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Okay, granted PaPa Jackie‘s is far. It’s the South Shore – but it’s not even at the tip. It’s deep in there, I’m talking neck deep. You probably won’t be casually stopping by because you’re in the area. You’re going to go because you’ve planned to – if excellent, affordable Chinese food is what you’re looking for then PaPa Jackie’s is where you need to go. Saturday night was particularly busy – every table was filled. Make sure to make a reservation before you go if you’re making the trip.
These are all the ramen noodle shops we’ve reviewed so far in Montreal. Our personal favorites for best ramen montreal are Ramen Ya and Yuki Ramen. Ramen Ya is a traditional Japanese style of ramen noodle soup and Yuki Ramen is a chinese style. Let us know if we missed any – we love ramen !
The ramen noodle bar just keeps getting raised higher and higher in Montreal – just when I think I’ve had the best, I went for lunch at Ramen Ya on St Laurent. Ramen Ya is a great and understated little restaurant with seating along the kitchen bar and a few tables for groups.
Just over a week ago, we made our way to the Snow Village in Ile-St-Helene in anticipation of the Grumman hosted outdoor food event that was said to include restaurants such as the Satay Brothers, Nouveau Palais, La Fabrique, Brit and Chips and Pas de Cochon Dans Mon Salon among others.
Having gone to school in NDG for over 13 years, I visited Vendome metro regularly. Whenever I was in the area, I made sure to have my wits about me – bordering NDG and lower Westmount, the area is arguably a little “sketchy”. I mostly came in and out of the metro and didn’t dally around too long – I didn’t have much business with the surrounding shops. This time though, a friend and I made a specific trip to this very area! He wanted to show me one of his favourite Middle-Eastern eateries in Montreal, and it happened to be located adjacent to the station. Always game to try new foods and restaurants, I accepted. Typical, right?
The Wok Cafe goes for a more understated name that doesn’t rely on a play on words that incites a smirk or an outright laugh. Take Wok and Roll or Wok and Run, where the puns are taken to another level. Don’t get me wrong, they’re hilarious – I chuckle every time. We’ve caught fleeting glimpses of the Wok Cafe on our way to the fish market but never looked at it long enough to realize that it is much more than just a cafe. Actually, it’s not really even a cafe at all. It’s a Chinese restaurant that serves some pretty great dishes that include your typical crowd pleasers like General Tao chicken, sweet n’ sour pork and crispy noodles but more importantly, some authentic ones – look out for the menu written in Chinese only at the last page. If you don’t know how to read the characters, just ask. I’m sure the servers would be more than willing to explain. One of these items is the fish belly, crab and squid soup we ordered to start. The texture is admittedly unique, with the fish belly and squid tasting a little more jelly-ish and rubbery that you would expect (this is good) and the soup just between thick and thin in consistency. With a spoonful of black vinegar mixed in, this soup is not quite like any other. I love this soup – it’s an old favorite that’s served at almost any Chinese restaurant and if you haven’t tried it before, I say go for it.
We had a red curry and coconut beef dish that was served along with some red and green peppers. They amount of peppers was overkill and for some reason the red ones tasted much fresher and crunchier than the green ones… There were easily at least ten slices of green peppers left on the plate when we left. Luckily, that didn’t take away from the tastiness of the protein. The eggplants were served hot sufficiently mushy – these have a strong taste and are harder to eat alone but on top of rice, they’re just right. Lastly, we had an order of Thai seafood which came with crab meat, shrimps, peppers, onions and a variety of other veggies. I noticed that all the crab meat served was artificial which I wasn’t a big fan of. Either deal with that or order dishes that don’t include the crab. All in all – definitely check this place out if you’re in the West and are at a loss of where to go out for a quick and easy dinner.
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XOCO is run by Rick Bayless – you may have heard of him before. Guest judge of Top Chef on Season Four, winner of Top Chef Masters, James Beard Award winner for best American chef in 1991, national chef of year in 1995, humanitarian of the year in 1998, cookbook of the year in 2001, best chef in the midwest in 2002… The list goes on. In Chicago for the weekend, we eagerly made this our first lunch destination. Not too far from the downtown core, the place is on North Clark street, next to the Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.
One of the snazzier restaurants the West Island has to offer, Enoteca Mozza has a full bar as well as a separate dining area, both of which were incidentally humming as we stopped by for Friday night dinner. Boasting wood-fire ovens, an authentic selection of Italian eats and a penchant for simple, fresh cooking, Enoteca seems to be doing things right. Tailored to the suburban clientele, the place is accommodating to families (almost every dish on the menu is offered in ‘family size’, reinforcing this idea), larger groups and sports fans (large TVs broadcasting sporting events are strategically placed by the bar and in key spots in the dining room). In the course of ten minutes, we heard three “Happy Birthdays” sung around us.
Don’t be put off by the shoddy exterior – Keung Kee is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city. While it is true that the place could be cleaner and more well kept, it is impossible to argue against the fact that the food they serve is seemingly straight out of a kitchen in China. Having been clients of this restaurant for years now, this time we decided to change up our usual routine and try some new dishes.
One of my favorite spots to go to for a quick and easy lunch is the Vietnamese Hoai Huong, located a block away from the Cote-St-Catherine metro station. We sat on the terrace out front which was quite roomy and equipped with sun umbrellas so those who don’t like to endure the heat can eat in comfort. I had the “pink Vietnamese drink with coconut milk” which was exactly that- the pink color comes from the red jelly at the bottom which was chewy and a little sweet. Great chiller for summer weather.
Di Bao is immediately striking what with two great big Chinese drums flanking its outer entrance (diners are free to pick up the drum sticks and hit the drums as hard as they can) , elaborately dressed waitresses (headdresses and formal Chinese gowns), and the glimmering gold emperor’s chair at the front of the restaurant. The plating at this restaurant is most impressive: catching a glimpse of other tables with food already served, I couldn’t wait to see what the set menu we had pre-ordered had in store.
Bisato features James Beard “Best Chef” winner Scott Carsberg’s minimal and creative Tapas. I was able to see firsthand the care and preparation going into each of these vibrant dishes as Carsberg seemed to do all the plating himself.
Not too far away from the SoGo department store in the Zhongxiao Dunhua district is the unique VVG Bon Bon (13, Lane 161, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei 台北市敦化南路一段161巷13號). One of the most interesting places I have been to in Taiwan so far, this spot is great for a leisurely afternoon lunch or for high tea. The decoration inside, the general vibe and the clientele (from what I saw today) here is almost too cute for words. Housing an eclectic collection of items (silver glitter antler horns, a smiling child sized giraffe, several foot tall wooden nutcrackers, plastic cakes etc.) that would otherwise seem tacky or overdone on their own, VVG Bon Bon finds a way to make the pieces work together to create a fun atmosphere.
Conveniently located in the Shida night market, this eatery is famous for its sliced noodles. Thick and chewy, these noodles are individually cut from a large piece of dough the chef holds over a wok filled with water – check out the pictures below for a good visual. Freshly made, these noodles are traditionally put in soup or fried. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area and don’t want street food – the prices are almost just as cheap and you get to enjoy the comfort of nice, cool air conditioning (I keep bringing this point up as a big plus because the weather in Taiwan in the summertime is extremely high both in temperature and humidity).
For lunch, we went to the Yamato restaurant for some Japanese cuisine. Whetting our appetites with a plate of crunchy marinated burdock roots, we eagerly waited for the the deluxe sashimi assortment. It was a nice mix of different elements that are harder to find as fresh in places like Montreal. The squid was very tender and chewy, the tuna and salmon melted in your mouth. As for the tempura shrimp, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and asparagus, each item was deep fried to perfection. The tea kettle soup was one of my favorites of the entire meal – it was tasty and full of nutrients, being composed of the juices of clams and mushrooms and a hint of lemon. Served piping hot, the tea kettle is served with a miniature cup that rests on top – you flip it down and use it to drink the broth out of. I thought it was a compact way to serve the dish and an aesthetically pleasing one too.
Serving Hunan style food, 1010 is located on the 6th floor of the swanky Eslite building. We ordered Chinese cabbage with some pork strips, orange chicken (especially delicious), ribs smothered with cumin seeds (tender, falling off the bone goodness. You get a plastic glove to eat with and a wet towel to clean up with), grilled shrimp (bite off the head and tail, eat the rest of the body, including the shell. Crunchy!), Chinese buns done two ways, steamed and fried along with condensed milk sauce. For dessert, we had the black sesame ice cream topped with tapioca balls and a bowl of chestnut soup with longan (dragon eyes) inside. Unghh, so good. Personally, I never get really excited about Chinese food simply because I have it so much at home. 1010 did a great job of serving delicious Chinese food with a few interesting surprises here and there.
A lot of the restaurants I will post in the coming future will likely be difficult for me to translate into English. Please bear with me! I’ll do my best with pictures and Google Maps to identify the places for you. The first restaurant we went to in Taipei city was a noodle shop close to my grandmother’s apartment. We ordered a beef tenderloin noodle soup and a pork turnip noodle soup. Food came out a few minutes after we ordered and tasted great too. Having gone with natives of the country, we didn’t think to give our bodies time to adjust to the local food. Either that or we got a bad batch of noodles. In this, both my brother and I had upset stomachs that evening and had to stay in bed for the entire next day. So my advice to you is to stay away from greasy/oily soups your first couple of days in.
Having just made it off of a 15 hour flight from Toronto to Hong Kong, we were tired, cranky and on the prowl for something tasty to eat. Walking around Inside the Hong Kong International Airport, we went up to the 7th floor and found a number of enticing restaurants though the majority of them were not open as it was 5 am. Lucky for us, one of the most attractive food stands was open – Ajisen Ramen. We each ordered a different ramen noodle bowl: one spicy beef bowl, one BBQ pork bowl, one garlic pork rib bowl and one vegetarian bowl. Service was fast and courteous – this was a given that we were pretty much the only ones there. If you happen to be stopping over at the HK International airport, Ajisen is a solid place to go. It is also entirely possible that we were just very hungry.
Qing Hua Dumplings has an unassuming looking exterior – to the average passerby, the place could be easily overlooked. Serving some of the most authentic, delicious soup dumplings I’ve had in the city (yes, even better than Chinatown), Qing Hua provides fast service, an approachable menu and great food.
Chu Chai is one of the few Asian vegetarian restaurants in Montreal, and a good one at that. Serving a fusion of Thai and Chinese influenced food, Chu Chai has the fine dining area of the restaurant along with the terrasse sectioned off from the Chuch bistro (variation of Chu Chai) next door, which offers more of a take out sort of deal. The latter also features a bring your own wine policy.