Monday, March 31, 2008

Taisho at Metrotown

Rating **** out of *****
Okay, so the other day my parents and I went out to all-you-can-eat sushi at Metrotown. We had originally planned on going to Sui Sha Ya, but they were apparently closed for renovations. We were still wanting to shop around at Metro, so we decided to still go there and then we remembered that there was another sushi restaurant inside Metropolis. And so, we ventured into Taisho. We were really excited to try out this place (and were excited that we wouldn't be experiencing the crap service of Sui Sha Ya). All-you-can-eat was $12.95 for late night diners; and late night started at 8:30pm. By the time 8:15pm rolled around, the place was packed with eager all-you-can-eaters... and we were ready to fill our bellies :)

The ordering sheet was slightly confusing, but we worked through it. They have so much more variety than Sui Sha Ya, it's crazy!

They had beautiful spring-mix salads with sashimi on top. Pictured above is the tasty, salad with creamy mayo sauce and below is the even tastier, spicy salmon salad.

Here's my tsunomono... can't have sushi without this!

Their salmon nigiri was very tasty and you could grab as much as you like from the rotating conveyor belt.

Their inari sushi was my favorite... I could eat this all day!

The best part about Taisho is that they often mix up your orders :P We got this Tako nigiri, (which I'm thinking was an order for another table) and it's not included on the all-you-can-eat menu!

I simply love salmon-roe sushi and their

Onto the hot food; fried smelt fish is my dad's favorite. I kinda like the little eggs inside... don't ask me why.

Hmm... these sad looking mackerel "steaks" were very MSG tasting

The server said that we had gotten the last pair of salmon cheeks! I feel so special

Look at our motoyaki! So funny looking without it's shell... but I suppose it saves the dishwashers from having to reuse oyster shells.

We asked for veggie tempura, but apparently they only have one type of veggie :P

Spicy Salmon Sashimi, this was definitely the dish off the night. Sui Sha Ya would never serve this to all-you-can-eaters, but Taisho rocks my socks and served us this heaping plate of beautifully marinated salmon.

Also, Taisho has much better desserts than Sui Sha Ya's crappy jello. This was a tasty coconut soup with honey-dew, watermelon and sago.

They also served ice cream. My mom chose mango, but I decided on matcha!

All in all, the service was wonderful. Although the waitress did get our orders messed up a couple times we can't complain because it was pretty busy (plus the mistakes kind of worked to our advantage, as we got Tako nigiri that's not actually on our menu!). The food was great, and the service was well... entertaining, their was no pressure to eat as quickly as possible and I really enjoyed the variety of goodies they served. So long Sui Sha Ya; Taisho here we come!

Baked Macaroni

Finally, after literally years of waiting my mom has decided that she's ready to endulge the family with her wonderfully cheesy baked macaroni. I'm not quite sure why it is that we haven't had this dish is so long, but I'm glad the wait is over. I remember having this dish as a little girl (well, technically I'm not really a big girl yet... but I still enjoy reminiscing about my childhood) and just the smell of the kitchen and the look on my mom's face when she served us her special meal was always a great time. Well, let me not deprive you faithful blog readers from my mom' s wonderful recipe.

Baked Macaroni
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 4 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1 1/2 tbsp ap flour
- 1 3/4 cups warm milk
- 6 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
- a pinch each of nutmeg and cayenne
- 2 cans of tuna, flaked
- 3/4 cup corn kernels
- salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oven to 350F and grease baking dish. Cook macaroni, but remove pasta from water about 2 mins before it's usually done. Drain, rinse under cold water (this prevents further cooking) and set aside.
2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in medium pan, over medium heat. Stir into the panko crumbs in a bowl and set aside.
3. Melt remaining butter in same pan, sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly for 1 min. Remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in the milk (mix until all clumps are dissolved).
4. Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove pan from heat and add 3/4 cup cheddar, 1/4 cup gruyere, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.
5. Add pasta, tuna and corn to the sauce and stir together. Spoon pasta into prepared dish and spread out. Sprinkle with panko mixture and bake in oven for 25 mins (until golden brown).

The tuna and corn are my mom's own "secret" ingredients. We find that it gives the classic mac&cheese a real kick and adds a bunch of flavor. Try it! You'll be pleasantly surprised. Just look at the lovely crunchy top and cheesy innards of the casserole... mmm, mmm, good :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

SHF #42: Matcha Tortellini

March 29th:

Ooooo... this is my kind of event. I'm so excited to be doing another SHF, it makes me feel so creative. With the theme being 'Asian Sweet Invasion', I think I'll know my way around using some interesting Asian ingredients. The thing I have to decide on is what ingredient I want to use, and what traditional recipe do I want to play around with to make my new creation?

