Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banana Leaf - Vancouver

We went there for lunch during weekday. It was around 1 pm and the lunch rush was over. We were seated within a few minutes. But then I realized that there were a few other tables available. I don't know why they couldn't seat us sooner than that. But no complaint since we still had to wait for my sis-in-law that went to park the car. Parking though was a bit challenging since street parking wasn't available and building was about a block away.

We shared half hainamese chicken, chow kuey tiaw with seafood, nasi lemak, sole fillet grilled in banana leaf, sambal chili fried okra, eggplant and green bean. We also had another order of coconut rice on the side. All dishes were excellent except for the fish. If I went back in the future I wouldn't order hainamese chicken just because it's not worth it. The dish was like $8.99 and there were only a few pieces of  chicken. Same thing with fish, nothing quite special about it. The banana leaf was used only at the bottom of the fish so there wasn't much smell of banana leaf infused in the fish.

Banana Leaf
820 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.

Reservations: 604-731-6333

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hakka Restaurant - San Francisco

I found out about the restaurant while looking for a Chinese restaurant to visit with my big family. Me and hubby been to San Francisco quite frequently but never checked out any Chinese restaurant because a lot of times we don't feel like having rice. Anyhow, we got there around 4:30 and there was one table occupied. We were seated and handed menu. My sister-in-law decided that we would go with the family set menu for 6 which offered 8 dishes with 1 appetizer for the cost of $88. For the complete menu look at the picture I took.

The soup we had was tofu seafood soup which I think was different from what it was printed on the menu. The soup looked like egg drop soup but had soft round tofu, squid, scallop, sliced gai lan, shrimp and straw mushroom. Very tasty and didn't taste like MSG soup. Another highlight was the Chinese pork bacon with preserved green. It's not the kind of food that you want to have every day but it was delicious. The pork just melt in your mouth and the saltiness went well with the rice. Other item that we would order again in the future is the salt baked chicken. Supposedly the chicken was covered with salt and then baked. By the time it's done baking, the salt will be as hard as clay and has to be broken open. Chicken is salty but not overly salty. Yummy. Lastly was the clam stir fry with black bean along with onion and pieces of bell pepper.

Hakka Restaurant
4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco - (415) 876-6898

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Moonstar Buffet - Daly City

I've been wanting to check out this buffet ever since I saw the commercial on the Chinese channel 8. But considering the location, we haven't had the chance for it yet until yesterday. Supposedly this establishment had been operating for years which I think is a good sign considering most of buffet restaurants come and go and change ownership every so often.

When we walked pass by the line of food, I was seriously impressed and couldn't wait to jump on it. Me and hubby first checked out the sushi/sashimi counter. There were at least ten types of different sushi roll, four types of sashimi, different kind of nigiri sushi and two types of sushi cone. With so many different types, there must something that will suit our taste buds, right ? But we were disappointed when we finally sat down to try out the sushi and sashimi. They didn't taste as fresh as they could be. The rolls (which I didn't know the name because it wasn't displayed) were pretty good except it got so much sauce (mayo, sriracha, etc) that I didn't feel like I was eating sushi anymore. I couldn't wait to try the very cute martini with shrimp cocktail. Except it turned out not to be shrimp cocktail. The martini glass had a few pieces of sashimi with some sort of wasabi sauce. Not good.

We then went to the special counter to redeem our coupons that were given when we came in. The options available : baked lobster, lamb chop, abalone and shark fin soup. I was going to try the abalone but changed my mind after looking at the size and the way they were cooked. Me and hubby both got lobster instead and I swinged by to pick up some clam and oyster. The lobster was halved, smeared with mayo and baked. I'm not big on mayo with seafood so that lobster didn't impressed me. Not too mention that the lobster was overcooked so the meat was chewy. Oyster was cooked with black bean sauce and clam was stir fried with some ginger.

Highlight of the night was filipino longganisa (Filipino sausage), chicken satay on skewer, grilled mackerel and unagi on rice. Moonstar has huge selection of dessert. Hubby loves the cheese cake there though he preferred them without different kind of topping sauce. Beside cakes/cookies for dessert, there were also five different types of ice cream, chocolate fondue and guess what... cotton candy !! Drinks seemed to be included in the price. There choices of soda, hot tea, hot choco and cappucino mocha. Btw, there were also noodle/porridge counter where one can customize their noodle (different varieties of noodle) and toppings.

I would say for selection, Moonstar has the best selection and wide varieties of food. Sushi/sashimi is not their strength. If you love seafood (crawfish, prawn, snow crab, crab, oyster) you should checked out this place.

Moonstar Buffet
383 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015     (650) 992-2888

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shabusen - Vancouver, Canada

Decided to check out this place on the promise of combination of Japanese sashimi/sushi and Korean bbq buffet. When we got there on Wednesday afternoon we were surprised to find out that the lunch price was only $11.95. When we were finally seated, we found out that Korean bbq option is only available on weekends which of course has a different price tag.

Each of us were provided laminated menu and then two pieces of small paper menu where we could mark our order. We went pretty humble on our first round and finished everything with no effort. But got  a bit out of hands on the second round and felt too stuffed afterwards. And we noticed that some of the stuffs that showed up on our platter were items that we didn't order.

All in all it was a good value for the money. If you like sashimi, pick between salmon or tuna and they were fresh. Big chunk of fish but fresh. It's too bad that the spicy sashimi was flavored with some orange color chili sauce that didn't feel right. The chicken karaage were also good - freshly prepared and delicious.

Some of the side dishes on the menu didn't have any English explanation on it so we were in the dark as too what we ordered. On our second round, we went and ordered each of the item on the menu and one of the item that came was a tiny bowl of cold vermicelli on tangy sauce. Hmm.... Agedashi tofu had a thick coat of batter which we didn't like as much since we were used to a more lighter version. The tea looked like green tea but I guess they missed the roasted brown rice so it didn't have the typical sushi place fragrant. So I would say the food were not very authentic but hey for that price, I couldn't complain.

I guess we won't be pretty soon since we were just there visiting. I read a few reviews complaining about lousy service they got. But seriously, it's a buffet place, what kind of service do you expect ? While we were there, we didn't feel like we were ignored or anything. Nor did we expect to be check on every so often.

755 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1X5, Canada
(604) 669-3883