Chain Restaurants · Chinatown · Chinese · Restaurants

Dagu Rice Noodle

Dagu Rice Noodle replaced the old Y2K restaurant in Chinatown. I persuaded Ay Caramba, Office Dad and Asian Persuasion to check it out with me at lunch. For this post, let’s listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge.

The restaurant was packed when we showed up, but we were lucky enough to snag a table after waiting for only five minutes. We interacted with several servers, as there wasn’t a dedicated server for a section. I found the staff efficient and helpful.

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Here’s a pro tip. If you see a server delivering a bowl, do them a favour and get the hell out of their way. The bowls brought to the table arrive at 300F. Also, Instagramers be quick taking your photos or video. Customers are instructed to cook their meats immediately, or else it won’t be cooked at the proper temperature.

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Asian Persuasion thought it was funny that the soup spoons were gigantic. I found the spoons difficult to sip from. Instead, I used the spoon to scoop up the bits of goodness and then use my chopsticks to pick up the item.

All soups are made daily from pork bone, with the except of the tomato soup. No MSG is used. Apparently, every night, Dagu uses 100 pounds of pork bones for the broth, which makes it rich with collagen and nutrients.

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I ordered Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodle Soup ($11.49), which came with fresh wuchang rice noodles, and two beef slices. Toppings include a quail egg, fish cake, corn, crab sticks, root vegetables, lettuce, and two odd pieces of meat that looked like salami and ham. I can handle my spice but I got to say, Dagu was the spiciest I’ve ever tried.

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Asian Persuasion and I turned bright red and sweated profusely for an hour. Our mouths were burning. She had the sense to put some of the hot oil in a bowl, which helped to reduce the hot heat.  She asked our server if we could get some hot water or more broth in our bowls, but he shook his head. He said next time to ask for half the spice.

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Of all the toppings, I enjoyed the fish cake the most. The corn was chewy and sweet. The noodles were slippery and soft. I asked for a noodle refill because I couldn’t sip on the broth and I thought it would counteract the spiciness. I wish I didn’t order the extra noodles because I was uncomfortably full for hours after our lunch.

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Office Dad’s Pickled Cabbage Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Slices ($13.99) was the winning dish. I loved the white pepperiness of the broth and the sourness of the pickled cabbage. Office Dad likes the chunky pieces of white fish. Asian Persuasion, Office Dad and I both liked the fish soup the best.

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Ay Caramba ordered the Signature Rice Noodle Soup with Braised Bone-in Beef ($13.99) and added additional beef slices ($2.99). She raved about the broth and thought it was superior to the soup served at One Pot. Ay Caramba was so full from all the meat that she couldn’t finish her noodles or the fish cake.

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Funny coincidence – Foodly_yyc posted this photo on Instagram. Turns out he was at the restaurant the same time. I can see my coworker and the back of my navy blue blazer. I also took a picture and judging from the angle of Foodly_yyc’s photo, I might have captured him as well.

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My office mates are eager to return. Dagu is a welcome addition in Chinatown. Just a warning – if you have dietary restrictions or just particular in general, I would give this place a pass. The language barrier plus the hard coreness of this cuisine is not for everyone. Also, if you have young children, make sure they stay seated and don’t wander around the restaurant.

Dagu Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinatown · Japanese · Restaurants · Sushi

Point Sushi

Veronica invited me to One Chubby Hamster’s 14th birthday party. She told me she was thinking of having the get together at Briggs Kitchen + Bar. She asked me which restaurant would be appropriate for eight teenagers.

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I suggested Point Sushi, Calgary’s first sushi bullet train. I could picture One Chubby Hamster and her friends taking Instagram videos of the train and food. For this post, let’s listen to Runaway Train by Soul Asylum.

We took over two booths next to the bullet train conveyor belt. I noticed a long table next to us with its own conveyor belt running along the table. The music was an interesting mix. When we arrived, there was pleasant jazz music. Half an hour later, it was pop and at the end of our meal, house music.  After we finished our dinner, Jughead had to take a business call. I could just imagine his employee hearing the music in the background and thinking her boss was at a club.

