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Review of Vancouver Visit

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Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting Vancouver for a week long trip. Prior to my visit, I did a bit of background research on which restaurants offered good and tasty food by browsing through this message board. I went to a number of restaurants recommended by chowhounds and was happily satisfied with my experiences. I thought I'd share my thoughts and feelings on this as return.

Mak Un Kee (Richmond)
I had wonton noodles with beef brisket as side dish at this restaurant. I like the wontons here better than those in Chinese restaurants in Toronto because they were a smaller size and thus looked more appetizing. The portion of noodles was smaller too, which was good because it left me room to try other things as well. The taste of the noodles was similar to those in Hong Kong. The beef brisket was soft and tender with just the right amount of fat.

Wonton place at McKim Way (Don't remember name)
The wonton noodles here tasted better than Mak Un Kee because the noodles seemed more smooth and the wontons were tastier. The side dish of "vegetarian duck", which was a roll of vegetables wrapped in a dried tofu skin and pan fried, was alright, but not spectacular. For strictly wonton noodles, I liked this place better.

Dim sum place at McKim Way (Don't remember name)
The unique thing about this restaurant was that people get to order their own tea which comes as tea leaves in a small pot. You get to make your own tea with hot water, which was neat. The tricky part, though, was to pour the tea into your cup without spilling excessively. I like the baked BBQ buns here, which had a cover like the pineapple buns in Chinese bakeries. I think it is a specialty in this restaurant because nearly everyone who ate here ordered this. The other thing that I liked here was the congee, for which there was a hot metallic pan in the middle of the table for warming. This ensured that the congee stayed nice and hot.

Kintaro
The ramen here was very tasty. However, there was a need to be patient because first there were line-ups and second, they make it the ramen only after you order. However the noodles were defintely worth the wait. I had vegetarian ramen and found the ramen very elastic and miso soup base quite tasty. There was also a generous serving of wild vegetables, which included corn, seaweed, and sprouts. Despite the yummy taste, however, I found that the portions were too big and the seats were uncomfortable. I had to share the table with other customers because spacing was limited.

Tojo's
Based on high public appraisals and hearty recommendations, I decided to try out this expensive Japanese restaurant. I had the privilege of catching a glimpse of Tojo at work and he looked the same as on TV. I ordered the set menu at $75, which had 4 courses plus dessert. The first one was tuna sashimi cubes marinated in a special seseame and soy sauce. This was a house special and was indeed very flavourful. The next one was a squid sashimi which I did not enjoy as much because I am not a fan of squid. Then there was a pan fried cod in BBQ eel sauce. I like the bold taste of this fish, but it was not too unique as it tasted similar to regular Japanese BBQ eel dishes. The fourth dish was a plate of 6 sushi/roll pieces which included hamachi, spicy salmon, cod..don't remember the others. The sushi was fresh and tasty. In particular, the sushi rice had perfect texture and acidity, an indication of good quality. The dessert was vanilla ice-cream in raspberry yoghurt sauce, which was alright. Overall, I found the food very good, but not worth the price. However, I do agree that first-time Vancouver visitors should try the restaurant at least once for the unique experience.

Kirin (Richmond)
I tried the roasted pigeon, cod filet in vegetable and meat from neck of pork. The roast pigeon was very nice, because this was made on order and tasted fresh (ie no refridgerated taste), possibly due to high turnover. The cod filet was also very fresh, true to Vancouver seafood quality. The neck of pork dish tasted pretty good, with the right amount of saltiness. The only downside was customer service. Congee came without a spoon and servers seemed stressed and was hard to find to make requests.

Boathouse (Old English Bay)
I had salmon with linguine in some lemon and olive oil sauce. This entree was very tasty. The acidity of the sauce was just right and helped to increase appetite. The salmon cubes were fresh but lacked taste. The servings was pretty big at this restaurant too. The bread served as appetizer was hot and soft but had a yeasty taste, which I did not enjoy much.

Overall, I was very satisfied with food in all the Vancouver restaurants I tried. The freshness of the seafood here definitely met, if not exceeded, my expectations. Thanks to recommendations from members of this board, I was able to locate and try out some rare gems. Thank you all!

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  1. Dim sum on McKim is probably J & C Restaurant (2nd level), one of our favorite places. We love those baked BBQ pork buns! We've never tried the single servings of tea. Looks like a challenge! They also offer a discount form 9-11AM.

    Iona