Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Around Vancouver

Vancouver just like most metro area has a well structured public transportation. It covered bus, skytrain and water bus. So unlike Singapore which you have to buy separate tickets for MRT and bus, when you're using translink in Vancouver, you could use the same ticket to jump from skytrain to bus.

There are different types of fares available. If you're going to be out whole day travelling from one place to another you should invest on one of the day pass. It costs $9 but it's a better deal because those single tickets could easily add up to more than $9. If you are just going from one place to another use one of those fare saver tickets. The catch with fare saver tickets is you have to buy a booklet of 10. For the one zone tickets the cost is $21 for 10 tickets (compare to $2.5 per ticket if you're paying cash). Or $28.50 for 10 tickets for the two zone tickets (compare to $3.75/ticket cash price).

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you need the one zone or two zone tickets. If you're coming from airport, you'll need two zone ticket to get you downtown. But once you settle downtown and just getting around in the area then you'll just need one zone ticket for the most part. Look at the map below.

For the most part, you could just invest in a booklet of one zone fare saver tickets. You could use the same ticket to travel two zone by adding the difference at the machine just before using it. If you're using the same ticket to travel within one zone just validate it before using it. Once validated, you are given 90 minutes to use the same ticket.

Depends on what you do and where the locations are, you could probably get to a few places with the same ticket. Jumping from station to station on sky train and bus stop to bus stop on buses. Just make sure you get it all done before the expiration time printed on your ticket. If it expired then you need to pull out another ticket from your booklet for your next leg of journey. And so on.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jang Mo Jib - Burnaby, Canada

On the weekend we were in Vancouver, we got together with  friends and met up for dinner. Destination : Jang Mo Jib, Burnaby. I was excited about this since some of those friends are Koreans so if they picked this place it must be a good sign.

When we got there that rainy night the location had small parking lot which was full. So we had to park on the street. Surprisingly the restaurant wasn't very full. But the size was more like a Denny's style diner instead of mom and pop restaurant so it could handle bigger capacity.

We were brought menu as soon as we sat down but I didn't even bother to look at the menu since we had Korean friends with us. Let them do the ordering. They settled with haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), gamja tang (potato stew) and bulgogi. I thought it wouldn't be enough since the gamjatang was only for 3 people.  The rice brought out was only four. One of our friends said that they charged $3 for each bowl of rice. That's how they make money according to them. But we don't really need a lot of rice since the gamjatang came with huge chunk of potatoes.

The seafood pancake wasn't too special. Not enough seafood but it was crunchy since the top had scattered shredded potatoes. Interesting. I had seafood pancake at a few other restaurants before but it didn't taste like this. This one is thinner and slightly crunchier.

The bulgogi was served with tons of sliced onions and rice cakes. That's also new to me. But I guess each restaurant has different way of doing same dish. When we go to Korean restaurant we seldom order bulgogi so I don't care for much of this one either. But I think the whole dish didn't have much meat compared to the onions.

I would say the highlight of the dinner was the gamja tang. That was our first gamjatang experience so I was easily impressed. First the waiter brought us one of those portable propane stove. Then the gamja tang was brought out on a big shallow pot. Of all the stuffs in the pot, the one thing sticking out was big chunk of bones with meat. According to our friends it's pork neck/spine bones. Those bones were already cooked and was just rearrange on the pot with red pepper powder, green onion, slices of onions, slices of serrano chillies, perilla leaves and perilla seeds. Hubby was in charge of manning the stove since he sat closest to it. He laddled soup and slowly mixed all the red pepper powder and other ingredients into the broth. Then we
sort of let it boiled for a good ten to fifteen minutes while we enjoyed other dishes.

When it finally boiled for quite a while then the gamjatang was finally look well mixed and fiery red from the red pepper powder that had blended in. The bones was boiled for hours so the meat came off easily. Even the big chunk of bones wasn't too hard to separate. The broth was not spicy enough (for my taste) but flavorful. Even though our friend warned us that it was spicy but since we are used to spicy food that wasn't a problem at all. I went for second round. And by end of the night I was looking up recipe for it, ready to try it at home myself.

I didn't take pics myself that night. A few pics below courtesy of Wikipedia and

Jang Mo Jib
5075 Kingsway, Burnaby
(604) 439-0712

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Golden House Seafood Restaurant - Vancouver, Canada

This small restaurant at the corner of 49th Ave and Fraser St didn't look like a busy place. But when we went there last week, there were like two tables of big group and another table of smaller group. The similarity of them all are their range of age. It seemed like everyone in the room had an average age of at least 60 years young.

The relatives that brought us there claimed that they served the pork feet with ginger and black vinegar. It is supposedly a dish good for healthy joints. I had a similar dish before at my sis-in-law's house so I was curious about this one.

We were seated quickly and given a paper menu. Simple menu with both Chinese characters and English translation. I noticed typical dim sum items like shu mai and spare ribs. My relatives mentioned a few items that are must try and I checked them on the menu. Some items that I couldn't find, she just told the waitress when she came over and the waitress jotted them on the menu for us.