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Veronica ordered a whole wack of food. The system allows you to order a maximum of four orders at one time. We started off with Chicken Wings ($5), Gyoza ($5), Shrimp Tempura ($4.40), and Shio Ramen ($5.95).

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Jughead and I thought the ramen was tasty. The broth was thick and flavourful. The noodles were firm, which I prefer. The portion was more than decent for the price. I’d order this again.

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The chicken and vegetable gyoza was soft and floppy. The dumplings tasted better than my description. The dipping sauce had a nice punch to it.

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The shrimp tempura was heavily battered, doughy and dense. The ratio of batter to shrimp was 4:1.  I couldn’t taste the shrimp. This is the only thing I wouldn’t order again.

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Veronica wanted to order sushi. L asked for his favourite nigiri- tako ($4.50). Jughead looked curious and quizzed L on the flavour profile of octopus, as he’s never tried it.  L offered Jughead a piece but he declined.

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I suggested that Veronica try the Spicy Crispy Prawns ($4.50), because since the prawns were cooked, Jughead might try it. When prompted to describe what she was eating, Veronica said it was cold, crunchy and tasted like delicousness. Jughead said it was a succulent prawn morsel.

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I ordered a Spider Roll ($6.95). Yum. This was the least sauced of all the rolls that were ordered. I liked tasting the separate flavours of rice, tobiko, avocado and still warm deep-fried crab.

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Veronica ordered two rolls – the Royal Sushi Roll ($8.90) and Ocean Mountain Roll ($6.50). L doesn’t normally like non traditional sushi, but he enjoyed what he ate.  The sauces were a mix of sweet and spicy.

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It wasn’t just One Chubby Hamster and her friends that enjoyed themselves at Point Sushi. L and I were delighted watching our orders come zooming to our table. It’s fun and entertaining experience, particularly if you haven’t been to Japan. I can see this restaurant being a big hit with families. Thanks One Chubby Hamster for inviting us to your birthday. The party was on point.

Point Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinatown · Chinese · Comfort food · Restaurants

Ho Won – Ho No!

I started eating at Ho Won since I was hired for my current position, back in November, 2013. I’m a fan of the salt and pepper squid, pork dumplings, ginger beef and pea tips. For this post, let’s listen to Gossip Folks by Missy Elliott.

Office Dad came back from the long weekend and told me Ho Won was shutting down. I was sad to hear this unfortunate news and immediately went to Reddit to voice my despair.

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Reddit is a powerful medium to spread information or in my case, misinformation. As you can see, the “news” spread fast.

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When I read that staff confirmed that the restaurant was not closing, I called Office Dad in a panic. Of course he didn’t pick up or text me back. The next day he came over to my pod, scratched his head and asked me why I posted the info on Reddit. I responded that Ho Won is an institution and customers would miss it and want to go back before it closed. I asked him to stop redirecting the conversation and to answer me. He exercised his right to remain silent.

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I rounded up the troop: Asian Persuasion, Lil Strawberry, Lam Jam, Legal and Aye Caramba. Office Dad couldn’t go. He acted all mysterious but I found out later it was because he wanted to leave early. Deeclan bailed after promising she would go. She said she forgot she had a coffee date with a friend.

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Initially, I ordered a medium bowl of Fish Maw Soup ($10), Chicken Chow Mein ($9.99), Ginger Beef ($12.99) and Salt and Pepper Squid ($13.99). Our server told me that I had to more one more dish. I said “What? But I ordered a total of four dishes.” She looked at me and shook her head. “You got six here. You need to order at least one more dish.” Okay boss! I added the Special Fried Rice ($9.99).

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The fish soup was served nice and hot. The bowl was filled with fish maw, egg whites, and little pieces of crab. Everyone at the table except for me added soy sauce.  This was a real Joy Luck Club moment. You know, the scene when the Rich puts soy sauce all over the Waverly mother’s famous steamed fish dish. Jesus Rich. You’ve got terrible manners. I thought the fish maw soup was great on its own, with just a little white pepper to accent the delicate flavours.

