Earlier in the year when it was still sunny and warm a group of my friends went to La Taqueria for lunch. Its a small shop located across from the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line station thats always bustling. Its an order first sit later restaurant and it can be kind of tight during busy hours but we were lucky to get seats, for 6 of us no less! All of their tacos are served on 2 corn tortillas which are nice and resistant to any soggy toppings. Meat tacos are $2.50 each or 4 for $9.50, while veggie tacos are $2.00 each or 4 for $7.00
What we ate
Rajas Con Crema – roasted poblano peppers with creamed corn, sour cream & mexican cheese
Al Pastor - pork marinated in achiote chilli and pineapple
Rajio is the youngest child of the Kingyo Izakaya family (with Suika being the trendy middle child that everyone loves – no middle child syndrome here!) and is the smallest and cheapest location. It’s located near UBC Point Grey campus so its popular amongst students and young families in the area. I’ve wanted to try it for a while but always end up at a different izakaya instead, but tonight was the night!
What we ate
Ebi Mayo is standard fare at any izakaya. The prawns here were large and fresh, the batter was surprisingly delicate (I prefer it a bit crispier) and there was a ton of slightly-spicy mayo (as there should be!) I would rank it solidly in the middle of the pack, not the best I’ve had but by no means disappointing.
Floata is a gigantic restaurant in Chinatown known for having capacity like no other and not the best food or service around. My memories of Floata are as follows: Lunch during field trip in elementary school, dim sum with guests from out of town, and banquet with grandparents for some people I didn’t know. So my memories of it are pretty limited. One Friday when looking for a place to eat we found both places we wanted to try (Phenom Penh and Bao Bei) closed, it was raining, we were cold, and Floata presented itself as a shining beacon on the second floor across the street from Bao Bei.
What we ate: (I’m not even going to bother trying with names)
On our way back from Downtown one of my friends dropped me off at 4th and Burrard so I could take the bus back to UBC. It was around 12:30 pm so I figured I’d walk down the street and find something for lunch. I ended up at Noodle Box because I have some friends that rave about it and will go out of their way to go and because it seems to be a popular instagram #foodporn spot for UBC students living in Kitsilano.
What I ate
Spicy Peanut Noodle Box
- You chose your level of spice as well as a protein (I went medium, chicken)
- “Rich and creamy Indonesian peanut sauce mixed with ribbon noodles, Asian greens, and even more roasted peanuts”
- The vegetables were broccoli, peppers, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, and cilantro
- I was not a fan of the uncooked (or hardly cooked) vegetables in the noodles!
- Sauce was a good balance of rich nuttiness and heat though
- At $13 for a bowl of noodles its very pricey, when you consider more authentic alternatives in Vancouver
Not bad for what it is – southeast asian inspired noodles. However in Vancouver, a town dominated by authentic Asian cuisines, I believe there are better options for better prices. I was thinking that a restaurant like this would be successful in Victoria, I later looked it up and thats where it was from!
Wo Fung Noodle Express is spin-off or sister or the original amazing chicken wing and cart noodle joint in Richmond. I say it is all of these because supposedly the owners of this new location are the original owners of the Aberdeen food court location (Wu Fung Dessert), who then sold it, but decided to get back into the game, and reopened this second restaurant with a confusingly similar name. I come here somewhat frequently but for some reason I always forget my camera, but I finally got some pictures (but this blog is being written almost 2 months after I last went)!I prefer Wo Fung because its not in Aberdeen, which means easier parking, less crowds, and less of a wait!
What we ate (and drank):
Ice Lemon Tea
- Pretty standard, I prefer a more sweet version though
- Its a weird thing to base preference on but I really like these thicker, stronger cups! (compared to a bubble tea cup)
Ice Milk Tea
- Also pretty standard but I find the sweetness level is better
- But these drinks aren’t what you come here for!
The Pie Shoppe has been on my radar for some time now. I absolutely loved the idea of a tiny shop making nothing but pies, serving locally roasted coffee, and just on the edge of Chinatown. One day after some field work in the DTES I went to Chinatown to eat and then over to the Pie Shoppe for dessert.
What we ate
Pear Apple Ginger Pie
- The crust on both of these pies were super flaky and quite enjoyable. I’ve got to respect a good pastry.
- All of the flavours were balanced in the filling and it was sweet but not overwhelmingly
- I wish the filling were a bit more dense and thicker
Chocolate Pecan Pie
- Same great crust
- The pecan part of the pie was lighter than most pecan pies I’ve had and I appreciate that (I usually find it too sticky and sweet)
- The chocolate was well used and added a nice balance to the sweetness and a different texture
When we went the staff were busy chatting with their friends and seemed uninterested in serving us. Unfortunately the store was tiny and the employees (owners, I think) and their couple of friends were taking up the entire store so we had to sit outside! I also found that it was not worth the price, at $7 a slice (though local and organic can get expensive). Not to say it wasn’t good – its just at $7 a slice I think there should be more (or even some!) plating and presentation, or even just heated up a little, instead of just plopped on to a disposable cardboard tray.
The other week one of my friends wanted to try Hokkaido Ramen Santouka because it was one of the first rainy days of the fall and it fit our lunch time criteria of the restaurant needing to be new to someone eating with us. There was a huge line and we didn’t want to wait out in the cold so we walked across the street to Marutama Ramen which is fairly new to Vancouver and popular among bloggers.
What we ate
- 7 kinds of ground nuts mixed into the soup, served spicy
- I found this broth a lot richer than the other but almost too spicy to eat
Tan Men (Vegetable Ramen)
- The same broth as the other ramen, with a huge variety of vegetables on top
- My friend had a tough time getting through this because she found it so big!
Zenbu Ramen (The Works)
- Chasu, sea lettuce, soft boiled egg, pork belly
- The broth here is made of chicken instead of pork (which is traditional) and its super rich and delicious (I think I like it better than the ramen at Santouka..except for the tsukemen)
- The noodles are made in house instead of imported, they’re a bit thinner and chewier (can order between al dente and well done)
- The egg was perfect!
- And the pork belly was too. I wish there were more of it!
- The soup is served with black garlic chips (roasted probably) and a few of them made the brother amazingly fragran
Kae-Dama (noodle refill)
- For $1.25 you get an entire fresh serving of noodles! It was a massive refill compared to some other refills you can get
- Also served with a salty broth to bring more flavour back to your noodles if the water from the fresh noodles dilutes your soup tomorrow
- Worth it! But it makes the portion absolutely gigantic
I like the ramen here better than Santouka (save for the tsukemen, nothing beats that) because of the broth and fresh noodles! Definitely give it a try, theres usually no line and you don’t feel rushed while eating.