Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Dinner at Suika (dine in during COVID-19)

Phase 2 in BC has started mid-May, and since then, restaurants have slowly been opening up for dining service with limited seating. We decided to wait until today before risking going out to enjoy a delicious meal at Suika.

Read my post on things I'd do first when things get better in BC. Check out what's second on the list.

First Time to Dine In

How's the experience? I want to say the same, but not really. Suika is a popular Japanese restaurant along West Broadway near Fir Street. They're usually jam-packed with people for both their lunch and dinner service.

Today, only a maximum of 40 people is allowed in the restaurant. The layout can be divided into three sections, and based on my observation, only 2-3 tables per section has a customer. Specifically, in the location we're in where there are four tables, only two are being used. 

There's sanitizer by the entrance which we used, and we maintained a reasonable distance to the host who walked us to our table. He gave us the menu that is printed on paper, which he didn't take back after we placed our order.

The only time someone came in less than 6 feet is when a server wearing a mask would place our food in the table.

The Food

Suika has the best katsu curry in Metro Vancouver. If you love Japanese curry, please give the one at Suika a try.

A bowl of Japanese-style curry, fried pork (tonkotsu)
Signature Beef Curry (Suika's original stewed beef tendon curry) topped with Tonkatsu (pork loin cutlet)

The food is still fantastic. I thought it's even better than I remember, but it could just be the anticipation and excitement of eating here again after a long time. We had it delivered in April, but it's just not the same as eating here fresh from the kitchen.

Hubby had his usual double tonkatsu. We also had an appetizer for sharing and desserts.

Yuzu Tuna Tataki
Yuzu Tuna Tataki (lightly seared albacore tuna seasoned with Yuzu, topped with ponzu jelly and crispy garlic chips)

I think this is the first dish from Suika that I didn't enjoy. 
Double Tonkatsu Set
Double Tonkatsu Set (2 pieces of fried pork loin cutlet using special fresh panko served with two kinds of dipping sauce, rice, and miso soup)

Frozen Matcha Brulee
Frozen Matcha Brulee (Frozen matcha creme brulee served with whipped cream and red bean sauce)

Is it worth it?

Yes. Everyone is observing physical distancing, which helped put my mind at ease. More importantly, I get to eat the great food Suika serves again and then can continue to provide employment.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Dinner from Royal Seoul House

I love slow Saturdays like today. We went to Staples to send off a package to Nova Scotia. Then, we decided to order take out dinner from our favourite Korean restaurant, Royal Seoul House.

We're still not brave enough to eat in a restaurant. I'm willing to go in, pick up food, then go out, but outside our house and my parent's place, we haven't spent more than 30 minutes in other establishments. Oh, that's not entirely true, we attended Mass twice now.

Anyway, before heading to the restaurant, I called in with my selection. We walked around the neighbourhood and went in 20 minutes later. My order is ready, and I can't wait.

Royal Seoul House was empty. Although, patrons may be eating in the private space for physical distancing.

Favourite Korean Dishes

Unlike in the Philippines, Korean dishes are not as popular here in Canada. They're also not that many Korean restaurants, unlike Japanese cuisine, which is nearly everywhere. I ordered our favourite Korean dishes.

Banchan
Banchan
I didn't expect our take out to come with banchan.

Goon Mandu

Mandu is a Korean dumpling. I love dumplings from all countries, and Mandu is definitely second on the list (right after Xiao Long Bao).

A row of fried Korean dumplings called Mandu
Goon Mandu (deep-fried beef dumplings)

Japchae

This is my mom's favourite, and we have learned to love.

Japchae
Japchae (stir-fried potato noodle with assorted vegetables and beef)

Seafood Pancake

This is a recent (when we moved to Canada) discovery for me. Growing up in the Philippines means an abundance of seafood, and this dish perfectly encapsulated all the fantastic seafood.