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The squid at Ho Won is legendary. This time around, I noticed the batter wasn’t as light and crispy. I could also taste a little uncooked batter. I’ve eaten squid here at least 15 times, and this was a first. Maybe the chef knew I was the person on Reddit that started the rumour. I’m paranoid.

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Asian Persuasian enjoyed the fried rice. I thought the rice was a tad overcooked, but  it was tasty. There was lots of chopped and whole shrimp, peas and egg whites. We wanted hot sauce to liven up the dish, but we couldn’t get the attention of our server. We gave up after ten minutes. If you haven’t already noticed, the portions are huge.

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The table’s favourite dish was the ginger beef. The platter was piled high with tender, generously sized pieces of beef. Aye Caramba and Legal mentioned that they could actually taste the ginger in it. Too often, ginger beef tastes like candied meat. The batter was light and retained it’s crunch up to the very end. The sweetness of the sauce reminded me of honey.

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The chicken chow mein was also a big portion of food. There was ample sauce to soften the noodles and a generous amount of chicken, sprouts and mushrooms. I would pass on the noodles in the future.

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For five dishes and a 20% tip, we paid $12.00 per person. I’m glad Ho Won is still around and the information I received was just gossip. Looking forward to organizing the next food adventure with my office mates.

Ho Won Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Korean · Restaurants

Soban

I went for lunch with Office Dad, Ms. Biz and her friend Karplop. Karlop is good friends with Miss Foodie, a well-known food photographer in Calgary. Karlop and Miss Foodie get invited to all the fancy events in Calgary, Banff and BC. Karlop informed me that Miss Foodie spends an enormous amount of time taking and editing her photos. Miss Foodie sounds like my polar opposite. Even if my picture is blurry or my friend’s finger is in the photo (on purpose of course), I’ll still use it. Karplop suggested we dine at Soban, a Korean restaurant in Chinatown. For this post, let’s listen to Gangnam Style.

I mentioned I wanted to eat light, so Ms. Biz purposely ordered fewer dishes than we would normally eat. We settled on three items – Pork Neck Soup, Chicken Bulgogi, and Beef Bibimbap. The five complimentary side dishes we received were awesome.  Each item was so different in taste and texture. The grated white vegetable was spicy and tart, reminding me a bit of KFC’s coleslaw.  The potatoes tasted like they just come out of the fryer. I also liked the pickled daikon, bean sprouts and seaweed. Refills are free too. I could just snack on these refreshing dishes for lunch if the server would let me.

I enjoyed eating the Pork Neck Soup ($13.99). The broth was hot and salty. Cabbage, onions and potatoes made up most of the ingredients. The meat in between the pork bones was fall off the bone tender. A good meal if you want something soupy and nourishing.

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The Chicken Bulgogi ($13.50) was well prepared. The portion was small but what was there was good. The chicken was nicely browned, flavourful, spicy and tasted like good quality meat.

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The Beef Bibimbap ($11.50) was bespeckled with pickled vegetables, egg and bits of beef. The portion was on the small side.

Ms. Biz and Carplop like Soban for their bento boxes and noodle soups. The bento boxes I saw other customers eating looked like good value. If you haven’t been before, I’d recommend Soban out for the pork neck soup, bento boxes and the delightful side dishes.

Soban Korean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Restaurants · Vietnamese

Song Viet

Asian Persuasion wanted pho for lunch. I let her pick the restaurant. Her boyfriend is Vietnamese and she lives close to International Ave, meaning she knows good pho.  She said the best place in Chinatown for sate beef is Song Viet.

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I don’t get as long of a lunch break as Asian Persuasion, so I told her I would meet her at the restaurant after she arrived with her friend Sonia and What’s Up Hamsup. Office Dad decided last minute to tag along. I told him I was going to text Asian Persuasion so we would have enough seats. He insisted that I only say I needed an extra seat for my purse and not to let them know he was coming. Sigh. After trying to reason with someone who refuses to listen, I sent Asian Persuasion a text asking for an extra seat for my purse.

