Tag Archives: japanese

soboro donburi…

21 Mar


In other words, a simple mince meat rice dish that warms your belly after a cold day in the mountains!  This surprisingly whips up pretty quick and makes a great leftover lunch for the next day.


Here’s the recipe for the topping!

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Gu makes guuuud lunch

22 Mar


Guu with garlic doesn’t have a mega huge lunch menu but at least they are open at lunch which some of the other locations are not. With a smattering of selections I decided to go with the grilled white mackerel fish with rice.

I love sitting at the bar when I’m eating solo and especially love watching. the bustle of the chefs. I got a great view of the kitchen and was impressed by all the multi-tasking which included tons of mini cleaning in between.

Man was I surprised at the size of my lunch! Half of an entire mackerel fish grilled so the skin was extra crispy (in fairness I watched and it was not grilled but broiled but who cares right?) A bowl of steaming miso soup, rice and a few sides of eggplant and pickle radish.


Everything was piping hot and the best part is that is was only $8.90, such a good deal for something so tasty and fresh!

fancy schmancy bento box….Kingyo rules

25 Oct

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Once upon a time when I first moved to Vancouver, a friend introduced me to Kingyo on Denman.  Since then I returned once last year when a friend came to visit from Toronto and have only recently gone back for their incredible lunch bento box.

Once you enter the massive doors, you are greeted with a string of Japanese welcoming words from any staff that can see you (even the sushi bar chefs).  Dark wood, bamboo center pieces (albeit fake), and bronze accents makes this place moody and comfy at all at once.

Our table had a peekaboo glass top revealing metal work and heavy wood grain….sigh…so nice.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Now let’s get to the food which really, is entirely the point in coming to this place.  I have no idea if this gem is on the menu but the lunch bento box is always fabulous.  Did I mention that it always changes as it is a chef’s selection?  Did I also mention that they only make limited quantities?!!?!?

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Jealous table neighbours stared at our 12 dish bento box when it arrived.  Breath, take it in, isn’t it exciting?  I love variety and I was giddy with delight to see all the different dishes, yes this is a big lunch and at $16 it’s totally worth it.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Although the waitress went through all the dishes, we could barely understand her through her thick accent but we didn’t care…we were just itching to try everything!  Here’s the breakdown of what was on the menu this time around.

Top left: braised savoury sweet fall apart melty short rib in a thickened cream sauce.  This little morsel packed a flavour punch that we couldn’t eat it all in one bite.  Top right: chicken karage…usually I scoff at this because it’s nothing more than battered deep fried chicken but three generous chunks were found in the bowl and they were ah-mazing.  Crispy outer shell freshly fried with juicy dark meat inside…no sauce needed.

Bottom left: marinated cabbage, although a little lack lustre, it was a great dish to clean your palette in between.  Bottom right: peeled and marinated cherry tomato with bonito flakes…a lovely combination with juicy ripe goodness once you bite into it.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Top left:  molten lava deep fried tofu, this was a well balanced dish with savoury sweet sauce, a touch of green onion and delicious (and not bitter) tofu.  Top middle:  negitoro, a mix of chopped tuna belly with green onion, such a generous portion!  Taking sheets of seawood, you scoop up the mixture with the wooden spoon and make a little wrap, the fish was uber fresh and not overly mayo-y.

Top right: deep fried whole oyster…wowza yum!  I usually am not a fan of cooked oysters since they can have a funny kind of texture but with the breaded coating, this was simply amazing, super rich.

Bottom right: spicy seared tuna, the right amount of heat, you can really taste the chilis without the burning sensation.  The fish came through the sauce beautifully and as always, super fresh and melty.  Love the green onion addition as it added a fresh element.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Top left: Egg roll with reduced ponzu and grated white radish.  I am not a fan of japanese egg sushi nor did I like this, it’s cold, sweet and weird.  My other half scarfed it up though.  Bottom-right: gardens salad with jellyfish.  Although not entirely creative, the salad was nice and refreshing and I loved the chewy tangy jellyfish on top.

The whole shabang also came with a bowl of rice (which neither of us barely touched) and a bowl of miso that was jam packed with lots of tofu, veggies and seaweed.

I highly recommend treating yourself to this belly busting lunch bento….it’s my favourite.

low carb sushi rolls!

2 Aug

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

Once upon a time I took a sushi making class and continued to make it at home all the time.  After switching to low carb and not having rice in the house anymore, I was a little bummed that my sushi gadgets weren’t being used anymore.

I had seen sushi wrapped in thin slices of cucumber before but I had never ordered it until now!  Totally low carb and basically just raw fish and vegetables…tastes like sushi and is completely guilt free!

