Maji Restaurant 麻吉台式熱炒

This new addition on Alexander Road in Richmond, BC has been creating a lot of noise recently among the locals. I went there two times before I wrote this review, because I wanted to try out a little bit more dishes before I say anything. According to a few Taiwanese friends of mine, their food is very authentic.

Here are some of the dishes that I get to try (some I do not have photos because I was seated in a very dark area.).

Ginger Chicken – chicken leg stir fried with ginger sauce and green onions

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First thing my friends noticed was that, wow that’s a lot of ginger. Which got me excited for a moment, because I was trying to imagine in my head how gingery it will taste like. But it didn’t. It tasted like soy sauce, lots and lots of ginger but none of the flavour came out onto the chicken. I can see it but cannot taste it.

Hakka-Style Pork and Squid – shredded pork belly stir fried with squid, bean curd, dried shrimps and chili

Spicy stir fry of thinly cut squid and pork shreds along with crispy dried shrimps. I liked this dish, very flavourful and full of different types of textures all in one dish. This is quite a spicy dish, I would suggest you ask for mild if you cannot handle spicy.

Shrimps with Egg – shrimps stir fried with egg and green onions

This dish was very interesting, because when I first saw it sit down on the table I immediately thought “Where is the egg?” I see lots of shrimps, then I realized it was deep fried bits of egg stir fried with the shrimp. I personally liked this dish because it gave crunchy texture to the shrimps and no slimy egg-sauce like most places would do.

Stir Fried Vegetable – season vegetable with garlic

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Pi-Egg Tofu – silken tofu drizzled with thick soy sauce, sprinkled with green onion and dried pork floss

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This is a very classic and easy Taiwanese family dish. I would recommend it if you have never had such dish anywhere else, it is one of my favourite Taiwanese homemade dish. I often make this at home when I am feeling lazy and a perfect summer dish. 🙂

Chinese Yam Chicken Soup – clear broth with fermented glutinous rice, Chinese yam, chicken leg, chicken date, goji berries and mushrooms

This soups sounds so healthy for your body that I really had to order it. Soup was not too salty and has light aroma of fermented rice. Chinese yam had been cooked so well it tasted like mash potatoe.

San-pei Squid – squid stir-fried with San-Pei sauce; tossed with basil

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If you have tired San-Pei Chicken (which means three sauce chicken) it pretty much taste exactly the same instead of chicken they used squid. I need to give prompts to the squid, they were tender and chewy at the same time. Perfectly cooked to the right tenderness.

Golden Fried Rice – friend rice with diced ham and corn

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It is basically what it is, very simple but instead of bowls of plain rice we got fried rice instead.

Overall, I have to say their stir fries are generally good but I noticed they are all very oily and full of MSG? I became super thirsty while I was having these dishes (both times I was there). But some dishes are great ideas and they are perfect with a few beer. A very traditional way of eating these dishes at late night in Taiwan.

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Yuu Japanese Tapas 優

I was here, a long time ago (like couple years ago) when it first opened. I remember long long time ago it was Chinese sweet soup place, then when it first got switched over to Yuu I gave it a try. Food was good and it was the first place I would say during that time with wide variety of Japanese dessert. After couple years I came here with lunch with a friend.

The place has changed, renovated and furnished. I also believe the owner is different? Though that I cannot be sure.

When I got the menu I noticed right away a lot of their items have changed. But they still have matcha latte with black sugar! So of course I ordered it. :3

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It was tad sweet, but just a little bit. I believe for most people it will be just right. Smooth and hot, I find this one hotter than most places I have been to. Which means it will stay warm while I am enjoying it through the meal. *happy* Because just like coffee, who likes it cooled? 😐

My friend ordered burger patty in curry sauce with rice. If you haven’t tried a dish like this, you should. This is not regular patty since it is usually hand made by the restaurant, therefore the meat tend to be looser and more tender and more juice. It also is a very popular home made dish in Japan, lots of Japanese moms would know how to make this and children usually loves it. I tried a small bit, it is similar to the one I have tried to downtown two years ago. (The restaurant is now gone and was owned by authentic Japanese.) I missed this! It was tasty, I almost wanted to trade my friend for it. 😛

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For myself I ordered teppanyaki chicken with vegetables, I didn’t feel like carb so I just had chicken and vegetables. I would say other than the chicken the vegetables are quite bland. Now as I recall eating teppankyaki in Japan there should be some sauce (or at least soy sauce) fried with ingredients first. But don’t get me wrong, it is fine cooked just right but just lack flavour.

