Tag: chinese

REVIEW: Chinese Food At Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong, China

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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.

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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!

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Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Pork Dumplings

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.

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Shrimp And Pork Shao-Mai

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.

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Steamed Vegetable And Pork Bun

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.

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Fried Rice With Shredded Pork

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.

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Sauteed Choy Sum

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

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Spicy Vegetable And Pork Wonton

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.

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Almond Pudding With Fresh Fruit
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Sago Soup With Mashed Taro

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.

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Kitchen Staff Creating Masterpieces

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!

Chinese Food Is Addictive

I don’t know about all of you but Chinese food is very addictive.

Even on the next day after Chinese New Year, I look towards the leftovers knowing that I can fill my plate with what I still had the night before. There are times when I am simply watching television and this overwhelming urge to drive to the nearest Chinese restaurant will fill my mind. It’s the craving for a Yang Chow fried rice, noodles, and a mixed veggie dish.

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Every spoonful of fried rice is full of small parcels of veggies, meat, and egg. It’s as if it has a small buffet in every bite.

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I like to chew on some noodles every now and then. This plate is the soft noodles but the really good one is the crispy egg noodles otherwise known as Cantonese Chow Mein. That dish you can get stir fried beef or seafood added on top and completely eat it on its own.

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Chinese food wouldn’t be complete without some crispy broccoli with mushrooms. When it’s sautéed with a light corn starch and soya sauce mixture it just makes the entire craving go away.

I can eat it in the morning, day and night. As a light snack or a full meal. It’s so versatile that I can mix it with international foods and use it as a main or side dish. What can I say, I love Chinese food.

Walt’s Café: Hong Kong Disneyland. A Much-Needed Breakfast!

 

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All smiles from me!

Check out my review on Walt’s Café – Hong Kong Disneyland.

Click here: Yelp | Google Maps

If you are traveling to Hong Kong Disneyland, check out my Dim Sum experience at the Crystal Lotus Restaurant

Hong Kong DisneyLand: Dim Sum Culinary Experience – Crystal Lotus Restaurant

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Welcome To Hong Kong Disneyland

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.

Crystal Lotus

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.

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Hallway Entrance

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Front Lobby

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.

Dining area

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Beautiful Light Fixture Equally Spaced Out Throughout The Entire Dining Area.

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.

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Scallops Salad With Pomelo

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!

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Braised Crab Meat, Bean Curd And Crab Roe Soup.

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”.

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Wok-fried Shrimps And Disney Root Vegetables.

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.

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Crispy Sesame Chicken Served With Lemon Juice.

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!

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Abalone Fried Rice

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.

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Little Pig Pork Barbeque Bun

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Little Green Men Pork And Vegetable Bun

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Mickey’s Seafood Glutinous Pancake

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!

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Combo of “Duffy” Steamed Red Bean Puree Bun, Chilled Dual Mickey’s Puddings

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.

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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!

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So Cute!
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:

  1. Decide on whether you want the Disney Special Dim Sum Lunch Menu or the other special menus that are available.
  2. Reservations are required and I suggest you book well in advance. Although there weren’t too many people there when we first arrived but when we were near to finished eating, the entire restaurant was completely filled.
  3. For the Disney Special Dim Sum Lunch Menu, one order of the set menu is for only one person. My pictures, and other pictures on the internet, you might see a few dim sum pieces combined in one steam basket but really it is only one dim sum piece per order/basket. We made the mistake of ordering 3 sets for 6 people because of the online photos but I suggest that if you are going with a party of 6 adults, then order 6 sets.
  4. The Dim Sum Lunch Menu is not cheap (I think it was about $40USD per order at the time we went). So if you are really hungry, be prepared to still buy some food after you finish your meal as the portions are rather small. This was more of a Disney-themed experience for us rather than a buffet.
  5. The staff did their best to accommodate for our needs considering their English was very limited. But if you find one person who speaks English better than anyone else, get their attention as much as possible.
  6. Even though it is not common to leave a tip in Hong Kong, or Disneyland for that matter, we still gave a tip. The staff worked hard for our smiles and we enjoyed the entire experience.

