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Got way too behind to even think of catching up with all the places I've been, which got discouraging. So, fresh start now that I'm freshly married and back in Vancouver. I have a couple of places from our honeymoon I'd like to review, but I'll get back into things with a Vancouver review.

THIS IS A REVIEW:
Bo Laksa King is a great place to have laksa, said the internet! Hmm, ok, thought I, but what the heck is laksa? Oh well, it's near to where we're going to be anyway, let's try it!

They serve it to you in two bowls, as shown above. You squeeze the lime and pour the soup over the whole thing. That was the helpful instructions of the one-woman team running everything.

If you don't know what laksa is either, it's a Chinese-Malaysian specialty. Bo Laksa King's version is a rich, curry and coconut milk soup over shrimp, fish balls, tofu puffs, chicken, a hard-boiled egg, and your choice of rice vermicelli or yellow wheat noodles. We chose yellow wheat at the nice lady's recommendation. ($7.50)

Bo Laksa King has a nice combo deal where you can get a wrap with your laksa $2 off, so we got an Asian Beef Wrap:


Bo Laksa King does most of their business takeout, which they have to, because it's just a counter within a tiny grocery, and there's only three tiny tables outside. But I have to say that eating there, or at least nearby, might be worth it. The contrast between the hot beef and sauce, and the cool crisp vegetables, was lovely, and that's the kind of thing that just doesn't survive a trip home. ($4.50)

Our favorite part of the meal, however, was the Roti Canai ($5.99 for a large).

Once again, I would hate to have to take this very far before digging in. Hot, hot, hot and so stretchy and crispy and fresh and OMG, I want another order now. *salivates* Just by itself it would be worth the price, so to have that bowl of curry chicken dipping sauce is just... gah. Hungry now.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Bo Laksa King
Location: 4910 Joyce St Vancouver BC
Prices: <$10 per person. No drinks, but it's in a grocery so you can buy a cold drink.
Service: Very, very friendly, but there was only one person there and she was doing EVERYTHING (taking orders, cooking, cleaning up, bringing you your order etc), so you must be patient!
Food: Amazing Chinese-Malaysian food at great prices. With a smile!
Recommended?: Yes, and please send me an order of roti canai while you're there?

Bo Laksa King on Urbanspoon
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THIS IS A REVIEW:
Japadog isn't bad, it's just suffering from a case of terminal overrateditis. It's the #1 restaurant on Urbanspoon, it was featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations", and the line-up is always long.

But for all that, it's just hot dogs and sausages, with some Asian toppings. The quality of the meat is comparable to other hot dog stands. You won't be rolling around on the sidewalk in orgasmic delight after biting into one.



The Betrothed and I both had the okonomi, which is a kurobota (fatty pork) sausage with bonito flakes, fried cabbage, okonomiyaki sauce and mayo. The toppings on most of their items are likely to be carried away on a windy day, so you might want to wait for a calm one to try it out.

It was good, but it was hard for it to match the expectations we had built up for this place. The bun, for example, is just a bun you can get at the supermarket. The sausage was tasty, but nothing like as good as the ones at Aree's Dawg House. There was not enough fried cabbage and too much bonito. The sauces were really good and well matched, I will give them that.

I'd recommend this for a hot dog if you're going to be in Downtown, but I wouldn't make a special trip here.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Japadog
Location: Burrard St between Smithe and Robson; three other locations
Prices: $5 or so per hot dog
Service: Efficient and smiling.
Food: Tasty tube meat with Asian toppings.
Recommended?: The food is good but the trendiness is out of proportion. However, the low price means that this is an easy way to do something that many celebrities have done, lol. Check out what some of them have ordered. Does your favorite star take the turkey terimayo or a plain and boring dog with nothing? Only one way to see!

Japadog (Burrard & Smythe) on Urbanspoon
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THIS IS A REVIEW:
I'm on Team Fritz in the Fritz vs. Belgian Fries debate, but this is still a good place for poutine in Vancouver.

The menu is a bit bigger than Fritz's, with some more exotic combinations. In addition to fries fries and more fries, they also sell such healthy fare as deep-fried Mars bars and other desserts.

