Sherman's Food Adventures: August 2021

Michi Craft Kitchen

Since I can remember, I've always loved chicken wings.  As a kid, it is easy to eat those drumettes and as I got older, those cheap wing nights at the pub were a University staple.  Right now, I still love wings just as much and there are so many more options.  Just look at 101 flavours at Wild Wing.  Then we also have a whole bunch of Asian style wings including the newly opened Michi Craft Kitchen with their overstuffed wings.  Jacqueline and I decided to check it out and see what these wings were about.

On that note, we got 3 versions of the Fried Michi including Cheesy Corn, Sausage Egg Yolk & Sticky Rice and Spicy Fried Rice with cheesy cheese topping (extra $2.00).  Now at $6.49 each, it almost seems like you need to win the lottery to afford them, but they are actually quite large.  Are they still worth that price?  It is subjective, but I thought they were tasty.  The breading was crunchy and the skin was fairly well-rendered.  As mentioned, there was plenty of filling.  I thought the sticky rice with sausage and egg yolk was delicious.  The cheesy corn was tasty too with sweet pops from the niblets and ooey gooey cheese.  I thought the spicy fried rice was okay, could've been spicier.

So if you wanted no breading and frying, they had Grilled Michi as well.  We ordered it with fried rice, but it came as Sausage Egg Yolk & Sticky Rice again.  Oh well, that was my favourite stuffing anyways.  This was a little less at $5.99.  I found the skin to be almost completely rendered while the chicken meat to be still moist.  As mentioned, the filling was delicious and overstuffed.  You can literally get full on a few of these alone.

But of course we didn't just get wings and went for the Spicy Fried Noodle with Beef Rib as well.  This looked impressive and I really wanted to like this, but in the end, it was pretty bland for spicy.  Furthermore, the noodles were not al dente.  I know this will sound mean, but a bowl of Mi Goreng would've been better.  With that being said, the beef rib was really good being tender, meaty and fall-off-the-bone.  

On the other hand, we really enjoyed the Omelette Rice with Tomato Beef Stew.  The star of the dish was the stew itself.  It had depth and body with plenty of meatiness as well as the richness of stewed tomatoes.  The beef itself was tender and buttery.  Although the egg was far from overdone, I would've liked it to be a bit more runny so it would remain fluffy.  This was cooked all-the-way-through.

Due to the cuteness of it, we just had to order the HK-Style Milk Tea with Bear frozen milk tea cube.  Yah, this was for the novelty of it all, but it was also decent.  This was a very milky and creamy tea.  It was only semi-sweet with adequate tea flavour.  I personally could've done with more of that.  So overall, the food was pretty good here at Michi Craft.  The overstuffed wings were fun, but maybe a bit too expensive.  However, I can understand why due to its Robson location as well as the wings being rather large.  Stay away from the noodles and be sure to have that omelette rice.  

The Good:
- Large overstuffed wings
- Cute decor
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Wings are pricey
- Noodles need more flavour

High Tea @ Jess' Restaurant

Now that I've finally started trying out the spots I didn't get a chance to visit, it was time to get to Jess' Restaurant out in Kerrisdale.  I've heard varying opinions about that place, but as usual, I have to check it out myself to make my own assessment.  Joining me on this food adventure is another fabulous foodie, Ophilia, who I met at Chef Kristian's pop-up dinner in Squamish.  The first thing that struck us when we walked into the place was its glizty Vegas-like decor and vibe -  a bit different for Kerrisdale.  We considered doing the lunch menu, but ultimately decided on the 3-Tier High Tea.

Naturally, the whole experience started with our choice of tea.  Since I enjoy fruitier and more floral teas, I went for the Marco Polo which was a black tea with a fruity and flowery taste.  Sounded exactly up my alley!  That it was and it came with a big ornate pot of hot water as well as a sachet rest on the side.  So all of the accessories were pretty, how about the food?

