Red Star Seafood Restaurant

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Despite the fact that I have favourite go-to dim sum restaurants, I have a hard time visiting them repeatedly. I get bored very easily to say the least. Therefore, I decided to come here, Red Star, a place I haven’t frequented in a while. Also, another incentive that propelled me to visit here rather than some others was that I haven’t reviewed this place for my  blog yet.

The Richmond location is hidden, encompassing a much smaller space on the second floor of President’s Plaza. In other words, it’s the same mall that holds T&T supermarket. The restaurant has renovated in the past few years, trying to match it’s sister restaurant located in Granville. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel a lack of ambiance at this particular joint. Sitting with my parents, something was off. On the food however, I love how they decided to start using a picture menu! It makes it much easier for folks like me who can’t read chinese characters. Unfortunately, the food was sub-par. Nothing particularly stood out and there were some minor execution faults in the dishes. I wanted to like it since their Granville branch is so popular. As there is such a grand selection in Richmond though for good food, I would steer away from this one.

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Speciality Century Egg Custard Steamed Buns
These were a disappointing representation of such a delicious staple in dim sum. The ones we had were not runny at all, instead it was clumpy with barely any filling in it to begin with.

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Sauteed Gai Lan with Dried Smoked Fish
I liked the flavour of this, especially with the addition of garlic. The greens tasted fresh too!

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Baked Egg Custard Tarts
The custard was smooth, but the flaky crust had some crispiness in each bite which gave it great texture. My favourite dish out of everything we ordered.

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Specialty BBQ Pork Buns
I wish the sugar coating was more crunchy and crispier, because it didn’t really give the bun much texture than it was just steamed. It wasn’t bad, just the sauce was a little too “goopy” for my liking.

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Pan Seared Radish Cakes with Chinese Sausage
These were pretty good! Yet, I haven’t found a place that has made it that I haven’t liked…

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BBQ Duck Thick Rice Noodle Soup
This is one of their specialty’s but truth be told, I didn’t find anything rave-worthy about it. The noodles were cooked perfectly though!

Red Star Seafood on Urbanspoon

Past Week Randoms

Here are a few snapshots I’ve gathered of what I have been up to in the past few weeks. One of my goals this summer is to spend more time outdoors and say yes more often! I’ve also made it a mission to jot down special moments of my days and put them in a memory jar for looking back when the new year arrives. As of now, I’ve been pretty successful! I’ll keep adding to this post until I’m off to vacation. Don’t worry, I won’t be MIA for too long. The post-vacation photos will be worth it… :)

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Durian creme brûlée at Crackle Creme. A little too small to satiate my sugar cravings…

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Delicious afternoon at Beaucoup Bakery with one of my favorite gals! Their scones are out of this world, especially the lemon, blueberry, and white chocolate chip one.

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Picking local blueberries.

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Sipping on cookie shots at the Hawkers Market on July 5th. They were either filled by hazelnut milk and almond milk, both made by NuezMilk. We all selected the former!

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Half Olive + pesto and half funghi pizza by Community Pizzeria outside the Hawkers Market. Also tried the pandesal sliders from Fliptop. Those were absolutely killer.

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Picnic with scrunptious house-made waffled grilled cheese and a selection of salads made by my dear friend, Sophie. I’m absolutely hooked on preparing meals with friends and feasting on our creations in a tranquil environment. Such a great way to make splendid summer memories!

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Late night bubble tea! Wish I went earlier because we missed out on their bubble waffles.

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The pulled pork slider from Fable at Khatsalano! Still can’t beat the pulled pork pandesel slider from Fliptop Food Truck though…

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Unfortunately I cam too late to try their Strawberry Cheesecake. The mint Chocolate Chip flavour reminded me of the ice cream sandwiches I used to get as a child from Safeway.

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The crowd at the West 4th Avenue Khatsahlano Street Party. Beautiful weather, great music, and LOTS of food.

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Mango ice cream on a calm night.

Handi Cuisine of India

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I don’t eat Indian food often, even though it might be one of my favourite cuisines. Yet, recently however, one of my friends suggested for us to try Handi, a hole-in-the-wall chain located on Dunbar. He deems it as the “best” Indian restaurant he has tried in Vancouver.