Service was a bit slow since there's only one waitress serving five tables. She also handled cashier as well. I suspect they only started steaming the dim sum items when an order was placed.

Our first order looked like egg rolls. Upon biting on it, the inside was actually chopped shrimp with mayo. Interesting and yummy too. Just be careful eating it since it's so hot. We also shared an order of the legendary pork feet with ginger and black vinegar. Unlike the one I had before, this one was strong of rice wine. A bit over powering for me and almost too strong. I like the pork feet since it was tender and sweet but I could use less of the alcohol taste.

Another dish worth mentioning was the fried eggplant with ground shrimp. Greasy but yummy served on some sort of black bean sauce.

All we had seven dishes and the total bill was $36 (for four people) before tips. That's a very good value. I would definitely go back again when I have a chance.

Golden House Seafood Restaurant
6520 Fraser Street Vancouver, BC, Canada (604) 321-3866

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mojo Burger San Jose Airport - San Jose

We don't usually eat out for breakfast unless we're travelling. That's when I would have an excuse to stop by McDonald for their breakfast items. So this time flying out early morning from San Jose Airport (SJC) I was looking forward to that. But surprisingly McDonald was no where to be found at that newly constructed terminal B. What a bummer.

So we walked down the corridor checking out other options. Brioche Doree Cafe looked like they only do pastries. Jamba Juice ? Nah..too cold for breakfast. Peet's coffee ? I need something more solid. We decided to stop by at Mojo burger. They do offer breakfast item which consisted of scrambled egg, english muffin, sausage patty and hash brown. Sounds like a no-brainer. So I ordered one of those.

Total $7.57 after tax. It's really nothing much considering what I got (look at the picture). Anyhow I started arranging my sausage and my english muffin and divided it into two to share with hubby. But he decided to dig into the scrambled egg first. After one bite he declared it not edible. Taste of chemical. That's what he said.

I didn't believe him. I thought he was just being picky since he didn't have appetite for breakfast. So I took a bite myself. Yuck. It wasn't chemical that I tasted on the scrambled egg. It tasted rancid. It's most likely from the oil they used. I took another bit just to confirm it and then decided that I'd leave it alone.

Mojo burger. I wouldn't pick you for breakfast again. But I'm also skeptical about their other items though. Mr. Mayor Reed, what happened to the local taste that you wanted to show at our San Jose airport ? Why couldn't I find pho there ? :)

If you want to know what else is available at Terminal B SJC, check out this link.|+Terminal+B

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sushi Kuni - Cupertino

This tiny Japanese restaurant had been around for at least ten years. It’s been a while since we’ve been there. They’re pretty authentic and pricey. We think it's pretty authentic since you could always find a bunch of Japanese businessmen being entertained there.

That’s where we took our guests there last weekend. We got a reservation for 7:15 even though it said on Yelp that they don’t take reservation. I don’t know what happened or whether we were just lucky. So we waited around ten minutes and were whisked into their tatami room. It’s a small but cozy room towards the back of the restaurant. I was a bit worry that I would have to keep my legs crossed the whole time I sat down. Turned out that this tatami seating was ‘westernized’. It had area where we could stick our legs underneath the table. *phew*

We were brought menus. But they have ‘extended’ menu that is usually reserved for Japanese who asked for more homely items that are not usually served at Japanese restaurants. For example I found onigiri which is rice ball with ume (pickled daikon). From the regular menu, we got Chirase (deluxe) which is a bowl with seasoned rice underneath and topped of with slices of yummy sashimi. We saw one of the table got this and we questioned the waiter about it. We also ordered the typical California roll and spicy tuna roll. Agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu) and grilled octopus were the other items we ordered from the regular menu. Those were all yummy especially the octopus. And then we ordered sliced tuna with shredded taro. This dish turned out to be pretty slimy and bland. It’s probably the only one we agreed that it didn’t quite work out for us that night.

After sweeping all those down which wasn’t that much anyway. We looked at the menu again and this time we got the omakase (chef’s special) for sashimi. It’s a platter of different types of fish. Since we already got the special Amber Jack sashimi which was the special of the day. We were given option if we wanted that on our platter again.

After fifteen minutes the sashimi platter arrived. Very pretty with the fish skeleton arranged on one side. This platter of sashimi was as good as the special of the day. The fish were very fresh and soft. Then our waitress came back to collect our plate with the fish skeleton and asked us if wanted the fish skeleton deep fried. Well, of course. It took about fifteen minutes and then it was brought back to us all nice and crispy with a slice of lemon and some salt on the side. We pretty much ate that whole Spanish mackerel all the way to the head. What a deal !

After all those, we still had room for dessert. We shared an order of green tea crème brulee. This one was also a winner. It’s not very sweet and it had a hint of green tea on it. The top was a bit crunchy from the caramelized sugar. Yum..yum..

Sushi Kuni
10211 S De Anza Blvd · Cupertino, CA 95014 · (408) 257-5864