Chef Kebab - Surrey

Chef Kabob is right there on Fraser Highway and we've been driving past it for years. We finally stopped for lunch and after wished we had tried this place long ago!
We arrived on a Sunday at lunchtime and we were almost the only ones there and were seated right away. We started with our new favourite thing, chaat! 
We ordered the Chef's Special Chaat Papri. Crunchy fried morsels of naan or roti maybe, with a yoghurt sauce, green chutney and a sweetish tamarind chutney It was very tasty!
Marie had her favourite butter chicken as a lunch special. It came with naan, lentils, pulao rice and a bit of a salad for $9.99, which is a pretty decent deal. The butter chicken was tasty and it turned out to be chicken with sauce rather than the pool of sauce with a bit of chicken that we often encounter. 
I had the Lamb Seekh Kabob Meal, another bargain at $12.99. These were tasty little guys (the kebabs) in the form of ground meat cooked on skewers. You need to try this if you're a fan of lamb!
Finally, there was Paratha. This is a layered bread with what I believe to be a bit of cheese between the layers. It came with hot lime pickle (Love it. Remind me to pick up another jar.) and a yoghurt dip. This went home with us as well as some chicken, kebab etc., because obviously, we ordered too much. All this in the name of research! This is excellent tandoor made bread that reheats well. 
Oh and a Mango Lassi. Delicious! Comfortable place with friendly efficient staff. I am not hesitant in recommending it, especially for the excellent lunch specials.
For what its worth, we give Chef's Kebab a 4 out of 5.

Chef's Kebab Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HK BBQ Master

Your meal at HK BBQ Master does not come with a view. They have mercifully covered the windows and doors with brown paper so that you don't have to look out at the dark parkade and circling cars of the pretty good but not Great Canadian Superstore above. Watch your step as in some places the floor inside the little restaurant is a bit of an ice rink. There is inevitably a line up outside the door in the previously mentioned parkade. All of this will mean nothing though, once you sink your teeth into their amazing barbeque!
Actually, the young fellow, who's name I should have gotten, who steers the ship at the front door, has a tremendous grasp on what is going on. He told us there would be a 15-minute wait and it was just under that. If you are ordering to go, he sends you one way. If you are eating in, he gives you a number and counts you down! We were seated and had ordered and received our food all within 20 minutes, I am sure!
Now, I believe that I have had enough Chinese barbeque to be entitled to an opinion. I know HK has been voted number one often but how much better could it be? We have been to the barbeque at Parker Place Meats which always ranks high. We enjoyed the recently opened Chinatown BBQ which has gotten good reviews. And a lot of other places have good barbeque but you can forget all of that! The voters were correct and this is the best that we have had! 
We ordered 2 plates at $12.50 each. The first was barbeque pork and roast pork on rice. The second was soy sauce chicken and barbeque duck on rice.
The first truth applies to all 4 meats and that is, that they were amazingly tender! If you have no teeth, do not be worried! I have roasted a couple of ducks lately and they seem to always have a bit of chew but this duck was meaty and more tender than I could have wished for. The roast pork had the wonderful crispy skin while the others had that lovely sweet glaze. All you can do is come here, put up with some little stuff, sit down (or take out), and try this barbeque. By the way, the staff is amazingly efficient!
When you are done, try not to linger too long. Others are waiting.
We don't rate stuff as 5 out of 5 very often, but HK BBQ Master is a solid 5.

HK BBQ Master Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bon Ga Korean Restaurant - Whalley

It was Family Day and Marie wanted to take her kids out for lunch! We all enjoyed Korean food just down the street last year and everyone seemed able to find something they liked. So we tried again, this time with Bon Ga.
We arrived at about noon and were seated right away. There are tatami rooms along the two sides of the restaurant and comfortable tables and chairs in the centre complete with service call buttons. Banchan arrived first as it usually does. There were 7 of us here so there were a couple of sets of these 4 dishes.  
The banchan was tasty enough but not mind-blowing. I ordered my current go-to Korean favourite. Spicy Pork Backbone Stew with Potatoes
It came covered in perilla seed powder which lends a mild nuttiness. This was a very good dish with a few nice sized bones. It was not overly spicy. I am not sure what etiquette demands but I have to use my hands to do any damage to the bones. Marie had the Dolsot Bibimbap which was also first rate. 
The rice around the edges was very crispy. It is called nurunji if I am not mistaken and we love it. The meat was tasty and there was a nice arrangement of veges.
The kids wanted fried chicken and we ordered original. This was a bit of a let down compared to some KFC that we have had. We would have done just as well at Church's. It was tender enough and not overcooked but the coating was just plain and we felt like there was too much of it 
I have to be honest in that the Dumpling Hot Pot didn't do much for me either. The dumplings were decent but the rest was on the bland side also. It may be that this is what the dish is supposed to be like. I have never had it before but I probably wouldn't order it again. Back on the upswing, the Pork Ribs were tender and tasty and I would order them again.
And finally, Deep Fried Dumplings. Its hard to go too wrong with anything deep fried and these were fine.
All in all, it was a decent meal. We had fun no one left hungry. Our server was accommodating and although I didn't see that she had much help as things got busy, she kept up.
Choose well and you can have a nice Korean meal at Bon Ga.
For what its worth, we give Bon Ga Korean Restaurant, 3 1/2 out of 5.
Bon Ga Korean Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato .

Donnellan's Chipper

If you read our blog regularly (and if you don't, why not? And by the way follow us on Instagram also!), you will remember that Vanfoodster's Downtown Tasting Plates included Donnellan's. Unfortunately, when I arrived at 8 pm, they were overrun with tasters and the wait was long to the point of being silly. Management candidly admitted that they hadn't quite anticipated what would happen and readily agreed to a 'rain cheque' situation which I thought was very good of them. They certainly didn't have to do that!
Marie and I showed up on a Saturday just at noon and made pigs of ourselves. It was a combination of wanting to try a lot of things and not anticipating how filling portions would be. It turns out, however, that you can reheat fries in the oven with decent results if you have leftovers.
First came most of the tasting plates offering which included the DC hamburger, breakfast sandwich, and a deep fried sausage. OK so we decided we needed to try a piece of fish also and if you can identify it in the picture, you might win something. The burger was ok. Meaty and with a decent bun. The breakfast sandwich egg was not overcooked and accompanied by bacon, sausage and pudding. It occurred to me that we are probably talking about blood pudding which creates a problem for me but I don't know that for sure (and I failed to ask). The sausage was a sausage and the fish wins in this particular assortment.
Spice Bag is a weird name but it was the first of the French fry parade. Bits of deep-fried chicken and what not made for a tasty mix. We are still looking at the Tasting Plates offering.
Next, we got into the Vanfoodster French Fries Challenge which started to reveal why Donollans is open until 3 or 4 every night. If you have been seriously imbibing on Granville Street (perhaps at Donnellan's own pub a few doors down), then this is what you need to eat at the end of your evening (morning?).
I can't even remember which was which but Fries with Curry, Taco Fries and Garlic Cheese Fries were all ridiculously tasty but not on your doctor's list of recommendations. For God's sake, don't tell him that you came here!
All the folks here were very friendly and many of them spoke with a lovely Irish lilt. The food was very good, especially if as previously mentioned, you have been partying on Granville. It's a casual place and comfortable enough unless you're here for a tasting plates event!
For what its worth, we give Donnallen's 3 1/2 out of 5 or if you're here late, 4 1/2 out of 5!

Donnellan's Chipper Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

DD Mau - Chinatown

After the wonderful Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, we were again peckish and chilly. DD Mau was right there on Pender Street calling to us.
We were seated right away in this chic, smallish but comfortable restaurant and ordered their DD Mau Wings with fish sauce glaze. 
Fish sauce itself can be overpowering but this was applied by a deft hand. The evidence was in the aroma upon their arrival and on our fingers after eating but only subtly flavoured the wings which were delicious and crispy and everything that you can ask from wings!
We tried a couple of skewers off of their daily sheet. The first were called Betel Leaf. These were ground meat skewers wrapped in betel leaf which lent a maybe peppery citrusy flavour which was very nice.
The others were a pork meatball skewer which were rich and tasty. Finally, we were craving (OK. I was craving) Bahn Mi.
We had the Crispy Pork Bahn Mi. It was quite good. It was not quite the perfect bun while it had the requisite crunchy exterior and soft interior. Perhaps I am setting my sights to high or fantasizing about what it should be like. Also, I could have done with a bit more of the crispy pork although there was a generous amount of very good roasted meat. And the excellent vegetables definitely played their part.
All in all, we find ourselves fans of DD Mau. Service was friendly and our food arrived quickly. They happily tolerated my endless questions about betel leaf.
For what its worth, we rate DD Mau a 3 1/2 out of 5.
DD Mau Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba

Ramen is the perfect tonic for the cold weather but what about ramen without the broth? We have needed to check this out for some time.
Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba has made its way to Seymour Street in downtown Vancouver all the way from Japan less than 6 months ago. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and had maybe a 10 minute wait for a table. They have a  nice little area to sit while waiting which is kind of pleasant.
We ordered our Niku Mazesoba as a combo that (of several options) came with Chicken Karaage which was quite good. It was crispy and hot and the meat was tender and juicy.