April 17th:

Yes! I've finally completed (well, semi-completed) my SHF recipe. It took me soooo long to decide on what I would make. I knew it would have to be something different, but not so different that no one in my family would touch it :P What would I make for the Asian Sweet Invasion? (see link: I wanted to fuse two different types of cuisine, and I determined that Italian and Japanese were my best options. Although they are quite different in terms of style and ingredients, I knew that these two would work together beautifully. So... voila! I came up with Matcha Tortellini with Adzuki-Coconut Filling.

Matcha Tortellini

(Yields approximately 16 pieces of tortellini + some tasty scraps)


- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp matcha powder
- 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 recipe of Adzuki-Coconut filling (recipe follows)


1. On a clean surface, mix together the flour, matcha and sugar until combined.
2. Make a well in the center and add in the egg and water.
3. Use your hands to combine the egg and flour until it forms a ball.
4. Form into a square, wrap in cling-wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30mins.
5. Place dough on a well-floured surface and roll-out until very thin (1/6th inch).
6. Use a 2 1/2 inch round, pastry-cutter to cut out pasta circles.
7. Fill each circle with 1 tsp of adzuki filling, moisten edge of circle with water and fold over into a semi-circle.
8. Press the pointed edges together and voila! You have tortellini that is ready to be boiled (or fried, and had with ice cream!)

Adzuki-Coconut Filling

- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup adzuki bean paste
- 1 heaping tbsp coconut cream
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)


1. Mix filling ingredients together until they are well combined. Use with matcha tortellini recipe!

I'm planning on frying these babies tonight. I'll post the photos when I'm done indulging in my Asian Creation! Until then...

Sugar High Friday #41: Round-up

Yeah! I finally set out to do something I'd been wanting to do for a long time, participate in a blog event. I wasn't quite sure which one I wanted to start out with, because there are literally dozens of them out there. So, being a sweet-tooth at heart (let's face it, who isn't?) I decided to try my hand at Sugar High Fridays by submitting my Chai Latte Cupcake recipe and blog post. The picture in this post seems pretty plain, but to see the photo I submitted check out my recipe link!

To see the other amazing desserts that were submitted to SHF, see

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Using those avocados that I procured from the Seattle Sizzler, I made away with 4 of them :P, I thought to myself... hmm, what should I make. Then I figured that since we have a bunch of tortilla chips just laying around the house, and only salsa to eat it with, why not whip up some simple guacamole? After all, I now had all of the ingredients I needed!

Easy Peasy Guacamole

- 4 avocados, pitted and peeled
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onions, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup tomatos, chopped
- 2 tbsp hot peppers, chopped (optional)

1. Mash the avocadoes until no lumps remain. Add in the lime juice and mix well to incorporate.
2. Add in onions, garlic, tomato, seasoning and herbs.
3. For heat, add in the hot peppers (I threw in a bunch because my parents love everything super spicy).
4. Make your nachos and serve with your guacamole.

Trying to take an appetizing photo of guacamole will be my quest in life :P I know it doesn't look great, but it tasted amazing. Thank you Sizzler for offering free avocados at your salad bar.

White Fungus Soup

Ahh! Can you believe it's spring? I sure can't, and apparently neither can mother nature. Just this morning, I woke up with a shiver... something was up. I realized that it had snowed the night before, and was continuing to do so in heaps! This is not what I expected, especially with April just around the corner. Oh well, what's a gal to do? Make the most of the winter weather of course, by making some yummy warm tong sui. I followed the recipe found here to make this delicious sweet soup. My mom was woken up by the wonderful aroma of the dried lychee and she couldn't wait to warm up next to the fireplace snuggling a bowl of this delicious treat.

Easter Break in Seattle: Part 1... getting there

This trip, although only lasting two days, was amazing family fun. I can't believe how much entertainment I got out of this two day vacation-fest with the family... and in lowly Seattle. I had been to Seattle many times before, but this time something was different. I'm not quite sure what it was, but I felt as though I had a lot more crazy and different experiences on this trip... some good, some bad, but all were amazing!

2hrs my butt... we waited in line for 5.5 freakin' hours!!!

Here are the half-way mark Lamas... they almost made the 5hrs worth it :P

Finally, we see the grand ol' border

I wasn't all that excited to be having lunch at BK, but hey... I'll take what I can get. Ooo... extra tomatoes, onions and pickles! Hooray

Yeah! Finally, we made it all the way to the outlets. Ready to spend some moula... first stop Nike and then, who knows?!

