Food, Japanese, Vancouver

The long anticipated Gyoza Bar + Ramen has finally opened its doors to Vancouver. I am a huge fan of Miku and I was very excited to hear that Aburi Restaurants Canada would be opening something aside from Miku and Minami. I had the experience to attend their grand opening party to try most of their signature dishes on their menu. Now you might think “Oh it’s just ramen and gyozas”, but I would like to say that these are quite innovative and interesting gyozas and ramen with a unique twist yet keeping an authentic Japanese tradition to it’s taste and service. However, it’s definitely not one of those you slurp and your forehead starts getting all sweaty ramen experiences.


With an open kitchen concept, you could choose to sit at the front of the restaurant near the windows, the far darker end of the restaurant or at the bar where you could see how the staff at Gyoza Bar + Ramen create the dishes.


Overall, Gyoza Bar + Ramen incorporates wooden tones you would see at a ramen bar in Japan along with some Western modern chic to it.



All of Gyoza Bar + Ramen’s bowls were made by local ceramic artist, Hide Ebina. Some of them were deeper than normal ramen bowls!


Gyoza Bar Mule

When I decided to try the Gyoza Bar Mule, the server told me all the ingredients and I literally stopped when I heard “oyster infused vodka”. I’m not sure how it works but I wish I could actually taste a hint of the oyster in the drink.

A dash and a splash of ginger beer, pine-nut syrup, mango bitters and line juice, this drink was a tangy and chill buzz. You could really taste the cooling effect from the ginger after a few sips.


Kale Gomae on Gyoza Chip

The kale was very flavourful in a sweet and salty flavour. It was also shredded so the texture was delightfully chewy.

I couldn’t tell that it was a gyoza chip but because the kale already had so much flavour, the gyoza chip was more simple and it gave the bite the extra crunch from the chewy kale.


Tomato and Chorizo

I’m not a fan of cherry tomatoes but I did end up trying this.

Eating the chorizo alone would be too salty, so a splash and a bite from the tomato neutralized the saltiness and it gave a sweeter and fruitier taste.


Kaisen Tomato Saffron Seafood Broth

What’s in it: prawns, mussels, chicken char siu, scallops, fresh herbs and ramen.

Using the earthy tones from saffron, fresh tomatoes and Ocean Wise seafood, Aburi Corporate Chef Kazuya Matsuoka creates Gyoza Bar + Ramen’s signature tomato saffron seafood broth with a rich and savoury broth from extended simmering before serving.

All of their noodles are house-made by their Japanese noodle maker at the back of the restaurant where you can see how they make their ramen and gyozas. The flour for their ramen is custom blended and there is no MSG in their dishes.


This was my favourite ramen given its flavour and uniqueness. The flavour of the soup was rich and very smooth in its tomato flavours that I ended up drinking the soup. I was lost in a delicious masterpiece.


Harissa Tofu Gyoza (V)

What’s in it: Harissa tofu, kabocha, yuzu coconut sauce and pineapple salsa.

This was my first gyoza at the event, and it turned out to be wonderful. I was never a fan of vegetarian dumplings or gyozas but I couldn’t tell that the filling was tofu so it tasted like a meat filled gyoza.

The taste was sweet from the pineapple salsa and the skin was crisp and thick.


 Umami Shoyu

Cooked in a free range chicken broth, the umami shoyu was a clear and simple ramen.

With a high-toned kale looking vegetable, there were more vegetable options in this ramen compared to the other ones.

I honestly wish I got to try more of their free range chicken because it wasn’t hot, but a delectable and juicy lukewarm thin piece of chicken. Something about it was very refreshing.


Mediterranean Salt – Shio Ramen

Deceptively simple, the Mediterranean Salt was indeed saltier than the other ramens. Cooked in a Tonkotsu broth, the saltiness was not a MSG type of salty, but more of an earthy and meaty taste to it. It also happened to be more garlicky than the other ramens as well.