When we arrived, Asian Persuasion was sitting at a table for four. She read the text but didn’t move to a bigger table because she could easily pull an extra chair for my purse, which she said is not so big it needs its own seat. I guess I’m no Theresa Woo-Paw. Kids, if you don’t remember this reference, read here for the story on Woo-Paw and how her purse got its own seat in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

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I’m pretty sure Office Dad did this because he wanted to make a grand, dramatic entrance. I bet he pictured walking into a room where two young females would squeal with surprised delight at the unexpected sight of him. Instead, they just good-naturedly dragged their tea cups and pot over to larger table across the room.

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We all ordered #64 – Hu Tieu Mi Sate Bo – which is spicy beef sate ($11). Song Viet is generous with the basil and sprouts. All the condiments – like the vegetables and lime were fresh and clean. The bowl wasn’t large but there was plenty of beef and noodles to fill you up. I have a big appetite and I was full. What makes this bowl special? The noodles are fresh and not dried. Song Viet buys their noodles daily. The sate is pea-nutty and spicy, but not so hot it makes you cough and sputter.

I visited a week later to try the regular pho and the shrimp salad rolls. I would stick to the sate beef pho. The rolls were premade and hard, without any herbs, with a plain hoison sauce. The regular pho was flavourless and the broth wasn’t hot enough. The second visit was a lot less impressive than my first visit.

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Service is quick and the owners are nice. However, not all the dishes here are good. I’d stick to the sate beef pho.

Song Viet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Japanese · Restaurants

Kissa Tanto and Kingyo Izakaya

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Naomi and her sister Gisele for drinks at Kissa Tanto in Chinatown. Naomi told me it took her two weeks to get a reservation. Apparently Kissa Tanto has a solid reputation for its creative food and cocktails.  There were also enough vegetarian options on the menu to satisfy Naomi and Gisele vegetarian diet.

I love Kissa Tanto’s retro decor. It has a distinctly 70’s vibe to it that makes it feel like you’re dining in another era. The old building itself is old school. It has a small landing and the steep stairs up to the restaurant. The street itself didn’t seem to change much from my childhood memories of Chinatown in the 1980s.

Naomi and Gisele ordered specialty cocktails, chosen by our server based on their preferences. I ordered an Asahi beer because I wanted to ease into drinking again.

I had to leave shortly after we arrived to make it to Beep Beep’s family dinner at Kingyo for a birthday dinner. However, Naomi ordered one dish for me to taste – croquette ($7). The croquette was typical – crunchy exterior with a super smooth potato and parmesan filling. I’d like to return on my next visit to give it a spin.

I grew up with Beep Beep and her family would take me out for dinner at least once a week. Kingyo is one of our regular spots for celebrations. Her family knows how to order, particularly at Japanese restaurants.

We started off with the seared tuna ($12.80). The tuna in particular tasted super fresh. The pea shoots, cherry tomatoes and crunchy tobiko rounded out this salad.

The one-grilled kobe beef ($24) was neat. You seared the marinated beef on the stone to lightly grill it. The beef was very tender and flavourful.

Beep Beep’s husband Mars doesn’t eat seafood or mushrooms, which really limits what he can eat at any Chinese or Japanese restaurant. He ordered two plates of the chicken karrage ($9.40) for himself. The karage here is solid – crispy boneless chicken served with salt. Good but not as great as Shokunin’s version in Calgary.

Mars could eat the Chinese sweetened balsamic beef rib ($22). The rib meat was soft and fatty (in a good way), sweet from the balsamic vinaigrette. Mar’s liked the presentation, which I thought was pretty standard for Chinese restaurants. Edith offered the last piece to Mars, but he complained it was all fat. Edith chided him and said that fat has all the flavour. She’s right.

I also enjoy the fresh sashimi salad ($12.80). The tuna in particular tasted super fresh. The organic greens were tossed in light garlic soy sauce vinaigrette that went well with the sashimi.

