 12am and on Sundays 7pm-11pm. Located in the industrial part of Richmond, right on the banks of the Fraser River is a foodie’s and bazaar lover’s paradise – literally countless booths of both food and goods. You could be eating a plate of BBQ squid while shopping for hand-knit beanies from Ecuador, cell phone covers, socks and jewelry, then turn around  and watch local musicians and performers showcase their talents on the main stage. One year they even had a “Reptile Man” with live snakes, lizards and other reptiles and amphibians on display!

entrance into a foodie’s playland

The Food:

 top wok

chow mein & assorted dim sum $6.50

 

Strictly on portion size to price, the chow mein plate at Top Work is the best deal in the market. You get a gigantic portion of freshly made chow mein and four pieces of fresh dim sum (2 shao mai & 2 xia jiao.) The chow mein is simple and fresh. From a flavor standpoint, nothing fancy just soy sauce and some veggies but the fact that you can see everything being prepared and cooked before you is very appealing. Their dim sum is also tasty and filling. The xia jiao or shrimp dumpling wrappers were perfect – translucent but thick enough to maintain integrity and not break upon picking up. Both the shao mai and xia jiao were flavorful and ample meat filling – much better than some restaurants that specialize in solely dim sum. There’s an option of having “non-spicy” or “spicy” sauce brushed atop before they serve you. I went with “spicy” but it lacked the heat I was looking for, hence the drizzling of Sriracha sauce.

the original hurricane fries

potato preppin’

parmesan garlic/white cheddar  1 for $3 or 2 for $5

 cherry gettin’ ready to chow down 

One of the more visually interesting and appealing things offered here. A hurricane fry is literally a whole potato that’s been skewered and then cranked through, for lack of a better word, spiral looper and then deep fried. You then get a choice of about 15 different flavors of which they dip the outside layer in. The result, a freshly made potato chip that was literally a whole potato five-minutes prior. These hurricane fries are thickly cut and fried perfectly – providing a crunch but also maintaining a soft middle. You can choose two different flavors for each potato, we happened to go with milder white cheddar &  bolder more savory parmesan garlic – which resulted in a delicious combination.

ef . tee

crispy pork belly crepe 1 for $4 or 3 for $10

When I think of a crepe, I think of a light and slightly sweetened batter that is evenly cooked and thin with various fillings wrapped inside. At ef.tee,  they took a different approach using a chinese pancake – slightly thicker and more savory. If you asked me, it looked more like a taco. The filling used was a combination of crispy pork belly, sautéed bean sprouts and a little hoisen sauce underneath. The pork belly was tender and moist while the skin had excellent crunch and provided a great bite. The combination of meat, bean sprouts, and hoisen sauce reminded me of mu shu – immediately being transported back to my my childhood when my grandmother would make it for family dinners. Despite some misleading wordings, the final critics are the taste buds, and these critics were thoroughly pleased.

dan dan’s smokehouse

firin’ it up!

 beef enoki 3 for $3 or 6 for $5

At Dan Dan’s Smokehouse, they were serving a variety of BBQ influenced comfort foods; pulled pork sandwhich, nachos, BBQ turkey legs and beef enoki? Aiming to try something unique and not commonly found, I went with the beef enoki. Enoki mushrooms wrapped in short ribs and grilled on a cast iron plate with a minor amount of BBQ sauce squirted on top as a finishing touch. The beef was cooked perfectly and had a little char on the outside that provided nice texture. The mushrooms were well cooked and provided an additional layer of texture with also a mild crunch. The BBQ was mild and highlighted the main ingredients nicely without overpowering everything. If you ask me, any time you see an Asian man sportin’ a Cowboy hat, you’ll never be disappointed!

happy lemon

“no sugar 100% natural”

 enjoying my lemonade while groovin’ with the band

One of the more overpriced stands at the market, but after an hour or two of walking around and stuffing your face, nothing satisfies like a big cup of ice cold lemonade. At Happy Lemon, they offer five different flavors, and they’re all equally satisfying (I’ve had the strawberry and limeade in the past). The passion fruit flavor, although present was heavily overshadowed by the extreme tartness and sourness from the lemon, which was as subtle as a gong going off during a Church Service. I personally enjoyed it – I love sour/tart candies. Cherry on the other hand, can’t hang so she deferred most of it to me 🙂 One thing I found misleading is how they advertise their lemonades as “sugar free 100% natural.” They must place the huge gallon pump jugs of artificial flavors in an exclusion list.

some bbq skewers: too full to try 😦

sea of hungry patrons

 more booths and more people

view of sunset on the banks of the fraser river

cherry sportin’ a rainbow robbery mask – handmade from ecuador!

