Looking at our category log, I see its been eleven months since we last posted one of these grouped restaurant updates. I’m sure we could do more and do them more often, however the challenge is to provide something new. That said, I feel they do have added value as return visits that support/rectify earlier opinions is something worthwhile striving to provide. I hope you agree. Going through a bunch of notes and folders with accompanying images, I tried to come up with a consistent theme, and this one will be heavy on places I’ve frequented way over in Coquitlam/Burnaby…
Its out of the way especially if you live in Vancouver, so you’re probably more apt to visit this popular eatery in the evening, which they can accommodate with their late business hours. But I’ve been able to check it out at lunch time and finding its a lot less busy, and the wait times are shorter as a result to get your food. In fact, on one of my most recent trips, I was the only one there and had my quick meal made up for me right on the spot, as if it were my own personal kitchen! Its really refreshing to see the lavash bread (with whole wheat option too!) made immediately at the counter before being fired in the oven, stuffed with your choice of ingredient (beef in this case) and carefully wrapped up to go. Photo above is a cross section as I cut it in half. I was hoping for a bit more meat but the balance with the vegetables enabled it to have a pleasing ratio per mouthful. So much more to explore on their menu, so a place I’ll come back to again.
Hee Rae Deung Korean Chinese Restaurant #24 435 North Road Coquitlam, BC (604) 939-0649
Normally I’m not one to wait in line. Blame it on impatience or a sense that my time is worth more than waiting for my turn at something. Especially something as mundane as getting something to eat. As a result, you’ll never find me in line at the latest, hippest joint in town despite what all the critics might be spouting on about regarding the place. It might not even be that “cool” of a spot either, just the fact that there is a queue will deter me from stopping and joining the line of lemmings. Are you the same or perhaps different (e.g. more patient)?
The photos from this meal at Hee Rae Deung are actually from a trip there that dates back a few months to early May. I’ve driven by a few times since and just like that first visit, I could clearly see some waiting customers just inside the door, and some even outside on the sidewalk. It kind of baffled me when I walked up to the doors and had to get in behind about six other people for a late dinner meal. Was there something special about this place? Was the food something amazing? Or were the prices incredibly pleasing and could you get fantastic value? All these things swirled in my head as I tried to rationalize what I was seeing…
Myung-Ga Sonmandoo (Hand Made Dumplings) 455 329 North Road Coquitlam, BC (604) 939-8828
In an area already congested with places to eat, its always nice to discover the pending opening of yet another place to try some new food. In the shopping complex anchored by the H-Mart Supermarket, while getting some groceries there in early-December, I noticed a place with some paper up on the windows and some temporary signage signifying something was about to occupy the place shortly. From what I could make of it, it was going to be about dumplings. Yum.
And so at the end of 2010 I was back as the doors were now open and I quickly had my virgin meal at Myung-Ga, which was indeed offering dine-in and takeout service for its sonmandoo (or hand made dumplings). It was a small, narrow space with an open kitchen up front where you can see workers making the various dumplings they have right in front of you. A small window from the sidewalk allows you to peak inside, if they have the shade up. The steaming is also done right there, so if its chilly outside, you can get a noticeable amount of fog indoors with the constant opening and closing of the main entrance causing the ambient air temperature to fluctuate.
Seok Gi Si Dae 4-602 Clarke Road Coquitlam, BC (604) 937-0330
Out of the way. Strange road access. Limited parking. That kind of sums up the location of Seok Gi Si Dae, situated far up the road from the major Korean cuisine epicenter of the Burnaby/Coquitlam border that has received much coverage here on foodosophy. To make this place even odder was the fact that part of the dining space appeared to be an attachment to the original building. Less insulated inside, the roar of traffic could be heard clearly, making it seem like you were dining outdoors on the roadside as if this was a pojangmacha.
Alas, thankfully its not always the ambiance that matters when eating out and with those expectations tempered, finding great little hole-in-the-wall joints is another allure of all this food blogging we do and sharing these kinds of experiences is what makes this all so much fun. And hopefully enjoyable for you, our dear readers.
Now that we’re rolling into the fall season and coming back from various journeys over the summer, I thought it would be a good time to do another one of these consolidated posts and provide an update on previously visited places again as a refresher. The links throughout will lead you to original posts and/or commentary on follow up visits. If in doubt if you’ve viewed them all, please do a search on the main page for all your queries…
Previous editions of multi-restaurant/monthly recaps: 1, 2, 3, 4
403 North Road #203
Things have changed since I last visited Matsuzushi. For one, the combined space with the small grocery item store has been downsized. Though there is a definite partition that divides the two, it still retains its very casual and almost cafeteria-like ambiance with minimal decor and fuss. For those unfamiliar, the system is a pay-first one. After placing your order at the cashier and paying for your meal ahead of time, find a seat and your food will be brought out to you – no need to rush back to the counter for pickup.
Outside on their handmade signboard on this day, I noticed a listing of specials. As I’m apt to do, I decided to try something on it and given the hot weather, the summer hiyashichuka (cold Japanese noodles) seemed perfect. There seems to be a growing number of places in town that feature this dish when the warmer weather arrives, which is just fine with me. For something so simple, its nice to see the variety of combinations and therefore flavor profile in each one of them. Search around the site to find some previous commentary on this Japanese dish.
505-329 North Road
Itshoni (in my eyes, a misspelling of the romaji for the Japanese word ‘together’) emerged from the space previously occupied by the Blue Sea Seafood Restaurant, and is serving up a mix of Korean and Japanese cuisine. It is conveniently located in this high traffic shopping complex that is home to many other places where one can a meal – many of which reported on here at foodosophy.
The interior has received a noticeable makeover with most of the former enclosed spaces and booths removed and replaced with dark wooden tables and chairs. The floor looked re-done as well, in addition to the similarly colored wall treatments and refreshed with new art hanging on the walls. The mural on one of the side walls (not pictured here) really stands out. The place was filled well with both Asian and non-Asian customers (this table of nine got filled up by a big group of women minutes after we were seated nearby).