I enjoyed the aonori calamari ($9.40), which didn’t look impressive. However, Kingyo’s version was killer due to the seasoning of dried seaweed powder and the tartar sauce with shiso herb salsa. I accidentally deleted my photo of the calamari.

My favourite dishes were the negitoro sushi and pressed sushi ($14). If you’re stuck in a land lock city like Calgary, you really appreciate the care that goes into the sushi here.

The amount of chopped tuna was generous, and the addition of the Japanese pickles, green onions, and tobiko added a refreshing element and crunch to the soft texture of the tuna. The wasabi sesame soy dressing and wasabi added a nice pop to it.

The pressed mackerel was another winner. The seared marinated mackerel was warm; the oily meat contained a whack of flavour. The sauce of mustard and soy sauce, green onion and ginger paste oil went really well with the strong taste of the fish.

I don’t normally like bibimbap as some restaurants in Calgary don’t make the bowl hot enough to make the rice crispy. That’s not the case at Kingyo. The tender pieces of pork belly sizzled beautifully in the bowl, the oils released seared into the rice.

One of my favourite dishes is the uni miso udon ($13.80). I avoided this dish for two reasons. First, I could tell it was popular one and the portion wasn’t big enough for everyone at the table. Second, I know this dish is deadly, calorie-wise. The udon noodles are covered in sea urchin and sweet miso cream sauce, topped with salmon caviar. I drooled a little as I watched everyone else lift the cream covered noodles to their mouths.

The deep-fried corn was another winner ($5.80). The corn was sweet and crunchy, drenched in soy butter.

Beep Beep’s favourite dish was a March feature – cold tofu with bread. The tofu was creamy like cream cheese. The combination of the bread and tofu reminded me of brie on a baguette. I didn’t really understand why she liked this dish so much. It was good, but I could make this at home.

Another feature dish we tried was the grilled asparagus with prosciutto, bocchini, and a sweet balsamic reduction sauce. I thought this dish was very Italian. I didn’t notice any Japanese influences. Regardless, it was a nice dish.

I had an argument recently with my in-law Dhiss. He said he loves Guu in Vancouver. I told him to try Kingyo as the food is better but he insisted Guu was the best despite not trying Kingyo. I don’t know how you can believe one restaurant is better than all else when you’ve never tried other restaurants. His loss and Kingyo’s customers gain. Kingyo is completely packed and busy every night, it doesn’t need more business from non-believers.

 

Kingyo Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Chinese · Dim Sum · Restaurants

Silver Dragon – Dim Sum Yum

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I’ve heard about Silver Dragon but I never had the inclination to try it out before. Everyone that’s ever recommended this restaurant to me doesn’t eat traditional Chinese food. The bad ass crew I hang out with at lunch – the Ivy Leaguers – also confirmed this is a place that caters to the ginger beef crowd.

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Inside, Silver Dragon is a nice looking restaurant. I like the lanterns and particularly, the attentive and friendly service. My buddy Office Dad knows the owners. He stated Silver Dragon is one of the oldest restaurants in Calgary. When I told him I thought Hi-Ball (now located in Montgomery after the fire at Stadium Shopping Centre) was the oldest, he corrected me and said Silver Dragon still has the original owners.

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Dim sum is served old school – via carts. We ordered sui mai, which are steamed pork and shrimp dumplings. Served hot, the pork was juicy and flavourful. The shrimp had a good snap to it and the wrapper was nice and firm.

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The best dish we tried was the squid curry. The squid was tender and soft, piping hot. The curry flavour was very nice. We savoured each bite.

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The ha gow was good. The wrapper was soft and the shrimp ball was large but lacked that satisfying crunch and sweetness. I learned that I’ve been have been eating these shrimp balls wrong for decades. When we were kids, my older brother would eat only the shrimp and the younger one would only eat the wrapper. I eat the shrimp and wrapper separately. Office Dad shook his head in disgust. “Ha gow is meant to be eating with the skin and shrimp together. Otherwise you’re just eating a wrapper and how good would that taste on its own?”  He’s right, but he could lose the attitude in his tone.

