Café D’Lite – Vancouver, BC

Café D’Lite
3144 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 733-8882
Mon~Thu: 11am to 8pm | Fri~Sat: 11am to 9pm | Sun: Closed

Cafe D'Lite on Urbanspoon

Perhaps its relative geographic obscurity on the far west side of the city, the unassuming and some would say uninviting exterior facade or just the power of rumors, but it seems to me that Café D’Lite has a unique impression in the minds of many Vancouver diners in that although popular, reports of its demise seem always front and center.  Call it the Mark Twain of the city’s restaurant scene.

I’ve dined there several times over the past few years as its the closest spot for me in satisfying any cravings for Hainanese Chicken Rice (their “house special”), but on my most recent visit I decided to get a take away order as I was in a hurry.  Pictured above is the large size ($11.95), which is more than enough for one hungry person.  Unfortunately, the non-dine in order of this does not include the soup as a takeout item – I didn’t ask but assume its their lack of appropriate styrofoam containers.

While the absence of the soup was a letdown, it was not as large as the disappointment I felt when I returned home and opened up the package containing my meal and realized that the traditional condiments were not really there.  As the image above attests, there was a small dallop of chilli sauce, with a small spoonful of a ginger sauce added in the corner of the container, but no dark soy sauce!  In hindsight, I wonder if you had to ask or pay for that separately…?

The chicken itself was a bit lukewarm, probably from the time it had spent layered over top of the rice (which itself, was not so flavorful and somewhat drier than I like), but the meat’s texture was tender.  The thin layer of skin was not overly gelatanous, which can be good or bad depending on your personal preference, and the boneless factor made for easy eating.  All in all, not the best version of this southeast Asian creation I’ve ever had (too many great ones I’ve eaten in Singapore have ruined me), but not horrible as to not wanting to ever have it here again.

I must try to remember to order some of their other dishes such as their Singaporean Laksa or their Malaysian curries.  As long as they continue to operate and get the customers that are aware they are still in business, I’m sure I’ll be back and among them.

Cafe D'Lite on Urbanspoon

Prata Man Singapore Cuisine – Richmond, BC

Prata Man Singapore Cuisine
180-9020 Capstan Way
Richmond, BC
(604) 278 1348

Prata Man on Urbanspoon

My travels in the past three years (2006-2008) have taken me to Singapore a whopping six times.  And those are round trips from North America.  If I threw in the short haul trips back and forth from there to neighboring countries as well, that figure could climb up to twelve to fifteen.  Yes, the Lion City and I are good friends.

If you’ve ever done the flying, you know its a long haul.  A big part of what makes it all worth it though, is the great food culture that can be enjoyed there.  And for me, a great roti prata is one thing that I look forward too each and every time, morning, day and night…

The ultimate Singapore-style roti prata for me, is that delicate, light and crispy variation found in the famous places at Jalan Kayu, which I’ve commented on previously.  But unfortunately, Prata Man does the opposite, with its thicker, moister pancake type.  It felt almost like a green onion cake, with the oil having been absorbed and really noticeable when trying to tear it apart or when taking a bite.  These were massive too, IHOP pancake large.

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Food Junction – Singapore

Food Junction
5th Floor, Funan DigitalLife Mall
109 North Bridge Road, Singapore
Tel: +65 6336 8327 (Mall Customer Service)

Whenever I am in Singapore, as I am this week, eating and shopping tend to be my favorite off-time activities.  Where else can you get such an abundance of both, and at such a great level (in terms of quality and price) that is the envy of the world.  Granted, there are some places where this bar does come down a notch or two, but still thinking in terms of what you get in North America for almost the same thing and the large drop off in price found here, you are still getting away with a fantastic deal.  And for anyone that knows me, high tech gadgets and electronic goods are some of my most favorite things, and here in Singapore, they make sure to also have a well stocked food court in the IT-dedicated shopping centres.  What more could you ask for?

The Funan DigitalLife Mall (sometimes referred to as the Funan Centre, or Funan IT Mall) is a popular place for both locals and tourists alike, especially those looking to purchase a new laptop computer.  Frankly, I don’t know how one can differentiate between one store and another that is carrying the same product.  Price negotiation skills are paramount, in order to get the best deal in the house.  And after all that back-and-forth with salespeople, you tend to get hungry.  And after spending a small fortune on a new electronic toy, well perhaps your budget for your post-purchase meal needs to take a hit. No need to fret, as the Food Junction comes to the rescue!

This food court located on the fifth floor of the mall, is quite generic.  By this I mean, each station is not a separate tenant with their own restaurant/brand name.  Rather, the stalls are segregated by type of cuisine, and named as such (eg. Chinese food, Indian food, Korean food, etc.).  As you can see from the image, a simple, understated plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice.  Served with a bowl of steaming chicken stock soup, and a sampling of the dipping sauces one usually requires.  All this for SGD 3.80 (equivalent to 3 Canadian dollars at today’s rate).  Throw in the air conditioning in the seating area, and the fellows around who are quickly cleaning up tables and clearing away trays, and it makes the amount I paid feel even better.

For this quantity and cost, you are getting what you pay for.  It comes out quick, slapped down on your cafeteria plate by some young kids behind the counter.  For the dipping sauces, you pour what you want from the bottles into a small dish, and taking everything away on your tray to an available table on the floor.  The slices of chicken breast meat are thin, with the gelatinous skin on top very limited.  The rice was surprisingly good though, very fragrant and not over/under cooked.  The accompanying bowl of soup was very pedestrian.  But when you think about how much I paid for it, and the equivalent of what I could have gotten at say McDonald’s (yes, located down on the main floor of this mall), I’d say I made out well with a conservative sized meal that did put a dent into my hunger, after an hour of so of patrolling all the floors in this building looking at expensive toys.