All posts by dennis

I eat, drink, photograph, tweet, write, yoyo, design & run. Let's have fun!

Happy Hour Quickie: Getting Lost in a Pan-Asian Fog at Bao Down Snack Bar

I never tried the old menu at Bao Down Snack Bar. I guess I was waiting for word-of-mouth to get better before trying it. When a prominent local blogger gives a middling 3.5 beakers out of 5, that’s not exactly a reason to rush out and try it. Now Bao Down Snack Bar have a totally new menu and I can only imagine what their first round of nu-Filipino food was like. Maybe it’s unfair for me to make them the torchbearer of modern Filipino food…

Going by what a friend and I tried during a Friday happy hour, the new menu has morphed into a pan-Asian/Mexican pub food thing where the Filipino spirit got buried by trend-driven blandness.

There was lots of Kanye on the sound system.

Continue reading Happy Hour Quickie: Getting Lost in a Pan-Asian Fog at Bao Down Snack Bar

Eat the Rich: Dinner at Bandao Pearl at Marine Gateway

If my dad wasn’t given a $100 gift certificate to Bandao Pearl (part of the Peninsula group), we never would have set foot in this high-end Chinese seafood restaurant. (My dad got the gift certificate from a friend who didn’t want to use it. One look at the prices on the menu and we could see why!) The food itself was no better or worse than what you can find at much cheaper mid-range Chinese restaurants around town. This place caters to the rich who want to show off. Period.

Continue reading Eat the Rich: Dinner at Bandao Pearl at Marine Gateway

Lunch Quickie: The New Efendi Uyghur on Kingsway

The old Efendi Uyghur at 1345 Kingsway (near Knight) was only open for about a year but received great feedback (like this Alexandra Gill review). Unfortunately, they had to close the restaurant due to the mother’s health issues. The space got sold and turned into House of Dosas nemesis, Dosa Factory. I didn’t get a chance to check out Efendi the first time, but thanks to “el lobo solo” on Chowhound, I learned that it’s back in a new, smaller location further east at 3490 Kingsway (same tiny stripmall as Subway).

Continue reading Lunch Quickie: The New Efendi Uyghur on Kingsway

Lunch Quickie: Shoyu Ramen and Chicken Karaage at Gyo Para

The ramen boom from the last few years resulted in imho TOO MANY tonkotsu-style ramen places. Great tonkotsu was already achieved with places like Santouka, Jinya, etc. Chicken paitan was already pretty much perfected by Marutama (with an unique personal take by The Ramenman). I’ve also enjoyed the Iekei-style tonkotsu/Tokyo shoyu hybrid ramen at Yah Yah Ya and Yaguchiya. What I felt was missing from the scene was a classic Tokyo-style shoyu ramen, the kind featured in Tampopo:

(^Funny German dub)

I know clear soups aren’t popular right now, but there’s something classic, nostalgic, and minimalistic about it that appeals to me. So recently, Gyoza Paradise (on Robson and Thurlow back in the 90s, which I never heard of or went to) reopened on Broadway near Arbutus as Gyo Para with a focus on gyoza and chintan (clear broth) style ramen. I was intrigued but wanted to wait until they got their feet. I think 6 months is enough, right?

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They’re Gonna Need A Crowbar to Pry My Lips from Crowbar on Kingsway

Fraserhood’s Crowbar opened up in late June 2016 and I had heard good things about their burger over the past year, along with other good things about their food in general — and also some he said/he said employee dispute-type stuff that’s the worst kind of thing to have play out over the media/social media, where it’s so easy to get a twisted hall of mirrors version of the situation that I chose to ignore all of it. Vancouver’s such a small scene…tight-knit in some ways, cliquey in others. Let’s settle your shit and get back to serving great food, yeah?

Fellow food obsessive hungrySLIF had been there a couple times and encouraged me to pry this crate open, so we did.

Continue reading They’re Gonna Need A Crowbar to Pry My Lips from Crowbar on Kingsway

A Side Story You Might Be Interested in at Marutama Gaiden on Main St.

Even after four years, Marutama Ramen (moldy oldy review here) is still considered one of the top ramen places in the city. Definitely Top 5, if not Top 3. Their chicken paitan (cloudy chicken broth) ramen is still unique and well-executed. That slippery aosa seaweed (sea lettuce) has me all [insert sweaty feverish emoji here]. AND their ramen egg is still the most delicious and consistent around.

Their new third location on Main and 13th is called Marutama Gaiden and offers a different take on their chicken paitan ramen. Don’t come here expecting more of the same. Almost everything is different. Here’s my personal take on this place that we tried at the tail end of their two-week soft opening phase.

Continue reading A Side Story You Might Be Interested in at Marutama Gaiden on Main St.

Rock the Bells: Bells & Whistles on Fraser (Bonus: Zwanze Day 2017)

The folks behind Wildebeest, Bufala, and Lucky Taco have added another thoughtful expansion to their mini-empire in the form of the anti-sports bar sports bar Bells & Whistles located on Fraser just south of Kingsway. The food is typical sports bar/pub grub/comfort food like burgers, wings, nachos, onion rings, etc, but done with atypical care and better ingredients, served in an atypically bright and family-friendly environment, with a very atypical craft beer menu with absolutely NO macro beer in sight.

Admittedly, the pricing for the food and beer is a bit high (especially for the neighbourhood), but in the week and a half they’ve been open, it’s been absolutely packed. I guess that shows that people have been wanting something like this for a long time and are willing to pay for it. For myself, I really appreciate their approach — casual accessibility, eyes on quality, no “Bells & Whistles” despite the name — but if things were maybe a couple bucks cheaper across the board, I’d come back more often, and with less hesitation.

Continue reading Rock the Bells: Bells & Whistles on Fraser (Bonus: Zwanze Day 2017)

Smooth ‘n Chewy Lanzhou Beef Noodles at Chi Men on Denman

Chi Men on Denman opened up in late July 2017 in the former Chelicious space, and has been quietly ladling out some really good soup noodles to a barely appreciative West End audience. It hasn’t been busy in there, but they deserve to be. With 3 Quarters Full Taiwanese Cafe (located in Denman Place Mall) still around after a full year in business, looks like the West End might just have the right clientelle to keep these kinds of Asian restaurants in business. Maybe. Winter is coming.

Continue reading Smooth ‘n Chewy Lanzhou Beef Noodles at Chi Men on Denman