Seafood Pancake
Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake) (Flour pancake with green onion and assorted seafood)

I'm happy to buy from the Royal Seoul House and support local businesses in our neighbourhood. I can't wait to have the courage to dine in again and enjoy their BBQ.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Lunch from Shameless Buns

Today, hubby had a dentist appointment, and because the weather is beautiful, he decided to walk to the dental office (1.6 km). On the way there, he spotted the Shameless Buns food truck! He sent me a text message right away.

After waiting for 1.5 hours for his appointment and walk back home, I enjoyed Shameless Buns.

Shameless Buns favourite

My favourite from Shameless Buns is the Signature Sinigang Fries. If you're going to pick a side, choose this one. It's a Canadian-favourite flavour of salty and sour, just like your salt and vinegar chips, but instead of processed chips, it's freshly fried french fries.


A container full of french fries.
Signature Sinigang Fries

Something New

Hubby called me because he couldn't decide what else to get. I asked him to read the menu while I look it up on their website as well. We agreed on Jacked Up Coconut Fries because I love anything with coconut (gata). I enjoyed it. Though I'm a rice girl and I could eat up the jackfruit coconut adobo (ginataang langka) any given day. Yum!


French fries topped with jackfruit coconut adobo, tomato, green onion, and garlic chips
Jacked Up Coconut Fries
Crispy Sinigang Fries, Jackfruit Coconut Adobo, Coconut Adobo Jus, Garlic Calamansi Aioli, Tomato, Green Onion, and Garlic Chips
  

Happy Ending

To end our carbo-loaded meal, we ordered Pandesal French Toast. I love the mango sauce it went with and it's so soft. I think I need to buy a dozen pandesal and just munch on it.

Pandesal French Toast
Pandesal French Toast

Filipino Heritage Month

I'm so happy that we get to support another Filipino business this month. We're on a "diet," and we weren't supposed to buy outside food (i.e. food from restaurants). But, we wouldn't pass up the opportunity to support Shameless Buns.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Ube Cake from Kaye Bakes

I continue my support of Filipino businesses and entrepreneurs by ordering Ube (purple yam) cake from Kaye Bakes.

Kaye Bakes for Celebration

Today we're celebrating three things: my mom's birthday, my youngest sister's high school graduation, and father's day. It only fits to order some cake, and I thought a cake we can't buy from Costco would be fitting.

How I ordered from Kaye Bakes?

I reached out on their Facebook page Tuesday to ask if they can do a Saturday delivery or if it's too late. I also asked for prices and if they can deliver.

They were able to deliver on a Saturday at Richmond. I paid via Interac-E Transfer.

Ube Cake

Purple yam is famous in the Philippines. The colour is unique, and it's delicious! We love Ube cake in the Philippines, and I didn't think we would be able to enjoy some here in Canada.
Ube Cake from Kaye Bakes
Ube Cake from Kaye Bakes
Box of ube cake and calling card of Kaye Bakes
Ube Cake from Kaye Bakes

Side view of the ube cake from Kaye Bakes

You should hear the glee from my younger sister. She loves Ube cake the most among all of us and I'm glad she enjoyed what I ordered. 

Contact Kaye Bakes

Do you want Filipino cakes delivered in Metro Vancouver? Contact Kaye Bakes on Facebook or call them at 778-697-8143.

Business card of Kaye Bakes
Contact Kaye Bakes

I'll definitely order again for my birthday - mocha cake!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Coconut Jam from Bukobaba

I wrote a blog post about ten Filipino businesses in Metro Vancouver to support this month (Filipino Heritage Month).

Where to get Coconut Jam in Metro Vancouver?

One of the businesses on the list is Bukobaba. They sell premium coconut food and wellness products. Browsing through their website and store and learning about their business, I discovered that their products are available in Meinhardt Fine Foods. We do our grocery shopping in Meinhardt, and I decided to look for Bukobaba, and I found it! Woot!

Stacked bottles of Bukobaba coconut jam
Bukobaba Products at Meinhardt Fine Foods

I purchased one bottle of the Coco Jam + Cacao, and we're hoping to use it as a spread to our sandwich, instead of Nutella. We can't wait to try it.