The gravy is vegetarian based (probably miso) like most places in Vancouver.



We got two larges (each about $8) which was probably a mistake lol, but at the time we were really hungry. The one on the right is topped with so-called "War", which is apparently a favorite in the Netherlands (they call it "patatje oorlog"). It's a peanut satay sauce and mayo, along with onions. Maybe this is the way the Dutch like it, but I thought there was too much mayo compared to the other ingredients. Also it was a hot day so it was a little heavy. Somehow poutine's gravy doesn't feel as heavy as the creamy peanut and mayo. But I liked the combination in principle.

Our other choice was a little more conventional, poutine Galvaude. This Quebecois treat is the good old poutine combination of fries, gravy and curds, with peas and shredded chicken. The big weakpoint comparing Belgian to Fritz is the fries; the fries at Fritz are simply better. But the gravy is comparable. The curds in our poutine were not as melty as I like them but still pretty delicious, and I liked eating it with the chicken and peas. The Boyfriend liked it too.

Oh, and you, faithful reader, should know that The Boyfriend is no more.

Because later that day he proposed to me! <3

So now he is... The Betrothed. *tiny cymbal crash*

And we're almost reaching the end of my time in Vancouver!

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Belgian Fries
Location: 1885 Commercial Dr Vancouver BC (604) 253-4220
Prices: $5-10 for most dishes. Also sells beer and coolers.
Service: Done take-out style. It was fine.
Food: Fries with various toppings done well. But to my mind, they overemphasize the toppings at the expense of the fries.
Recommended?: If you only have time to do one, I say go to Fritz European Fry House downtown. But this place is still good. I also had really good poutine at the Naam, of all places.

Belgian Fries on Urbanspoon
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THIS IS A REVIEW:
Vancouver's weather lately has been oppressively, unreasonably hot, and because of this I was craving my favorite Taiwanese summer food: 涼麵 liangmian, or cold noodles.

I Googled for it, but I wasn't finding anything but Korean and Japanese style cold noodles. Then I had the brilliant (or obvious, or possibly a combination of the two) idea to search in Chinese, and I found a page talking about Wang's Beef Noodle House in Marpole as having great liangmian. This was about 1am, JUST LIKE IT IS NOW, because the heat makes it so hard to stay asleep. I immediately resolved to kidnap The Boyfriend when he got off of work and take him to this place.

We got there about 3pm, a slow period for most restaurants. I kicked things off by responding to the waitress's question of how many with “兩位" which means "two people", and after that I never actually spoke to the waitress in English.

I glanced at the menu only to find the liangmian and immediately ordered a bowl. The Boyfriend had been hoping to order salt and pepper chicken (鹽酥雞) but it wasn't on the menu. The waitress recommended him (through me) several dishes, so here's the scoop if you want it: the #1 and #2 rice dishes, which I can't remember what they are; the #3 and #5 dim sum, which was the scallion pancake beef rolls (餅夾牛肉) and I think a kind of dumpling; and of course, the beef noodle soup!

If you can't tell by the fact that I don't remember the names of the other dishes, we ordered the beef rolls. The Boyfriend also ordered a bowl of liangmian since he had never had cold noodles Chinese-style before.



Was it good? Was it good. WAS IT GOOD.

The picture is post-stirring and eating a few bites because I was just overcome with "DO WANT." It's a very simple and healthy style: cold noodles topped with a mildly spicy sesame-ginger sauce (and I think I also detected some peanut), topped with julienned cucumber, carrot, and cilantro. I am not a fan of cilantro so I scraped all of mine into my boyfriend's bowl; the waitress noticed and said I could tell them next time not to put it on.

I had asked the waitress upon coming in if the song that was playing was by Fahrenheit (a Taiwanese boy band) but she checked the iPod and found that it was Super Junior M (another boy band). Not long after we received our bowls, she asked me who my favorite singer was. I told her Landy Wen Lan (溫嵐). She immediately went and changed the iPod to play all Landy all the time! <3 So I spent half the time eating and half the time singing along, which amused The Boyfriend greatly.