Hope you enjoy your Hong Kong Disneyland dim sum experience like we did!

 

10 Tips On How To Achieve The Most Value Out Of Any AYCE Sushi Buffet

In the past few weeks, I have been to a few AYCE (All You Can Eat) sushi buffets in the Greater Toronto Area.

Each and every one of these restaurants had their own menu and style that may have included in one way or another different types of asian food such as Chinese, Korean, or Thai. After checking out each restaurant, I found this to be a great opportunity to compare notes on what I look for versus what I am paying for.

1. Sushi vs. Sashimi

What is the difference between the two? Originated from Japan, sushi consists of a special bite-size portion of cooked vinegared rice topped with a slice of raw seafood, vegetables, or even tropical fruits. Makis and Hand Rolls are types of sushi that have the fish and veggies rolled or wrapped inside a layer of rice or seaweed. Sashimi is commonly thin slices of raw seafood.

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Maki Rolls

At many AYCE sushi buffets, I have seen sushi and sashimi served in different sizes, and girth. Yes, GIRTH. My biggest pet peeve is being served with a huge chunk of sushi rice with a small shave of fish. These sort of restaurants overfeed you with rice so they can save more money by holding back on the fish.

The best bang for your buck will always be the sashimis. I always order makis sparingly because I don’t want to fill myself up with rice.

2. Lunch vs. Dinner

At many AYCE buffets, the price is very different during lunch or dinner.

At an AYCE sushi buffet, the standard is having sushi served for lunch while sashimi is served for dinner, but when the price is $10 more per person and you eat the same number of sashimi as you do with sushi, then you might as well eat sushi for lunch.

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Although in some AYCE restaurants, dinner menus may be served during lunch but of course, at a dinner price. Only your wallet and stomach will determine which one to choose.

3. Weekday vs Weekend

This comes down to price. The base price is lowest on weekday lunches (Monday – Thursday) and increases at dinner. Some consider Friday lunch as a weekday but Friday dinners are always at a weekend price. At most places, weekend lunch and dinner will skyrocket to a much higher unexpected price.

Other than serving sashimi for weeknight dinner or on weekends, usually there are no special reasons why they are charging more only that they know families and couples are most available to feast at these times.

Go for the weekday lunch if you can make it. You will get better service, pay less, and it won’t be so crowded.

4. All You Can Eat but not All You Can Drink

Better ask if your soda drink refills are unlimited and/or if it’s included in the AYCE price.  Otherwise you might be paying much more than you think.

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I usually order some Chinese tea or green tea solely because I gave up soft drinks a long time ago and also they refill hot water for free. Besides, carbonated drinks fill up my stomach and I like to consume more of the food than the drink. Most places provide a small pot with loose tea/tea bag steeping in hot water. They either charge one price for the number of pots or the number of people. So if you have a party of 8 and they all want tea, either you will be charged for 2 pots that can serve 8 people or pay the individual price per person even if you are given 2 pots. At one place my wife and I actually paid for our own separate tea bags in separate cups.

If you don’t need anything special, tap water will always be free.

5. AYCE Sushi plus other foods and fusion

Most sushi places are now mixing up their menus by offering Chinese, Korean, and Thai.

With Chinese, I try to stay away or limit my steamed rice or fried rice. I figured if you’re eating sushi, you are already having good portions of rice. Do try their dim sum (steamed dumplings) as they are slowly making their way into the sushi restaurants.

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Stay Away From Rice Dishes At AYCE Restaurants.

Most Japanese AYCE buffets mixes in several Korean dishes. If they offer kalbi (small strips of marinated short ribs) give them a try. Koreans know that it can be difficult and expensive to make kalbi so make it worth your while to have some. It’s delicious!