I gave it a whirl at home, I probably didn’t have the appropriate knife because cutting the cucumber was a hard task indeed.  I basically followed this video below:

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

I piled everything up on one end starting with some mustard greens (taste like wasabi!), some smoked black cod, scallops that were marinated in mayo and green onions.  Roll em up and cut into 4 pieces!

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

This one had some ruby streak lettuce (also very spicy) with some salmon and scallop.

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

I ran out of cucumber slices after a while so I just used some collard greens as wraps instead.  Turned out pretty good!

Ajisen Ramen in Toronto

7 Jan

Ajisen ramen

This cute ramen restaurant is fairly  new in Toronto in chinatown.  We ventured in to be accosted by hot pink chairs and long tables meant to be shared by smaller parties.  There are a million and one ramen places in Vancouver and wanted to see how Toronto faired with the ones back home.

Ajisen ramen

The menu is huge!  Most typical ramen places in Vancouver give you about 6 options but this menu was so big it was a little harder to decide.  I settled on a lamb ramen that had little description on what kind of broth was used.  The wait staff is efficient but hardly knows anything about what’s in the soup or didn’t really care to share.

The ramen was well cooked, a little al dente and the creamy broth had a nice smokey flavour from the deep fried garlic flakes.  Lamb was quite gamey (which I like) and it came with the regular fixings like half an egg, bean sprouts and green onion.  At $7.50 it was a little on the pricey side but the interior is nice and bright!

It’s a fun, cheapish restaurant that harbours a lot of customers during lunch time but the abundance of tables almost guarantees no wait time.

cast iron japanese teapot….

28 Sep

So I’m on my third teapot, why you ask?  Because none of them were ever good enough…until now.  The previous ceramic teapots leaked from the spout and no amount of doodads would correct the spilling…so aggravating.

This little gem I found on Granville Island for a mere $55, most stores sell these guys for just under a hundred.  The pot is made out of cast-iron so it is heavy but also keeps the tea nice and hot for a lot longer than the ceramic ones.

I chose a matte red dimpled pot that just looks so darn pretty all on it’s own!  The cast-iron is coated with enamel but it is recommended that you never let water sit it there for too long and make sure you let it dry out completely before putting the lid back on.  It came with a little mesh tea strainer inside for loose leaf teas.

The spout pours perfectly without a single drip.

Although you can put the cast iron pot right on the stove, I choose not to mare the bottom.  Instead, fill the pot with the boiling water and let sit for 5min.  Dump the water out and then pour fresh boiled water in to steep your tea of choice.  This apparently warms the cast iron first and will keep your tea warm longer.

Remember…delicate teas like green tea and white teas should be made with 80-90 degree water to prevent bitterness!

aoki sushi…sometimes you can’t judge a restaurant by its exterior….

11 Aug

I’ve walked past Aoki Sushi countless times on Broadway and always presumed it was one of those run of the mill mediocre sushi restos that serves up overly-mayoed California rolls for dirt cheap.  A friend ranted and raved about the Pink Godzilla roll there but we never went.  One day we decided to venture over to Cypress and Broadway to check it out since the sushi joints on 4th Ave are far from amazing in the sushi department.

The exterior was still meh and as we walked inside, we were greeted with a wave of heat…no air conditioning and one rickity old fan blowing at customer’s faces.  We still decided to stay and it was the best decision we ever made!

We ordered three things thinking we might still be hungry but we were so wrong.  I think this is the first time we couldn’t finish what we ordered!  The tuna and salmon sushi set was insane good.  For $10 you get four pieces of each….might I add…huge pieces!  The fish was very ample, the biggest I’ve been served in a long time and this fish ain’t frozen!  The extra soft texture with the buttery flavour was truly indicative that this fish was mondo fresh.

The insane Pink Godzilla roll…also $10.  We only ordered it because a friend recommended it.  We weren’t really sure about having strawberries and kiwis on top of our sushi but the combo ended up being really unique and tasty.  The tuna maki is deep fried and then topped with kiwi and strawberry and five different sauces.  No need for soy sauce here!  The sauces made this maki extra tasty from unagi bbq sauce to kewpie mayo, something sweet and something spicy, this roll reminded me of the style of The Eatery.

We thought the Sunshine roll was going to be a wee one since it was only $5.50, to our surprise it was a regular sized roll!  Chopped scallop and avocado topped with pacific smoked salmon.  This roll was kind of meh…don’t get me wrong, it was great but it paled in comparison to the other two we ordered.  The smoked salmon wasn’t quite smokey enough and I guess because the others were so intense in flavour, this one seemed really mild.

Dinner came to $25.50 for two people and we could’ve done with a little less, although we probably won’t the next time we go.  Such an affordable sushi resto that serves the freshest fish ever…it’s a bummer they’re closed at 9pm!