Tag: meat

Happy Canada Day! Top 6 Canadian Foods You Have To Eat!

On this July 1, Canada will celebrate it’s 150th birthday.

For many of you who do not know what our federal holiday is about, it is the day when the provinces and British colonies united under a single Dominion now known as our country called Canada. We have grown as a country with our history with the British and French, and most of all, our native Indian heritage. I remember learning about my country and the pioneers that helped built our lands into the country we are today.  As I’m writing this now, I am truly proud to call myself a Canadian.

I wanted to share with you the type of food that makes us Canadians very unique. Some of you reading this may have tried some of our delicacies. If you ever have the chance to try some things on the list, you can proudly say you have eaten something truly Canadian!

atlantic salmon
Photo Credit: Gizmodo

Atlantic Salmon – One of our greatest natural resources is fishing, specifically salmon. Off the Atlantic coast of our eastern provinces, hundreds of ships would set off catching thousands of fresh, wild salmon. Due to increase of consumption, we have had to farm salmon inland to keep up with growing demand.

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Montreal Smoked Meat – From the province of Quebec, this deli meat has gained popularity ever since it was first created in the bustling city of Montreal. It is made by curing and salting a large beef brisket covered with spices, then smoked and steamed until cooked through. It is best eaten with several carved pieces stuffed into a Kaiser bun, a thin layer of mustard and pickle slices for condiments are a definite must to bring out the tanginess of this large sandwich.

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Poutine – Also originated from Quebec, this sloppy dish of carbs is one of few that we are truly proud of and one of my absolute favourites. It consists of french fries topped with cheese curds and loads of gravy. Some eat this as a side dish or as a meal itself. I say let your stomach decide if you want it as a snack or lunch.

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Maple Syrup – What’s the first thing you reach for when eating pancakes? Canadians cannot take full credit for creating maple syrup since it was practiced by the indigenous people of North America (Canada and the USA). However, we can proudly say that the majority of maple syrup is produced mainly from Quebec. The sap from maple trees is slowly extracted then boiled down to its purest syrup form. After a strict filtering process, it produces the sweet taste that runs smooth out of the bottle and onto our plates.

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Photo Credit: Brooker’s Meat

Canadian Peameal Bacon is a special type of lean, cured pork loin that is trimmed of fat. It was once rolled in a mix of ground yellow peas before WWII but cornmeal became the better choice. It is a very different taste than the standard strips of bacon sold in grocery stores. Much like our Montreal Smoked Meat, we like to also cook slices of peameal bacon and make a large sandwich out of it. But if you like your standard plated breakfast meal, simply slice a few pieces and pan fry it. If you can’t get your hands on it, perhaps your local breakfast restaurant might carry these on their menu!

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Ice Wine – Although this dessert wine first originated with the Romans and then with the Germans, Canada has become the largest commercial producer of ice wine today. Depending on the temperatures, ice wine is produced from grapes that are frozen while still attached to the vines. The sugars from grapes do not freeze thus providing a more concentrated and sweeter wine. The Ontario Niagara region is the most common area where ice wine is produced ideally because of the proper freezing temperatures. I don’t usually drink but I cannot help myself to quench my thirst with a glass of ice wine. It is like no other glass of wine you have ever tasted. Sweet and to the point. I would highly recommend all of you to try a small glass with your favourite dessert. It brings out the sweet tooth out of any person.

I hope you all enjoyed reading some of the different types of Canadian foods we love to share with the world. If you have eaten any of the above, I would love to hear your comments.

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

HKDL Resort
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.

HKDL Hallway
Hallway Entrance

Front Lobby
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

Dining area2

Light
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.

scallop salad
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!

Soup
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”.

ShrimpVegetables
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.

Chicken
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!

AbaloneFriedRice
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.

Little Pig
Little Pig Pork Barbeque Bun

GreenMen
Little Green Men Pork And Vegetable Bun

Seafood Pancake
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.

Baymax

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!

PreviewBaymax
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!