We started on the bottom tier of savoury items first that consisted of Salmon Gravlax Canape (house-made blini, horseradish mascarpone and deep fried capers), Egg Toast (toasted brioche, 63° egg yolk, chives and marinated ikura), and Jumbo Seared Scallop (deep fried capers, crouton and lemon zest).  This was a great start as the salmon was buttery and the blini was soft without being too delicate.  That egg toast was the bomb.  Brioche was crispy and buttery while the egg yolks had a great mouth feel and were so custardy.  Although the scallop was hardly jumbo, it was perfectly seared and caramelized.  Beautifully delicate inside and sweet.

Our next tier consisted of a Corn Cheese Financier, Butter Scone, Maple Pecan Scone, Berry Compote and Crème Fraîche.  I really enjoyed the savoury financier as there was a sweet smoky outer crust giving way to a balanced moist cheesy sweet cake.  The butter scone ate more like a biscuit (looked like one too) with a crispy buttery crust  and fluffy centre.  Not as sweet as the name would suggest, the maple pecan scone was appealingly firm on the outside with intermittent pieces of walnut.

The top tier was all the sweets sporting a Strawberry Choux, Earl Grey Mousse Cake, Salted Vanilla Macaron and Matcha Chocolate.  The strawberry choux ate as good as it looked.  Delicately crispy with semi-sweet cream, this was appealingly light.  I thought the mousse cake was excellent being airy and just sweet enough.  Good hit of earl grey without being overwhelming while the lavender was in the background.  We weren't fans of the macaron as it was a bit too large and then there was far too much filling and being overly sweet.  Texturally, it was on point though with a crispy shell and chewy interior.  Ending off things was the delicious matcha chocolate.  It was creamy and smooth with a good hit of matcha without being too bitter.  As you can see, all the treats were relatively small and quaint.  Even though that might not satisfy those with big appetites, you have to remember high tea is supposed to be delicate and not in huge portions.  The quality and execution on nearly on the items was really good, so we enjoyed it.  Now we have to see if the lunch/dinner menu stacks up.

The Good:
- Carefully prepared
- Almost everything was spot on
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- Price is par for the course, but some might not find it a good value
- Still not sure about the Vegas glitz  


32 Water Street in Gastown has not been the kindest location for restaurants.  The first that I visited was Mosquito and while it was good, the pricing was too high.  This gave way to Ampersand Bistro & Bar that dished up designer Dim Sum at a premium price.  I personally didn't believe this would work and ultimately, this closed as well.  Now we see the newly-opened Waffleland trying to see if 3rd times the charm.  Well, not to give away too much of what is to come in this post, I would think that unless some major changes are made, we will be seeing 4th restaurant in the near future.

We kicked things off with a couple of bevvies from the menu including the Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade and the Pineapple Dole Whip.  Presented in an attractive shade of purple, the lemonade was rather mild and had a strange aftertaste.  We couldn't put our finger as to what it was.  As for the Dole whip, it was nothing like the real thing (probably cannot due to copyright either?).  It tasted more like Orange Julius pineapple orange.  I did witness No Name orange juice being made and no offense to the product, but it is more sour than something like Tropicana, so it was a little disappointing as an ingredient for a drink that cost $7.95.

Moving onto our first dish, we had the Waffle'd Up Chicken featuring a Liège waffle with breaded chicken fingers, with sriracha lime seasoning, green apple slices, fries and maple syrup.  This was disappointing where you can clearly tell that the chicken strips are from Costco and the fries are frozen Cavendish brand.  Nothing wrong if you were making this say, at home, but not acceptable for a restaurant charging $17.00.  Furthermore, the waffle itself was not a Liège.  It was far too fluffy without any chewiness and lacking in the pearl sugar crystals.  To be blunt, this is an insult to the customers.

Next was the Gastown Brunch (typo of "Branch" on the menu) that sported a Norwegian waffle topped with cheddar and mozza, bacon, seasoned chicken breast, arugula, tomatoes and ranch.  Okay, the good news is the waffle was pretty good being crispy and light.  The bad news was that the chicken was the precooked strips also found at Costco.  Hence, they were rubbery and lacked real chicken breast texture.  Above that, the bacon was good, yet I suspect it is the precooked Tyson strips also found at Costco.  Sigh...  Honestly, it is okay to actually attempt to cook something from scratch, especially at a restaurant...