Tom Yum Soup is my go-to Thai dish. I have always enjoyed a little sour taste in my mouth to warm me up for a sushi fest. Any noodle dish such as Pad Thai should be ordered with caution because it usually tastes either very bland or very sour.

6. Types of Sushi and Sashimi

I used to eat a ton of red tuna. As time passed by red tuna became less available and salmon started to be the norm. Now I’m hooked on white tuna (or butterfish). Just thinking about the butterfish melting in my mouth makes me want to go out for sushi right now. Yum!

I have also started to love octopus and surf clam sashimi. They have a slightly rubbery texture to it but the flavor is starting to grow on me.

Some maki rolls make its way onto my plate. I love dynamite rolls (tempura inside), spicy salmon crisp, and Red Dragon with salmon toppings.

Hand rolls are the biggest flop in my book for AYCE buffets. So much rice and veggies are stuffed into the seaweed wrap that you can barely taste any fish at all.

7. Fresh means everything

Once you bite into any sushi, it should not have a fishy taste. Nor should it smell fishy either. Sushi and sashimi is meant for you to enjoy the moment without having any difficulty of forcing it down.

With any fish sushi, not only should it be chilled but it should also be easy to chew. If you find that you are chewing non-stop, then it is far from being fresh.

8. Price can make it or break it

How much are you willing to pay for an AYCE lunch or dinner buffet?

For lunch, I am willing to go between $15 – $20 and that’s if they are offering sashimi for lunch on the higher end of the price range. I find that even with higher prices, the quality is still the same.

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Some restaurants will give you a 5% discount if you pay the bill cash. It doesn’t hurt to ask your server before you order if a discount is available.

9. Old style/New style menu ordering

Pen and paper menu ordering is slowly being phased out. Most of these places don’t have a picture what each dish looks like. Unless you have eaten at this sort of place several times and ordered everything on their menu, then you really wouldn’t know what to expect. Also, it is so hard to get your server’s attention if they don’t check up on you from time to time.

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iPads now made their way into AYCE sushi buffets. Order the quantities of dishes by tapping away at the pictures on their slide bar menus. Food should arrive within 5 minutes as this system is supposed to increase efficiency. If they don’t serve your food within a good amount of time then either the restaurant is busy or the iPad is broken.

10. Tipping

Most AYCE have credit card machines with preset amounts on how much tip to add onto the bill. I will tip depending if I have to go up to get my own food or if they will deliver it to me. Factor in if they bring my food quickly, take away my empty plates before I return from the tables. I always consider if I am treated like a paying customer.

Most importantly, the food has to meet my expectations.

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So I hope my list helps all of you decide on what you will look for at any AYCE sushi buffet.

If you love sushi as much as I do, it is always satisfying to walk out of a sushi restaurant smiling saying that I ate well and having that ‘Life is Good’ feeling. If you can say that, then you definitely achieved the most value out of your sushi meal.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Heart Sushi – AYCE Sushi and Sashimi

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Heart Sushi
Unit 2, 815 Britannia Road West, Mississauga, Ontario

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.

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Fancy iPad menu. It’s the way to order.

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!

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Various sashimi of salmon, white tuna, octopus, and clam on an illuminated bowl of ice.

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.

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Appetizer Seaweed
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Korean Kalbi
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Shrimp Tempura – lightly battered
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Red Dragon Roll – Bits of cucumber, avocado, some shrimp topped with salmon

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?

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Tom Yum Soup
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White Tuna Sushi
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Clam and Salmon Sushi

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. 

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Cleanse your palette with a scoop or two of red bean ice cream

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.

My rating:

I'm-Smiling-Review

Dynasty BBQ Restaurant

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Dynasty BBQ Restaurant
1550 S Gateway Road
Mississauga, ON

Dixie Park Mall is a building full of Asian (mainly Chinese) office tenants just 1 block north of Dixie Road and Eastgate Parkway in Mississauga. Tucked away in the corner of the main floor is a food court lined with asian food vendors who serve Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese food.