A bottle of Coco Jam + Cacao from Bukobaba with a Canadian Flag
Coco Jam + Cacao from Bukobaba purchased from Meinhardt Fine Foods.

I can't wait to support more Filipino businesses, not just this Filipino Heritage Month, but for the rest of the year and beyond.

June 18 update

We finally opened our jar of Coco Jam + Cacao. It was difficult to open so we put the jar under hot running water for a minute. Then, I mixed the contents of the jar with a teaspoon. The coconut part is solid because of the cold weather here. 

After mixing and the consistency looked right, we put some on toasted whole wheat bread and it was delicious! I think I need more bread. I'll probably order some pandesal to enjoy it with.


Breakfast at Tim Hortons

Before the pandemic, hubby and I used to have breakfast every Sunday at Tim Hortons before going to Mass. Today, we decided to do that again. We grabbed our usual Tim Hortons favourite.

We had two Farmers Breakfast Wrap (sausage for me and bacon for him), a small single single for hubby and a small hot chocolate for me. It was drizzling this morning, and we decided not to eat in the store, so we found a spot under a building awning, and we enjoyed our food there.

I'm holding a cup of small hot chocolate and Farmers Breakfast Wrap from Tim Hortons
Look! Balancing a small cup of hot chocolate and Farmers Breakfast Wrap from Tim Hortons in one hand as I try to take a photo.

Hubby holding a Tim Hortons bag. Inside the bag is a Farmers Breakfast Wrap.
Hubby's Farmers Breakfast Wrap

I'm hoping we can go back to doing this consistently.


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Lunch from Little Ongpin Restaurant

Last June 12, I wrote a post about ten Filipino-owned businesses in Metro Vancouver to support because it's Filipino Heritage Month.

Today, on top of ordering from LA Chicken, I called Little Ongpin Restaurant yesterday to place an order for pick-up at 11:30 AM this morning. Yes, we're having a feast at home!

What to get from Little Ongpin Restaurant?

I absolutely love their Lumpiang shanghai and pork barbecue. My brother and sister enjoyed their Chami noodles, while my mom likes the kare-kare.

Six Filipino-style Pork Barbecue in skewers from Little Ongpin Restaurant
Two orders of lumpiang shanhai (Filipino-style spring rolls)
Lumpiang Shanghai
A bowl of Kare-Kare from Little Ongpin Restaurant
Kare-Kare

A bowl of Chami noodles from Little Ongpin Restaurant
Chami

I have tried a few Filipino restaurants in Metro Vancouver, like Pin-Pin, Aling Mary, Josephine's, and Bahay Kubo all the way in Surrey. But my favourite Filipino restaurant is still Little Ongpin Restaurant in Richmond, BC. 


Lunch from LA Chicken

LA Chicken has the best-fried chicken in Metro Vancouver. It's flavourful, crispy, and crunchy just how fried chicken should be. With that said, there's a long line of people to get inside the small shop today, and that makes me happy.

I'm so proud of folks at Richmond, supporting their local restaurants to help keep them open. I ordered 12 pcs of fried chicken (thighs and leg), half original and half spicy.

Spicy Fried Chicken
Spicy Fried Chicken from LA Chicken
Original Fried Chicken from LA Chicken
Original Fried Chicken from LA Chicken

There's a long line of people outside of LA Chicken
LA Chicken
A couple people in front of us while lining up to enter LA Chicken
Line in front of us

This is inside the empty LA Chicken
Inside LA Chicken

How to order from LA Chicken?

There's a long line outside because only two people at a time are allowed inside. The person at the counter takes your order, makes you pay, then he goes to the back to pack your order. He then leaves it at the table on the left side of the cash register, and you'll be on your way. Then, he can help the next customer.

The process is quick, and I saw a couple more men at the back, cooking the chicken as fast as they could to serve the hungry line outside.