Lastly, we had the St. Fruity Road with a Norwegian waffle topped by strawberries, bananas, chocolate sauce, roasted almonds and whipped cream.  This was the best of the bunch with the same crispy waffle and fresh fruit.  There was too much chocolate sauce on top though.  Okay, I'm sure there are those who think I'm being too harsh or mean, especially given the challenging times for restaurants.  I agree we should be more patient and more forgiving.  However, customers who spend their hard-earned money could also be struggling or had a tough time during Covid.  So they should not be subjected to subpar food as well.  If they wanted to eat Costco pre-cooked products, they could just buy it themselves and reheat.  At least Laowai (and I gave them a hard time too) makes most of their food from scratch (even if I didn't like it).  Hence, I think that Waffleland has to try a whole lot better, their existence depends on it.

The Good:
- Nice people
- Quaint spot
- Norwegian waffle was good

The Bad:
- They have to stop using pre-cooked Costco products

Brodeur's Bistro

Here is another spot I've been meaning to try for a very long time.  People have raved about it and yes, I've seen those monster Montreal Smoked Meat Sammies on social media.  So why the delay in eating there?  Well, it is in Abbotsford.  Nothing against Abby, but I'm rarely out that way.  Therefore, on our yearly trek out to Castle Fun Park, we made a pitstop at Brodeur's Bistro for some lunch.  As a bonus, they have a dedicated EV charging spot at the side of the restaurant.  Score!  I was all over that!

I was also all over the Fried Spicy Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich, because as most of you know, I'm trying the find the best one in the GVRD (although Abby doesn't really count as GVRD, oh whatever).  This came with cheddar, greens, tomato, jalapeños and extra spicy chipotle heat sauce.  This didn't look all that different but it was actually quite good.  The chicken breast was tender and moist with a crispy batter.  There was a good amount of spice and tang all wrapped up in a soft toasted bun.  At Brodeur's, one can choose one of 27 sides for your meal and for this one, I had the Seafood Chowder.  This appeared to be freshly made with a light creamy broth with chunks of barely soft veggies and just cooked seafood.

The other item that we had to order was their Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich in "Le Monster" size (16oz) on light rye bread.  Got this in their fattier cut and with hot mustard.  Sliced super thin and being buttery soft, the smoked meat tasted a bit different than all of the other ones I've had before.  Much more earthiness from the coriander and cumin.  Bread was good being soft, but still held things together.  Yes, I didn't finish this if you were wondering.

Another sandwich that contained the same meat was the Montreal Smoked Meat and Fromage featuring smoked gouda, cheddar & Cajun alfredo sauce.  Again, this merely looked like any a melt sandwich, but due to the smoked meat, there was more depth from the smoke.  Also, the smoked gouda added even more of that and creaminess as well as the alfredo.  For the side, we had the Bacon and Cheddar Smashed Potatoes.  This ate like a cross between mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes.  It was heavy and cheesy.

Viv decided on a Quebecois classic in the Tourtière with pork, beef, mushrooms and onions.  This did not eat as heavy as it appeared.  Yes, there was a lot of meat, but it was fairly loose and tender.  The gravy on the side was flavourful without being salty.  Crust was decent with a few denser spots.  For her side, she chose the Pea Soup, which was pretty good.  It was rich, but not heavy and there was some ham served on top.

For my son, he once again went for his standby, the Beef Dip Po' Boy with beef brisket, crispy onions and horseradsih aioli.  As you can see, this was a large sandwich with a wealth of tender beef brisket.   Lots of crispy onions provided crunch and aromatics.  Bread was good being crusty, but completely soft when dunked into the au jus.  His side was the Garlic Parm Poutine and that was ok.  Cheese was completely melted, would've liked some curds to chew on.  However, that is nitpicking as most of the food was solid and in good portions at Brodeur's.  Lots of sides to choose from and something a bit different in a mashup of Quebecois/Cajun cuisine.  

