Looking for a place to eat on a Friday evening?
Try one of the best steakhouses around the GTA.
Check out my review on The Keg Steakhouse
#Mississauga #GTA #Steakhouse #meatlover #foodie
My family visited this branch in Hong Kong after our trip around HK Disney Land. I have heard about this Michelin Star restaurant and their famous Xiao Long Bao. Let me tell you, they do not disappoint.
Din Tai Fung’s menu is very easy to order from. Small photos of every dish on the menu provide you with an idea what the food will look like. Each dish is translated into four languages: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English. There is also a legend of small icons that helps describe some dishes such as the type of meat or vegetarian recommended, whether it is spicy, or even if it contains nuts.
What we ordered and why you need to order it:
Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Pork Dumplings). Each tray had 6 pieces so we ordered 3 trays for our party of 6 hungry people. On the table is a small instruction pamphlet that shows the proper method to eat dumplings. After reading the pamphlet, I gave it a go. The broth, the pork, and the wrapping all together is like a firework of flavours exploding in your mouth. Slightly salty and great texture is just the sort of taste you expect from a pork dumpling. After finishing a few pieces I felt like it was a new experience for me because I have been eating dumplings the wrong way this whole time!
Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao-Mai. It looks like a wrapped flower filled with shrimp. I ate it the same way as the dumpling and the seafood flavours from the shrimp really comes out. That’s because the size of each shrimp is equal to the proportion of the entire Shao-Mai. Nestled at the bottom of each Shao-Mai is a small parcel of steam pork.
Steamed Vegetable And Pork Bun. Inside this dough-filled bun is a mixture of both worlds. I love the combination of veggies and meat so when this showed on the menu I couldn’t resist. Unlike most buns that are dry, this particular dish has a moist texture after every bite.
Fried Rice With Shredded Pork. Sometimes the standard dishes are worth ordering. It’s always tasty when they add some egg to the plate for that extra bit of flavour.
Sauteed Choy Sum. Crunchy and full of good flavour. I’m not sure the type of cooking they use to stir fry but it is definitely the right kind. Most of all, it’s not swimming in oil nor is it over/under cooked.
Spicy Vegetable And Pork Wonton. So it might not look like the most delicious looking plate on the menu but don’t judge a book by it’s cover. If you enjoy a little spicy kick to your palette, give this dish a try. Like the Shao-Mai, each piece is cooked inside a thin wrapping. But the difference here is that the sauce on the outside
For dessert, clear your palette with a cold, fresh serving of Almond Pudding With Fresh Fruit or Sago Soup With Mashed Taro. Nothing is more refreshing than finishing off your meal with either one of these two delicacies. And just for the experience, we ordered up the Steamed Peach-Shaped Red Bean Bun. Not at all dry, extra chewy outside and soft red bean paste on the inside. Just a wonderful dessert overall.
What I find most impressive about Din Tai Fung is their fast-paced service. We were a party of 6 eating at peak lunch hour and the food arrived within a good amount of time. Whenever we needed service, we always looked for the floor supervisors and they instructed the servers to follow up quickly.
Just before we walked out, I couldn’t help but take a quick picture of the kitchen staff hand-pressing all the Shao-Mai and dumplings. It made me appreciate my meal even more. I love Din Tai Fung!
For the past few months, since my last post, I have been fortunate to have traveled to a few destinations and eat out a few times at many restaurants. After my trip from overseas, I haven’t had much opportunity to cook from home but I did wind up eating out at several restaurants while my in-laws came to visit.
The hard truth is while I was trying to find healthy choices for meals, I wound up eating a little more carbs than I should have, a lot more salt and fatty foods, and a lot less fruit and vegetables. I don’t feel guilty about it, I mean treating my family out to many restaurants around town always gives me the pleasure of knowing that they are having a good time. After all, when we are out of the house, we can’t cook from home so we only had the option to eat out.
What I discovered is that every meal I ordered, whether dining in or even drive-thru at a fast-food joint, I never ordered any soft drinks. Not once.
Yes it did cost more to purchase bottled water.
Yes it has no flavour compared to a sweetened soft drink.
I did a small calculation in my head that for every meal I had a soft drink with in the past 4 months, I probably could have gained an extra 20 pounds (9 kgs). Perhaps had some other health issues associated with drinking all of that sugar and artificial ingredients. I’m happy to say that after all of the eating out, I had none of the above issues.
If I’m dining out at an asian restaurant, I always order a hot pot of green tea. Besides, this definitely adds to the experience if I drink some herbal tea. Now I’m not saying to go ahead and eat out at any fast food restaurant but the smarter, alternative beverage is to drink water.
Avoid soft drinks at all costs.
Visiting a Walt Disney theme park is one of the most enjoyable destinations in the world for families and friends to spend time with one another. If you want to bring back memories from when you were a child and pass them onto your kids then this is definitely the place to visit. For me, I just wanted to feel like a kid again.
When my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong Disneyland on our flight in to see my in-laws, we just couldn’t pass it up. We wanted to find out if a Walt Disney theme park outside of the USA could be a completely different experience.
I had heard about the differences between HK Disneyland and Orlando Disney World such as some Disney characters talked a little differently only because of some translation issues with a slight Chinese accent. Some are the same like the fireworks and electric parade still light up the evening skies. But what I was looking forward to was the food experience. This is Hong Kong, China so I knew that our foodie trek would be quite different.
After looking over Disney’s website, we found the Crystal Lotus restaurant inside the resort we were about to stay in. We discovered that we had to make reservations in advance to dine at the restaurant. So just to be safe, we made our booking three months prior.
We arrived a little early for our 12pm reservation so we had to wait in the front lobby for only 10 minutes until they opened their doors. We didn’t mind waiting at all so we took our time taking some pictures.
I remember telling my wife that I wanted to walk slowly into the dining area. I wanted to take as many pictures as possible so I could just take everything in. I mean the whole space was so grand that you just wanted to stand in one place and turn around 360 degrees and stare at how much effort was put into decorating the restaurant.
When we had made our reservations a few months before, there were a few choices. They offered a la carte Chinese cuisine and other gourmet food but since my wife and I are such big fans of dim sum, we chose their “Special Dim Sum” lunch menu as our Disney dining experience because we were curious to see how they would present the food. When we had called them to inquire about their portions, they explained that the set menu was good for 1 person. After looking at some online photos, we saw there were a few pieces in each dim sum box so we decided to order 3 sets to accommodate our party of 6.
After a few moments of sitting at our round table our dishes started to come out. Three dishes of Scallops Salad with Pomelo arrived at our table.
After a few bites of this dish we were finished. The portion was small but it had great flavour since it was sprinkled with a light taste of a vinaigrette dressing.
Then the soup arrived and what I really liked about this soup was that it was simple. It fused both seafood and tofu together really nicely. Nothing better than chewing into pieces of crab with every bite!
What’s really cute and unique about eating at a Disney restaurant is that they shape as many pieces of food to a Disney theme as close as possible such as the next dish below. It’s absolutely crazy how the carrots are shaped like “Mickey’s head” and the zucchinis are “Mickey’s hands”.
Our next dish was the sesame chicken with lemon juice. Lightly breaded chicken with a tangy lemon syrup is probably close to a “Sweet and Sour Chicken”. This is a common dish with Chinese food and it felt close to home having this as part of my meal.
The waiter brought out a few dishes of a rice topping of abalone with a small garnish on the side. Rice perfectly shaped in a cylinder topped with a well-cooked piece of abalone. This was only my second time having abalone and luckily both were cooked very well. It’s slightly chewy but the sauce that it is cooked in brings out the seafood flavour. It might be an oversized snail but it was really good!
Then the Signature Dim Sum came out. Let me tell you how impressed I was with the amount of detail and work put into each dish. As soon as each dim sum was placed in front of us, we all couldn’t help ourselves taking photos with our smartphones.
Each dim sum dish had its own unique flavour. They were all cooked just right inside and out. None of them were undercooked/overcooked. But what I want you to see is the time and effort put into each dumpling and pancake. The choice of colours to create each character. The small shape of the pig’s nose and ears. The little antennae on top of the little green men’s heads. This sort of detail made our eyes lit up because it was so well made with such intimate detailing that it really brought out the Disney kids within us.
When Duffy the Disney Bear dim sum arrived, we were still impressed. Some of you remember the preview I showed a couple days ago. Well one serving actually came out on a single steamer tray with two small pieces of pudding. Look how absolutely cute and adorable Duffy is! Look closer at one of the puddings: One of them is shaped like Mickey’s hand!
The final dim sum tray we had to order when they offered it to us at the table. It was an additional fee on top of our set menu but we didn’t care because we wanted to see for ourselves what it was.
In one serving of a steamer basket came two dim sum pieces of Baymax. Something so simple as two hand rolled balls of white glutinous dim sum pieces looked so unique! Baymax may not have been one of the most well marketed Disney characters but to be honest with you, I absolutely love him!
I can’t tell you how much fun I had at the Crystal Lotus restaurant. From beginning to end, I couldn’t stop smiling. If you are reading this and you are considering eating at this restaurant, there are a couple of things you need to know:
Hope you enjoy your Hong Kong Disneyland dim sum experience like we did!
I have added Cabalen as a new listing on both Yelp and Google Maps. Yelp is available on the above link, however due to character limits, the link for Google Maps will redirect you here for you to click on the Yelp link. Tripadvisor, as always, takes up to one week to moderate so when the link is available I will post it.
Update as of March 6, 2017: My review is now available on TripAdvisor. The link is posted above. Photos will be on soon.
By the way, if they end up becoming the best Korean resto in Iloilo City, I take full credit for being the first person to review their restaurant and putting them on the map with Tripadvisor and Yelp 🙂
Update: My Tripadvisor link is up but they forgot my photos. Oh well!
Want to get your sushi on? If you feel the need to satisfy your appetite for Japanese food then I know the place.
In one of the west buildings in Mississauga’s Heartland area is an AYCE (All You Can Eat) restaurant named “Heart Sushi”. They share the building with a few other tenants but if you find the Heart logo you can see they are placed at the very end. Grab a parking spot as quickly as possible because spaces are very limited on the weekends.
Like most AYCE sushi places today, their pen and paper ordering system is replaced with the iPad menu. Make your choices from a range of edamame beans to red dragon rolls or Korean kalbi slices to Chinese fried rice.
What I like about this place is the sushi and sashimi are fresh. For lunchtime sushi, they don’t stuff each piece with a fistful of rice. The same can be said for all of their maki rolls. At dinner, the thickness of each sashimi is cut just right. The best part is the presentation. When your appetizers arrive one dish at a time, you can’t wait to sink your teeth into some sashimi. But when it arrives in an illuminated bowl of ice with some fancy decor, it totally makes the experience so much more enjoyable. I used think “meh, just feed me the sashimi on a plate and serve it to me as quickly as I order it” but my outlook changed when you see all your sashimi light up! And when you sink your teeth into a cold fresh piece of fish doused with soy sauce and wasabi? Whoa!!! You cannot help but order more!
Like many other asian restaurants, there are some minor downsides. Sitting down in the booth seats often leaves feeling the impact of the person moving around behind you. Some of the Chinese dishes are a little bland. Besides, why would I stuff myself with rice or noodles when I’m there to eat sushi??? For the most part your dishes come quickly, but even the iPad system might leave one or two items lagging behind.
There are a few unexpected dishes I particularly like. Available during lunch and dinner, order up the Tom Yum soup. It has a piece of simulated crab, slices of mushroom and one shrimp swimming in a slightly tangy soup base with a small garnish. No coconut milk, so it will never taste like the original in Thailand. White tuna for sushi or sashimi melts in your mouth and tastes far better than other types of fish. Available for dinner only, you must try the chopped spicy salmon sashimi on top of a Pringle chip! I ordered it thinking how crazy it was to eat but surprisingly it was really good! Just think, fish and chips right?
I’ve eaten at several sushi restaurants but this one surpasses a lot of them. Some have their own unique features, much like Heart Sushi, that makes them different from other places like their service or their decor.
So after eating here, I have a pretty good idea how to satisfy my cravings. Stay tuned for my next blog about the DO’s and DON’Ts on eating at AYCE sushi restaurants.