The mazesoba itself, is the noodle, a multigrain soba noodle with some lovely chew made fresh daily. Theses noodles brought us some serious pleasure. As a bowl, it came topped with decent chashu, spicy minced pork, ground saba fish, a good whack of minced garlic, green onion, seaweed and the now iconic egg yolk. Its not profoundly complicated but there are instructions at the table as to how to eat it. Sorry to spoil the surprise but you basically mix it all together. It was an amazingly tasty dish and I'm not surprised that it has become such a hit in Vancouver. When you run out of noodles, they will bring you a little bowl of steamed rice to mix with the rest of the sauce. This is an excellent treat but not cheap at $15.49 (I am comparing it to typical ramen which is not really fair).
We tried their ramen also but it is not their specialty and while it was tasty enough, we have had as good or better elsewhere. It's not like we didn't like it. The noodles were tasty (not the soba noodle)  regular ramen noodles, the chashu was decent and the broth good. We came for the mazesoba though and you should also.
Of course, we had to try the little Hokkaido Creme Cone. Again not cheap at $6 but house made and very tasty. A nice little crepe cone housed it and they gave us a couple of little plastic shovels to consume it. Wonderful! 
A sharp looking, comfortable enough place. They greet you with the traditional,"Irasshaimase!"which we love. Efficient and friendly are these folks! If you haven't been here yet, you need to make it a priority!
For what it's worth, we give it 4 1/2 out of 5 especially for serving something unique!

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grey Olive Cafeteria

Yes, we were absolutely drawn in by Instagram again. Actually, it's not a bad way to choose a restaurant but you should definitely read the foodie blog posts also. I had read the reviews but not very well and was still expecting something called a cafeteria to be larger.
It was a breakfast brunch kind of thing on a Saturday morning at about 10 am and I expected a lineup but we found ourselves seated right away! Good deal. You choose off the breakfast, brunch or features menu at that time of day on the weekend, and place your order at the counter. Your food gets delivered to you when it is ready. It didn't take long.
The G.O. Breaky Sandwich came with a "cheese skirt" so how could we resist! With bacon, chive scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, smoked shallot aioli and arugula on an excellent brioche bun (got to love brioche), this sandwich had a lot going on but everything combined into a tasty thing of beauty.
We inclined towards the American south and ordered biscuits and gravy (the chicken and waffles could be introduced the same way). Two perfectly poached eggs on a cheese biscuit with rich and peppery gravy! This was also a wonderful thing! 
We chose potatoes to go with our biscuits and these were ridiculous! Apparently, they brine the cut up potatoes before frying them and the result is crispy little golden chunks that were startlingly light. I will be trying this at home although I neglected to ask how long they brine them. 
There is comfortable seating for maybe a couple of dozen people here. The staff is friendly and our food arrived quickly. I would come back for brunch but I expect this would be a great place for lunch also.
For what it's worth, Marie and I give this place 4 out of 5.

The Gray Olive Cafeteria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinese New Year Parade / Fortune Food Fair- February 10, 2019

It was not warm but people showed up anyway! Apparently, there were about 50,000 of us lined up along the cold streets of Vancouver's Chinatown to watch 3000 participants in this 2 1/2 hour parade.
Personally, I come for the dragons, some of which were quite cuddly!
And others of which were quite elaborate!
There were participants of all ages!
And I was impressed by the cultural diversity!
After an hour or so, our hands and toes were starting to near frostbite cold so we sought warmth and food at the Fortune Sound Club. I had no idea this place was here but they were holding a Fortune Food Fair which started even as the parade continued outside.
Bao Down, DDMau, Maria Gamboa's Pilipino and others were represented each with a few simple offerings. For example, from Dicky Dumps we had Spicy Shanghai Wontons which warmed us nicely.
Along with a couple of baos, crispy pork and vegan from Bao Down, we felt those huger pangs disappear.
We finished off with Mochi from Asomi Mochi. These guys don't have a brick and mortar location but supply their treats to local restaurants.
We enjoyed their Green Tea and Strawberry Mochi.
Soon we were fit to watch more of the 2019 Lunar New year Parade!

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...