The Good:
- Large portions
- Interesting items
- Free EV charging

The Bad:
- Not many lighter options available, but you don't really come here looking for that

Kinton Ramen

When all of the social media posts hit the internet awhile back about Kinton Ramen, it got me intrigued.  However, there was a major stumbling block for me to try it - it is located at UBC.  You see, I live near SFU, which is pretty far away.  I've never shied away from traveling for food, but driving for almost an hour to grab a bowl of ramen isn't the best use of my time. Once again, having time off allows for such time-wasting adventures.  So we headed off to UBC to eat ramen, oh and to visit the Beaty Museum while we were at it...

We actually took a break from the museum to grab some lunch, so we made the short walk over and grabbed a seat outside.  We ended up getting the Meal for 4 ($67.00) that included 3 appies included Chicken Karaage, Takoyaki and Fried Gyoza.  The food came out lightening fast and wasn't exactly hot.  The best of the 3 was the karaage as it was deboned drumstick.  Lots of tender and juicy meat with well-rendered skin that was crispy.  Takoyaki was a bit dense and mushy, but it tasted fine with plenty of octopus inside.  I wasn't too fond of the gyoza as they were lukewarm and a bit hard.  Filling was good though.

For my choice of ramen, I went for the Chicken Miso with soybean paste, chicken breast, nori and white onion.  I chose thin noodles and they were al dente and not clumpy.  There was actually more than the amount of broth in the bowl.  I found it quite indicative of the name as it did taste like chicken with the fermented saltiness of miso.  Not the best I've ever had, but solid especially for the price.  The 2 slices of chicken breast were not exactly juicy, but still tender nonetheless.

Viv had the Pork Spicy Garlic with chili pepper, pork, grated garlic and scallions.  Despite the addition of spice and garlic, I could still taste the base pork broth.  There was plenty of pork flavour.  I thought it could've been silkier, but it was still decent.  There was a balanced amount of spice and sharpness from the raw garlic.  The combination of fatty and lean pork allowed for contrast of textures.

My son decided on the Pork Shoyu with soy sauce, pork, garlic oil and nori.  Without the spice of the previous bowl, the pork flavour was more apparent.  With the addition of garlic oil, there was aromatics and umaminess at play.  He added an egg and it was perfectly custardy inside and well-seasoned.  Once again, there was enough al dente noodles.  A solid bowl of ramen.

For my daughter, she went for the Pork Miso with soybean paste, pork, corn, garlic oil and scallions.  This was my favourite out of the 4 where the pork broth was nicely accented by the fermented flavour of the miso.  Plenty of depth  and body in this one.  The sweet pop of the corn added sweetness.  Overall we were quite satisfied with ramen at Kinton.  Is it the best?  No, of course not.  But for the price they charge ($12.95) per bowl, it is a good bowl of ramen for a great price.  Definitely caters to their core customers - students who are studying at UBC.

The Good:
- Solid bowl of ramen
- Fair pricing
- Decent portion size

The Bad:
- Appies were not hot

The Carvery Sandwich Shop

This post has been a long time coming.  In fact, I've had so many people let me know that I HAD to come here to try not only their chicken sammies, but any one of their amazing sandwiches.  Problem being is that their chicken sandwich is only available on Wednesdays and the place is only open during the day.  This wouldn't be much of an issue if I didn't have to be at work...  Hence, while on holidays, I took the chance to head out to White Rock.  Upon arriving at the location, I was surprised to see that it resided in the old location of Sheila's Deli.  I guess they continued with a similar type of restaurant.

Anyways, the main reason I was here had to be their Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with a fried chicken breast dipped in housemade hot chili oil, Russian dressing, pickled red onion, sweet pickles and slaw on a brioche bun. Yes, it did eat as good as it looked with a low rumbling spice accented by the sweet tang of the pickles and sharpness of the onion.  Bun was on the denser side but it held all of the wet ingredients together.  Chicken breast was moist and the coating was crispy.  A very good sandwich!

Of course, I also had to go for their other chicken sandwich in the Classic Fried Chicken Sandwich with Swiss, pickles, creamy slaw and honey mustard on brioche.  I also added a side of hot honey buffalo sauce.  This ate quite a bit differently than the previous sandwich.  Of course the heat was different as the hot honey was sweet with the classic vinegary tang of buffalo sauce. The Swiss added a layer of texture while the chicken was even more crispy due to the lack of dunking into anything.  Meat was moist and yes, this was also very solid.

We also tried the Cubano with rojo-roasted pork shoulder, smoked country ham, pickles, paprika aioli, Swiss and mustard on a pressed Cuban loaf.  I loved this sandwich due to the fact it was loaded with ingredients and also they stayed very true to the original.  Many times in Vancouver, we have some bastadized version that just doesn't cut it.  I've had the real deal in Miami and this one was delicious.  The pork shoulder was tender and flavourful while the bread choice was critical.  It was crunchy on the outside and soft with a bit of chew on the inside.  Would eat this again.

Something a bit more basic was the West Coast Club sporting roasted turkey breast, smoked bacon, white cheddar, paprika aioli, avocado and tomatoes on lightly toasted sourdough.  What was important here was the real roasted turkey.  It was tender and not wet like that store-bought deli-style type. Furthermore, the bacon was meaty and the avocados were ripe.  Good ingredients = good sandwich, no matter how simple it may be.

Our last sandwich was the Roast Beef French Dip with fresh roasted AAA beef, garlic aioli and sweet caramelized onions on grilled filone bread.  Once again, the key component was the real roast beef.  The tender texture of the super thinly-sliced meat made the sandwich.  Wait, let me rephrase that...  The legit meat combined with the crusty filone bread (think Italian version of French bread) made for a delicious sandwich.  Add in the au jus, which softened the bread, and we have a good beef dip.

I decided to add a cup of soup to 4 of the sandwiches that yielded all of the available daily options including Artichoke Bacon, Chili Con Carne, Tomato Basil and Manhattan Clam Chowder.  For an extra $4.00, these were huge cups of soup.  Wonder how big the bowl is???  So my favourite was the clam chowder as it sported big chunks of clam and the broth was deliciously briny.  Loved the tomato soup as it was tangy and thick.  Enjoyed the croutons soaking in the soup.  The bacon artichoke was smoky and we could really taste the bacon.  Chili was solid with nice spice and loaded with beef and beans.  So I guess you could tell that I was impressed with The Carvery.  Yes, the people were not wrong.  I just wished I could've made it out earlier.

The Good:
- Well-crafted sandwiches with quality and legit ingredients
- Equally good soups
- Reasonably-priced given the quality

The Bad:
- Well, the parking situation in the lot is not the best

iDen & Quan Ju De Beijing Duck House

When iDen & Quan Ju De (was just QJD back then) was initially on the restaurant radar (even before it opened), I took one look and wrote it off.  There I go with my biases again.  I have to stop that...  It's not like I don't have an open mind, but the place just looked...  pretentious.   I mean, is it really catered to the general population of Vancouver?  Well of course not.  However, is it still worth to check it out?  That was the question.  Well, after over a year of doing very little, we decided that what the hay, just go for it and judge it fairly and without prejudice.

The main thing here is their Beijing Duck.  There is technically only one course, but that is because they serve it the traditional way they do it in Beijing - carve the whole duck including the meat for the crepes.  Therefore, there is no remaining meat for any other dish (they do give you the duck bones to take home though).  They charge $98.00 for the duck and I believe this is a completely fair price, considering that other spots such as Chef's Choice charges $88.00 albeit with 2 courses.

We actually were served a few pieces of crispy skin first with a side of raw sugar.  This is the way it is eaten and I've done this before at several spots.  The skin was really light and airy with a pointed crispiness.  Nicely aromatic and the skin was fairly well-rendered for local duck.  In the previous picture, you can see that the duck is carved with all of the from the breast.  Underneath was the dark meat.  We had 2 full plates of skin and meat for the table.

Of course the crepes are nearly just as important because it can ruin the entire experience if they are too doughy, too thick, too dry or rip apart.  These were excellent being paper thin and moist with complimentary elasticity.   In fact, the crepes were kept warm and moist in the heated bamboo steamer.  Therefore, when combined with the tender and moist duck with the crispy skin, this was so easy to eat.  One could literally eat the whole thing by themselves (actually someone sitting beside us did).

Of course, that wasn't the only thing we had.  Following the theme of crispy skin, we had the Crispy Wen Chang Chicken.  This was coated with sesame seeds and fried until the skin was light and crispy.  The skin was fairly well-rendered as well.  As for the chicken, it was quite moist and tender, even the white meat.  It was well-brined and seasoned to the point where it was bordering on being a bit salty. 

Moving on from poultry, we had the Garlic Wagyu with Zucchini.  This featured buttery nuggets of caramelized wagyu which was cooked enough for the fats to be activated.  As a result the meat ate like butter.  It was well seasoned and a bit smokey from the high wok heat.  The chunks of zucchini were firm yet cooked all the way through.  Completing the dish was fried garlic flakes.

If you can believe this, the Beijing Duck was not the most expensive thing we ate.  Rather, it was the Steamed Whole Grouper with crispy bean flake for $128.00.  I guess the big question is, "was it worth it?".  Well, that is up to what perspective you were coming from.  If it was just pure value, of course not.  Now if you want to look at the freshness of the fish and overall execution, it was really good.  The flesh was cooked barely through being delicate and sweet.  Providing a bit of texture and nuttiness was the crispy bean flake.  The soy/oil mix was a nice balance of sweet, salty and a touch of spice.

One of my favourite dishes other than the duck was the Stir Fried Crispy Rice with foie gras & dried scallop in truffle and soy.  So the actual fried rice was very good being chewy, slightly dry and nutty.  However, the addition of crispy puffed rice really added a beautiful texture.  It was addictive and now I want crispy rice in all my fried rice dishes...  There was only a smattering of foie, which was fine since it can be too rich.  The dried scallop added more umaminess while a bit of duck was added as the protein.

With rice, we also had noodles in the form of the Old Fashion Beijing-Style Black Bean Noodles.  It was quite pretty to look at and was tossed tableside.  This was a good bowl of noodles with crisp veggies and edamame.  The black bean paste with pork belly was balanced with plenty of umaminess and saltiness.  It did flavour each strand of noodle successfully.  Nothing exciting and well, it was some noodles, I guess this is what you get for one of the cheaper items on the menu at $20.00.

Another dish that was even lower in price, for $18.00, happened to be the Hand-Made Organic Pork Dumplings.  These were solid dumplings featuring a semi-thin skin that was tender with a bit of chewiness.  Inside, the pork filling was juicy and mildly-seasoned and accented by green onion.  Served on the side was a soy vinegar that added the necessary zip for the dumplings.  Nothing really that interesting, but once again, a cheaper item on the menu.

For our veggies, we selected the Pea Tips Fried with Wine Spirit.  This was a fine plate of pea tips that were fresh and young.  Hence, with the expert wok fry, each piece still maintained a crunch while cooked through.  They were delicately seasoned with a background wine essence.  So overall, the meal was pretty tasty with excellent execution.  In particular, the Beijing Duck was fantastic and in my mind worth the $98.00.  This meal set us back $500.00ish including tip and tax.  Believe it or not, this is on the lower end of how much you would spend here.  If you dabbled in the sea cucumber and abalone, it would easily go North of $1000.00.  So it comes down to, "was it worth it?.  If you appreciate attentive high-quality service in a luxurious dining space with well-prepared food, then this can be justified.  However, if value is you main goal, then of course not.  For this price, you can easily eat like a king at one of many of the Chinese restaurants in town.  But for me, it was a good experience and worth at least trying once, especially for the duck.

The Good:
- Excellent Beijing Duck
- Fantastic service & lovely dining space
- Free underground parking (I guess it should be for this price)

The Bad:
- Of course it is pricey
- Possibly can be seen as pretentious


Do Chay (Kingsway)

If you have read this blog enough, you will realize that I'm pretty much a meatatarian.  However, that doesn't mean that I avoid vegetarian and vegan cuisine completely.  I am very selective of where I go and eat because bad vegetarian/vegan food is on the top of my do not eat list.  So when people kept raving about Do Chay, including Mijune, I just had to relent and try it myself.  Well not completely by myself as Angela joined me since she is one of those people who also rave about the place.

To kicks things off, we had Uncle Hing's Wings that consisted of fried mushroom, sweet & spicy fish sauce glaze, sesame and cilantro.  Of course these weren't really "wings" but I enjoyed them regardless.  The mushroom was cooked through yet still firm while the batter was crispy throughout.  Beyond the obvious sweetness accented by spice, the umaminess of both the mushroom and glaze created impact.

Whenever I see salted egg yolk anything, I must try it.  So here we have the Salty Egg Yolk Eggplant with salted egg butter, chili, garlic, cilantro and lime.  Texturally, the fried eggplant was on point being firmly crispy despite being tender and moist.  It remained that way until we had to pack it up.  Although the bits of salted egg yolk were plenty on the bottom of the plate, it didn't adhere properly to the eggplant.  This meant it didn't really eat like it was supposed to.  We had to take a bite of eggplant and then scoop some egg yolk so there would be impact and flavour.  When we did, it was quite tasty.  A squeeze of lime really helped bring things to life and cut through the heaviness.

One of my favourite dishes had to be their version of the Banh Xeo with plant-based prawns, sprouts, jicama, mushrooms, fresh herbs, greens and nước chấm.  The crepe itself was super thin, crispy and light.  Inside, the "prawns" were actually quite good resembling the texture of fish/shrimp meatballs that are normally found in Chinese hot pot.  Combined with the basil, nước chấm, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, it was a nice bite that had layers of texture and flavour.

My absolute favourite dish of the meal was the Black Garlic Eggplant.  This consisted of braised eggplant, fried tofu, black garlic, red chili, yau choy and rice.  To prepare this, they fried the eggplant first (so it wouldn't fall apart and also cooks quickly/uniformly).  Hence, there was still a robust texture on the outside giving way to tender eggplant.  That black garlic sauce was an umami bomb that was addictive with aroma, saltiness and sweetness.  There was a touch of spice and the intense flavour really went well with the plain rice underneath.  Delicious!

Now as for the Desert Island Noodles, I thought this was a bit muddled.  It sported thick noodles, coconut milk, vegan meatball, tomato, shredded tofu mix, peanut, fish sauce, greens and herbs.  For me at least, there was a few too many flavours that just became lost. Furthermore, it ate heavy with not enough acidity to balance it out.  With that being said, I still enjoyed  the aromatics of the coconut and the punch of the nước chấm, it just isn't a dish I'd order again.

Something new on the menu, according to Angela, is the Saigon Spaghetti with thick rice noodle, Impossible meat, black garlic and tomato sauce, greens and handmade egg tofu.  We really enjoyed this where the "meatiness" of the sauce was surprising.  It was rich with a tangy nuttiness that had depth (despite no real meat).  It paired well with the thick chewy noodles.  Also, that buttery soft egg tofu on top was really good.

Another dish with depth was the Tomato Tofu on Rice with fried tomato, Impossible meat, pickled Chinese long beans and fried tofu.  With the Impossible meat, it truly resembled a tomato meat sauce.  It had the richness as well as the robust qualities of the real thing.  Mild tang, sweetness with depth and once again, umaminess made this addictive.  In general, the whole meal was delicious and I really didn't miss the meat.  I am realizing that modern vegetarian and vegan cuisine has come a long way.  The more I am exposing myself to it, the more I want to eat it because it is delicious.  Do Chay is delicious and I will be back.

The Good:
- Lots of depth
- Don't miss the meat
- Bold flavours

The Bad:
- On the pricier end

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