My Conclusion:

Summer Night Market has been etched into our summer musts for the last three summers and rightfully so. The food is cheap, selection is vast and the scene is ever growing. Also, the waits for food were surprisingly short – even with the mobs of people bustling all over, each booth manages to get you in and out quickly. Must be that Asian work ethic, eh!? Despite pushing the physical limitations of our stomach to the brim, Cherry and I were unfortunately only able to sample a fraction of what is offered here. If you ever decide to partake in Summer Night Market, you need to bring two things; cash and your appetite!

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Seeing as it was Labor Day weekend, Cherry and I decided to make take a day trip north, to visit the United States’ red-headed step sister – Canada. Oh, we also have family in Vancouver, so aside from a day of eating; we actually had a reason to visit  Our first stop after the crossing immigrations… Richmond! Just to give you an idea of how great Richmond is, it is essentially your local “Chinatown” district stretched over 49.91 sq mi (127.3 km² for the rest of the World.) The streets are lined with Asian influenced shops, restaurants and businesses (primarily all Chinese.) One thing in particular that Richmond has over Seattle, I’m sad to say, is a much larger selection of All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) Sushi spots. As a matter of fact, unless I’m badly mistaken, I can count on one hand how many AYCE sushi restaurants there are in Seattle – what’s up with that Seattle!? During my undergrad years at WWU, my father and I would regularly come to Aji Taro and in reminiscent fashion, I decided to bring Cherry here as well. Located off No. 3 Road in Richmond, Aji Taro is a moderately sized Japanese Bistro. Contrary Americanized Sushi (what’s becoming more and more popular in the States) you won’t find fancy and spruced up rolls or sushi. No tempura fried sushi. No spicy mayo. Just Japanese food as it is meant to be – simple.

small sushi bar

make your selections

 

 

The Food:

house special roll (salmon, krab, cucumber, avocado), dynamite roll (tempura shrimp, cucumber, avocado, lettuce), california roll, spicy tuna roll

 The first worth noting is the amount of filling used here. I have eaten at many sushi places that give a minuscule amount of filling and an enormous amount of rice. Particularly in the House Special Roll, there’s a nice slice of salmon sashimi, and a generous amount of krab filling. In the Dynamite roll, two pieces of tempura shrimp are used as opposed to the one piece that you will find in a majority of other places. All the rolls were tasty and really satisfy. The spicy tuna roll had a perfect amount of spice and left a subtle heat on your tongue.

 salmon and tuna sushi

 Both the salmon and tuna were very fresh and clean. They served albacore tuna instead of the more common yellowtail which is a little fattier and traditionally has a lighter flavor. Both were generously sliced and very delicious.

 chopped scallop

 spicy tuna hand rolls

 Hand rolls are exactly that – shari (vinegared rice) and filling wrapped in nori. They usually come out in a cone shape and are fun to eat! The chopped scallop was fresh and had a creamy flavor and texture from the mayo and tobiko  that it was mixed with. The spicy salmon also had great flavors. The spice level was nice and did not overpower the salmon at all – the freshness of the fish was not masked.

 clockwise l-r: agedashi tofu, ika karaage, shishamo karaage, beef short ribs

The agedashi tofu was deep fried and carried a light flavor, but there was virtually no tentsuyu sauce (tempura dipping sauce.) The ika karaage (deep fried squid) was not very tasty. It had a pretty fishy flavor – I’m guessing due to them using the same oil to deep fry all their fish. I can tolerate most flavors, however Cherry was hugely turned off by how fishy the calamari was. There were also flavors of salt and pepper that I could taste that was most likely tossed in before serving. The short ribs were flavorful and tender and one of the better non-sushi items served. The shishamo karaage was also average – lightly battered and deep fried little fish with roe intact providing a salty and fishy bite.

  

clockwise l-r: sanma shioyaki, yaki tori, shime saba

 The sanma shioyaki (pacific saury) had very clean flavor and nice char from the grill – not fishy at all. The yakitori was also very good and simple – skewered and gilled chicken brushed with some teriyaki sauce. My favorite of the three was the shime saba (mackerel.) Extremely clean flavors and the grilled skin of the fish was like a crispy chip – providing a nice salty crunch. I had to exercise caution when eating these fish due to the small bones throughout.

My Conclusion:

Not the pinnacle of the sushi world but that’s ok by me. Everything is made to order and literally within five or ten minutes of handing the server your selections, its on your table straight from the sushi bar. With a price of $14.95 (CND) per person (for lunch), it is a bargain – even with the US dollar being worth less than the Canadian dollar these days!  Aji Taro did my father and I well from 2006 – 2010 and still continues to satisfy my sushi fixins’ anytime we visit! 

Ohh.. and this was our lunch… stay tuned for what we had for dinner!

 

 

 

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