I wouldn’t mind returning.
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Secret Location

Tasting Room they called it, this is a gorgeous place. Everything looks and feels so  pretty. 😛 I was attracted by its name a long time ago, never got around to visit. Finally I paid a visit after shopping around with a friend to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and some sweets.light

I got here right when their retail shop next door is closed. So I didn’t get a chance to shop, but definitely I will visit their shop next time!Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

We were seated right away, but because of the emptiness of the restaurant. We get to pick any seat. So I selected a seat with SUPER large sofa… ;p

We had a somewhat interesting experience as we got seated. We were served by a new waitress (you’ll see why I think so). When she gave us our water, she spilled it all over my friend and on the floor. And for some really odd reason it took her super long to try to figure out how to clean the place. She ended up cleaning part of the table and left the floor with a little pond.

Anyways, so I ordered a hot chocolate. (They didn’t have the Hot Chocolate Festival hot chocolates anymore… 😥 )

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I liked the hot chocolate, smooth and not too sweet. However I find it not hot enough. Or maybe I just really enjoy very hot drinks. On the side I believe those are marshmallows? They were really good! So yummy. 🙂

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Petits Fours – mini versions of sweets.

Raspberry Sorbet

Dark Chocolate Dipped Madeleine Cakes – They are a little stiff and compacted. In my mind, they should be lighter. But liked the dark chocolate dipped idea. 🙂

Chocolate Truffles – I really like their truffles! They were delicious. Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. I wonder if they are house made? But just so yummy!

Hazelnut Coffee Macarons

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It is a nice place to sit and chat. However I am not sure if we are actually welcomed to do so. After the spill of water, we never got really any attention from the waitress or the host. No one refilled our water or come check on us. Is it because we are not actually having a meal? I am not quite sure.

Secret Location on Urbanspoon

eight 1/2 Restaurant Lounge

A friend recommended this place to me a while ago, I came here for lunch and dinner before and now I return again for dinner with a few girls. When I first heard the name, it kept my interested and I never forgot about it. I also remember because of it’s location had some filming done about two years ago, so it just stayed in my head forever.

Wild Mushroom Risotto – Medley of fresh BC mushrooms, pine nuts, spinach, parmesan with a drizzle of white truffle oil. I got a small bite of this, the rice is a little hard. But it is alright. Couldn’t really taste the truffle oil. 😦

Marketplace Spaghetti – Roasted vegetables, goat cheese, torn basil, sundried tomato base served with garlic toast. I think this is an evolve from the marketplace pizza, special item featured during the time I visited. I really liked it, it had eggplant and sun dried tomato which is very spicy. Oh I absolutely love the spice to this pasta.

8th Avenue – Hot calabrese, chorizo, banana peppers, and sautéed mushrooms. I also shared this with a friend. Very delicious pizza, another spicy item on the list. I really liked the banana peppers, sweet and spicy. 🙂 Very good crust also, I believe it was fresh baked and we had to wait a bit for this pizza.

Crème Brûlée – A true vanilla bean crème brûlée infused with Grand Marnier. Shared this among six girls. 😉

This place has an extensive drink menu, since it is a lounge it has a lot of tapas and interesting drinks for you to try. So if you want a place to go Friday night, give this a try!

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Koi Japanese Tapas Bar

I noticed this place every time driving by Kingsway, and every single time I would slow down to see what is this place about. Usually later (around 11pm) this places get very packed – almost made me think that there is a lounge in the suburbs area of Burnaby. I got there around 5pm, I guess it is a little early for dinner. But there is no one in the restaurant.

