Bo Duo (博多) Ramen

It’s chilly in Taiwan these days, and what better food to have on a cold day than a bowl of delicious Japanese ramen? So for dinner yesterday, I tried Bo Duo Ramen, and it was delicious! I still like Santouka ramen the best, but this place serves ramen at half the price, and the server was even considerate enough to offer me a hair band to tie up my hair so it won’t get singed by the flames (they keep the ramen heated on top of a small flame at this restaurant… also quite different from other places!).

Get ready for lots of food photos… *Warning: Not recommended for viewing at 2 in the morning.

Egg (with half-cooked yolk! Yum):

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Agedashi tofu (small order):

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Curry croquette:

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Deep-fried chicken pieces:

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Original Bo Duo ramen with cha siu:

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Their broth is really rich and creamy, and the serving size was perfect (with lots of delicious cha siu), but because we ordered all those side dishes, I barely finished my noodles!

Now that it’s winter, it’s cold outside so I don’t get to move around as much, and feeling cold leads to more eating… I have to take care to watch my weight!

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三本味 Japanese Restaurant

Last night I had dinner at 三本味, a Japanese restaurant that is located between MRT Sun Yet-Sen Memorial Hall station and Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station (I’m very thankful to be living so close to Dunhua station.. there are so many good eats in the area!). 三本味 is in a small alleyway, off of the main streets, and if it wasn’t for Meimei, I would never even think about venturing in here. She loves to read up on food blogs and searching for new places to go on food adventures, so going out to eat with her is always fun!

On our way to 三本味 we also came across quite a few hidden gems. The area nearby is full of Japanese restaurants. I haven’t had sushi or been to an izakaya in a while, but I know where to look now!

Now for some brief introduction of 三本味 before I talk about the food: this place is found through word of mouth or through online searches because of its location. However, also because of its location, rent is probably cheaper and therefore it’s not as pricey as most places in 東區 (this area of Taipei, known for its expensive things because rent is so high). This is also a family-run business and what really brings customers back time and time again is the exceptionally friendly service. They really love what they do, and that makes a big difference between good and GREAT. Oh right, I should also mention that if you’re thinking of paying this place a visit to make a reservation! It can get quite packed. I wasn’t able to make a reservation because I called in 3 days ahead, but they put me down on a special list because I called ahead, so we didn’t wait too long for a seat (~10 minutes). The place isn’t big and can fit about 30 people at one time. The spacing between tables is perfect in that it does not feel overly crowded, and there is a lot of room to move around comfortably. When we were seated, the owner introduced himself to the customers and listed off the secret menu items for the day. He is a really warm and welcoming person, and very approachable. He came by our table a couple of times to ask how we were doing, and personally seared the sushi for us.

This one was on the secret menu – seared sea bream nigiri sushi (4/5):

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I love seared sushi, and I’ve never had seared sea bream before so it was interesting. The texture was a bit on the chewy side, but it was very flavourful and doesn’t need soy sauce for extra flavouring.

Next is another secret menu item – beef fried rice (4/5):

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This dish was big, and I don’t recommend it if you don’t have four people or if you’re planning to try out more dishes (because it’s filling!) The rice was delicious though, and the rice that they use here is a high quality rice.

Next up, the best dish at this restaurant – Seared salmon and cheese nigiri (5/5):

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The owner personally seared this in front of us. First, he seared the salmon, then he placed a slice of cheese on top and seared the cheese until it bubbled. It was absolute umami. To top it off, it was sprinkled with rose salt. Yum! I must have this again! This was Meimei’s favourite dish of the night. The fish that they use in this restaurant are all very fresh as well.

Next up, the assorted sashimi (4/5):

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This sashimi platter originally came with hamachi, but as none of us liked hamachi, we asked them to switch it. I’m not exactly sure what fish it was switched for, but it was good. Fresh fish (including  on a huge bowl of ice to make sure it stays fresh. Delicious and also very pleasing to look it. I like this restaurant’s attention to details.

The steak dish (3.5/5):

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The steak was stir-fried with onions, mushrooms, and yellow and red bell peppers. The meat was not too tough, and had just the right amount of chewiness to it.

Chicken wings topped with a fish roe dressing (3/5):

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I usually don’t enjoy eating wings because I don’t like to get my hands dirty, but I’ve never had fish roe dressing with wings before so we decided to give them a try. Yep, they made my hands dirty, but they were pretty tasty! The fish roe/mayo dressing wasn’t my favourite though (I think the wing itself was marinated well) as I found it to be a bit too heavy.

And our last dish of the day was grilled mackerel (5/5):

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This fish was absolutely amazing!! It was one of the best fish I have ever had. The meat was soft, and the fat under the skin melted into the oil and flavoured the meat deliciously.

I plan to take grandma to this restaurant next time. She loves Japanese food as well, and I think she’ll enjoy this place just as much as I did. I have a feeling that the fish will be her favourite dish. :)

Miku

Japanese cuisine has always been one of my favourites. I have tried many Japanese restaurants and had sushi, sashimi, and tapa dishes. But I have never once tried pressed sushi. After hearing about Miku from MilkTea that they serve very good pressed sushi, I decided to pay Miku a visit.

Mochi and I went to Miku on a Wednesday night. I made reservations the night before for 7pm. When we arrived, the place was packed. The interior of the restaurant was very modern, and it was quite large inside. The lights gave everything a purple glow.

Miku Interior

Even though we made reservations for 7pm, it didn’t look like we were going to be getting a table anytime soon. While we were waiting, the man at the bar asked us if we would like anything to drink, which we declined.

Miku's bar

I enjoyed watching the servers make drinks at the bar though, and at one point while we were waiting, a beer bottle was accidentally tipped by the server before the cap was taken off, and it bubbled over. Since she couldn’t serve that bottle anymore (she had to open a new one), she gave that beer to us for free. :) I thought that was very nice of her, but I hope it wasn’t my staring that caused her to become nervous and tip it over in the first place.. ><

Free beer!

After waiting for over 30 minutes, we were finally seated at a table. The service was very good though, and they apologized many times for the long wait. Those who had no reservations were told that they would have to wait for two hours! At first I wasn’t going to make a reservation, since it was Wednesday night.. but I’m glad I did.

Mochi really liked to eat beef carpaccio, so we ordered their gyu tataki to start. Of course I also ordered the aburi salmon oshi sushi, their signature dish. We also ordered an una-kyu roll (eel roll).

The first dish that arrived was the gyu tataki:

Gyu Tataki - $18
5/5

The server introduced each dish upon presentation. This beef tataki is made from Alberta beef, drizzled with a sauce made from ponzu, yuzu kosho, grated daikon, and topped with green onion. Each piece of beef was fresh and chewy. The sauce drizzled over it was sour and balanced well with the beef. Delicious!

Next up was the aburi salmon oshi sushi:

Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi - $10
5/5

Now I understand why everybody raves about Miku’s pressed sushi.. especially this dish. It was hands down one of the best sushi I have ever had! There were six pieces in an order. This sushi had a piece of salmon in between the rice, topped off with more salmon sashimi, drizzled with their very own Miku sauce, and topped with jalapeno. Unlike most Japanese restaurants, Miku’s sushi does not require soy sauce. It tastes fabulous just on its own. Even the rice was tasty; it was cooked and seasoned perfectly. The jalapeno was not too spicy, and the sushi itself tasted warm (being just seared) and melted in my mouth.

The last dish to arrive was the Una-kyu roll:

Una-Kyu Roll $10
2/5

This roll wasn’t all that special, and after having the aburi salmon sushi, this roll was not too exciting in comparison. The sushi is made with barbequed fresh water eel tempura, cucumber, topped with seven spice salt, and flavoured with unagi sauce. The eel tasted a bit rubbery but everything was fresh, and again the sushi rice was excellent. However, for the same price as the previous dish, I wouldn’t mind getting another plate of the aburi salmon oshi sushi!

After dining here, I finally understood why we had to wait so long for a table. The food here was served one dish at a time, unlike most places which serve everything almost all at once. They also introduce the food, with a detailed description of everything.

Pro’s:

– Great service
– Great food (especially the pressed salmon sushi!)
– Nice ambiance

Con’s:

– Long wait time
–  Pricey, but worth it

Miku Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Guu with Garlic

On Wednesday, to celebrate Mochi’s birthday, we went to Guu with Garlic for dinner. At first we wanted to try the one in Gastown, but they didn’t have any oden or the kabocha koroke (my favorite~) so we opted for the one on Robson instead.

Entrance to Guu with Garlic

This is my second time at Guu with Garlic. The first time I went, I got a seat in the tatami area so I didn’t really get to see everything that was going on in the izakaya. This time we were actually lucky enough to get a seat at the bottom where all the action was! When I made a reservation, they had told me that there were no more seats in the bottom left, but I guess a space cleared up~ The only disappointing part of the night was that they had run out of kabocha koroke.. Oh well.. Next time then. :(

First up, we ordered a Guud Ale since Mochi really wanted to try it.

Guuud Ale $8.50

A glass of ale!

It tasted quite bitter to me. It was a bit stronger than the other beers that I have had. I can’t really comment on it too much since I’m not an expert in beer~ Half a glass was more than enough for me though! I prefer the sweet stuff.

Next up was the mochikin (sticky rice cake in a tofu bag):

Mochikin $2

This one is my favorite oden and as far as I know, only Guu offers it. The tofu bag really soaks up the flavorful soup and combined with the soft rice cake inside, it’s a match made in heaven.

Next, the beef tataki:

Beef tataki $5.20

This dish was amazing! The beef was lightly seared on the outside and raw on the inside. Then it was thinly sliced and served with ponzu sauce. It tasted slightly chewy and really flavorful.

Sashimi Salad $6.50

This is a must-have everytime I come to Guu. The assorted sashimi pieces always taste fresh and it’s a nice dish to order if you want a balanced diet of meat and veggies. There aren’t many veggie dishes at Guu, so this one is a very refreshing dish to have.

Takoyaki $4

The takoyaki’s here are special because they are deep fried. That makes the doughy shell slightly crispy on the outside, but nice and soft on the inside. The batter they use is also very delicious, and the octopus piece inside is big enough to taste (unlike the ones in Richmond night market).

Kimchi Udon $7.80

The udon tastes very chewy and it really mixed well with the fish roe and kimchi. I want to attempt and make this dish at home next time! I think this one tastes better than the yakiudon.

Kakuni $6.30

After reading about this dish on someone else’s blog that OmNom showed me, I wanted to try it as well! I thought that it was an interesting dish.. I didn’t really know how to eat it since the poached egg and the pork belly were just floating in the bowl of oil. The meat was very tender and tasted good with the steamed bun. However I didn’t really know how to eat the egg? If anyone can clarify this dish for me, please leave a comment!

Grilled Black Mackerel

This dish was on the special menu that changes all the time. I had it the last time I was eating at this location too! The chips on top are garlic chips which I thought was interesting (at first I thought they were dried banana slices!). This dish is slightly salty and would taste a lot better if eaten with white rice.

When it was time, we asked for the birthday cake. It took them a while to bring it up. At first we thought that they forgot about it, but after 10 minutes of waiting, suddenly the lights were turned off and the music stopped playing. Then they brought out the birthday cake! They also sang “Happy Birthday” with us too. It made the entire experience extra special. We gave them some mango pudding cake before we left!

Happy Birthday, Mochi! :)

Overall, I think Guu Thurlow still has a better selection of food (they have more things on the special menu too). However, I like the seating areas at Guu with Garlic better. There are more seats and it feels less crammed and so you feel less obligated to eat quickly and get out of there. However, the service at all the Guu locations are impeccable! I want to try their newest location next time: Kobachi on Denman!
Guu With Garlic on Urbanspoon

Chicco

On Thursday I went to Chicco with A, M and J after eating some very yummy Korean food at Chungdam Ahn! (I will write about that in my next post)

Chicco is a Japanese coffee and dessert bar located at 1504 Robson St. Vancouver.

Chicco Cafe

There aren’t many tables and chairs in the small cafe. The maximum capacity is around 15 people so there is a minimum order of 1 order per person if you want to eat-in. There are many cute wall decorations and art displays made from clay plates and cups which makes the interior decoration quite unique. They also sell handmade clay cups and plates created by Japanese artists.

Interesting art work on the wall

I shared a green tea parfait with A. I didn’t want to order anything else since a parfait is more than enough for the two of us after a very big dinner.. However, due to the minimum order requirement, I had to order an iced coffee. It was too cold to be eating a parfait outside.. M got a royal milk tea and J got a medium latte. I think aside from the price, I will like this place a lot! $7.50 for a parfait is a bit expensive in my opinion.. It did taste very good though.

Green Tea Parfait $7.50

The green tea parfait came with green tea cheese cake, green tea ice cream, a couple of rice cakes, sweet red bean, whipped cream, green tea jelly, corn flakes, vanilla ice cream and sponge cake. (In the order that they are presented in the parfait)

My favorite was the vanilla ice cream and corn flakes layer. The salty flakes go really well with the sweet ice cream! However, the sponge cake layer was very dry.. The moisture in the parfait did not blend together really well. It was hard to get everything mixed together.

There are things about Chicco that I like and things I do not. All in all, I would say that Chicco parfaits are delicious but for the price that you are paying for, it can only be a once-in-awhile indulgence. It would be even better if they can lower their price just a bit and expand the store. I prefer places where the minimum order is a certain $ per person instead of one entire order per person.

Chicco on Urbanspoon

Mister Donut

Someone should seriously bring Mister Donut to Vancouver.. If I had the money and potential to do so, I would have done it a long time ago. This brand of donuts from Japan is seriously the best donuts I have ever had!

我最喜歡的口味是黑五穀糖波提~ (Pon de kokuto). 它們的波提不會太甜、太膩;味道剛剛好! :) The best part about their pon de ring donuts is that it’s chewy. In my opinion it’s much better than the soft, cake-like kind.

Everytime I go back to Taiwan I always pay them a visit!

So many donuts!

But apparently a large majority of people living in Canada prefer Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ donuts? They think Mister Donut isn’t sweet enough.. I beg to differ. I cannot stand the sweetness of many American desserts. When I first tried a Krispy Kreme, I was very disappointed. After hearing so many people rave about it, I thought it was just another average and overly-sweet donut. It did not meet up to my expectations. 我覺得亞洲的點心還是最好吃的。

Guu on Thurlow

Tonight I went to Guu (838 Thurlow Street) with M for dinner. Compared to the Richmond and Robson Guu’s, this one is definitely the best!

It was a Friday night and we arrived at 7pm and found the tiny place packed. After waiting for 20 minutes, we finally got seats at the bar, right next to the kitchen where all the action was. The servers and chefs there are all Japanese and they were enthusiastic to say the least. They were constantly shouting out orders and greeting customers loudly in Japanese.

Cherry Blossom $5.50

Here is the Cherry Blossom: ramune soda with soho and strawberries. A very sweet and fizzy drink! I didn’t even taste the bitterness of the alcohol~ It was really delicious and better than the drink I ordered at Robson Guu (Asahi beer with mint and lemune).

Ebi Furai $5.80

Deep fried prawns with spicy mayonnaise. This one was very good~ Prawns and mayo went very well together. Om nom nom~~

Kimchi Udon $7.50

Kimchi Udon: udon with spicy cod roe, soy sauce, butter, kimchi and green onion. My favorite dish of the night~ Very chewy noodles and spicy fish roe.. simple yet delicious. It leaves me wanting more.

Takoyaki $4.00

Deep fried octopus balls with tonkatsu sauce and mustard mayonnaise. Crispy shell and soft center with a couple of chunks of octopus inside. Yummy~ It’s like Richmond night market all over again, but more authentic.

Kabocha korokke $3.60

A must-have for those who visit Guu. It is a Japanese pumpkin and boiled egg croquette with original mayonnaise sauce drizzled over it. This awesome creation is one of Guu’s signature. The light sweet taste of pumpkin paired with a delicious boiled egg makes this a must-try for any first timer.

Mochikin Oden $2.00 each

Oden is a new addition to the Guu restaurants. The most unique oden on the menu is the mochikin, a stuffed sticky rice cake in a soy bean bag.. The tofu soaked up the light yet flavorful soup really well. Biting into the tofu bag, I was happy to find a large piece of mochi hidden inside. Mochi~ My favorite~ Even the string is edible.

Ikageso $4.80

This one was ordered for M. He still did not forget the Richmond night market grilled squid legs. This dish is grilled squid legs with spicy mayo dip. It wasn’t too chewy and it was easy to bite. With or without the mayo, the squid legs tasted very flavorful.

Guu is probably one of the most authentic Japanese izakaya’s that we have here in Vancouver. I felt like I was really in Japan for the time that I was there. I got to experience the Japanese culture as well as tried out some great food in the process! Time to go on a trip to Japan~ Next summer! : )

Rating:

Service 8/10
Ambiance 8/10
Food 10/10

Guu on Urbanspoon