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The only thing we didn’t like was the taro balls. Normally, these deep-fried delights are my favourite dish. This dish weren’t even lukewarm. There was hardly any pork filling and the little there was dry. My final beef was that the taro barely tasted like taro. The flavour was more like a potato. You know how people cut narcotics with cheaper ingredients to make more money? That’s exactly like the taro here, but the result isn’t deadly.

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Prices are average for Calgary. Most dishes range from $5.25 to $7.00. I think the food would be even better if it was busier. The problem with the cart system is if it’s not busy, the food circulates around the room which results in less than fresh dishes.

Silver Dragon Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinatown · Chinese

Ho Won – Work Lunch

I told my husband L that I need a pseudonym for my boss when I blog. L advised, “I don’t know honey… Whatever you choose, you should tread lightly”. Originally, I was thinking of naming my boss ‘Mozza’ or ‘Angel’, because he’s obsessed with the mozza mushroom burger at Angel’s Drive In. However, after L’s heeding, I decided that from here on in I will refer to my boss as Tread Lightly.

Tread Lightly announced he was taking his team out for a lunch meeting. My co-worker Rascal said that since Tread Lightly was treating, he wanted steak or lobster. Tread Lightly retorted, “No. We’re going for Chinese. I want to go the squid and dumpling place that Hitting the Sauce picked the last time.” He was referring to Ho Won.

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At the restaurant, I ordered Salt and Pepper Squid, Ginger Chicken, Singapore Noodles, Pea Tips and Pork Dumplings. I requested the dumplings to be steamed rather than fried, as we would be having enough oily delights throughout our meal. Rascal said he wanted it fried. I told him Office Dad prefers the dumpling steamed, as it’s not as greasy. Rascal retorted, “Yeah, while I’m not Office Dad.” I ignored him and ordered what I wanted. I’m learning a lot from Tread Lightly. The large dumplings were fat and bursting with pork, ginger and cabbage.

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The best thing to order at Ho Won is the salt and pepper squid. The batter is mouth-watering, well-seasoned with salt, pepper and hot chili flakes. Rascal thought the squid was too long in size. I disagreed with him but I lacked the energy to tell him that not everything should be shaped like a chicken nugget.

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Before I left for lunch, I asked Office Dad to write in Chinese “pea tips in garlic sauce” so the server would know what I wanted for our vegetable dish. He obliged and wrote out the Chinese characters. It turns out he forgot a character so the piece of paper read “peas”. In any case, the snow peas were sweet and crisp, covered in a garlic sauce. Tread Lightly said we should give Office Dad the bill as he screwed up on the ordering. When we got back to the office, Tread Lightly tried to find Office Dad to give him the bill. Lucky for Office Dad, he had already left for a meeting.

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Next up was the Singapore Noodles. The noodles were spicy and clearly fresh off the wok. I liked the generous coating of curry. Flecked with green peppers, egg, sweet onions, chai su and shrimp, this dish was very tasty.

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Rascal didn’t comment about the Ginger Chicken, but I noticed that he ate most of it. Tread Lightly prefers ginger chicken over ginger beef. I prefer the ginger beef, but the chicken was good. Though heavily battered, there was a decent amount of meat. The ginger sauce was syrupy and reminded me of honey, but lacked a garlicky bite to it.

There’s a bigwig that is leaving our company soon. Ho Won was his weekly lunch spot on Fridays. Office Dad and I plan to take him to Ho Won to celebrate his retirement. This time around, I hope to get my order of pea tips.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Ho Won Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinatown · Vietnamese

Pho Hoai Vietnamese Noodle House

Office Dad and I were suppose to take Ms. Biz out for lunch to celebrate her latest promotion, but she insisted it was her turn to treat. I was feeling a little under the weather, so I suggested pho. The only place that’s decent for pho in Chinatown is Pho Hoai Vietnamese.

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Biz was reluctant to go to Pho Hoai as she finds the owner’s son particularly rude. While I don’t disagree with her, I’m willing to gloss over his angry gestures for the sake of the food. I reminded Ms. Biz that the prices and quality are the best in the vicinity. Plus, the owner is a real sweetheart and the rest of the staff are quick to get you a delicious and hearty bowl of pho. Ms. Biz and Office Dad agreed to go for the sake of my ailing health.

