Friday, September 28, 2012

Kedah House Restaurant Simply Delicious

I long for the flavours from my childhood growing up in Singapore. So it's a rare treat to find a Vancouver restaurant making good Malaysian food at a bargain. For a value of $9.99, Kedah House Restaurant & Cafe's AYCA (all-you-can-eat) buffet offers a small spread of Malaysian dishes that are fresh and flavourful.
Kedah, Malaysia
Owner and chef, Cheslah Othman, named the restaurant, Kedah, after the Northwest Malaysian region of where she is originally from. Operating the modestly decorated restaurant since 2006, she proudly claims to be one of the pioneers offering authentic Malay cuisine in Vancouver. 

Gado Gado plated on the right
I started with the build-your-own Gado Gado salad.  I towered lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced fried tofu, shredded turnip and bean sprouts and then topped it all off with a sumptuous savory peanut sauce. The contrast of crisp veggies and savory sauce was wonderfully refreshing.

Tom Yum Soup
When I returned to reload my plate, Cheslah's husband, Mohammed, told me that the beef rendang is a buffet staple after customers protested when they replaced it with other Malay dishes. After tasting the tender beef rendang that was stewed to perfection in a rich coconut curry, I can understand their addiction!  
Beef Rendang
The fluffy steamed basmati rice and sambal telur, hard-boiled eggs cooked in chilli paste, team well with the beef rendang. It was culinary nostalgia when the familiar combination of complex flavours reminded me of warm afternoons feasting on hot Malaysian food in an outdoor Singapore hawker centre.
The BEST banana cake!
Light banana cake with kopi, Malay coffee known for its stronger, darker and richer flavours, cap off my meal with a sweet ending. At Kedah House you can expect friendly service, bold flavours and good value - a humble approach to simply delicious food.

Kedah House Restaurant & Cafe
1652 SE Marine Drive, Vancouver
Wednesday & Thursday: 11:30am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-8pm
Friday-Sunday: 11:30am-9:30pm
Monday & Tuesday: Closed

Candice's Recommendations:
Daily buffet: $9.99; From Friday-Sunday Malay fried chicken rice is offered in the buffet; Roti Canai: $6.00

Kedah House Restaurant and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pinoy Plug: Jazzing with musician Kate Hammett-Vaughn @ Java Jazz

Enjoy a buffet dinner with delicious Filipino dishes and live jazz with Canadian musician, Kate Hammett-Vaughn. Guests will also get to meet Java Jazz owner, chef & musician Salve SayaoDon't miss out! 

Java Jazz Cafe & Bistro, 412 6th Street, New Westminster
Sept 21 & 22 @ 7pm ($25)
Limited seats available, RSVP: (604) 521-2929

Also, Candice's Cusina will be live on location on September 22, see you all there!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Give Peaceful Restaurant a chance

The name may be misleading, but the food is anything but. Packed with diners on a regular basis Peaceful Restaurant is certainly not a calm oasis, but then its understandable given their serious cooking chops.

By the time the doors are set to open at 11AM, the lunch crowd line-up has already formed outside the door. Once you get your table, the cosy seating arrangements also guarantee you’ll be making fast friends.

Open since 2006, Peaceful Restaurant has won the hearts of many regulars and also many accolades, including an award for their “Peaceful Beef Rolls” and a feature on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Owner Charlie Huang is at the helm of the kitchen making hand-made noodles (dragged and blade-sheared) and cooking authentic regional specialties from Northern China. Just before we sat at our table, I peered through the kitchen’s glass window to watch the magic unfold as the chefs effortlessly pulled balls of white dough into long noodle strands then transforming them into something delicious.

The menu is extensive with over 150 items. You get help narrowing down your selection, with the letters “R” beside their recommended favourites and “V” for vegetarian dishes.

My top two recommendations are their 5-spiced Peaceful Beef Rolls and the Dan Dan noodles.

Peaceful Beef Rolls
The beef rolls are a perfect combination of contrasting tastes and textures as you crunch into the flaky green onion flat bread and savour the thinly sliced beef with sweet hoisin sauce.

Dan Dan Noodles
A spicy explosion of flavours, the meaty Dan Dan hand-dragged noodles hold their own against the dense peanut sauce, ground pork and blanched spinach.

Xiao Long Boa Steamed Buns
Chili-Garlic Eggplant
The service is friendly, prices are reasonable and the food is addictive. They only take cash or debit cards so come prepared. Leftovers are another guarantee, good for a delicious lunch the next day. If you haven’t done so already, all I am saying is give Peaceful Restaurant a chance.

Peaceful Restaurant
#110-532 West Broadway, Vancouver

Candice’s Recommendations:
Peaceful Beef Rolls - $7.25, Dan Dan Noodles - $7.95, Chili-Garlic Eggplant - $11.95 & Xiao Long Boa Steam Buns - $7.25.

Peaceful Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

All that Java Jazz!

Where else can you find world-class live jazz and delicious Filipino food? At New Westminster's Java Jazz Cafe & Bistro restaurant! Owners Salvacion (Salve) and Ed Dayao have been running the family-operated restaurant and sharing the jazz stage entertaining guests for the last 10 years. Salve does do double duty as the head chef cooking up her made-from-scratch specialities including pastas, burgers, curries and of course, classic Filipino dishes.

Fun Fact: The name Java Jazz was developed from a fusion of Ed's love for coffee and Salve's love for jazz. 
Salve & Ed Dayao
I had the privilege to meet Salve. Her warm and inviting smile easily brightens up the dimly lit restaurant. She sat down to introduce herself and I soon learned that she is also a fellow Pampangan (like me). Both her and Ed are trained musicians who have travelled the world singing (Salve) and playing the piano (Ed). They landed in Canada over 10 years ago and decided to live out their dreams by opening up their own restaurant while continuing to delight customers with their music.
Fan Fact: Pamanga is located in the province of Luzon, Philippines and is also known for their passionate cooks;) 
Salve then slowly introduced more Filipino dishes to the menu over the years with her own unique twists. Java Jazz now offers many Filipino favourites like Kare Kare (peanut-based ox-tail stew), Sizzling Pork Sisig (fried hog head, truly a delicacy but best with beer) & Lechon Kawali (deep-fried pork belly).

Salve's niece and waitress, Cheryl, gave her recommendations to help narrow down the list: Pinkabet Special (sauteed veggies in a shrimp sauce), Crispy Binagoongan (battered & fried pork in a shrimp & coconut sauce) and Beef Calderata (beef stew) - all served with coconut-achiote rice.

Pinkabet Special
Beef Calderata

Crispy Binagoongan
Served in large heaping portions, all three dishes were masarup! My favourite had to be the crispy binagoongan. It had a nice contrast of flavours and textures with the crispy pork coated perfectly in the seasoned shrimp & coconut sauce against the freshly diced mangoes, tomatoes and onions.

You will be welcomed with friendly service, tantalized with tasty home-cooking and entertained with good live music. So come on down and paint the town at New West's Java Jazz!

Java Jazz Cafe & Bistro Restaurant
412 - 6th Street, New Westminster
Closed Tuesdays, 5:30pm-12am

Candice's Recommendations:
Crispy Binagoongan - $12.99, Pinkabet Special - $14.99 & Chicken Wings - $9.95
New customers get 10% off!!

Java Jazz Cafe and Bistro on Urbanspoon