Monday, November 4, 2019

5 More Illinois Burgers

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties
-Hamburgers in Middle America Illinois 

Another summer passed which means I hit up a few new to me Illinois burger joints. Add these five to the database here at Smokin' Chokin' & Chowing. Some people might think the states best burgers reside in Chicago. However I have a theory that the further you get away from the city the better chance you have of finding a classic old school all American hamburger like those seen below.
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 Chuck's Place (Salem, IL)

I stopped at Chuck's Place on the way down to Southern Illinois last year (Report HERE). Salem is located all the way down in Marion County which is not to be confused as the home to Marion, IL. This is more so in the Central Illinois area. All the burgers I had south of Salem were crap so one could say this is the last stop going south on the Illinois Crispy Burger Trail. There's very little online info about Chuck's. It's not that old in that I read somewhere it used to be called something else before a new owner came in. I'm guessing the new owner kept the burgers bc this is a classic ex. of the Central Illinois style smashed crispy burger. At just a couple bucks they remain one of the best regional eats you can treat yourself to for less than $5. It's popular with locals and rightfully so.

Cheeseburger at Chuck's Place
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 Ludy's Kickapoo Creek Saloon (Edwards, IL)

If you search around for the best burger in the Peoria area Ludy's Kickapoo Creek Saloon in Kickapoo is commonly mentioned. They've been at it since 1994 so long enough to have lifetime customers in the area. If you happen to visit Ludy's while the weather is nice outside they have a wonderful setup where a large front yard is the outside eating/dining area. It's a short ride from Peoria so you'll notice quite a few groups of people that drive over for their popular burgers. Their locally famous cheeseburger was about 1/3-1/2 lb of grilled beef with the usual toppings on a cheap grocery store bun (not a bad thing). Was this the best burger I've ever had? No. Was it at least satisfying? Very much so! In fact I had been eating a lot of crispy smashed burgers around the time I tried Ludy's so it was a very nice change of pace to chow down on what I call the old school backyard type burger.

Cheeseburger at Ludy's Kickapoo Creek Saloon
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 Clasen's Tavern (Union, IL)

Surprised I was when I learned one of the states oldest bars was in Union Illinois and they served a fantastic burger. Not that my hit list will ever be complete but this one was close enough to Chicago (55 miles) that I was surprised I’d never heard of Clasen’s which has been around since 1900. Definitely my type of spot with a big patio and a second bar outside in the back. Burgers are made from fresh locally supplied beef and cooked at the end of the bar ala Wisconsin which isnt that far. The 1/3 pounders are the perfect meat to bun proportion though they do half pounders too. Great place to sit and watch time (or the train) go by. I learned of them from @abikerdude. Dude knows what’s up. I’ll try to be back for the turkey testicle festival in November. No seriously. Look it up.

1/3 lb Cheeseburger from Clasen's Tavern
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 JC's Junction Corner (Davis Junction, IL)

Next stop up is one of the newer stops on the line. JC's Junction Corner has the feel of a New School bar up in the Northwoods. It’s only been open for a handful of years but it’s a classic biker bar out west in Ogle County. The menu is small and features In-N-Out style burgers. Except they smash balls of beef to order. Much better! A double double is just $4.50 and in a lot of ways better than the real thing with cheap booze also being available. I wouldn’t expect to find a Southern California style burger in a random part of Illinois but I’m very glad I did. Another money tip from @abikerdude!

Cheeseburger at JC's Junction Corner
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Moonshine Store (Moonshine, IL)

Towards the tail end of last Fall I had a chance to check a spot off my Burger Bucket List. The Moonshine Store in Moonshine, IL (Pop. 2) is one of few a spots regularly mentioned when the best burger in my home state is being discussed. Illinois has some petty great burger spots being in what's basically the heart of the Midwest and all. Down in Central Illinois the smashed crispy burger is one of the States great regional eats. Today's last stop is in Central Illinois but it's not centrally located like many of the spots in my Central IL crispy laced burger feature from a few years ago. Moonshine is an unincorporated community in Clark County which sits not far from the Indiana border.

