Shoryumen – Richmond, BC

Shoryumen Noodle House
7100 Elmbridge Way
Richmond, BC

It has been a while since I was last in this area of Richmond. In fact, my main purpose of driving out there was for other reasons and I just happened to come across this hijacked car park that is now devoted to three separate food trailers and is chain-link fenced off in its own little private prison yard.  I’m curious to see if there is any further expansion or perhaps a more properly cordoned off area, perhaps with some increased commercial sponsorship to make this more than just a stand-and-eat attraction.  If anyone can do it, its those astute, savvy, well-monied Chinese business people who have made Richmond a well known foodie destination.

Of the trio of stands currently occupying this space, the one serving up the most familiar (to most) food is perhaps Shoryumen.  Quick and easy Japanese soup noodles.  With all of the competition in the Vancouver area for ramen being prepared in more proper environments, I had my serious doubts that anything remotely adequate could be made out of the back of a trailer.

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Lost in the 50’s Drive-in – Burnaby, BC

Lost in the 50’s Drive-in
7741 Edmonds Street
Burnaby, BC
(604) 521-2813

December 2010 re-visit post here

Original post below:

Lost in the 50’s, indeed.  That was my initial thought as I zipped past this lot that housed what appeared to be – in a brief, nonchalant sideways glance out of my moving car – an old school diner.  Without giving it any much thought, I continued on my way out of town and didn’t really think about it again until I came across it this week while out in the area again, now several months later.  In actuality I passed it completely, despite the fact that this time I actually concentrated on locating a visible sign for the business.  As I made my way further northeast and began heading down eastward into New Westminster, I was positive it couldn’t have been this far down Edmonds Street and made a swift u-turn.  As I slowed down to the intersection at Canada Way, this is what I saw (coming from the other direction of course)….

Exactly.  I know what you’re thinking – no more sign!  Or was there one to begin with?  And was this place even open?  A small commercial neon OPEN sign suggested it was still truly in business, and I pulled into the nearby parking lot, albeit from the wrong direction (I think I drove right into the ‘going out’ side of their drive-in lane).  Lucky for me, I was the only customer. 🙂

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Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – Kahuku, HI

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
56-505 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku, HI 96731
Tel: (808) 221-1518

No trip along with windward side of Oahu up to the North Shore would be complete without a stop at one of the many shrimp trucks conveniently parked roadside for passing hungry travelers.

And probably the first one you’ll see, and the most famous, is Giovanni’s.  Their prominent signage situated on the flatbed of the above white pickup truck is one you cannot miss as you drive along Kamehameha Highway.

The general eating area is a basic setup of picnic tables covered by a large tent tarp, perhaps to ward off any unexpected rainfall that can hit this part of the island, especially in the fall/winter months.  As you’ll noticed when you get closer to the shrimp truck itself, graffiti is everywhere, even on the white fence surrounding the compound.  I figure its a way for tourists and die hard fans to leave their mark and stake their claim to have eaten the shrimp at Giovanni’s.  Without a marker handy, I had to pass on this tradition.

By the time we arrived at the truck it was already 6pm, so we just missed their cutoff of 6:30pm.  Despite the end of day timing, people were still lined up and coming into the parking area behind us as we stood in line.  I wondered why they didn’t stay open even later as the demand is clearly there and the sun did not set til past 8pm (which we caught later on at the amazing Sunset Beach, a short ten minute ride away).

With four of us in our party, we thought we’d try out all four types on the menu and share, including the garlic hot dog.  Unfortunately, we were told that only item #1 was available this late in the day.  Not sure if it was due to running out of ingredients or plain laziness.  Part of me feels it was the latter.

But no matter, as I’d heard the scampi was their best offering.  For a dozen shrimp, two heapings of rice, it priced out at $13, which I’d also heard had gone up from $10 in just a few years.  A ten minute or so wait, and our number was called and two of us returned to the window to pick up our plates.

Our individual reactions to the shrimp scampi was a mixed bag.  I was of the opinion that it was just so-so.  It was heavily loaded with garlic, which I don’t mind, but was doused in lemon butter, making for a really soggy task to try and eat by picking apart the meat from the shells.  The shrimp were in my opinion, a touch on the overdone side – which made me wonder if coming so late in the day I ran into a cook who was rushing through the last couple of orders on higher heat than normal.

The rice itself was very moist and I didn’t really eat any of it.  Part of me wished there was a side salad instead, with a sharp, tart dressing to cut through the heaviness of the plate, as even the rice was slathered with the same oily, garlicky sauce.

As mentioned earlier, the doors to the shrimp truck closed promptly at 6:30pm, with a last call announcement from the window asking if anyone needed any napkins.  This strict compliance with the recognized closing time caught me by a surprise, as its usually not the case in laid back Hawaii.

A washroom built in a structure behind the eating area provided some facilities to get the oiliness off of one’s hands, so don’t despair if you run out of paper napkins to wipe the mess and the truck is long gone.

Also, situated perpendicular to the shrimp truck was another vehicle that served up other drinks and desserts.  As we waited for our order to be prepared, we got a half pineapple to act as an appetizer (seems this is the fruit of choice for pre-meal munchies, as we found out later that week at a luau).

One side of the quarter-cut pineapple was covered in a fine powder called li hing mui, which tasted like plum and had a unique sweet, sour, and salty profile.  I can’t say I really liked it and would rather prefer to have the delicious, sweet Hawaiian pineapple on its own.

For the relative price, I’d say you could probably get the same shrimp scampi dish in a restaurant in the middle of Honolulu.  Some places down in Waikiki are also known to have it, and you can also come across the odd street vendor selling the same.  So I thought the price point was high, given it was in such a secluded place and quite the drive from the main part of the island.

I suppose the real value is the scenery you take in as you make your way up to the North Shore, and to say you had shrimp off the trucks there, thus checking off one item from the general Hawaii tourist list.

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck on Urbanspoon

Island Freeze – Honolulu, HI

Island Freeze
International Market Place
2330 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii
Tel: (808) 971-2080
Open Daily 10:00am-10:30pm

Smack dab in the middle of the tourist and hotel district of Waikiki, is an outdoor shopping centre called the International Market Place that has its own little food court area.

It is a reprieve price-wise, from all of the other eateries and restaurants that market to out-of-towners milling around on the nearby streets.  This eating area is no different in setup from any standard food court you find in a North American mall – only that the food tenants are all mom-and-pop and represent a wide variety of cultures.  Surprisingly, no commercialized McDonald’s or Starbucks inside.  Just rattling a few off from memory, I recall seeing food offerings that were Chinese, Korean, Greek, Mexican, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Hawaiian, and a few others.

As reported earlier, I was already in the area and wanted something cool and refreshing as the summer heat was still bearing down hard and I needed to rehydrate some more after my quick meal at Ono. The photo above was taken after the sun went down, facing the main entrance of the International Market Place.

Now I’d heard of Hawaiian-style Shave Ice before coming to the islands (and got some recommendations from my Honolulu-based friends of some of the best ones to try during my stay – look for future posts), and I headed straight to the Island Freeze.  I wanted to get a quick introduction to the various types and flavours that are part of this ice cold treat.

Here is a bare bones shave ice, undecorated by any other ingredients aside from some liquid flavourings.  Island Freeze allows you to choose up to three flavours to add, and I went with strawberry, lychee and pineapple.  As you can see, it came served in this flower-shaped, light plastic cup container, with a spoon and straw to help you eat it.

Now I realize its just ice, but the texture of it was different from say a 7-11 Slurpee or if you were to slash off fine layers of ice with a sharp blade.  Its neither too flaky so the flavourings aren’t absorbed, or too soft such as in a Slurpee where the liquid dominates.  I think its a combination of the way its shaved and the temperature of the ice that keeps it just so.  The trio of tastes made eating this interesting, as you could just shuffle the cup around to another section and scoop up a new flavour sensation.

All in all, a very refreshing treat!

Island Freeze on Urbanspoon

Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill – Richmond, BC

Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill
#112-3800 Bayview Street
Richmond, BC
(604) 275-6587

On an afternoon photo assignment taking in the sights and hearing great stories from a dedicated crew of skilled craftsmen ship builders and restorers in the picturesque, frontier seaport town better known as the Steveston Heritage Fishing Village, I decided to end my day with a self-rewarding pint.

Wharfs, piers, boardwalks… wherever they are, always seem to be a preferred base for those establishments that seem to cater to both locals and visitors alike, often with seafood and cold drinks on the menu.  Shady Island Seafood is no exception.

With a deck side view of the neighboring Fisherman’s Wharf, and a cool breeze drifting in from the water, this open section running parallel to the pathway made for a great spot for people watching.  But by then, my mind had switched off from wanting to photograph anything, and I resorted to my simple P&S camera during my meal for images of my meal.

Sticking as local as I could, I opted for a selection from Granville Island Brewing in their Cypress Honey Lager.  Crisp, clear lagers are my favorite beers.  This one was perhaps milder in tone and not as “sweet” as say other “honey”-branded beers I’ve had, so was a refreshing way for me to unwind.  I could have easily had a few more and spent more time watching folks stroll by, but alas, it was getting a bit chilly and I was without a coat.

Despite having been busy for most of the day, I wasn’t terribly hungry.  Perhaps it was the cups of coffee that I had earlier to keep me going that were keeping me feeling full.   So sticking with the stereotypical behavior of one visiting a waterside landing, I took the easy way out and asked for their Seafood Chowder.  Noted as “world famous” on the signboard, and as “mama’s award-winning” on the menu, it peaked my curiosity.

It definitely had “substance” and was very rich and creamy in texture, plenty of pieces of salmon, clams and potatoes, all encompassed in a vibrant red, slightly peppery, tomato-base.  I’ve not experienced many of these more east coast-style chowders, but I can say that I enjoyed it and will look to seek out more of them.

A fairly basic house green salad which was nothing to write home about, rounded out my small meal (not pictured).

The combination of unwinding alone and having a quiet, non-stuffing meal and the quaint surroundings led me to feeling pretty good about my light dinner.  Under different circumstances, would I have come away with such a positive impression – I’m not sure.  But for the view, the brew and a tasty bowl of chowder, I can’t say I had any complaints and would drop by again and check out their fish and chips (which seemed like a popular thing at their takeaway window).

Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon