Chinese, Food, Vancouver

Noodle Box just opened a new location at Mount Pleasant and since I missed out on the opening free noodle box day, I decided to stop for dinner on my way to church a week after they opened. I’ve never been to any other Noodle Box in Vancouver so I thought it was going to be similar to Basil Pasta Bar but instead of pasta, I could make my own box of stir fried noodles. Turns out it wasn’t and I was slightly disappointed. Their menu was mostly Western Asian food with spicy soups and curries, stir fried spicy noodles, Vietnamese wraps and in general Western imitation of Asian food. I honestly didn’t like Noodle Box and I think it is because I’m used to eating stir fried noodles in a different way.

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Apparently the Spicy Peanut Noodle Box (CAD12.5) is the bomb at Noodle Box. Cooked in a medium spicy Indonesian peanut sauce with extremely creamy coconut milk, the egg ribbon noodles were soft with slight chewiness. There were bean sprouts, peppers, beef slices, peanuts and assorted vegetables tossed in to make the dish more vibrant. I didn’t enjoy how everything was literally soaked in thick peanut and coconut milk sauce and it became a bit too overwhelming during the last few bites.

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Jacky had the Panang Red Curry (CAD12.5) that had an even thicker sauce than mine but spicier. The choice of rice noodles made this dish much more easier to eat given the lighter feel that rice noodle has. Stir fried in a spicy red curry sauce with coconut milk, kaffir lime, herbs, peppers, chicken and assorted veggies, this dish was basically curry sauce with noodles. It was the first time we’ve had noodles thrown into curry and in Chinese culture, even if it was curry stir fry noodles, the curry would be less moist. Everything was just too saucy for me.

The Noodle Box on Urbanspoon

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Koh Samui, Travel

I completely forgot to finish my Koh Samui posts until I looked through my old camera uploads and found photos of the trip. I was meant to finish this in August 2013, but it just didn’t come up again. Since summer 2014 is coming soon, I felt like this would be the best time to make up this post.

Other than staying at Muang Samui Villas and Suites, my family spent three days in Shark Bay on the south side of Koh Tao. From our first destination, we had to get on a two hour ferry ride to Koh Tao and depending on the waves, it could be a brutal ride. My whole family scuba dives so taking a trip to Shark Bay to dive with some sharks was something we were all looking forward to. Unfortunately, on the first day we got to Koh Tao, the weather wasn’t sunny. Other than that, the rest of the two days were amazing and I did get to dive with some sharks.

Welcome to Jamahkiri Resort and Spa! The pricing was a bit more expensive than Muang Samui, but so worth it.

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The rooms of the hotel are built on the edge of the bay with the view of ocean and plenty of natural light shining into your room. Sleep to the sound of the ocean and wake up to the beach sun shining on your face. The architecture of the hotel was a Mediterranean fusion with smoothed pebble floors and white stone walls. I loved everything about this hotel, it was a place of serenity.

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Each Thai-style bedroom has its own private balcony with an endless view of the ocean.

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This was the view from the hotel’s restaurant. If you wanted to go onto that beach on the right, you had to ride a small 5 minute boat trip there. The down side of this hotel was that it had no beach and it was strictly for snorkelling and Padi scuba divers. Then again, you can’t do much on a beach so you might as well rent a boat and go snorkelling somewhere.

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This hotel would not be the best place for older people. There was no other way to get around the hotel than going up and down these stairs. My family had to find a room closer to the restaurant for my grandparents because taking on those stairs was challenging for them.

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Hello there! I love seeing nature in Thailand. From land to sea, I saw all sorts of lizards and snakes to sharks and jellyfish.

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Other than the stairs being a burden, the design was beautiful and exotic. I wonder if Santorini, Greece is something like this.

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In Koh Tao, you can find sharks in Shark Island, Sail Rock, White Rock, and Chumphon Pinnacle. You would be able to find leopard sharks, nurse sharks, black tips and if you are extremely lucky, you might come across a bull shark or a whale shark. I was lucky to see more than nurse sharks!