Let's continue supporting small, local, and family-owned restaurants.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Ten Filipino Businesses to Support in Metro Vancouver

June 12 is the Philippine's Independence Day (#FilipinoHeritageMonth), and as such, I thought of promoting some of the Filipino-owned business here in Vancouver. 

Filipino Style BBQ Booth
This was taken July 1, 2016, during the Canada Day celebration at Steveston, Richmond BC. It's the first time I saw the Filipino-Canadian community since moving to Canada in 2015.

As I research and read about each business I highlighted here, I realized how much I miss the Philippines and how proud I am of the Filipino and Filipina behind each of these enterprises.

✓ Bukobaba

Bukobaba sells premium coconut food and wellness products. Buko is the Tagalog word for coconut. I'll look for their product at Meinhardt Fine Foods since that's now my default grocery. It's also perfect since I'm almost out of coconut oil when I cook vegan Laing.

June 14 Update: I purchased a bottle of Bukobaba Coco Jam + Cacao from Meinhardt. More details I shared on this post.

A bottle of Coco Jam + Cacao from Bukobaba and a Canadian flag
Coco Jam + Cacao from Bukobaba

Coco Cakes

Coco Cakes sells Filipino Mochi Cake. I have to order some to describe and understand what it is. However, I love the story of the founder, Dan. He became unemployed because of COVID-19, and that time turned into a beautiful business. Good job, Dan! I'm also biased since my mom is from Cebu and his parents are also from the beautiful island.

Ensaymada Ensaimada Moment

Ensaimada Moment sells the famous Filipino pastry Ensaymada. I'm already drooling, looking at their page. I better figure out how to order some, since my siblings love Ensaymada.

Kapé Coffee

Kapé Coffee makes coffee from the Philippines available in Canada. I don't drink coffee, but I think my colleagues would enjoy them once our office is open. Kape is the Tagalog word for coffee. This social enterprise source their coffee from Indigenous women growers from the Philippines.

Kasama Chocolate

As the company name implies, Kasama Chocolate sells chocolates with cacao beans from the Philippines. Now all my friends and colleagues in Canada know what they're getting for Christmas.

✓ Kayebakes

Kayebakes make available classic Filipino cakes and desserts we love. I was browsing their Facebook page and was thinking about what I could buy from them, then a post with mocha cake showed up. Now, I know where to get the cake for my birthday!

June 20 Update: We're having a triple celebration this weekend and I ordered a cake from Kaye Bakes. Read the post here

Ube Cake from Kaye Bakes
Ube Cake from Kaye Bakes

La Meryenda

La Meryenda is translated to "The Snack." Checking their menu, I immediately want to order Spanish bread. We used to eat this as a snack when we were kids.

Panaderia Corner

At this point in this list, I was thinking to myself, yet another bakery. However, Panaderia Corner have Ube pandesal and cheesy bread, and that's enough to get me drooling for more Filipino bread.

SAGO TOGO

SAGO TOGO sells taho. And they're in UberEats. I just hope they deliver all the way near South Granville or Richmond.

✓ Little Ongpin Restaurant

Little Ongpin is the first Filipino restaurant I tried when I moved to Canada. I remember entering the restaurant for the first time in 2015 and was teary-eyed during my walk home because I missed the Philippines so much. I highly recommend their Lumpiang Shanghai and Chami noodles.

June 13 Update: We spent a day in Richmond with my mom and siblings and we feasted on Filipino food from Little Ongpin. Here's a link to the post I wrote.
 
A bowl of Kare-Kare from Little Ongpin Restaurant
Kare-Kare from Little Ongpin Restaurant in Richmond, BC



I hope you enjoy my short list. I'll make an indvidual post about each business after I've ordered from them. Hubby and I already discussing which one we want to try first.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A Starbucks drink during COVID-19

I haven't been to Starbucks since March 15 (Sunday). Today, we decided to grab a couple Frappuccino just because we have points to use for a free drink.