Entering, you automatically get a whiff of Indian spices and curry. Delicious certainly, but believe me, you will leave with a lingering trace when you exit the restaurant. It’s a kept-up place, with what seems to be classic Indian decor, noted with their heavy metal cutlery. It’s a fairly small joint, similar to Baan Wasana in Kerrisdale. It is a local gem because it was full when we left.

My experience was a good one, though I’m not too sure if this place is worth the venture unless you are nearby. The spiciness wasn’t excruciating nor was anything too salty. There were layers of flavours in each dish that you could tell indicated that the sauce had been simmering for a while. The service was also very friendly, despite not being as attentive. We weren’t checked up on until we were almost done with our meal.

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Palak Paneer Naan
Stuffed with spinach and cottage cheese
Probably would skip the extra fixings next time, as it tasted like regular naan. Super fluffy, great for soaking up the curry. I would have preferred it to have a little more charring.

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Lamb Rogan Josh
Lamb cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, traditional Indian herbs & spices
This had an incredibly robust taste due to the spices! The lamb meat tender and toothsome.

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Rice (Plain)
Cooked with onions in their own aromatic flavor
Just your typical white basmati rice.

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Eggplant Bhartha
Whole eggplant roasted in tandoor, cooked with onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger
I loved the taste of this, but I would have preffered the eggplant to be chunkier. It was completely mushy in the sauce and lacked texture.

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After our dinner, we decided to hit the night market since it was still early. I decided to try the Taiyaki at one of the stalls since I have always wanted to see what it was like! I couldn’t have been more disapointed. The batter was tasteless, while the custard didn’t even have a purpose. It was also soggy when I got it. What a bummer.

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I also decided to try the Insadong ice cream, apparently a popular South Korean treat. It’s essentially a hollow corn-based tube with vanilla soft serve ice cream inside. I asked people who had it if it was worth ordering and many urged us to. Yet, after tasting it, I still don’t see the hype. The casing was hard and stale, pretty much like sugar-coated cardboard.

Handi Cuisine of India on Urbanspoon

Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery

I remember my first visit here back when Tasting Plates North Burnaby took place. I remember sampling their butterscotch sauce and never being any more content than at that moment. It was absolutely sinful, but worth it. When they mentioned on Twitter that they were announcing new sundaes for the summer, it gave me a push to re-visit. Yet, it’s hard to venture here because it is a long way from home. Luckily, after our lunch at Pronto, my friend willingly drove us here to satiate our desire for ice cream.

The sundaes were perfect, their old-school charm enchanting us, leading us in utter silence. They were presented in such an adoring fashion, each made-to-order and can be accustomed to fit your palate. Their not sickening sweet, despite what the pictures might appear and are easily finish finishable by one person. In fact, you might even get away with two as we actually saw a couple down three sundaes together… Ingredients are very fresh, and the owners are big supporters of the support local movement. Their ice cream is sourced from Birchwood Diary and so their berry sauces are from local farms in Vancouver.

Put this on your bucket list this summer and trust me, you won’t regret it! It will one memorable food adventure for you and your pals, just you wait.

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Butterscotch Pretzel Sundae
Generally, I am not the biggest fan of sweet and salty combinations, but this was life changing! If you haven’t tried butterscotch before, give this a chance and you might never be able to go back. I’m warning you! This was hands down the best sundae I have had to date, the pretzels providing a surprising crunch while the butterscotch married the ice cream together.

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Mint Chocolate Sundae with Hot Fudge Sauce and Sprinkles
Doesn’t this capture the essence of childhood? My friend definitely seemed to be enjoying her custom-made sundae.

Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery on Urbanspoon

Pronto Caffe

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Pronto seems like an exciting Italian joint to go to as they make fresh pasta daily! They always feature specials which is great for those who get bored of menus, like me. I always seem to gravitate towards chalkboard items…

It’s located on Cambie, so its a few minutes walk from the King Edward Station from the Canada Line. Thus, it’s extremely accessible. The furniture has some similarity to Ask For Luigi, but perhaps more dated. The spacing can be tight for big parties, but they do have an outdoor patio that they recently added.

On our visit, we went during lunch time. It was pretty quite, with more people getting take-out then sitting inside the restaurant. Their porchetta sandwich seems to be their stand-out as I guess it’s the neighbourhood’s fix for Meat & Bread…

I ordered the soup and sandwich combo, which was a caprese panino and their daily soup of leek & potato. Decent portion and price for $11.50! My friend ordered the Pasta Pomodoro, which features spaghetti with housemade tomato sauce, fresh basil, and parmesan cheese for $14.