 Hummus (V)

What’s in it: Edamame, artichoke, relish

When the hummus was presented to me, it looked completely harmless. After taking a bite, I swear I could taste wasabi in the hummus but it could be the relish. I ate the entire piece at once and it stung. I thought I was going to cry but luckily, the flat bread toned down the flavours.


This did not taste like ordinary hummus and even when it did sting at first, I enjoyed the spiciness and the mini adrenaline from it.


Fraser Valley Pork Teppan Gyoza

To my disappointment, I actually did not get to try their famous Teppan Gyoza. Every single time it came out, my friends and I either missed it or didn’t know where it went in the crowd.

From what I heard, it was a bit difficult to separate the gyozas without tearing the skin but the meat was very juicy and flavourful. Time to work on those chopstick skills!


Hainan Chicken Gyoza

What’s in it: Ginger scallion rayu, petit carrot, bok choy and chicken dashi.

Compared to the vegetarian gyoza, the skin for this gyoza was thinner, easier to tear and more moist.

The chicken was actually spicy when I bit into it but it eventually grew on me. I’m not sure what they added into the chicken but it tasted like white pepper.
Gyoza Bar + Ramen on Urbanspoon

Dessert, Food, New York, Travel

After my sinful devour of two lobster rolls to Luke’s Lobster, a few blocks down was Big Gay Ice Cream. Yes, it is called Big Gay Ice Cream and their logo is a giant rainbow soft serve cone. They started off as an ice cream truck then opened their first store at East Village in 2011 after gaining much publicity. Changing up the usual soft serve, I hope tourists would start going to Big Gay Ice Cream too! Tiffany and I got there right after dinner and we already had to line up to order. By the time we got our ice cream, there was a line up outside of the store.

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Bea Arthur

What’s in it: Vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed nilla wafers

This has easily become one of my favourite ice creams. The vanilla ice cream was exceptionally creamy and milky.

I want to give them a huge kudos for an innovative and clean ice cream holder. Knowing many of us, we eat our ice creams slow and we would occasionally make a huge sticky mess.

The crushed nilla wafers were like wafer dust with a bit of graham cracker taste to it.

The best part of the Bea Arthur was actually at the bottom of the cone. I was just about to finish the last few bits of the cone when a surprise splash of rich and ultra creamy dulce de leche exploded from the bottom. I was expecting a bland cone to finish but the dulce de leche was such a sweet surprise that I made sure I licked it off my finger tips.

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on Urbanspoon

Food, Japanese, Vancouver

I’ve been to Van-Ya  many times now but I had to blog about it again this time. For those who don’t know, Van-Ya is a small authentic Japanese restaurant owned by a Japanese couple on Kingsway. Normally you would have Koreans or Chinese people opening Japanese restaurants, but this is the real deal here. I wasn’t feeling so well on the day and I needed some plain food near my place. Congee Noodle House was too busy so Jacky and I went to Van-Ya. We’re pretty much regulars there but this time we ordered different things other than their sets.


Van-Ya House Roll

This was the most expensive roll on their menu and I could see why. Each piece was jammed with all sorts of seafood you would find in a normal sushi menu – salmon, surf clam, octopus, tuna, and etc.

Jacky said to me ” I don’t even know what I’m eating, but I do know that everything is in this roll and it’s good”. The roll itself was already filling for a meal and the price is worth it. PSX_20140714_232028Sukiyaki Bowl

Sukiyaki is a meaty Japanese stew usually with beef, tofu, noodles and assorted vegetables. Normally it would be served in a hot pot but I ordered it in a rice bowl instead.

I was very surprised with how much beef was in the Sukiyaki Bowl. There wasn’t too much rice nor was there too much beef or vegetables so the portion was just right for a full dinner. The only thing I would recommend them to add would be more cabbage instead of onions.

The sweet marinade for the beef was delicious but I would still prefer Sukiyaki Hot Pot so the beef would be more moist and tender.

Van-Ya on Urbanspoon


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