Canadian Flavours Gala Ticket Giveaway!

Canadian Flavours Gala #CanadianFlavours

Beyondchopsticks is giving away a pair of tickets. This is how: Follow Stephanie on twitter @stephyuenyuen . Follow us on or email to  *** Present blog followers are automatically entered in the draw. (Gala ticket include a complementary ticket to EAT!Vancouver at BC Place, May 01 – 03, 2015)

EAT! Van-2011 054

Spring is no doubt the season to kick off a line-up of noticeable food and wine events. With Eat! Vancouver becoming a week-long Food + Cooking Festival, the coming week will surely be a fun-filled one for food and wine enthusiasts.

No longer just a weekend event, Eat! Vancouver is a world class food expo taking place throughout downtown Vancouver. While BC Place is still the main pavilion to soak in the W5 of today’s food trends and culinary scenes, numerous workshops, collaborative chef dinners featuring top chefs from across the nation, a hospitality symposium and a pastry panel will be unveiled as of today.

One of the main events to take notice is the Canadian Flavours Gals happening at the Terminal City Club this Thursday (April 30th) from 7 – 9:30pm. Famous chefs from 15 supremely-ranked restaurants, including the crowned Wolf in the Fog of Tofino will be flashing their wares and skills under one roof to showcase the best of Canada.

With superb food come great wines. Up the hill from the town of Penticton is the welcoming Naramata Bench, one of the premier wine growing regions in the Okanagan Valley, home to many acclaimed wineries known for their lush vineyards, modern tasting rooms and top-rated restaurants.  The Bench gives visitors luscious reasons to visit and explore. 24 growers-turned; youthful or established wineries teaming up with achieved winemakers to craft wines that represent not only the distinct Okanagan terroir but the wineries’ own characteristics and wine-making philosophy.  Folks come to taste and embrace what Mother Nature has granted to the Naramata vineyards and wineries.Naramata Bench wines For those who may not make it up there in the near future, do not be despair – they are going to the Canadian Flavours Gala this Thursday, thanks to Naramata Bench Wineries Association.  This new event as part of the 13th EAT!Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival promises to be the event-extravaganza that die-hard foodies should not miss.

Participating wineries are: Bench 1775 Winery, Black Widow Winery, D’Angelo Estate Winery, Deep Roots Winery, Elephant Island Orchard Wines, Hillside Winery, Howling Bluff Estate Wines, Kettle Valley Winery, La Frenz Winery, Lake Breeze Vineyards, Lang Vineyards, Misconduct Wine Co., Monster Vineyards, Moraine Winery, Perseus Winery, Poplar Grove Winery, Quidni Estate Winery, Red Rooster Winery, Serendipity Winery, Terravista Vineyards, Therapy Vineyards, Tightrope Winery, Upper Bench Winery, Van Westen Vineyards.

eat vancouver

Sakura and Spring Celebrations

A) Sakura Festival 2015 櫻花節

Japan Fair日本節

Where: 溫哥華植物公園VanDusen Botanical Garden 5251 Oak Street (37th & Oak), Vancouver

Date: Sat., April 11  & Sun., April 12 , 2015

Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Tojo's Sakura menu

Japanese restaurants serving “Sakura menu”


Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour 909 W. Cordova St., Vancouver 604-420-4272

Special Menu: Laksa Soba $10.99

Juno Sushi Bistro 572 Davie St., Vancouver 604-568-8805

Special Menu: Two kinds Tuna Tekka Don & Shrimp Mousse Osuimono Soup $15

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 2054 Commercial Dr., Vancouver 604-255-5550

Special Menu: Asparagus Oshisushi $12.95

Kitanoya Guu Kobachi 735 Denman St., Vancouver 604-683-0735

Special Menu: Smoked Salmon Mini Chirashi $8, Soy Milk Strawberry Mousse $5, Sakura Kobachi-tini $7.5

Minami Restaurant 1118 Mainland St., Vancouver 604-685-8080

Special Menu: Sakura roll $18

Rajio Japanese Public House 3763 W. 10th Ave., Vancouver 604-558-1679

Special Menu: Crab & Salmon Roe Hot Stone Bowl $13.20

Seto Sushi 155-8460 Alexandra Rd., Richmond 604-231-9493

Special Menu: Sakura Sushi Set with Chawanmushi, Miso Soup and Ice Cream $33.50

Shuraku Sake Bar + Bistro 833 Granville St., Vancouver 604-687-6622

Special Menu: 5 Kinds of Sashimi $26.95

Tojo’s Restaurant 1133 W. Broadway, Vancouver 604-872-8050

Special Menu: Tojo’s seafood salad with cherry mentaiko dressing $24.00

Zipang Provisions 3068 Main St., Vancouver 604-428-5700

Special Menu: Spring Sweets with Sakura Tea $8.80

Nikkei Centre celebrates Spring 本拿比Nikkei日本文化中心迎春節目

6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby. 604.777.7000

Admission: Free! Info & Bento Orders: 604.777.7000

(B) Glowbal opens 3rd Trattoria in Burnaby意大利餐館進軍本拿比


102-4501 Kingsway, Burnaby. 604-424-8779

tratoria entrance

Glowbal Group marches into Burnaby and opens the 3rd Trattoria at an iconic location – the northeast corner of Kingsway and Willingdon.  Within walking distance to Metrotown, Crystal Mall and numerous high-rise apartment buildings, this truly is the “Buzzing spot for homestyle Italian fare”!

(C) Opera Buffet at Café Pacific 泛太平洋酒店周末歌劇自助晚餐


  1. Pan Pacific Vancouver, Canada Place, Vancouver. 604-662-8111

Opera performing

Still charmingly delicious and entertaining, this long-living Saturday night event takes buffet dining to a higher note.  With the majestic five sails, north shore mountains and glittering ocean painting the evening skyline, the elegant restaurant famously offers the city’s paramount best close-up water front view.

(D) Joey 餐廳集團獻上春日菜單

Chef Chris Mills of Joey's

Executive Chef Chris Mills and his passionate team of chefs have been seducing diners with  menu items such as Tandori Chicken Flatbread, Baja Fish Taco and Spanish Paella, but this spring, their Caribbean-inspired menu will be a hit. Don’t forget to sign off with Joey’s house-made naturally-flavoured ice creams. At $4 per pop, do consider getting a double order.

Joey's house-made maple-walnut icecream




Spring is here, so are the cherry blossoms!

Celebrate Spring 2015

This April is “Sweet Dreams Dessert Month” at Cactus Club Café

Everyone is welcomed to take part in tasting feel-good sweetness at Cactus Club Café this month as it marks its 15th year in partnership with Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon.  Cactus Club Cafe locations in B.C. and Alberta will donate proceeds from every dessert sold to Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon.  In addition to raising the funds to grant a child’s wish this year, Cactus Restaurants donates gift cards for families to enjoy a bon voyage meal on their way to wishes coming true.

Banoffee Pie

Meatball Challenge

Presented by, 14 restaurants across lower mainland are in this month’s Meatball Challenge with their one-of-a-kind meatball creations. Four media judges, including yours truly will be sharing their thoughts and reviews at the end of the month. Be one of the public judges, just send in your votes via social media. For details, log onto

Asian meatballs

Sakura Benefit Event”


This Saturday, April 4th, 7 – 10pm. Nikkei Place Foundation presents the first ever Sakura Benefit Event at the Coast Harbour Hotel. This will be an exciting evening of exquisite live music, featuring the performance of Japanese recording star Kohmi Hirose. Having sold over 2.4 million of her album The Best “Love Winters” in Japan, this is indeed a rare opportunity. This intimate concert setting will be accompanied by the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra led by conductor sensation, Kenneth Hsieh. The evening will also feature a special dinner set prepared by Vancouver’s own Chef Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s restaurant. Proceeds for this event will benefit the programs and services of Nikkei Place in Burnaby, BC.

Celebrate the 9th Annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival with Aburi Restaurants’s Miku Restaurant and Minami Restaurant  (70 –  200 Granville Street)  (1118 Mainland Street)

Miku and Minami are brightening up their spring menus to welcome the upcoming Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival with the introduction of several Sakura-themed items: two new Sakura Rolls and a special spring cocktail.

Sakura Night

Tojo’s Restaurant on West Broadway.

A handful of distinguished Vancouver chefs will participate in “The pink tie affair” April 19, 2015.  This is the evening of exquisite Japanese cuisine gathering the city’s renowned chefs from top local Japanese restaurants under one roof as guests partake in a unique dining experience for one-night only.


Celebrate the Malbec World Day – special tasting events

To celebrate Malbec Day, BC government liquor stores will have Malbec free tastings throughout the month of April. Check with your local BC Liquor Stores for tasting schedules. Everything Wine locations will kick off the celebration on April 11 2pm to 6pm with tastings of different Malbec. Legacy Liquor Store will follow on April 17 4pm to 8pm. April 18, 2pm to 5pm, Marquis Wine Cellar will go all out with tastings of a variety of Malbec to pair with tasty empanadas and DJ music to liven up the atmosphere (RSVP required. (604) 684-0445 Donation to the BC Hospitality Foundation is welcomed for this event.

The Osoyoos Oyster Festival

The 4th annual Oyster Festival returns to the South Okanagan, April 22-25 and showcases oysters produced by West Coast fishermen, alongside Canadian wines and craft beers.

BC oysters

Programs include:

Miradoro Long Table Dinner, April 22. Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery offers a three-course dinner dedicated to the oyster. $39 pp.

Under the Tuscan Sea – Oysters, Bubbles and Pizza at Terrafina, April 23 Terrafina at Hester Creek Estate Winery invites guests to sample pizza and oysters paired with spring releases from Hester Creek and tastings from the winery’s ‘bubbly’ neighbours. $45pp.

Seaside to Greenside at the Osoyoos Golf Club, April 24 Enjoy oysters paired with exclusive scotch, including Glendronach 2003 KWM Cask 1820 and BenRiach 1997 Cask 4435, along with noteworthy gin from Gallagher Lake-based distillery, The Dubh Glas Distillery. $50pp.

Oyster Catch and Brew Bash at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, April 24 An evening of oysters and culinary creations, craft beer and ciders from local breweries and live entertainment. Results from the Oyster Craft Beer Competition will be announced at the event. $32pp.

Oysters in the Garden at Walnut Beach Resort, April 25 An afternoon event held in a beautiful garden setting at Walnut Beach Resort, guests will enjoy freshly shucked oysters with wine tastings from the winning wineries of the Oyster Wine Competition. $30 (Early bird: $25)pp.

Art of the Oyster Pearl Gala at Watermark Beach Resort, April 25 Guests will enjoy oyster creations from South Okanagan restaurants and chefs, wine pairings from Oliver Osoyoos wineries, and freshly shucked oyster and seafood stations. Results from the Oyster Wine Competition will be announced at the event. $48pp.

Amateur Shuck ‘n Suck Competition at The Sage Pub, April 25 Come to compete or come to cheer as teams of two compete to win the coveted title of the Best Shuck ‘n Suck Team in the Okanagan. One team member shucks while the other sucks back the oysters. Registration: $10 per team.

Stay in Osoyoos – Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, Walnut Beach Resort and Watermark Beach Resort are offering Oyster Festival room rates. Special offer: For every two-night booking at any of the resorts (from April 21-26), receive one complimentary ticket to the Oysters in the Garden event on April 25.



New Liquor Laws – who is ready?


BC LiquorStoreWords: Henry Yuen

Chinese blog:

In the business world, managing change is not just a topic or an issue, it is the essential skill and key responsibility required of the managing executives whose main job description includes: to foresee, prepare, plan and handle any changes. Equally important is their ability to minimize the risk associated and the pressure induced due to external and internal changes which are often intertwined.

The wine industry is no different, perhaps more so since it is a highly regulated industry with various levels of government eyeing closely and having a say anytime. Quite often, government’s decision making on various aspects of the business model and any operational shapes and forms, will affect within and beyond the industry. The industry is susceptible and must abide to liquor law changes which they have no control of. At the stroke of the pen or press of a button, the governing ministry would make or break the industry to a certain extend.

That’s exactly what happened recently in BC.  Changes to the liquor law are in the making and will be in effect come April, 2015. Any changes to the antiquated liquor law are supposedly welcoming. Superficially, the upcoming changes seemed to be all positive that received certain accolades; even from some industry players.  However, when changes are made without proper research and investigation; when decisions are pressed without thorough consideration and genuine concern, disapproval, disappointment and even outrage would follow, especially when deficiency in the implementation became inevitable and certain revisions are viewed to be favouring one party over another.

King Heffy draft beerAt the moment, independent wine stores are the ones with the least benefit from these changes. Obviously, the operators are crying foul from their perspective as the governmental changes would create an uneven playing field that challenges their survival as a business. Independent retails versus BC Liquor Stores? More-friendly competition? Giving the public more choices and more convenience?

The concept of allowing grocery stores to sell beer and wine is supposed to provide easier retail access to the public so they can purchase these beverages at their neighbourhood stores. However, the setup requirement and restrictions are so stringent that one wonders how many of these locations would actually come to fruition. So is it all noise and no real effect? Good idea requires good execution to make it successful. So when there are so many “no”, it diminishes the original concept and maybe making no changes might be better for all parties concerned.

BCWI events

The Vancouver International Wine Festival was just here and other wine events are lining up. Judging by the success of the Wine Festival and all the sold out events, the public love their wines. The craft brewery industry is growing and glowing. These should all be promising industries with bright future regardless whether one is involved as a winery operator, a licenced restaurant, a wine merchant, an independent beer & wine store or other capacities of producing and/or promoting beer and wine. It might be true that there is no perfect setup to satisfy each and all parties; however, there is the vital need to secure stability and consistency! It really is not too much to allow for businesses to be part of, to adapt and survive and to benefit from the changes.



Sipping Sake in Japan

Lantern signs

Words/Pix: Henry Yuen

Chinese blog:

Milder and lower alcohol content; a less floral but earthier bouquet; trimmer acidity with subtle sweetness are perhaps the reasons why sake has been favoured by Japanese and Asians.  But most wine lovers would agree, sake does complement Japanese cuisine intricately, especially with sushi and sashimi. The refined flavour of sake along with the tantalizing mouth feel caress the raw seafood in our palates charmingly.  No wonder sake is gaining popularity rapidly on the global beverage platforms.

Like most imported goods, the varieties of sake available in Vancouver is limited and usually of average grade. One may have to go to rather high end Japanese restaurants to find true premium sake. Make no mistake; what is available here is only a tiny fraction of the sake produced in Japan. Needless to say, my recent trip to Japan was a seven day affair of non-stop eating and drinking; with sake taking the centre stage.

premiums sake everywhere

We landed in Tokyo at night and the first thing on the itinerary early next morning was to visit the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market.  After over 2 hours of wide-eyed amazement and sometimes disbelief of the magnitude of seafood being handled and traded daily, we sat down in one of the sushi restaurants and had the best raw seafood and beautifully plated sea urchin set for breakfast. Even though it was 9am in the morning, I reminded myself it’s night time in Vancouver; therefore sipping sake was in natural order. There was no wine list to speak of so you just pointed at the display bottles to make your selection and almost immediately sake was served, and to my delight, the authentic way  – in a small square wooden box.  The wooden box emitted a very faint smokiness but somehow added a mysterious character to the sake. While small sake cups, either ceramic or glass, were common, I had come across artistic sets and strange looking shapes and I must admit, they all pushed the experience up one notch. A good way to embrace the arts of sipping local sake for sure!

Sake & sushi

No matter what season it is, slightly chilled sake has always been the norm here; room temperature sake is not unusual either. However, if you prefer your sake warm, please let them know. Mind you, they do serve sake warm, but never hot! Warm sake is usually reserved for utility grade sake while premium grade is preferably served slightly chilled. Almost every restaurant, no matter how tiny, offers sake. And more often than not; serve beer, sake and wine or anything alcoholic in a very casual manner.  Even the young waitress can go to the back, pick up a bottle and pour it for you. Sake sommelier?  I was quite sure they were around, but I did not have the pleasure to meet one during my sake days in Japan.

Sake glasses

Since restaurants of all sorts were everywhere, so were sake: On shelves, by the door, in boxes, barrels;  lined-up in bottles against the wall or by the back exit… Palpably, sake selections were never short; a few of which I was pretty sure I encountered and tasted back home. The price points varied too, but as expected, they were much more wallet-friendly. Many restaurants offer individual (200ml) sizes which they left the bottle on the table. Some were poured directly from the magnum bottle which was lifted right in front of you for your sake by the glass orders. Sake-paired meals should be available somehow somewhere; unfortunately, no one at the front desk or dining room in any of the restaurants spoke good enough English to answer my inquiry.

A display of fine premium sake in Kyoto

Most restaurants serve their sake generously to showcase their hospitality. Not only was the cup or box always filled to the brim; there were the extra friendly and very appreciative way to over-pour so the sake cup or box was actually dripping.  With a dish smartly placed underneath to catch the overflow, this gesture was not just an eye-opener, but  big hugs worth, only if they let me!  Ha, don’t I wish Vancouver restaurants could pick up this smart practice, even when serving beer and wine!

special sake glass




Soup for Spring

Asian Pear sweet soup

“Soup for Spring” recipes (As heard on CBC North by Northwest, March 14th)

1. Chicken and Watercress soup 

1 small to medium stewing chicken, skinned and chopped into large pieces

3 pcs. dried honey dates, rinsed

2 cups thickly sliced carrots

2 lbs. fresh watercress, rinse-cleaned and drained (you can use seeded and skinned green papaya and/or green apple instead)

12 to 14 cups of water

  • In a soup pot, bring chicken pieces and 3 cups water to a boil on high. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove chicken pieces. Discard water.
  • Scrape off chicken fat and rinse.
  • Place all ingredients in the soup pot and bring to a boil on high. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for at least two hours covered, leaving a small opening to avoid soup from boiling over. (You can transfer the soup to a slow cooker for the long boil)

2. Asian Pear Sweet Soup


3 cups water

2 Tbsp. dried goji berries, rinsed.

¼ cup dried longan, rinsed.

1 large Asian pear, cubed

¼ cup pitted and ready to use gingko nuts, rinsed

50 – 60 gm rock sugar

  • Put water, goji berries and dried longan in a medium saucepan. Cover and soak for 5 minutes.
  • Add pear and gingko nuts, bring to a boil on medium high, covered.
  • Turn heat to low. Add sugar. Cook for 10 minutes covered or until sugar all melts.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.


3. Lemon & Cinnomon Tea

10 oz. hot boiled water

2 slices of fresh lemon

1 x 2” cinnamon stick

Put all ingredients into a cup. Cover and soak for 2 – 3 minutes.








Oyster & Hairy moss on green

My Chinese New Year Table

Gung Hey Fat Choi

Words & pix: Stephanie Yuen

My Chinese New Year celebration usually starts with questions such as “What to eat to celebrate Chinese New Year? What are you cooking for the family’s New Year feast?”

Thanks to my media friends, my last few TV appearances, radio and newspaper interviews were all about Lunar New year folklores, customs and culinary traditions.  We all know the food we eat during this celebrative season all carries auspicious meaning. Must haves include deep-fried pastries, candies and desserts, pig trotters, pork tongues, whole steamed fish, whole chicken with head and tail, hairy moss, lotus roots…the list is long.

To welcome the arrival of the New Year, moms and grandmothers (Chinese men of the house don’t usually cook at home) will be grocery-shopping weeks ahead. Like Christmas cookies, we do have classic holiday snacks and pastries to make, on top of preparing for several big feasts.  In the old days, the New Year celebration could spread up to 15 days. Candies, pastries, seeds, nuts, fresh, sugared and dried fruits, a majority of which will be laid out beautiful round Chinese lacquer platters for the duration of the celebration for visiting friends and families to munch on. Deep-fried golden dumplings (Pieces of gold); Large size sesame balls (Lots of wholesome goodness and fortune rolling in); Sugared lotus seeds and roots (Wealth and harmony), Prawns (Happiness and laughter); candies in colourful wraps (lucky charms) and crunchy arrow-root chips (gold coins) frequent the platter. While deep-frying in oil symbolizes smoothness and thought to lubricate any frictions and mishaps, gold, silver and red colours indicate positive energy, wealth and good fortune.     Oyster & Hairy moss on green

Lunar New Year is the most important festival of the whole year; Chinese around the world celebrate it religiously. Family members, no matter where they are, are expected to return home for the reunion New Year’s Eve dinner when everyone sits around the large round table to eat, drink and be merry.

We eat pan-fried or steamed golden cakes the morning of the New Year day.  Savory ones are made with daikon and taro-root, sweet ones are made with brown sugar or coconut milk so the New Year will be filled with sweetness, opportunities and progress.

Yut-tung-heen ma-lai-goh

Here is the menu of my family New Year dinner.

  • A pot of soup made with dried oysters and hairy moss – Blooming business and great profit.
  • A plate of pan-fried prawns – A year filled with happiness and laughter.
  • A caserole of braised pig trotters and tongues on Asian green – Big profits and rewards.
  • Deep-fried Tofu pockets stuffed with seasoned ground pork and fish, pan-fried and braised – A platter of gold nuggets.
  • Mushroom trio on Gailan – A house full of silver and treasure.
  • A duo of fish, head and tail intact, one steamed, one pan-fried – A year of bounty.
  • Braised Taro Roots & Vegetable Stew – A pot of wholesome goodness.
  • Steamed lotus wrapped fried rice – Pots of gold and silver pieces
  • Golden Kabocha Sweet Soup – Soothes our hearts and souls and brings harmony and sweetness in the New Year.
  • A plate of sweets and fresh fruits – Happy together to celebrate a fruitful year


Pan-fried prawns

Fried-rice wrapped in lotus leaf

Stephanie’s Chinese New Year recipes

  1. A Fish of Bounty

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 with steamed rice


2 pc. T&T dried shitake mushrooms, rinsed and soaked in ½ cup hot water for 30 to 45 minutes in advance, or until mushrooms are softened completely

1 1½ to 2 lb live Tilapia, head & tail intact, scaled, gutted and cleaned.  Cut 2 X 1” slits on each side below the gill where the thickest of the fish is.

1 Tbsp. julienned ginger

¼ cup julienned green onion

¼ cup julienned cilantro

¼ cup cooking oil

1 Tbsp T&T dark soy sauce

1 Tbsp T&T light soy sauce

1 Tbsp water

½ tsp. sugar



  • Remove mushroom cap and julienne thinly, discard water.
  • Bring 3 cups of water in a large steamer (or wok) to a full boil. (Make sure the fish dish fits the steamer or wok. You can also use a microwave steamer to steam the fish and should take less time to cook)
  • Pat dry fish and place on dish. Spread ginger and mushroom evenly on fish. Place dish in steamer, cover and steam for 12 to 15 minutes. To test for doneness, poke the thick of the fish with a sharp knife. Fish is ready when knife comes out clean.
  • In a small saucepan, mix dark and light soy sauce, water and sugar on medium high, bring to a gently boil. Remove from heat.
  • Remove fish dish from steamer, add green onion and cilantro. .
  • In a small saucepan, bring oil to a boil. Sizzle onto green onion and cilantro. Pour sweet soy mixture on top.
  • B) Lettuce Wraps of Prosperity

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves 6 to 8 (as an appetizer)



1 lettuce, rinse and drip dry, cut 1” off head and into 2-halves vertically for easy peeling

1 Tbsp cooking oil

6 pc. button or brown mushroom, small-diced

1 small can water-chestnut, drained and diced

A pinch of sea salt

2 cups barbecued duck or barbecued pork, diced

2 cups cooked shrimp, diced

½ cup crushed T&T unsalted cashew nuts (or peanuts)

½ cup Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp T&T Teriyaki sauce

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp brown sugar



  • Peel off leaves which should be palm-shaped and stack them on a plate. Reserve small leaves for other use.
  • Heat oil in pan on high. Add mushroom, stir well. Add water-chestnut. Stir and cook for 90 seconds, add salt, mix well and place in a bowl.
  • Return wok to stove, add duck, stir and reheat on medium high for 20 – 30 seconds, place in a bowl.
  • Reheat shrimp in wok for 20 – 30 seconds, place in a bowl.
  • Place crushed nuts in a bowl.
  • To make a wrap sauce, mix Hoisin, Teriyaki sauce, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and empty into a sauce bowl.
  • Place lettuce and all the bowls of ready-to-eat ingredients on the table for individuals to fill their own lettuce wraps. Enjoy with wrap sauce.



  1. C) A pot of blooming gold (Stir-fried Cauliflower with curry) **Vegetarian dish

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 – 15 minutes

Serves 4


1½ tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups cauliflower, sliced

½ cup milk

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp curry paste

½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Melt butter in a pan on medium high heat, add garlic. Stir and cook for 15 seconds.
  • Add cauliflower. Stir well.
  • In a bowl, mix milk, cornstarch and curry paste. Stir into the pan. Mix and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add cheese and cook until melted.



Foodie on Foot – Toronto: Ovest Cucina e Vineria



Thank you for the huge response. The lucky winner Wing Ng has been notified. We’ll be doing another give-away soon – please tune in!


Chinese blog posting:

Ovest Cucina e Vineria : Pamper your loved one with divine Italian cooking this Valentine


Ovest Cucina e Vineria. 788 King Street West. Toronto. T: 416 214 6161

Words: Anthio Yuen                  Photos: Jonathan Fan

Opened in November of 2014, Ovest Cucina e Vineria is one of Toronto’s newest Italian restaurants and wine bars in the city’s bustling King West area.  At just a few months old, Ovest has already been met with rave reviews. The anticipation plus perhaps the crisp temperature typical of a winter evening in Toronto or the early onset of hunger, I was eager to go inside and try it for myself.

Greeted at the door by Marco Celio, Ovest’s general manager, who comes from local restaurants Buca and Terroni, gave me a quick tour of Ovest.  The restaurant’s design was inspired by old cantinas in Italy which often served double duty as casual drinking establishments and wine cellars, fittingly so here, giving Ovest a decidedly rustic but modern tone, highlighted by dark stone and wood accents throughout restaurant.


Centering the 4,700 square foot space is a stunning bar and salumi station, adorned with antique wine barrels and presses. A beautiful walk-in glass vineria behind the bar holding the restaurant’s 120 varieties of Italian wine is close by.     ovest-141

Taking his cues from Sicilian cuisine with French and seafood inspirations, Chef Luca Stracquadanio (who comes to Ovest from the Terroni group of restaurants in both Toronto and Los Angeles) wants to create a contemporary menu featuring regional Canadian ingredients.

Ovest’s menu is simple but purposeful.  Each dish features a key ingredient, enhanced by only a select few complementing flavours. As noted by Chef Stracquadanio, “we use simple ingredients, maybe one or two things to allow the true flavour be expressed.”  One should not confuse simplicity of ingredients, however, with lack of complexity. The dishes at Ovest were unique and equally refined.ovest-126

A signature antipasto at Ovest is the Carpaccio De Pesce Spada, or smoked swordfish. Cured and smoked in-house, sliced thinly, and then garnished with fennel, orange and olive oil, the swordfish had a delicate and creamy texture with just a hint of smoke.      ovest-122 The Caprese Di Tonno was another featured antipasto, which is whipped “bufala” mozzarella topped with tuna tartar. While the two came together nicely, the simple puree of basil and olive oil underneath the cheese added a bright, earthy flavour.   ovest-125Carpaccio di Polipo, or Octopus Carpaccio followed offering surprisingly meaty and heavy texture. Thin slices of octopus were drizzled with lemon, olive oil and a salsa verde made with capers and anchovies; then topped with pomegranate.

Following the antipasto, Chef Stracquadanio brought over two main courses: Gnocchi Con Astice, which is black squid ink gnocchi with fresh lobster and Merluzzo, or black cod. The gnocchi came tossed with large chunks of lobster, tomatoes and a light bisque made of the lobster. The dish was intense and rich and definitely one to indulge for lobster lovers. The pan-seared cod, with crispy and smoky skin, was served on a bed of earthy-sweet lentils.


The dessert was another high note of the evening—a thin chocolate praline, topped with chocolate crème and pistachio, wrapped in a chocolate “nest”. The dish was visually stunning and texturally appealing. The chocolate crème was smooth and dense, almost mousse-like, while the praline and pistachio added bits of crunch. The nest itself was very unique, looking actually like a birds nest but made with very thin strings of chocolate. ovest-133

Overall, Ovest provides a relaxed but upscale dining experience, perfect for those looking to embrace a different approach to Italian cuisine. A great atmosphere for the upcoming Valentine’s, be it an intimate one for the two of you; or a happy get-together for friends and families.




Celebrate February with sweet harmony and Good Luck wishes

多姿多采多賀羊年    溫馨浪漫情人節

1/ Chinese New Year Buffet at Pan Pacific Hotel’s Café Pacifica


Cafe Pacifica

When: Feb 22, 2014  (星期日年初四)

What: Chinese New Year Brunch Buffet & Live Entertainment


Reservation and information訂位。查詢:604-895-2480

Adult成人: $52


Children age 6 to 12 歲兒童:$26 (5 & under: Free五歲或以下免費 )

******************************************************************** Give-Away: 自助餐卷抽獎活動

Café Pacifica Chinese New Year Buffet for Two

Email your one sentence Chinese New Year wish to


Deadline截止: Feb 11 Noon (2月11日正午)

Winner will be contacted by email


2/ Shangri-La Hotel celebrates Lunar New Year with traditional arts

香格里拉大酒店發發賀農曆新年  請來大師表演功夫茶及變面藝術

Chocolatas - elegance-slider-7pc-tinThe hotel welcomes Che Huadong, tea master and trained expert in the arts of Kung Fu Tea and Chinese Face Changing Opera. The start of the Lunar New Year provides an auspicious occasion to welcome Huadong to his new home at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, and to showcase these traditional performance arts that are rarely seen outside of China.

When: 19 February 11am 年初一上午十一時   舞獅、點睛、變面表演及功夫茶藝

Where: Xi Shi Lounge 西施廊

Kung Fu Tea MasterOpera Face Changing

Reservation: 604-661-3352

Guests can view Huadong’s performances every Saturday and Sunday in Xi Shi Lounge at the following times: 其他表演時間:逢星期六、日

下午一時: 1:00 p.m. Chinese Face Changing Opera 變面

下午三時: 3:00 p.m. Kung Fu Tea Show功夫茶藝

*Guests can also enjoy shorter tableside Kung Fu Tea performances during afternoon tea service, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

2/ ChocolaTas – Granville Island市場精致巧克力店

Pairing wine & chocolate, Vegan Chocolate and Gluten Free Chocolate

Chocolatas - elegance-slider-7pc-tinChocolatas - elegance-slider-7pc-tin

Chocolate is for everyday celebrations as well as special occasions for the ChocolaTas team. With a Valentine’s Day around the corner master chocolatier Wim Tas and his wife Veve have been busy developing unique beverage pairings to honour this grand fete. So this year make your Valentine’s Day gift to your sweetie even better with wine or whisky. Try the Violet & Raspberry milk chocolate with a full bodied chardonnay or the vegan Almond & Grape Jelly dark chocolate with a spicy Syrah.

ChocolaTas is proud of the diversity of flavours and styles their collection offers and have developed a line of Vegan chocolates using the highest quality of cocoa. These vegan chocolates are available as Valentine’s gifts; choose from vegan lips (vegan fig ganache made with coconut milk instead of cream), vegan heart beats (crunchy hazelnuts), vegan almond and grape jelly or vegan local hazelnut, packaged in a lace heart or a smart reusable tin box. And all of the ChoclaTas collection is gluten free.

分店:101-31060 Peardonville Rd. in Abbotsford or order on-line at


This week’s restaurant recommendation:

Novo Pizzeria  — 2118 Burrard (夾西五街) 604-736-2220



Fraser Valley – Sweet Valentine’s restaurants recommendations

**Restaurant62, Abbotsford (In the Gateway building)

2001 Mccallum road (604) 855-3545

**Preston Restaurant, Chilliwack (Inside Best Western Hotel)

45920 1 Ave. (604) 701-3070

**Bacchus Bistro, Langley (at Domaine de Chaberton Winery)

1064 216 St (604) 530-9694

**Seasonal 56, Langley

26730 56 Ave. (604) 625-5601

Restaurant Review – Merchant’s Oyster Bar

Merchant’s Oyster Bar (1590 Commercial)

Words & Pix: Stephanie

$15 half dozen oysters

This is the first time it happened: Coming home hungry from a $145 dinner! True, $30 was spent on liquor and dinner was shared by Henry & me.

While I appreciated the simplicity of the 2-page typed-up menu in a store-bought folder, I was puzzled by the style and plating of the food which seemed to be going a different direction. Drink list was decent, the organic “Scandal” lager was delightful, but the menu system was pretty confusing.  It offered 3 set-dinners:  $31 was a snack + 1st and 2nd course (Henry’s choice); $34 gave you the 1st & 2nd course + dessert and $39 was for all 4 courses; which was whatIchose. However, a few items demanded 1 or 2 or 3 dollars more. This “I deserve more” notion reminded me of some restaurants’ Dine Out menus stuck at a reluctant price bracket.

Beet cracker close-up

Dinner began at a good pace and the first three courses were impressive. $15 half-dozen raw oysters came with freshly-shaved horseradish and was divine, so we ordered another half-dozen.  The plate of 3 baked oysters belonged to Henry who had to pay $3 extra. His second course was a lovely Sun-choke creamy soup garnished with sun-choke chip and confit eggyolks. So far so good!

Crab & vermicelli

The first of my 4-course dinner started with a beautifully prepared beet cracker made in-house. But the joy of the cracker was interrupted by the arrival of the 2nd course – Dungeness crab and vermicelli salad ($3 extra). Said to season with coconut, the scarce crab meat, shy flavour and the stringy rice noodle did not do anything to my palate or my hunger.

Ling cod

Our two abstractly-plated;  empty looking mains arrived at the same time, short rib accompanied by few withered strands of baby carrots for Henry and Ling Cod with grilled diced potatoes for me. The 2” square rib and 1” X 2½” cod were dry, small, overcooked and bland. They consisted nothing really substantial to inform my tummy “you are fed”!  I was the luckier one – at least there was a bed of fresh pea shoots on my plate. Perhaps the chef decided to shrink the meat portion slightly for the sets, or we’re supposed to be filled up with beers and cocktails? Hm…were there breads or buns I could order?

Short rib

Dessert was quite creative and gratefully enjoyed because it helped fill up the space in my stomach a bit. The off-green 2 Kit-Kat size Mojito Pana Cotta on a rectangle plate was dressed interestingly, but the flavour was subtle yet refreshing.

Pana Cotta

When I pushed the empty dish away, I was thinking about where to go to ‘touch-up’ before heading home but decided against it when the bill came.