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Luckily the hotel had a 24 hour pool opened with a view of the ocean. Take a swim in the morning after breakfast, go get a tan on the beach, scuba dive for an hour, then come back and swim in the pool while the sun sets. I would usually go for a swim at 2am because the night was too surreal and peaceful with the waves and the stars in the sky.

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Drinks everyday in Thailand. Drinking and eating in South-east Asia is so cheap, so I had margaritas and seafood every day.

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When you’re in these places for a vacation, the seafood is the most fresh and cheapest. For dinner, I ordered the Grilled Jumbo Prawns with Spices and Garlic. Notice how simple the dish looks when it was actually incredibly juicy with the taste of the ocean and the prawns. Succulent with the spices and garlic, tropical islands such as Koh Tao make the best and most fresh seafood.

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I told you that I drank a lot in Koh Samui. Spiked Mango Shake anyone? Make sure you order all the pineapple, mango, coconut and other tropical fruit drinks when you go to Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia or Indonesia. Everything is served fresh and sweet. Spiked shakes are usually not as delicious as normal shakes since the vodka overpowers the juice.

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Great dive with so much to see! Thanks, man.

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I miss the sun and sound of the waves before I sleep and when I wake up.

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My grandpa trying to enjoy a Steak Kebabs that was too tough or burnt to eat. I wouldn’t recommend ordering Western food in these places when you can try seafood and authentic Thai food.

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 To conclude my last day at Jamahkiri Resort, I had a glass of all natural mango shake without any alcohol.

Chinese, Food, Vancouver

Time for another group date! This time, we decided to go to Richmond for some xiao long baos for dinner because Cho and I were craving for Shanghai cuisine. Located right in between Lansdowne and Richmond Brighouse, Top Shanghai Cuisine is an easy walk from both Skytrain stops. The restaurant was crammed with people and luckily since Cho made reservations, we snatched a four seater right in the middle of the restaurant within 5 minutes after we arrived. However even sitting at the middle of the restaurant, servers often ignored us and were quite rude.

*I forgot to take photos of the noodles that we ordered, we were too hungry and the food was delicious. We had the Shanghai Fried Noodles and the Shredded Chicken with Bak Choy in Noodle Soup.

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This is none other than the Xiao Long Bao (CAD4.99) with thin radish slices at the bottom. The trick to successfully pick up a XLB is to pick it up with your chopsticks at the top of the XLB so the soup won’t leak out of the bao. Extreme chopstick skills are needed and if you’re worried about breaking it, use your spoon to hold it once you pick it up. Inside the XLB  is a juicy and hot pork meatball that melted in my mouth once I ate it. I noticed that the pork was slightly pink, so it was extremely tender. The broth inside was hot, natural, clear and rich with pork flavours.

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The Green Beans with Chili Sauce was a much needed vegetable dish for our dinner. The chili sauce was indeed spicy and thrown in with the minced pork made it extra juicy with pork flavours and hot chili. The beans were a bit under cooked in my opinion and I thought there was a bit too much oil in this dish. Congee Noodle House does a better greens beans with chili sauce.

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The Shredded Chicken Breast and Green Bean Starch Sheets in Sesame Sauce (CAD7.99) is an authentic Shanghai dish. I would usually eat this as an appetizer given it being a cold dish, but the portion was too big for an appetizer. Back in Hong Kong at Ding Tai Fung, they would garnish the dish with cucumber strips but they added peanuts and green onions to this one.The green bean sheets were slippery and smooth to eat. The shredded chicken gave the green bean sheets a chewy texture but slightly dry if eaten separately. The sesame sauce was rich in flavour and tasted more like salty peanut butter, overall, I liked this dish.

Top Shanghai Cuisine 上海一只鼎 on Urbanspoon

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