I know I gushed about the liangmian but the bing jia niurou was EVEN BETTER. As a matter of fact, it was the best beef roll I have ever had, and I'm speaking as a girl who lived in Taipei an entire year, ate out at least two meals every day, and absolutely adores scallion pancake. It was the quality of the beef and the sauce that made it soar to unimagined heights of deliciousness. The absolute perfect combination of crispy, thin scallion pancake, tender beef, and rich, savory sauce.



Go ahead and drool at that picture a little. I'll wait.

Finished? Okay. While we were eating, I noticed that a family eating nearby had ordered a bowl of what was most certainly mango baobing. However, it hadn't been on the menu, at least not that I saw (it's quite possible I was blinded by "MUST HAVE LIANGMIAN NOW" though). I asked the waitress how much it was for a bowl, and she said $4.50. We said "Ummmmmmm yes bring that now plzkthx."

She went back to the kitchen to tell us our order, but then came out to say that the mango was sold out. Awwww. But that's okay because she'll go get some more! If we're willing to wait a little? Surprised, we agreed.

Sure enough, about ten minutes later I saw her come back in the front door with a plastic shopping bag containing two mangoes. Now THAT is service!

Also I have to point out here that in addition to our 超可愛 (super cute) waitress, there was another waitress who was freakin' hilarious. I spent any time I did not spend eating and singing along with the music translating her brusque scoldings and quips for The Boyfriend. For example:

Other Waitress: Where were you?
Our Waitress: We ran out of mangoes. I went to get more.
Other Waitress: These mangoes aren't ripe enough!
Our Waitress: I think...
Other Waitress: You don't know how to pick mangoes!

Okay it is not nearly as hilarious written down. Probably a lot of it was that it took me right back to certain balls-busting Taiwanese women I knew, who were undisputed masters of their domains and the terrified souls who cowered within them.

They were also gossipping about whether a certain Chinese singer were gay, and she snapped, "Well, of course he is! Who else would wear so many clothes?" LMAO.

Anywhoozle, back to the mango baobing! It was, to be precise, mangguo niunai bing (芒果牛奶冰), which means "mango milk ice", but here "milk" actually refers to sweetened condensed milk.

Once again, Wang's did not disappoint me. The most difficult part of making baobing is getting a good texture for the ice. It's not supposed to be hard crunchy granules of ice like in a snowcone. Chinese restaurants in North America that use snow cone makers for their baobing are the bane of my culinary life. It's supposed to be shaved ice, with a softer texture, something that won't hurt your teeth, and that melts relatively quickly on a hot day, forming a delicious super-cold liquid mixed with the condensed milk and fruit flavor.

Despite the other waitress's scolding, the mango tasted perfectly ripe to me. Another bane is restaurants that use canned mango in syrup. This was quite demonstratively not the case at Wang's.

The entire meal with tax came to a little over $20. The entire meal, as long as I didn't look out the window, I could imagine I was in Taipei. The music, the food, the sound of a Taiwanese woman bitching people out... ahhhhh. Nostalgia.

I want to go back. ;_;

But, while I can't go back to Taipei right now, The Boyfriend and I have resolved to come back here before I leave. Which is in two weeks, so that should let you know how much we loved this place.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Wang's Beef Noodle House (王記台灣牛肉麵)
Location: 8390 Granville St Vancouver BC (604) 266-7966
Prices: <$10 person
Service: Our waitress did everything short of carry our food out to us on her knees. When the restaurant ran out of an item we wanted, she actually went so far as to run to the market and buy the ingredient needed. See, Hapa Izakaya? That's how you do it!
Food: Not only is it authentic Taiwanese food, if this restaurant were in Taipei, I would patronize it above others. It ranks with the best of Taipei.
Recommended?: No, not at all. Haha, just kidding. C'mon, did you read the review or not? GO HERE.

Wang’s Beef Noodle House on Urbanspoon
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Part of the 2009 Izakaya Crawl.

