Day 4 Itinerary:
S H U N F E N G S E A F O O D R E S T A U R A N T
4380 No 3 Rd
We woke up bright and early as my mom made dim sum plans with a friend. Her friend and her husband chose Shun Feng Seafood Restaurant as our meeting place, since it's conveniently located right inside Parker Place. I thought it might be a bit rude to take food photos with people I just met, so a picture of the exterior will have to do.
We ordered the usual dim sum classics -- hao gao, sui mai, steamed spare ribs, shrimp rice roll, etc. To be honest, the food was really not that great. The shrimp in particular tasted a bit off. Service was practically non-existent as well. The low rating on Zomato should have been a clue but it was still quite disappointing. There's so many great places in Richmond so I wouldn't waste your time here.
After we parted and said our goodbyes, my mom and I made a trip out to Burnaby, specifically to visit Metropolis at Metrotown and ...
C R Y S T A L M A L L
Crystal Mall is a Chinese/Asian mall a couple blocks away from Metrotown. Unlike Aberdeen, it doesn't have any fancy bells and whistles, but there's a decent food court, a large grocery section and plenty of unique shops to browse through.
We were getting a tiny bit peckish after our commute and shopping for a bit, so my mom set out to get some snacks from the food court while I saved us a table.
K I M S O N V I E T N A M E S E F O O D
#2118 Crystal Mall
The first item she got were salad rolls (2 for $6.50) from a Vietnamese stall which also sold pho and vermicelli bowls. The salad rolls were wrapped with shrimp, bean sprouts, lettuce, and vermicelli. Since it was mostly filler, they tasted a bit plain even when dipped in the peanut hoisin sauce.
P A R A D I S E J U I C E & B U R G E R
#2117 Crystal Mall
She also ordered a small mango shaved ice ($4.50) from Paradise Juice & Burger, which was a few stalls down from Kim Son. Besides shaved ice, Paradise also sells fresh juices, smoothies, and burgers/fries. A weird combination but I doubt many people order their food. I think they're known mainly for their drinks.
In regards to the shaved ice, they were very generous with the mangoes but unfortunately, they weren't very ripe or sweet. The shaved ice underneath was also really icy and crunchy. Not the best shaved ice, but for the price, it was passable.
After browsing through the rest of Crystal Mall, we jumped on the SkyTrain to Waterfront where we transferred back onto the Canada Line. Even though we just had an icy dessert, we decided to jump off at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station anyway to try Vancouver's newest and hippest ice creamery.
M I S T E R
1141 Mainland St.
Literally steps away from the Yaletown-Roundhouse station, Mister is a relatively new addition to the trendy neighbourhood. They specialize in liquid nitrogen ice cream, which is made to order in a matter of seconds. Their unique concept and creations have become the talk of the town (ie. Instagram famous) that even Adele, who was in town in August, stopped by and gave it a special shout-out mid-concert.
If it's good enough for Adele, it's good enough for me.
The store is both industrial and minimalistic in look, which matches their simple blue pentagon logo quite well. The pentagon is meant to mimic the look of their ice cream which is presented in a cup and smoothed into a conical shape.
We were lucky to visit during an off-time, which meant no line-up, a seat at their metal grate counter, and an undisrupted view of the ice cream-making process.
The ice cream is made using pure and natural ingredients, and each cup is priced from $6.00-$8.00. Their flavours rotate based on season and demand. Crème brûlée has become their signature and has been a mainstay on their menu since their opening. The other flavours that were available during our visit were dark chocolate, double Oreo (which was Adele's pick), strawberry mint, Thai milk tea, and vegan chocolate.
Once your order is placed, a worker gets started on making the ice cream with one of the four Kitchen Aids behind the counter. Liquid nitrogen is added as the ice-cream base is mixed around in the bowl. By using liquid nitrogen, the ice cream freezes quickly which means little time for ice crystals to form. The result is super creamy, dense, and smooth ice cream.
After the ice cream is made, a paddle is used to shape it into one of their paper cups. We ordered the crème brûlée ($8.00) to share, so unlike their other flavours, the ice cream is packed tight and smoothed flat against the cup. A layer of sugar is then sprinkled over the top just like a traditional crème brûlée.
Next, a blowtorch is used briefly to caramelize the sugar and create that familiar crackly top.
Crème brûlée is one of my favourite desserts, so I was really curious to see how it would be represented in ice cream form. The finished product was actually spot-on. Breaking through the glass of sugar, the ice cream had a distinct egg custard flavour. As advertised, the texture was smooth, dense, and creamy. Many would scoff at the small portion (especially for the price), but it was the perfect amount since the ice cream was quite rich. My only complaint was that the blowtorch might have been used a stitch too long; the sugar was burnt a tad which resulted in a bitter taste.
Mister has a very cool concept (haha, get it?) and I loved seeing the ice cream being made start to finish almost instantly. The price might be a bit steep for the portion, but it's to be expected in Yaletown. Plus, it pays off with the novelty.
After that quick pit stop, we got back on the SkyTrain and disembarked at Aberdeen station. There were still a couple of things that my mom and I wanted to pick up, both at Aberdeen Centre and Parker Place that we didn't get our first time around. For dinner, we walked a quick block over to:
4580 No 3 Rd.
Op, op, op, op, oppa Gangnam Style! Try getting that song out of your head now.
Totally unaffiliated with K-pop star PSY, Gang Nam is a Korean BBQ restaurant located on the corner outskirt of Empire Center. If you're in the parking lot, don't bother looking around for the entrance since the restaurant only faces Hazelbridge Way.
The restaurant is quite small, with only seven tables in the entire restaurant. Reservations are recommended, but we arrived right when they opened to avoid any wait time.
Each table in the restaurant is booth-like and can fit around 4-6 people each. BBQ grills are outfitted on each table, with an accompanying hood vent over top. Even then, don't bother wearing any fancy clothes when you go for K-BBQ.
It's not a true Korean restaurant without the complimentary banchan! Kimchi, pickled radish, bean sprouts, potatoes, salad, and lettuce to wrap the BBQ meats. Pretty standard items. I especially liked the salad dressing which was tangy and sweet.
We went for one of their BBQ dinner combos which takes all the guesswork out of ordering. Each combo comes with different cuts and styles of meats, as well as pa-jeon or japchae, and your choice of bibimbop from the menu.
We chose combo F ($53.95), which had beef rib eye, marinated beef short rib, and prime rib eye rib.
The meats were tender and well-marinated. I'd say there was enough meat to satisfy 2-3 people comfortably. If it's not enough, you can always order more al-a-carte.
Our waitress always came by periodically to adjust the heat of the grill and to check if the grill pan needed changing.
For the bibimbop, there was a choice of four types: namul (vegetables and egg), beef bulgogi (which we got), seafood, and spicy pork. The bibimbop was served in a hot stone bowl which I loved. Over time as the rice sits, the bottom develops a delicious crispy crust.
Our waitress mixed everything together with a quick drizzle of gochujang. I actually wished she added more than she did to make it a bit more flavourful, but it was still really good. Mixed into the rice was beef bulgogi, egg, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, and radish.
Since we already had rice from the bibimbop, we chose the seafood pa-jeon over the japchae. The pancake had squid and shrimp, along with carrots, green onions, and peppers. The dipping sauce really elevated the dish for me.
We left the restaurant full and with plenty of leftovers. Prices, I thought, were reasonable considering how much food came with the combo. We were the only ones in the restaurant at the beginning, but service was great throughout. Attentive without being overbearing. I'd definitely come back.
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Since we had dinner pretty early, we spent the rest of the evening shopping at Richmond Centre which was conveniently a few blocks away from our hotel.
Stay tuned for the last Vancouver post!