Hot Lady Hotpot
#1185 – 8580 Alexandra Road
I need to get this preamble out of the way first…This restaurant does not have an official English name. The banner in front reads 麻辣妞妞火鍋專門店. Urbanspoon translates these characters (perhaps via a contributor) to mean “Hot Lady Hotpot”. My Chinese friend prefers to call this place “Spice Girls Hotpot”.
The characters 麻辣 translate to “ma la” or “numbing and hot “, the signature spicy Sichuan flavour combination. The next two characters 妞妞 “niu niu” both stand for “little girl”. The next two characters 火鍋 are “hotpot”. Finally the characters 專門 mean “specialist” and 店 means “inn” or even “place.” So…this restaurant tis called “Hot and Numbing Little Girls Hotpot Specialist Place.” Hmm…
I think I’ll stick to “Spice Girls Hotpot” – Urbanspoon bedamned.
Qoola Frozen Yogurt & Fruit
4151 Hazelbridge Way Map
Qoola’s profile first came to my attention last year when there seemed to be a lot of buzz around their opening in the Metropolis at Metrotown shopping mall. With their emphasis on fat/gluten free frozen yogurt, fresh cut fruit, organic grain waffles/crepes, the whole concept reads like a feel good, very West Coast-inspired offering. Throw in their initiative in using bio-degradable and recyclable products, the whole operation has “BC tree huger” written all over it. Now with shops in this popular Richmond mall, as well as in Victoria, BC, the Qoola wave is slowing spreading across the province.
The signature menu item is the fresh frozen yogurt which is available in three flavors (original, chocolate and green tea) and supplanted by other monthly flavors. For edible snacks, there is also something called the Q-Waffle, which is a whole grain waffle topped with various toppings and a mound of the frozen yogurt. I watched as a few other customers ordered this and was amused at the confusion the self serve yogurt stations caused, especially with the older clientele that I witnessed.
The Summer Night Market
12631 Vulcan Way
With school back in session, the leaves beginning to fall off the trees in my neighborhood, and the slowly shortening daylight hours, I’m reminded that the summer is winding down. Albeit, the warmer temperatures are holding strong this week, so its feeling nice to have our summer season extend even longer this year. And with just two more weekends to go before this year’s rendition of The Summer Night Market in Richmond comes to a close, I thought I’d type up some quick thoughts on my experience this year…
When things such as annual festivals or public gatherings grow over the years due to the success of the original or early years, its both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, its wonderful that a small concept can become something that’s sustainable and has organic growth and continued popularity. More offerings, great number of attractions – all good things from my perspective, especially when something grows from something very small initially.
#125, 2971 Sexsmith Road
To be confirmed: (604) 779-0053
Simple is best. An adage that applies to many things in this thing called life, including something we all love, food. Lately, I’ve been all about uncomplicated flavors and limited combinations of ingredients that tell a story on my taste buds. Smart cookery and unpretentious offerings are my current targets when it comes to dining out. Give me something that’s comforting too and well you’ve got something right in my wheelhouse. An old stalwart, Japanese ramen, is right up there in my favorite foods of all time.
I’d been notified in July that a new operation was about to set up shop at a busy intersection in Richmond, formerly occupied by a sandwich business. The end of July marked their opening and as a few weeks had passed (and having received some insights from members granted a pre-opening audience) I finally made my way out for a lunchtime meal. Inside, remnants of the previous tenant were apparent from the still fresh business handover, with some temporary signage hung outside for the Tokyo-style of ramen being produced by Shibuyatei.
121-4600 No 3 Road
Those who are familiar with Bushuair know that it is infamous for two things: its many names (it has been called Gordon Park, Aroma Garden, the Xiangcai Museum/Pavilion, and now finally Bushuair); and its menu is peppered with hilariously endearing Chinese to English mistranslations.
Hunan cuisine will probably never attain the level of acceptance of Sichuan food in this part of the world. Hunan and Sichuan share some similarities – they are both known to be spicy cuisines that rely on the chili pepper for much of their flavour profiles. Hunan cuisine is more assertive in its use of chilies. Hunan cooks use fresh and pickled chilies about as much as dried. One type of Hunan dried chili – Hunan White Chili is particularly incendiary in the Scoville scale of chili pepper heat. It is this heat – which can go on unabated throughout the meal – that provides a challenge for the prevailing Cantonese palate here. Sichuan cuisine has the potential to reach this level of spiciness, but more often than not, the dishes are mitigated by a a balance of sweetness and spiciness…and most importantly of ma la - or the numbing heat introduced by Sichuan peppercorn. (The Sichuan peppercorns provide an antidote to the chili pepper’s capsaicin.)
X.O. Vietnamese Style Food
Yaohan Centre, 3700 #3 Road
The food court in the Yaohan Centre is probably the first time I’ve ever experienced an Asian mall food court in the GVRD, thinking back on it now it probably goes back a good decade or so. While my memories are somewhat faint, I recall the supermarket there (before the arrival of the T&T’s of the world), as the only place that had those distinctly Asian food products and ingredients all under one roof. Strangely, I can also remember once upon a time, there being a ramen place in this exact food court and having it there are a youth.
Its pleasing to know this place is still around and seemingly prospering. I usually stick to one side of this area where the fast food chinese stalls are, and the noodle place on the corner. And thus this time, I thought I’d venture to the opposite end and see if there was anything of interest. After doing a walk-by of all the spots, passing on some barbecued duck, noodles, etc. the hot pans of simmering curry dishes at X.O. Vietnamese Style Food caught my eye. Kind of an unusual combination I thought. Though they did have the typical Vietnamese soup noodle item that I have way too much of these days.
7900 Westminster Highway, Unit 101
As I think back to foodosophy‘s early days, I can recall a lot more random outings like these where I had no specific eating intention or destination but ended up taking the proverbial “bullet for the team”. While in Richmond dealing with some business matters recently on this particular block, I did so again and ended up ducking quickly into the nearest place to warm up (man, is it ever cold these days!) and get a quick meal rather than seek out something specifically and have to drive around this city which tends to have its own logistical challenges. While I did not engage in a wider round of choices from their menu as I was dining for one (Follow Me Foodie ate other items apparently) at Katsu-ya Sushi, I did end up having much the same kind of experience. Here is my take on things…
A simple setup, I knew immediately that I had to make a quick call. Keep going or step back out (into the cold). The temperature won and I resigned myself to asking for a spot for one. A female server glanced over to an empty table (another was occupied by a group of four men, who seemed to be their on their lunch break, and looked to have been employed at a construction site judging from their steel-toed boots). I received the laminated menu sheet and decided to play it safe and go with one of their set combinations. “A”, I think it was. Strangely, the woman did not say a single word to me when I entered, gave my order and when I went up to the til to pay. I think there was some shyness and language issues involved, so can accept that.