I lied, there is someone sitting by the bar. But I believe it is a friend of the owner. They were having so much fun drinking on their own.

Since I was there for dinner, I have ordered a few things to share between the two of us.
Salmon SashimiFresh salmon sashimi – for us small eater, I asked them to make a half size portion, and it was just the perfect size!

deep fried yam, cucumber topped with avocado and sesame sauce
This one had an interesting name, so I ordered it. Black Forest Roll, though there is nothing black about this sushi roll. 😛 This is quite a normal sushi roll but what made it different was the sesame sauce. I really like sesame myself and the sauce was great subtly bringing out the flavours of cucumber which gave it crunch and freshness.

Harumaki Salad Roll

Bang Bang Ji

We didn’t feel too much like sushi rolls, because the person I was sharing sushi with doesn’t like tuna. And LOTS of rolls contains tuna. So we got this BangBangJi Salad Roll – if you had bang bang ji salad, this is pretty much the salad wrapped in a thin rice paper (those used in Vietnamese spring rolls). I think was quite good, helped the salad kept its shape without interrupting too much of the original salad flavour.

Japanese Poutine
I can’t remember if this was on the menu… but it’s fries served with gravy and Japanese curry and nori. Oh I loved this one. Such a good combination of fries and curry (Japanese curry tends to be sweeter.) This would have been perfect if you are drinking.

I would like to revisit when it is busy to see what the vibe is suppose to be.

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George Ultra Lounge & Bar

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After Candytown at Yaletown, I visited George Ultra Lounge with a few friends for food and drinks. It was such an energetic lounge, full of laughing customers and busy staffs. The section we were sitting in weren’t too dark, wasn’t just candle lights. A little bright from any lounges I have been. Therefore I am able to take photos of my food. 😛

This lounge has an extensive cocktails, martinis, wine and beer collection to choose from. All the cocktails came with interesting names, was a delight to order. But just a reminder that their drinks are not nice on the wallets at all.

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Gwen Stefani – Diamonds and gold are the name of the game! And for those on a Hollywood diet, it’ll score in that area too. A ‘poppy’ mix of Jasmine Vodka, passion fruit and coconut water. Such a beautiful drink, the look and taste of it. I really like how light and smooth it was to drink. And of course a pleasure to look at.

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Jack of Hearts Julep – This is a full on exciting mix of Calvados, apricot jam, lavender, balsamic syrup & mint. Not for those who are afraid to explore with their taste buds. The brandy is strong, so strong to a point I couldn’t taste any other flavour that the description had. Was disappointed and couldn’t finish this drink. 😦

Another drink I tried was Jewelled Apple – Inspired by the most amazing herbal tea we ever tried from Tea Palace, Covent Garden. Now the alcoholic version should grace the hand of every party girl, or boy! I really enjoyed this drink also, it has tea that balances out the sweetness from the alchol and gave it a nice fragance while you are sipping it.

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Arancini with Saffron. Arancini is basically a rice ball filled with mozzarella cheese which is breaded and fried. I could imagine how great this would taste with wine. With the tomatoe sauce was just delicious. Good balance of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black Cod Brandade – I didn’t know what it was and had to look up brandade online. 😛 But I sure don’t regret ordering this item. It is much like pate. black cod mashed into paste to put on top of crostini along with not too salty capers, the aroma of black cod and combination with the crispy toasted crostini was so yummy! But I do wish to have a little more crostini to finish all the black cod brandade. 🙂

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Of course last but not least the dessert – their dessert menu seems to be quite small and when I spotted this I just felt Christmas right away. So I had to order it. Warm Ginger Bread with Vanilla Ice Cream also had bits of syrupy ginger. Made this a nice winter dessert (and it was a cold cold night!). I loved this dessert with every bit. Now I want to make this at home. 😛

It is a nice environment to have a drink and a few snacks, though I wouldn’t recommend this for a dinner type of restaurant. If you looking for a continue of your night, this would be the place to go.