THIS IS A REVIEW:

We were totally pumped to start our izakaya crawl, so made a reservation at Guu with Garlic for 5:30pm, which is when they open, and arrived there at about 5:15pm, sitting outside on their wooden bench and contemplating their cell phone charm vending machines. As it turns out, the reservation was unnecessary. The place seats more than the entrance appears because there is an outdoor patio. Inside, there is the option to sit at a table, at the bar, or in a Japanese-style near the window.

Despite the name and the logo, Guu with Garlic does not use a lot of garlic. I didn't taste it in any dishes we ordered.



The energy was there right from the beginning, even when the place wasn't that full. Orders are shouted to the chefs working, and there's a lot of banter going on in Japanese between serving staff and chefs. I don't speak Japanese, but it seemed like a lot of call and response was going on, getting everyone revved up for the long night ahead. By the time we left it was full and there were people waiting outside, so if you're not getting there at opening, reservations are a good idea.



We started with drinks. I chose the Cherry Blossom ($6) for my froufrou girlie drink of the evening: peach schnapps, crushed strawberries, and ramune, a Japanese soda. The labels on the ramune are personalized for Guu, which was cute.



The Boyfriend and Ann (the friend) split 250ml of a certain kind of shochu for $25. Very tasty!



Our first dish of the evening: kurokke ($4), aka croquette! Mashed potato and chicken, deep fried, topped with worchestershire and bechamel sauces. We were all pretty hungry so this was a nice way to kick it off and soak up the alcohol hopefully.



Next up: one of the specials, scallop, prawn and squid yuzu ceviche ($7.20). A Japanese twist on the South American raw seafood favorite, this one was made with a Japanese citrus fruit for some East-West fusion. My favorite was the scallop.



The third dish in our initial order was tako wasabi ($3.50), which as the name suggests, is tiny pieces of octopus (tako) and wasabi mixed with soy sauce. This is one of Ann's favorite dishes, and although I didn't like raw tako at all the last time I had it, I liked it a lot this time. Maybe this octopus was fresher, or maybe it was the smaller slices, but the texture was a lot nicer.



We decided we wanted one more dish before we left, something that would really say "POSERS TO THE LEFT", lol. Ann and I kinda railroaded Gordon into compliance with us as we ordered nankotsu karaage ($4): fried chicken knees. Ahhhhh, night market food, I missed you! Yet this simple dish was taken to a level of elegance with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a dip into the salt and pepper. Mmmm.

That was the end of our visit to Guu with Garlic. With some food and booze in our tummies, we left for our next stop: Tapastree.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Guu with Garlic
Location: 1698 Robson Street, Vancouver BC 604-685-8678
Prices: $3.50 to $10 per small plate. If you planned to eat until you were full, you'd spend at least $25 per person, is my guess. GwG is also open for lunch, where you can get a meal and a pint of beer for around $10, which is a steal.
Service: Friendly, enthusiastic and busy, busy, busy. This seems like a good place to mention that the music here was pretty fabulous too. Nothing wrong with classic rock.
Food: Tasty and served up to you quick. Putting liquor into ramune with fresh fruit is an inspired summer combination.
Recommended?: Yeah! I'd say get a reservation later in the evening, I bet it's really hopping then. Sitting at the bar looked like a lot of fun too.

Guu With Garlic on Urbanspoon
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Part of the 2009 Izakaya Crawl.
THIS IS A REVIEW:
We were surprised by Tapastree. I just copied down the names and opening times of a bunch of izakaya places in the area and printed them out. I had no idea that it was actually Western tapas. In Vancouver "tapas" actually is used more to describe Japanese food than anything else.

Tapastree is on Robson past Denman, and thus away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area. It's a more quiet, tree-lined feel, and we took advantage of the lovely weather by sitting on the patio. After frantic Guu with Garlic, this was a nice change of pace. We were glad that we had decided to dress up for our night out, because Tapastree definitely has a more formal air.



They brought us some bread with whipped butter containing what we decided was probably sundried tomato. Fresh bread, but not warm.



We ordered cocktails and a dish of mixed olives ($5). My cocktail, the Pan's Labyrinth, was sparkling wine, elderberry liquor, and...... something else.... dangit! I didn't write this part down, and their online menu doesn't include their cocktails! Which is a shame, because their cocktails were all fascinating combinations. Behind it you can see Ann's drink, which was called a Rock'n'Rolla and had apricot liquor in it... and some other... things?



This one was called "Ain't No Sunshine" and I know it had ginger beer in it. Man, I'm going to have to call them and ask what was in these things. I think they were all around $8 each.



Duck confit, $12. The Boyfriend has always told me that he does not like duck, but he grudgingly tried this dish and then said, "Hey, this tastes good!" So apparently he just never had duck prepared right before. The sweet, tart cranberries were a perfect balance to the rich flesh of the fowl, and a little greens never hurt nobody.



Lamb chop in a gorgonzola demi-glace, $6. I don't like gorgonzola but this sauce was amazing. At the end of the night, it was actually this dish out of everything that we each named as the most memorable. When I took my first bite, I leaned back in my chair with my eyes closed and swooned. Then I said "Everybody shut up, I'm having a moment here," just savoring that first taste.

We knew we had to keep our pace down if we didn't want to get full too quickly, so with these three dishes we said adieu to Tapastree, and walked to Kingyo to continue the crawl.

To eat here as a meal, I think you would want at least three dishes per person.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Tapastree (the website kinda sucks and is out of date)
Location: 1829 Robson St. Vancouver BC (604) 606 4680
Prices: $5-13/small plate, so for a meal that would be like upper 20s/person. An extensive wine list, with by the glass being around $9, and everything up to $500 bottles of wines. A really fascinating cocktail list with most cocktails around $8.
Service: As a more upscale European-style place, the waiters are smooth and professional, not overtly friendly. Left me feeling like I ought to be discussing a terrible blight affecting fields in Provence. "Not tragic? Darling, it ruined the view from my villa! I was so depressed I flew to that little spa in Geneva I was telling you about..."
Food: The lamb chop was out of this world, and the cocktails were complex and sophisticated. My favorite was probably the Rock'n'Rolla.
Recommended?: A great place for a unique evening or anyone who's ever thought "Man, I wish I could order one of everything!"

Tapastree on Urbanspoon
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Part of the 2009 Izakaya Crawl.

THIS IS A REVIEW:

After our relaxing stroll through Europe at Tapastree, we were ready to dance our way through Shibuya at Kingyo! The exterior may look all business, but inside Kingyo is as cute as a button.



See? CUTE. That was my drink, a combination of shochu, tonic, shiso (a Japanese herb that tastes kind of like mint) and a dried red pepper. Kingyo is another website that doesn't believe in putting its drinks on its menu, and I lost my notes for this restaurant, so I don't remember what the name of the drink was or how much it cost. :(



Ann ordered a glass of Osake Junmai sake, which is made right here in Vancouver (note the maple leaf on the wooden glass!). The presentation of the pour was lovely, the waiter filled the glass and kept pouring so that it filled the wooden glass too. ^_^ Since we were sitting at the bar, we decided we had to get some classic Japanese bar food: edamame! A nice portion for $3.50.



We ordered a sashimi trio omakase style, although our bartender told us ahead of time what the trio was, but again, lost my notes, not sure what it was, woe. I do remember that they were all imported from Japan, which felt vaguely scandalous, but whatever, I get to be extravagant so seldom. This was a night for pulling out the stops. (The 3-kind omakase was $21.) Despite their journey, it all tasted like it had been swimming in the ocean that morning. Identity check from anyone more experienced in sashimi, please?

We had a super good time at Kingyo, and it was our favorite stop of the night. We loved how our server went into detail about different dishes, despite how busy they were. Our bartender was also super helpful, and recommended several places in the area, including Zakkushi which was right down the street. I know I've mentioned it before, but an easy way for a restaurant to impress me is for them to recommend their direct competitors. It shows how confident they are in their quality and how much they want their customers to have a good time, no matter where.

Incidentally, and I know the ladies care about this one, their bathroom is super awesome-looking and stocked with all the amenities--mouthwash, menstrual pads, toothpicks, Q-tips, etc etc!

Anyway. We were full of good feelings when we asked for the check to make our way to Hon's WunTun House.

oh but wait there is a present



Awwwww. Cute as a BUTTON, Kingyo!

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Kingyo Izakaya
Location: 871 Denman St Vancouver BC (604) 608-1677
Prices: $3.50-$10/small plate. Probably about $30/person to eat until one was full.
Service: They just acted like they were pleased as punch to have us there, lol! All the enthusiasm of Guu with Garlic in terms of shouting and energy, but with this absolutely adorable earnestness.
Food: With sashimi, of course, it's all about freshness, and this was very fresh and high quality, and attractively presented as well. Delicious!
Recommended?: Our favorite place of the crawl, so yeah, big thumbs up!

Kingyo on Urbanspoon
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Part of the 2009 Izakaya Crawl.
THIS IS A REVIEW:
After visiting three upscale places, we were getting too full of ourselves. We needed to come back to earth and get our bellies a little full instead.

Despite their gorgeous website, Hon's inside looks like a warehouse cafeteria. Absolutely huge, high ceilings, lots of tables with lots of people. The hugeness carries over to the menu, which could double as a bludgeon, and that's not including the separate vegetarian menu.



Potstickers are the signature dish of Hon's, and for their 37th anniversary they were selling them 6 for $1.37. We were mildly confused by the concept of celebrating a 37th anniversary, but we do not argue with cheap potstickers. Not much to look at, but so tasty! These ones are pork. In my opinion the vegetable ones were even better. It took me back to my time in Taipei, ordering a take-out of potstickers for 3NT each (about a dime). Hon's also sells their potstickers frozen to cook at home.



We also ordered dan dan noodles, a spicy Sichuan dish. Good, simple food.

We also received free barley tea (麥茶). My roommate joined us here and also got an order of potstickers. Altogether, three orders of potstickers and the noodles cost less than $10. Wow!

But, we had a 9:30 reservation at Hapa Izakaya, so we bid a fond farewell to Hon's and moved on.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Hon's WunTun House
Location:
Prices: Huge menu, so I'll just say that it's budget.
Service: All the servers looked harrassed, but we got our food without any mistakes.
Food: Not gourmet, but tasty. Cheap and lots of it.
Recommended?: The only must-try here would be the potstickers, so long as they keep that crazy price. But this would be a good place to bring a group of vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Hon's Wun Tun House (Vancouver West End) on Urbanspoon
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Part of the 2009 Izakaya Crawl.

THIS IS A REVIEW:

The bartender at Kingyo recommended Zakkushi, and my paper said it was open until midnight, so even though it was 23:10, we decided to give it a shot. We poked our heads in and asked if the kitchen was still open, and were welcomed in warmly.

Zakkushi, as the name indicates, specializes in food on a kushi or skewer, such as yakitori. At this point we decided we had done enough drinking, so we all asked for water.



This is one of the specials, and it's a kind of mushroom on a skewer... I think it was $1.30/piece with a minumum order of two pieces? LOL sorry I can't pin it down any more closely. It was a strongly flavored mushroom, very earthy, with a mild ginger garnish. Very nice after all the meat and fish we had been eating.



Not that we were tired of meat and fish! We ordered two cheese tsukune ($1.90 each). Tsukune is a chicken meatball, and these were topped with mozzarella. Ever since I went to Kintaro I've been a little obsessed with putting cheese on Japanese food, haha. This was a great combination. I loved the spices in the chicken.



This is another special that I neglected to write down the name of. I fail as a food blogger, lol. It's salmon and dill cooked atop the grill in a foil packet. So moist and delicious! The sauce is shoyu and vinegar, IIRC.



Since this was the last stop of the night we decided to get dessert! On the left is Dorayaki Ice Cream and on the right is Banana Gyoza, each $2.80. Dorayaki is a kind of sponge cake with red bean paste filling, and the ice cream is topped with a dusting of matcha powder. The banana gyoza are, of course, gyoza skins filled with sliced bananas and vanilla, mmmmmmmmmmmm, and its ice cream was topped with chocolate sauce.

The banana gyoza were amazing, but the ice cream for both was kind of icy, sadface. I'm not a big red bean fan so I left that one to my two companions, who both adore red bean.

The music here was pretty good too. More modern stuff, but a lot of it was stuff that we all liked and sang along to, even if some of them were guilty pleasures like "Lady Marmalade" lol.

All in all, this was a lovely end to the night. I'd love to come back here for dinner sometime with three other people; we'd hand the menu back and say "Yes, we'd like two of each kushi please". That would be 42 skewers altogether for $72 (assuming one was smart and ordered two of the kushi sets). We could eat the meaning of life, the universe, and everything! It would be awesome.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Zakkushi
Location: 823 Denman St Vancouver, BC (604) 685-1136
Prices: $1.30 to $2.20 per kushi, with a minumum order of two per variety; several other Japanese grill options; probably $15 to $20/person for dinner.
Service: Low-key and warm. Definitely not the frantic energy here of Kingyo and Guu. Definitely a good place to make your last stop on your crawl.
Food: Delicious meat on a skewer. Mmmm. There were vegetarian items, but this is a place to take the meat eater in your life.
Recommended?: Great for a crawl or for a meal.

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill (Denman) on Urbanspoon
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THIS IS A REVIEW:
As an apology to the vegetarians in the audience who were bummed that Kintaro has no vegetarian options, here's some pictures of a place where I went veggie temporarily.

Punjabi Market is also known as Vancouver's Little India, and although it's had some hard times in recent years with the South Asian migration to Surrey, it's still a lovely place to look at saris, jewelry, and sample Indian foods.

On my various trips to Vancouver I've hit several of the restaurants in here. Today let's look at one of the larger ones, the All India Sweets & Restaurant.

Like many restaurants in the area, All India sells a wide variety of Indian desserts at one side of the building, near where one pays the bill, but TBPH I've never actually liked Indian desserts that much; I've tried a few different things and everything I've tried has been SO sweet that I could never eat more than maybe one piece and only if I were in a really sweet tooth mood to begin with. So I'm afraid I can't tell you much about the Sweets half.

The Restaurant half I can do. :)



On this particular occasion, we both had the buffet. The buffet here is all vegetarian and only $11 all day. Since we were both really hungry we really got our money's worth. I took a picture of the buffet itself but sadly it didn't turn out, but here's one round of my plate. Some naan, some rice, some raita, some palak paneer, and some daal. Mmmm.

The buffet has a salad bar component with raw vegetables, and the hot food component with about 6 different dishes plus naan and rice, and two desserts. I actually did have about one half of one piece of gulab jumun, which fulfilled my dessert quota. The other dessert that day was a rice pudding.

Buffets can be tricky. Everyone knows about the kind of buffet that leaves food out forever or doesn't refill the more expensive dishes frequently enough. All India changed the food quite frequently; in fact at one point I was just about to get myself a helping of rice (the serving dish looked fine to me, about 1/4 full) and it was whisked away and replaced with a full, piping hot dish of rice. You don't have to go hunting in the palak paneer to find one or two lonely pieces of cheese floating in a sea of watery green liquid; I've had the palak paneer at this place before off the menu and it tasted exactly the same, with a good quantity of cheese.

Since it's the largest restaurant in Punjabi Market, this would be a good place to take a large group and sit and one of their long tables. Oh, and don't neglect to order the chai. It's only $2 with free refills.

Over all, this certainly isn't fine dining, but it is very tasty and a good value.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: All India Sweets & Restaurant
Location: 6507 Main St Vancouver, BC (604) 327-0891
Prices: $10-15 if ordering off the menu; $11 for the buffet (vegetarian); there is also an $18 set menu. Licensed for beer, wine and spirits; they have several Indian beers.
Service: Not the greatest, but if you get the buffet all you need to do is flag them down for refills on your drink.
Food: Competent Indian food with an extensive menu. A well-looked-after vegetarian buffet is the best way to go.
Recommended?: I quite like this place. No waiting, great buffet at a good price, nice atmosphere, even if the little tvs that show Indian music videos were busted that day. A great casual place. :)

All India Sweets & Restaurant (Main) on Urbanspoon

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