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We started off with a plate of piping hot spring rolls. The wrapper was thin and melted on your tongue. The filling was full of meat rather than vegetables and noodles.

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Ms. Biz and Office Dad ordered either the Pho Hoai Dac Biet ($11.99) or the Bon Bo Hue. I thought they ordered the latter, but in their bowl I could see sliced beef, beef ball, tendon and beef tripe, which is the description for Pho Hoai Dac Biet. Ms. Biz asked for the sprouts to be boiled rather than served raw.

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My bowl of Pho Sate ($11.99) was delicious. I ordered a medium bowl with no cilantro. There was more rare beef than noodles. The beef slices were tender and not stringy. The noodles were perfectly cooked, with some bounce still to them. The broth was served hot and filled with cloudy bits of peanuts, green onions, lettuce and red spices. It was so spicy I would take turns sputtering, coughing, sneezing, and then dripping in my own perspiration.

In Pho Hoai’s defense, I think it says a lot about the food if the restaurant is packed every lunch. The pho is darn tasty, inexpensive for the quantity and quality, and you can get in and out under an hour.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Pho Hoai Vietnamese Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinatown · Chinese

Lucky Place

My Chinese-speaking friends at work and I always default to Lucky Place. I’ve been at least a dozen times since my last posting. Below is an accumulation of food I’ve ordered. “Lucky” for me I take notes so that I don’t forget what I like about each dish.

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I took my old prof here once for lunch. I wasn’t sure he would like the Beef with Rice Roll ($6.99) as it’s not a typical dish he would order or even see on a menu. The beef was tender and the bean curd was pleasantly soft. The gravy like sauce is a little too mild tasting for me, so I like to add some hot chilli oil to give it some heat. He enjoyed it.

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My buddy GR and AC wanted to try the Palace Style Chicken ($11.99). The batter was light but could have been crispier. The sweet and sour sauce was light and thin. I like the finely chopped up pieces of celery, carrots and bell peppers. All the vegetables retained a good crunch.

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No matter who I go with, we always order a bowl of congee. Doesn’t matter if we order mixed-meats, fish, chicken or beef, the congee itself is served hot, the consistency thick and fluffier than U & Me or Vic’s in Chinatown.

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My friend Ms. Biz likes this dish –  beef liver with green beans. She says the chefs at Lucky know how to “chi wok”, which I think loosely means cooking in a high heat to achieve that soft yet chewy texture. This was my first time trying beef liver and while I enjoyed the richness and the tenderness of the texture, I could only eat a few pieces. The beans were crunchy and sweet. This isn’t on the regular menu.

noodle lucky

When I go with Office Daddy, he orders either the Special Fried Rice or Ho Fan noodles with white gravy. I never get tired of eating these saucy noodles. To me, this is ultimate comfort food. Again, this is a special order. You need to speak the Cantonese to order the noodles with white gravy.

lucky riceOffice Daddy likes to order Fried Rice here. The rice is lightly fried and fluffy, mixed with fine pieces of egg, meats, and vegetables.

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One of my favourite dishes is the Thai style noodles. The noodles are not super saucy but huge on flavour. I particularly enjoy the fried tips of gai pan and the wok fragrance. Addicting, I dare you just to eat a bowl.

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Another dish that won me over is the rice cakes. Not exactly going to win a modelling contract for its looks, this dish is big on flavour. Again, the taste comes from the wok, smokey and mouth watering.

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Another dish I always order is the bitter melon with spareribs and rice rolls. The bitter melon is cooked so that its tender but still firm. I like the flavour of the gravy sauce more than the beef version.

One thing to note if you aren’t Asian and familiar with certain mannerisms. Don’t take offence if the server seems to be in a bad mood or even angry at you (she isn’t).  It’s not personal. Plus, the food is delicious and cheap, so who cares.

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Lucky Place Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato