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Vancouver's tastiest food blog. Defunct since 2010 :(

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taiwanese

Sunflower Cafe 向日葵 – Modest Taiwanese Cuisine

Sunflower Cafe - PosterEveryone probably knows of one guy/gal who’s painfully modest, never dresses too flashy or speak out of turn, polite to everyone they meet, but performs laudable work, of which they hold a quiet passion for, and garner respect from peers because of it. Sunflower Cafe on Royal Oak reminds me of someone like that.
Like sushi, bubble tea and Taiwanese cafes are a dime a dozen in Vancouver with nearly equal price points. The fickle diner may change their mind about a restaurant over the slightest dissatisfaction. But after a dozen or so visits, Sunflower hasn’t let me down.
Hidden (the good ones always are) behind a gas station in a mini plaza, Sunflower is a friendly Taiwanese style cafe serving food and bubble tea. Both the service and food has been above par. The decor and the large tacked on namesake poster covering half of the wall makes it all the more homey.

We found ourselves almost alone during a late dinner last night and ordered up a few familiar items.

Dry spicy beef noodle, slightly spicy, one of my favorite noodle dishes in Vancouver.

Sunflower Cafe - Dry Beef Noodles

Stewed pork dry noodle. Got a nice bit of sweetness to it. Like a hearty soupless version of ramen.
Sunflower Cafe - Stewed Pork with Dry Noodles

Takoyaki
Sunflower Cafe - Takoyaki

and fried chicken wings. The wings were really something, marinaded thoroughly with five spice and light on the oil, something I wouldn’t mind eating everyday of the week.

Sunflower Cafe - Fried Wings

Likelihood of returning: 99%

Sunflower Cafe on Urbanspoon

Accord Food House 一心麵點 – Noodles with heart

IMG_1868Accord is the smallest restaurant I’ve ever been to in Vancouver. Period.
Their unostentatious interior is only two dining tables wide, total seating is about a dozen people, and with the open view of the kitchen it feels like the inside of a bachelor’s studio apartment.

It is however, also the most authentic Taiwanese restaurant I’ve ever been to in Vancouver. According to the mom and pop owners, Accord has been open for 9 years in Vancouver. Its predecessor was owned and operated by the owner’s parents for 30 years in Taiwan. Family run and staffed, if it were a bit hotter inside, it’d be just like being transported to one of Taiwan’s back alley diners.

Beef noodles. Tasty soup and noodles that are just the right firmness, retaining some of the soup, making it a bit juicy.

IMG_1866

Dry beef noodles with pickled veggies similar to sauerkraut. I can never get enough of the pickled veggies. These are a bit lighter and sweeter than what I’ve had before. Though the name says dry, there is a bit of soup for you to mix your noodles in.

IMG_1860

Bean curd and spicy wontons. I’ve found different restaurants make spicy wontons in different ways. Some will use a peanut and chili oil sauce, and some will use a chili oil and vinegar mix, while others will just have chili oil. In the end, if the wontons are poor, it doesn’t matter what condiments were added. Here we were served real and delicious wontons with chili sauce.

IMG_1864

This difficult to find gem is located on Kingsway, (map) opposite Metropolis.

I have a soft spot for mom and pop diners. They are the archetypes of the love, and perseverance that goes into preparing good food. This place has got the fundamentals right. Good food from good people. That in itself is a monolithic task some never achieve.

10 out of 10

Do you know of any mom and pop restaurants you enjoy visiting and would like to share and help support? Comment and let us know!

Accord Food House on Urbanspoon

Taiwan: 士林夜市 Shi Lin Night Market

Eat Snap Repeat Around the WorldTime for the first installment of Eat, Snap, Repeat Around the World in Taiwan!

Vancouver has no shortage of Taiwanese cuisine restaurants, and a few popular players have been covered by ESR in the past. The food served at these establishments are a reasonable subset of restaurant food in Taiwan, and gives us Vancouverites a window into what food in Taiwan might be like. But what is Taiwanese food really like? By that I mean if I was living in Taiwan, what would I be picking up on my way home for dinner, or share with friends on a summer night after a movie? Those questions were answered on my recent trip to Taipei.

In this first post on Taiwan, we’ll look at one of the best known food spots, 士林夜市 Shi Lin Night Market.
Shilin - Taiwan Night Market 士林夜市

Being the size of Vancouver Island, but with a highly developed rapid transit system similar to Japan, just about anywhere in the capital city of Taiwan is reachable in 15 minutes. The Shi Lin night market is located right outside one MRT station, and within a 5 minute walk of another. The market itself is not enclosed in a marked area, and spills into the alleyways of several street blocks. Stalls of food, drinks, clothing, trinkets, are intermixed into a huge jacuzzi for your senses.

Shilin - Taiwan Night Market 士林夜市

 Continue on for details…

Continue reading “Taiwan: 士林夜市 Shi Lin Night Market”

New Age Chinese Cuisine aka Jing Yuan 京園小館

Jing Yuan / New Age Chinese Cuisine Exterior

I can totally picture Yanni having Asian fetish.

That’s what this restaurant’s name brought to my mind anyway.

Previously named Jing Yuan 京園 and located on Rumble street and Royal Oak at a venue half its present size, New Age (I still feel funny typing that) features traditional Chinese/Taiwanese cuisine served in a Post modern style decor.

Jing Yuan - Interior
Almost a replica of Vogue in Richmond, New Age has all the elements for a hip hang out for young adults and families alike.

  1. Bubble Tea.
  2. Stylish design and bright lighting.
  3. Good looking waitresses with attitude and ready to strike a pose.
  4. Portions more suitable for smaller group.
  5. Saucy dishes making you want #1.

They’ve been around for a few years. some would call it new age. I call it Chinese Food 2.0

On this night we had a sampling of a few of their more common Chinese dishes, nothing too fancy:

Kung Pao Chicken
Jing Yuan - Kung Pao Chicken

Ma Po (Spicy) Tofu
Jing Yuan - Ma Po Tofu

Ying Yang Rice (I had to order it or I’d get HK Cafe withdraw)
Jing Yuan - Yuan Yang Rice

Bamboo Shoot Beef, Wintermelon in some sort of starchy goo, and Pineapple Shrimp (A relatively unknown but delicious dish)
Jing Yuan - Bamboo Shoot w/ Beef Jing Yuan - Wintermelon Jing Yuan - Pineapple Shrimp

…and a few others but the pics didn’t turn out so well.

Where this place showed its personal flair was its rice thermos. Brought directly from Taiwan likely at a street stall and even had its original made in Taiwan 24k gold sticker on the back. Cute.
Jing Yuan - Taiwan Import

Prices for anything with pork/beef/chicken are around $10, but if you want to eat anything that lives under water, the price jumps up to $16+ for about the same sized dish.

I found the food indistinguishable from Vogue and other Taiwanese / Bubble Tea places, which is to say it was alright. If you lived in Burnaby, and don’t want to make the trip to Richmond to have a slice of sweet and sour Chinese pie, this place will do nicely.

P.S. They’re now on Kingsway near Royal Oak.

map

snap of their take out menu

Food: 6/10 Meh.
Ambiance: I think the lights could sterilize a small animal. Its the way I’d like my flat to look. 8/10

Jing Yuan Chinese on Urbanspoon

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