Can't remember what store this was, but Seattle Premium outlets has a bunch of great kitchen/cooking shops. Look at all the neat ingredients. They also had a ton of baking utensils and appliances.

Wohoo! Seattle's space-needle, we are in the city :)

It was already pretty late, so we decided to grab dinner before checking in to the hotel. Haven't been to Sizzler in forever, we don't have any on BC's southcoast :( so this was a real treat

So, you basically order an entree and pay at the front. The meal doesn't include drinks, so you can add that and also a salad bar for $3. We only ordered three entrees and then added 2 salad bars.

Entree #1: Shrimp platter with rice pilaf

Entree #2: Mushroom Teriyaki Sirloin with baked potato

Entree #3: Fish and Chips

All the fruit from the salad bar!!! I couldn't believe they had avacados?! I grabbed a bunch. The salad bar also included 2 types of soup, fresh veggies, pizza, burritos, taco bowls, nachos, ice cream and brownies.

After dinner, we finally made it to the hotel. This is the dining area of Embassy Suites; looks just like a tropical vacation scene, eh? I was already looking forward to eating breakfast down there.

The hotel provided Fiji water, for a $4 charge of course; needless to say I won't be drinking this water.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ready for the Road

Yeah! My family's heading down to Seattle to do some rest and relaxation over the Easter break. Oh... that and a little bit of shopping, can't forget the shopping. Anywho, after hearing about the long waits at the border on the news and all, we're preparing to spend a lengthy time stalled in front of the US border. So what to do? Roadtrip games can only go so far... especially when you're not moving, so I decided that I'd whip up some sweet treats that would travel well and last at least until we reach the States. Hmmm... this left me pondering, what I would make. I would have wanted something hearty, and full of fiber, but my sisters aren't that in to eating rolled-oat, bran, raisin and flax bars :( So, I was left with the alternative... sweet, marshmallowy, sugar-filled, cereal squares.

Any-kind-of-Cereal Squares

Yields 24 (moderately sized bars)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 250g marshmallows (40 large)
- 6 cups of whatever kind of cereal you like
- A handful of mix-ins of your choice


1. Melt butter in saucepan
2. Add in marshmallows and stir until dissolved and gooey
3. Throw in the mixed up cereal and add in the mix-ins
4. Press into a greased pan and let cool for 1 hr
5. Cut into squares, take with you on the road and eat!

My sisters wanted to get in on the "baking" action and we all chipped in. It was so much fun. We took turns stirring and mixing and pressing and nibbling. The cereal we had on hand was: Special K, Corn Pops and Captain Crunch. Other options could be: Cheerios, Froot Loops, Oatmeal Crisp, Frosted Flakes, Honeycomb, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, French-toast Crunch (if they still make that). The mix-in we used was butterscotch chips, but you could also use: raisins, cranberries, coconut flakes, m&ms or other small treats. My sisters were fighting to lick the spoon, but I was content with picking at the marshmallow laden pan. Yeah! Now we'll be hoping for the long border-wait to take it's sweet, sweet time.

Lunch-time Delight: Korean Noodle Stir Fry

Hurrying home from my last class of the day before the Easter long-weekend, my mind was racing. Yeah! I'm finally free (well, for the next 4 days) from the burden of having to use my mind :P Well, my sisters decided that they would have cup-o-noodles today... because I "deprived" them (their words) of eating it the other day, when I prepared the soup and Sweet-potato bread. I wasn't particularly fond of the thought of eating wax-covered, styrofoam encased, under-cooked, cup-noodles so... I whipped up a creation of my own. Inspired by the thought of noodles, I decided that I'd do a stir-fry version, and I ended up with this...

Korean Noodle Stir Fry

Serves 2


- 150g dried egg noodles
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ginger, minced
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced into semicircles
- 1/3 cup zucchini, julienned
- 1/3 cup cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 tomato, diced
- 3 heaping tbsp soy bean paste (doenjang)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- A handful of cooked shrimp (frozen & defrosted)
- 1/4 cup of sliced meat (I used pork, but chicken or beef can work)


1. Boil egg noodles and cook until al dente. Once cooked, rinse under cold water, drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry onions, garlic, ginger and shallots until fragrant.
3. Add in tomato, zucchini and cabbage, continuing to fry until zucchini is slightly tender.
4. Add in bean paste, and stir in soy sauce. Continue to mix until well incorporated. Stir in the shrimp, meat and egg noodles; cook until heated through.
5. Dish out and serve!