Will be back on a sunnier day to sit out in their patio, that’s for sure! Seems like a nice escape as it’s secluded. If you love cocktails too, it’s good to note that they recently opened up a cocktail bar next door…

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Leek and potato soup
Served with a crisp slice of ciabatta bread, the soup reminded me of creamed broccoli and cheddar soup for some reason. Definitely could taste the liberal use of parmesan.

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Pasta pomodoro
My friend’s pasta dish. The portion looks great for the price, and the staff are happy to add more parmesan based on your liking.

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Caprese panino
Fresh buffalo ricotta, slow roasted roma tomatoes, basil pesto, and arugula pressed in a small sandwich roll. Not too crazy about it, but the ingredients were very fresh.

Pronto on Urbanspoon

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant

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One of the newer Chinese restaurants in Richmond, Chef Tony presents a similar concept to Peninsula Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver. Both take typical items and add their own personal flair, usually executed with more luxurious ingredients. Don’t expect your visit here to be considered “authentic”, but rather a different approach on dim sum fare. For me, it seems befitting for those who have tried dim sum and want to venture for new flavour combinations.

Presentation is regarded and taken seriously, as all items presented are to please the consumer first with their eyes. Portions here are certainly tinier, therefore it might require more dishes to satiate the stomach. Yet, what I did find about this particular joint is their light use in salt to compensate for taste in their dishes.

Personally, I found their decor eccletic. It’s modern, but it seems forced with multiple components going on at once – chaotic to the eye. The service here was great though, attentive and also approachable. They certainly seemed like they were interested in providing the best experience for the customer. Of course, it always helps when the customer offers the same back…

I give a thumbs up for coming here, but make sure to have reservations!

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White bun wrapped with sticky glutinous rice
I am not a fan of these because they never seem to have much flavour. This had some texture with peanuts and chinese sausage in the mix, but still, I wouldn’t order this.

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Shrimp and chive dumplings
This dish looked identical to one of the dishes you can get at Kirin. They were very small for the price, but they weren’t bad. The chopped pieces of vegetable at the top looked beautiful, but were tasteless.

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Yi dong special egg custard tarts
My favourite item we ordered. It tasted like double-boiiled milk inside a pastry shell!

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Special coffee bun
Imagine the scent of warm tiramisu and this is what this dessert smelled like. The bun was hard due to the sugar topping, and filled with coffee whipped cream in the centre. The cream itself wasn’t whipped properly and had lumps. Yet, I didn’t find it bad tasting either.

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Pan-fried chive pancake
This dish requires approximately 20 minutes in the kitchen. Not too sure why, but it wasn’t memorable. The addition of vermicelli or black fungus would have made it better.

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Fried radish ball with bonito flakes
Quite an innovative dish similar to deep-fried shrimp paste with it’s crispy exterior. Loved the use of shredded radish inside rather than completely processing it because it was a nice surprise. The cucumber slice didn’t do anything except provide a nice visual… Perhaps if it was colder?

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant 頤東大酒樓 on Urbanspoon

Kiyo Sushi

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We’ve been coming to Kiyo for the past few years and it’s without a doubt my family’s go-to for Japanese in Richmond. Perhaps because we haven’t had better, or that we like sticking with what’s familiar, who knows, but whenever we want sushi, we head here. It’s located in what one might consider a remote plaza, also home to Continental Seafood restaurant, where the dying tradition of push-cart dim sum is still available. It can certainly be missed, given the size and location of the restaurant. Yet, like most “hole-in-the-wall” joints, it is authentic and promising.

Some of our favorite dishes are actually their oysters. They’re fresh, plump, and juicy – everything an oyster should deliver in a slurp. Other standouts are their rolls and sashimi. They have been fresh and consistent each time during our visits. On this particular visit, we also tried their house ramen, which is available only for dinners. Unlike the downtown establishments, it is less salty and creamy, but the ingredients are very similar to what can be found there.

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2 orders of wild sockeye salmon sashimi

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not too sure what this dish is called, but it was a palate cleanser for the other dishes

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10 oysters
(we actually got two rounds of this!)

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two orders of spicy salmon roll and a dynamite roll

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ebi fry

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alaska roll

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saba battera

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dynamite roll

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beef sashimi

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two orders of unagi nigiri

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ramen

Kiyo Sushi on Urbanspoon