Thursday, August 18, 2011

Special Edition: Why Taiwan is Food(and Drink) Heaven

Although our blog focuses mainly on food in Vancouver and Toronto, Amy and I have decided that food in Taiwan is a must-share. If you quickly scroll down and scan through the photos, need I say more? (Before you scroll down, please remember to come back and continue reading!)

(Photo credit Amy Chen)
This photo is only one corner of a typical convenient store in Taiwan. Every time I visit a 7-11 in Taiwan, I must stand in front of the fridges for at least 5 minutes to decide on which beverage I want to have. I always have the urge to try each and every bottle. 

(Photo credit Nathan Chiu)
By convenient, I really mean convenient - you could have a three-course meal in this place anytime, any day! 

Since I had to keep myself from moving into 7-11, I asked my dad to take me to a local spot. This place is one of the different versions of a traditional local Taiwanese breakfast place. Instead of sandwiches and burgers, they serve all sorts of buns.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shark Club

A while back, friends and I were stumped as to where to have our next meal. We decided to take a break from all the Asian food in Richmond and head over to Shark Club. Ok, I'll be honest. The real reason was because I had heard about a certain dessert on the menu and was dying to try it.

Ambiance-wise, Shark Club is very similar to Joey's, Milestones, Cactus Club, etc. The Richmond location is pretty spacious, and was also quite empty on the Friday night that I was there. They have multiple TV's everywhere so it'd be a great place to catch a game.

Chicken Pesto Quesadilla 
Their Chicken Pesto Quesadilla was so good that I dare say it was the best quesadilla I've ever had. The shell was crispy yet still soft and contained lots of warm chicken and beans. The salsa was very fresh and zesty with its juicy tomato bits and kernels of corn. Even the mixed greens that came with this was yummy -- light and refreshing. It was topped with slices of daikon which I thought was a unique touch to a otherwise seemingly normal salad.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Charcoal Sushi & BBQ (Featuring: Steven!)

Hello, and welcome to the debut of Steven! First, a little bit about myself: I am a regular Lumico reader (hopefully, as are you!) and a fellow wannabe "food enthusiast" - that is to say, I like to eat. Though to be honest, I never really pictured myself writing down and commenting on food I had just wolfed down, because well a) I just wolfed it down, didn't think too much, and b) my go-to comment would probably be "Well, that tasted... good." But the one time I do happen to go out for dinner with Lumico (hereby referred to as some kind of fused human entity), they get lazy and decide to toss me an assignment. Well then, challenge accepted! Now armed with the power of the blog and the strength of my words, follow me as I bring my keen senses of taste to the masses! OK delusions of grandeur aside, I'll try not to make you cringe too much from my writing.

Tonight's restaurant of choice is Charcoal Sushi & BBQ, located on the corner of Westminster Highway and No. 3 Road in Richmond. Although this is quite a busy intersection and smack in the heart of Richmond, I had actually never seen or heard of it before. The reason for this is because the restaurant is found on the second level of the plaza and pretty much obscured from street view. A better description for its location would be "above TD, across from London Drugs." The restaurant itself is also quite small, and rather squished. The interior decor was decent, and fairly modern; there was bar seating as well as regular booth seats, and several TV's to give it a more lively feel. However, the restaurant does not have a waiting area, and tables are set up all the way to the entrance. Since the restaurant was jam packed when we got there, we had to wait while hovering around people who were seated at their tables (and giving us their stinkeye looks - "How dare you watch me savor my food!")

We finally got seated - unfortunately, by the door - and began the customary menu rummaging routine. What I liked, was that in addition to the menu, there was also a book that contained pictures of all the items on the menu, all photographed in a more realistic, this-is-what-you-get kind of way. I mean, don't you just hate it when you order something based on the menu description or some sneaky menu picture only to get a sorry excuse of a dish?

We settled on 7 items from the menu: Tuna Tataki, Tuna toro sashimi, Crunch roll, Indian roll, Madness roll, Kimchi tofu and pork stew, and Kobe beef stone bowl. Yumminess ensued.

First up was the Tuna Tataki. Served on an organic spring mix, the tuna was lightly seared on the sides and still raw in the middle, just the way I like it. Coupled with the acidity of radish and the freshness of green onions, the tuna salad was a good starter for sure.
Tuna Tataki $5.95 + tax

Next up was the Tuna toro sashimi, which was quite hyped by my fellow dinner-mates. Tuna toro is the underbelly of tuna fish, and so I expected the sashimi to be more fatty in taste. And indeed it was! And much more than just that! Other than the Saba sashimi, the Tuna toro is the most expensive on the menu, and justifiably so. If you like having fish, you'll know that in general fish belly has a pretty different texture than the rest of its fishmeat neighbours. The Tuna toro was the same. Because of its higher fat content, the Tuna toro had a smoother, more tangible mouthfeel than regular tuna sashimi. It's one of those times you ask, "Did my tongue die and go to heaven?"
Toro Sashimi $7.65 + tax

Then came the rolls! The Crunch roll was stuffed with prawn tempura and topped with mango, sliced avocado, and spicy tuna. I don't know who came up with the idea to combine rolls with mangoes, but that (wo)man is a genius. The drier, crispier prawn tempura inside was complemented by the creamy goodness of avocado and the sweetness of mango, and the spicy tuna served to bring an extra kick of spicy moistness.

Crunch Roll $9.75 + tax


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