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Suika

I had been to this restaurant twice and everytime I love it even more. A sister restaurant of Ginyo. When I first saw it and the line up waiting outside of it, I thought hey what is the hype?! 😛 So I paid a visit about two months ago and again this month. This is a Japanese ‘Snackbar’ (which really means izakaya – go wiki izakaya to get a full understand why this is the most favourite and popular place to go in Japan) With awesome decor and excellent service.

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Like many Japanese Izakaya, you order tons of tapas to share among your table with drinks. My friends aren’t the drinking type, so we ordered lots of food and Suika soda. (Suika means watermelon in Japanese, therefore it is a watermelon soda.) It actually tasted pretty good, I am sure they have an alcohol mixed version of this if you are into drinking. 🙂

Since there are too many food that I have ordered (I can’t remember names for all of them.) I’ll talk about five items that I liked the most during this visit that I would recommend.

Corn Karaage – Deep fried corn bits combined into one tasty piece of heaven.

Oh my, I saw a recommendation of this on Urbanspoon and no doubt it should be. It was so yummy! Lightly fried with butter and batter on these sweet little juicy corn bits. I love every bite of it. This is a must order – will go so well with Asahi. 😛

I am so sorry but I cannot remember what the name of this is. I think it’s a daily special? But let me describe it to you and hopefully the friendly staff can help you with it. It is almost like a salad with some spring mix but sashimi bits with this sweet and sour sauce that taste a bit balsamic vinegar. With fresh green onion with tobikos. You simply put some of those on the baked baguette they serve with, trust me this is yummy and very refreshing – helps open up your appetite.

The lotus root pizza is on the daily special menu. I never thought of eating the lotus root this way. 😛 But it is good! Because if you really think about it, most pizzas are soft without any crunchy or chewy items on top. The lotus root would give you that crunch for sure. I loved the texture and the flavour. So have a bite while it’s there. 🙂

Sashimi ‘Shake’ Salad is recommended by our server. Reason why it’s called ‘Shake’ Salad is because they literally shake it in front of you. The salad with sashimi is put into a jar with the salad dressing. They shake it around in the jar in front of you and pour it into the bowl to serve. Taste like any good sashimi salad but you see the presentation matters too. 😉

I am not a 100% sure that this is the sushi party – but it is one of the sushi combo dish. (There are only a few I believe.) I had to try out their sushi bar (otherwise it really misses the point of going to a Japanese restaurant :P) Their fish are fresh and good pressure on the rice. This one I have ordered are generally heavier flavoured sushi – which works really well with all the heavy flavoured items they serve. (Generally in Japan if you eat sushi you eat from most flavourless to the most flavourful, so you can truly taste the true taste of each kind of sushi.)

In general I really enjoyed this place, their quality of food is as good as Ginyo. I like how it is not in Downtown and easier for me to reach to. Great place for groups!

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The District

Also known as The District Social, located in North Vancouver by the water at the end of Lonsdale Ave. Late night hours everyday, makes this a great tapas place. It is a very crowded place, if no reservations are made I believe it will take quite a while before getting a seat during busy hours.

To start we ordered a special salad unfortunately I cannot recall the name. Mixed greens with a crunchy pastry at the bottom. The pastry is delicious and warm which helped with melting the goat cheese. And the goat cheese add wonderful flavour with the balsamic and pinenuts. All the flavours were mixed perfectly I loved this salad! I really do. ❤

For Entree we ordered The District Mussels and The No. 13 Sandwich to share. 

Mussels were cooked with red onion and garlic as sauce, but wait there’s more – Russell Black Death Porter Beer. Of course no doubt onion and garlic would work wonderfully with mussels but the beer adds a very interesting flavour. It was actually pretty good. Mussels were fresh with very yummy fries. 🙂

The No. 13 burger’s patty is made from tenderloin and sirloin ground in house, therefore the burger is very juicy and tender. And your choice of cheese and soft burger buns. Umm. I am sure you can go wild and come up with a “You” burger.

Overall, The District is a decent restaurant with pretty good service. I love their open kitchen where I can see them work. Though it is quite far for me (I live in Burnaby) but I am sure this will make a great place to be during summer and ending the meal with a walk by the water. 🙂

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