One of those food vendors is a place I usually order from called Dynasty BBQ Restaurant. They sell mainly Chinese food but have recently added on a couple of items on their menu to attract the Filipino market. Like many of the other food vendors, their menu consists of either a list of food with prices on a large poster board or pictures with a small description and price that is hung or taped all around the face of the unit. Many stores like these are the style in Toronto Chinatown or even back in mainland China and Hong Kong.

I have tried other food vendors in this food court but my wife and I always gravitate towards Dynasty. They are the only restaurant that sells BBQ, displaying several pieces roasted duck and pork on meat hooks in a huge showcase. Their specialty is the BBQ but they also sell the usual rice or noodle topping dishes with a variety of veggies, meats and seafood served on a cast iron grill.

While waiting in line, make your order and make it quick or else you will upset the people behind you. If you have ever ordered a pizza in Manhattan but haven’t figured out which one you want by the time they ask for your order then you know what I mean. The owner, a very short Chinese lady, is very fun to talk to but keep in mind of the queue and the orders she needs to fill.

I always get the roasted pork and soya chicken on rice while my wife orders up the roasted duck and soya chicken on rice (sorry no picture yet for this!). Get a drink combo 2 for $1.50 and the total bill comes out to just over $15.50. Can you believe that? $15.50 for two people!!! In most shopping mall food courts in Canada, you are looking to pay way over $20.00 for two.

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These combinations come with a side serving of veggies, soup, and a teaspoon of ginger and scallion mixture. Before the veggies used to be a couple of large pieces of bok choy but recently it’s been switched to broccoli. It’s a large portion of food for great value. The taste is probably as good as you can get close to real Cantonese style bbq food.

Sometimes we get our food fast depending on the line up but more often now the service is slower only because we can’t get there before the crowd. But you will not be disappointed with their selection. Parking can get just as crazy but they do have enough spaces for the lunch crowd. It all depends how far you want to walk to satisfy your hunger. By the way, Dynasty BBQ is closed on Tuesdays. They need a day off too!

My Rating: I'm-Smiling-Review

Momofuku Daisho – Toronto

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Momofuku Daisho
190 University Avenue, Third Floor
Toronto, Ontario

I will probably write shorter reviews in the future but since this is my first review on an upper casual fine dining asian restaurant, I wanted to spend some time to share the full experience both my wife and I had at Momofuku Daisho.

My wife has offered a couple times to dine with her at Momofuku Daisho. Unfortunately living on the west end of the GTA doesn’t give us much opportunity to travel into downtown, find parking then feed the meter or ticket machine, then walk to the restaurant. With Toronto’s Summerlicious program hitting the urban cuisine life, this was the perfect opportunity to give Momofuku Daisho a try.

I didn’t know much about what Momofuku Daisho had to offer so I checked out their website and also searched them on Google. New York’s top-rated chef, David Chang, opened Momofuku’s three-storey, four-in-one restaurant building in 2012 next to the prestigious, five-star Shangri-La hotel. Daisho’s theme is based on a steakhouse: burgers, steaks, salads, and seafood. They do not specifically serve Asian dishes, however some of their dishes do have some asian ingredients unlike the other two restos in the building: Noodle Bar and Shoto (“Nikai” is a bar and lounge while “Milk Bar” sells baked goods shipped in from their New York kitchen. Both are on the second floor). The concept design of Daisho is simple: a glass cube on the 3rd floor. I heard at night the lights illuminate the exterior of the entire building and showcases Daisho’s interior. Maybe next time I might drop in for dinner just to see it.

Calling into Momofuku for reservations was easy especially since they offered a separate connection specifically for Summerlicious. What I liked about their reservation line is that they called me the day before to confirm my reservation. Traffic was light and easy heading into T-dot late morning and my wife saved us a ton of money finding us street parking across the street from the underground parking entrance.