This actually turned out to be an unexpected treat. I really enjoyed the fragrant taste of the soy bean paste, and it added a hint of spiciness to the dish as well. My mom came home just after I had prepared this dish (that makes plenty for 2 people) and she was starving. Yeah! The perfect person to try out my new creation. She liked the spice of the paste as well, but couldn't quite figure out what it was until I told her. Just a month ago, she had complained that we would never finish all of the paste... but using it in this dish, I showed her that we could do it!

Click on the link for more information on soybean paste (doenjang).

Sweet-Potato Cheese Bread

I think I'm getting a little yeast-happy. I've been experimenting with my new-found friend for the past two weeks and working up the courage to utilize yeast in new and exciting ways. Today, I was not to bogged down with work and I would be home for lunch. Also, since it's Spring Break for my sisters, I wanted to treat them to a hearty lunch. They always reach for the cup-o-noodles or kimchi, but today I would make them some real food. I settled on cream of mushroom soup (thank you Campbell's© ) and yes I know that this isn't "home-made" but I balanced it out by testing out a recipe for Sweet-Potatoe Cheese Bread.
Sweet-Potatoe Cheese Bread
Serves 8


- 1 envelope (8g or 2.5tsp) active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups all−purpose flour
- 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, room temperature
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (plus extra for topping)

- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp each dried rosemary and thyme


1. Grease a deep round or oval 2−quart casserole and set aside.
2. Heat milk in a pan until warm, but not hot. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let dissolve. Add the butter, egg, salt, pepper and 1 cup of flour; beat until smooth
3. Stir in the remaining 2 cups flour, sweet-potatoes and Cheddar until well blended.
4. Scrape the dough in the prepared casserole, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk (about 40 minutes)
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
6. Sprinkle Parmesan, rosemary, thyme and cheddar cheese over top of the proofed dough. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer bread to wire rack; cool and then cut into slices.

My bread seemed to rise a little too much. Some of the dough ended up flumping over the side of the casserole dish (I guess mine isn't 2-quarts :P). But the bread itself was delicious. The cheesey topping was crunchy, biscuit like and flakey because of the ton of butter. The inside was very dense and moist, not much like bread at all. My sisters found this to be a great cheesey treat, although the sweet potato flavor wasn't quite strong (but for my sisters that may be a good thing). I would definitely try this recipe again, but in a bigger and shallower dish. Maybe I'll make them into small dinner rolls; those might be easier to work with, and not cause the over flowing problem of dealing with the wrong sized casserole dish.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ho Do: Restaurant Review

Rating: **** 1/2 out of *****
It's been a while since the family has gone out to a "new" restaurant. We have gone to Hon's, many a time, but you can only handle so much of the same old menu and the same old food. is an amazing website, and provides awesome information regarding different restaurants in the lowermainland. There was only one review for this restaurant, and it was located in the "sketchy" area of Surrey, but my we decided that it was time to venture out of our regular dining routine.
The great thing about Ho Do's dinner combos were that if you ordered the set meals of two-items or more, you would get complimentary lettuce wraps and CRAB!!! We ordered the three-item dinner combo, complete with the wraps, crab and sweet corn soup.

Sweet Corn Soup (nothing special, but it was tasty)
Lettuce Wraps (I enjoyed the veggies with the crispy wonton skins mixed in)
You can order the crab a number of ways. They have butter cream sauce, spicy rock salt (which is the one we ordered), deep fried, etc.

Sautéed Beef with Gai Lan (we love our chinese brocolli); this dish was very flavorful. The ginger in the sauce was very tasty. Also, the portion was very big.

Wanting to try something a little different, we ordered the braised-battered cod and bean-curd hot pot. This dish was served in a sizzling bowl, and filled with mushrooms, lap cheong and delicious slices of tender cod.

Our last item was this deep fried chicken. It took them quite a while to cook this dish (we had actually finished all the other items and were waiting about 10mins for this last one to arrive). We were a little impatient, but when the chicken finally came we were delighted. It was not too greasy, not too salty, very moist and fresh. The prawn crackers were okay (a little stale) but we gobbled those up anyways.

All in all, the meal was wonderful. I'm so glad we took the chance and dined at Ho Do. The food was authentic, well-priced, delicious, well-portioned and the staff were pleasant. I think it's safe to say that we'll be eating here again, if not for dinner maybe we'll drop by for lunch... I wonder what they'll serve? Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be divine and we'll leave pleased and satisfied.
Ho Do: Szechuan Chinese Restaurant
123-10302 135st
SurreyTel: 604-930-8133