Physical Distancing

There is a couple and a lady waiting when I went inside. They're in line for mobile order pick-up. There is signage on the floor on where to stand to ensure people are physically distancing.

Physical distancing inside Starbucks
Physical distancing and lines inside Starbucks

The Starbucks barista asked for my name and said my order is ready, yay! I picked it up on the table and off I go. Before I exit, another barista is wiping the door (which seems to be always open) with sanitizer.

Inside Starbucks
Inside Starbucks

Starbucks Drinks

We went home and enjoyed our Frappuccino with a homemade egg sandwich while watching Tangled on Disney+.

Starbucks Frappuccino
Tall Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino and Venti Double Chocolaty Chip Creme Frappuccino

I can't wait for Starbucks to slowly open up the dining area. I would love to hangout in one again.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Lunch from Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza

My youngest sister insisted we order pizza from Canadian 2-for-1 pizza. I said, sure, we can try it. I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.

Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza Mediterranean
Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza Mediterranean
Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza Mediterranean
Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza Mediterranean

Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza Four Cheese Pleaser
Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza Four Cheese Pleaser
Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza
Canadian 2-for-1 pizza

We were discussing why this pizza is so good, and we've come up with the following reasons:
  1. The dough is chewy and tastes delicious.
  2. The topping is superb.
  3. Finally, the sauce, dough, topping ratio is perfect.
We don't like the dough of Domino's Pizza. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut can be a bit too oily and heavy. And my sister pointed at that both chains have too much sauce for the dough and topping.

Be sure to try Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza if it's available in your area.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Jollibee in Vancouver

This is not a drill! Jollibee is almost here in Vancouver! Yes! We don't have to drive all the way to Edmonton or Seattle for our Jollibee fix. You just have to take transit or drive to Downtown Vancouver core to get Chicken Joy and Peach Mango Pie.

Jollibee Feast

Where will the Jollibee be in Vancouver?

The location is going to be at 833 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC.

Why is Jollibee so popular?

My mom and I had this discussion. She said she doesn't understand why we're (me and my siblings) so excited about Jollibee - it's not even that good. The nerve! Anyway, my sister and I explained that more than the food we love (i.e. Peach Mango Pie), Jollibee is our childhood. It's what we grew up with. It's a symbol of being Filipino. It's a reminder of home.

Jollibee Longganisa with Fried Rice and Sunny Side Up Egg
Jollibee Longganisa with Fried Rice and Sunny Side Up Egg

Jollibee Corned Beef with Fried Rice and Sunny Side Up Egg
Jollibee Corned Beef with Fried Rice and Sunny Side Up Egg

Jollibee famous Fried Chicken Joy
Jollibee Fried Chicken Joy

What to get from Jollibee?

I would imagine the line would be long, but I doubt it would be as long as Winnipeg or Edmonton, where there's just more Filipino. You should get the Peach Mango Pie. My sister's Canadian boyfriend is obsessed with it as much as we are. I would also recommend the Jolly Spaghetti with little hotdogs and sweet sauce. There's a combo of Jolly Spaghetti and Chicken Joy - that'll be my order. If I'm feeling happy, I'll also order the Palabok (Filipino noodle dish) with fries - random.

Jollibee Peach Mangoe Pie
Jollibee Peach Mango Pie

Jollibee Palabok and Chicken Joy Meal
 Palabok and Chicken Joy Meal

Honestly, my favourite dishes from Jollibee are the breakfast meals.

When will it open?

Hopefully, soon! Although, understandably, the pandemic would delay things.

For now, I'm ecstatic to have Jollibee in Vancouver and at Downtown at that. It's one bus from my place, and when we're back in the office, I'll order a box for all my colleagues to try Peach Mango Pie.

Source: https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/food-and-drink/jollibee-opening-first-vancouver-location-2411896

May 2021 Update

We live near South Granville, but don't go to Downtown Vancouver often. However, during the last week of May, hubby took a bus going through Downtown and was able to take a photo of the Jollibee location.

Jollibee in Vancouver