A short 5 minute walk around the corner to University Avenue and we made it. We weren’t entirely sure where the main entrance to the building was. We knew it was beside the Shangri-la hotel but not part of it. We saw the large entrance door behind the what appeared to be a large tree sculpture made out of stainless steel. Later I learned that the sculpture is reminiscent of a headless dragon adorned with doves to resemble world peace. Although it is placed in front of Momofuku’s megaplex, it was actually designed for the Shangri-la hotel.

We arrived early for our reservation and when we entered the small waiting area, my wife and I were a little confused as to where we needed to be. After a little walking around, we realized that the entrance to Momofuku hasn’t opened yet and so we sat down on the few benches until we were ready to go in. The restaurant promptly opened at 11:30am and the hostess at Noodle Bar directed us to the 3rd floor for Daisho by giving us a choice of using the stairs or elevator. I wanted a smooth ride so we took the obvious choice.

The hostess immediately greeted us as soon as we stepped out of the elevator and she sat us down at what my wife and I thought was the best table. Seated in the corner of the glass cube resto, my wife had the view of the restaurant and outside south of University Avenue while I enjoyed my view of my wife and north of downtown. Everything was clean and well-polished. The windows and ceiling stretched high and gave the entire restaurant so much natural light. Our waitress, Jasmine, gave us the time we needed to look over their Summerlicious menu. We talked for awhile and built up the questions what we needed to ask:

“What are these ingredients?”

“How large are these portions”

“If we wanted to try dishes on top of the three-course meal, is the option available?”

I have to tell you, she answered every single question with the fullest description but brief and to the point. It just made our ordering that much easier. We decided to hold off on ordering extra dishes in case we weren’t able to finish our prix fixe lunch.

For appetizers, my wife ordered the BBQ Pork Bun stuffed with red cabbage, bread and butter pickes, and avocado. I decided to try the roasted carrot soup with almond, crab, and chive. For the main/entrée dish I had the Pork Secreto SSam with pickled green papya, fish sauce and bibb lettuce while she had the Grilled Trout with roasted buckwheat, chanterelle mushrooms, and arugula. The desserts, a humble blueberry cheesecake and a shortcake for me.

We made our order and sipped on our hot green tea and had a delightful conversation about how excited we were to try our food. Within 10 minutes, our appetizers arrived. I have to tell you, we were absolutely impressed with the presentation. The BBQ Pork Bun was a hit. Everything was neatly packed inside the bun. Something so simple looked delicious! Although mine was a simple soup, it was presented to me with the ingredients inside the soup bowl while the actual carrot soup was inside a ceramic bottle with an open spout. The server place the bowl in front of me then poured the soup around the ingredients so that it wouldn’t drown and get soggy. Very smart!

Shortly after we finished our apps, our entrees arrived. We were both equally impressed with the presentation. The Grilled Trout was seasoned very well without any fishy taste. Roasted buckwheat was a complete surprise.  We found ourselves using our fork to figure out exactly what else was inside it. The roasted buckwheat looked like couscous but tasted nothing like it.

My Pork Secreto SSam is similar to what I used to eat when I was a kid. The plate arrived with several slices of pork and bibb lettuce piled on one side, fish sauce and sticky rice in separate small bowls. Either you could take the pork and rice then place it inside the lettuce then spoon the sauce on top and eat it like a burrito or simply use your cutlery and let it ride. All the ingredients for this asian dish was subtle but very tasty.

The desserts: The cheesecake was not thick or dense as how you would normally buy or make. It was light but not runny and it was paired with a scoop of sorbet. The two combined made for a cream and tangy flavour that cleaned the palette. I could not finish my strawberry shortcake. My wife had to help me as shortcake is usually a little dense. I’m not saying that it wasn’t good, it was very good but I just couldn’t finish everything.

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From beginning to end, our foodie experience at Momofuku Daisho did not disappoint. Although we came here during Toronto’s Summerlicious venue, I would definitely come back here and try some of their other dishes on their regular menus. I heard their Roasted Rice Cakes are worth trying. If you ever find your way into downtown Toronto, drop into Momofoku Daisho. I highly recommend their food and their service.

Very-Good-Review