a peek inside

What took me so long? Well it’s in the middle of nowhere and they’re only open from 6a-12:30p M-Sat. Owned by the couple that lives in the building it’s considered one of the states best burger experiences. On any given weekend you’re likely to be in line alongside busloads of families and packs of bikers. Having got there at 9a I basically had the place to myself. It’s a very homey experience where there’s all sorts of collectibles to look at while your burger is cooked fresh on the flattop. Not going to lie though part of the time I felt like I was in a Cracker Barrel Country Store.

a peek inside

The building itself was originally a general store in the 1910’s. You can get up to three patties but one makes for a nice beef to bun ratio. There’s nothing fancy about this burger. It’s kind of like one you might find at a local VFW type town hall. That said it’s just about perfect for what it is. A classic American cheeseburger. It's delivered plain on a paper plate and then you take it over to the topping bar. Something I always loved at Fuddruckers. It didn't need the bacon which was cheap preheated stuff. This one really hit the spot and the ride along country roads was pretty scenic so I’d say it was worth the hour or so detour to get there. Is it the best burger in Illinois or as some say the best anywhere? That's for you to find out. For me it's worth a mention when best in-state is discussed.

Cheeseburger at Moonshine Grill
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See ya next time @chibbqking 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Imperial Lamian

-Grubbing in Chicago
Noodles in River North 

It took me a couple years to get over today's featured spot. When Imperial Lamian first opened I planned on stopping in sometime thereafter. Well that didn't go as planned. I'd heard mixed reviews but that's not what kept me away. I just never got around to making the plans to go. With this last Christmas falling on a Tuesday that meant Monday was Christmas eve. With many restaurants choosing to close early for the holiday and others already being closed on Monday's I finally got a chance to try this high end noodle import from Malaysia when it was open this past Christmas Eve.

Chinese Food in River North

Despite the fact Imperial Lamian is from a team in Malaysia that runs a spot with the same name this isn't a Malaysian restaurant. It's Chinese and the best way I can describe it is it reminded me alot of the hotel restaurants in Asia. It's upper scale compared to other noodle shops and they definitely hired a designer to make the place appealing to the younger instagram crowd. This is all to be expected when you see it's River North neighbors. No it's not as credible as some of the locals favorite spots in Chinatown but it's better than many of the spots in the same area. I went here with my family so we needed a place with reservations and this was the best option of the spots out there. Plus it's the type of place that's good to visit with some eating power. There's some appealing options on the menu.

 An array of appetizers at Imperial Lamian

Because there were seven of us we were able to try alot of stuff. Going from top to bottom of those in the picture collage up above we tried the Cantonese eggplant, XO Calamari, Szechuan Wontons, Salted Egg Beans, Xiao Long Bao, and the Black Pepper Beef which was actually an entree we all split. The surprise hit for me were the Szechuan wontons. I actually got an order to go so I could have them for breakfast Christmas morning. Unfortunately the biggest letdown of all of them were the other dumplings we ordered. The Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) were below average at best.

Stir Fried Lamian

Lamian is a specific type of noodles in Chinese cuisine. Their biggest distinction that they're hand made. I believe that's what they do here but they dont seem to do it for show. There was no one making noodles in view when we visited. The menu offers two different sections of their house made noodles. You can get them in broth or wok fried which is dry. Me and my wife decided to get an order of shrimp stir fried noodles and a bowl of the braised pork belly with wonton. I liked both of them. The pork in the soup was super tender and made the broth better when I broke it all down. I was pretty damn satisfied but that doesn't mean I'm rushing back. Put it like this if you need a place in River North to eat then I would recommend coming here. It's better than it has to be in these parts.

Braised Pork Belly Noddle Soup at Imperial Lamian

Imperial Lamian
6 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 595-9440
Website

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Roebuck Pizza

-Grubbing in Chicago
Booze and Pizza in Lakeview

So did anyone see the new Chicago Magazine Pizza Rankings article recently? Judging from my feed quite a few people on social media. They did a good job to get the people talking and did so by leaving out some crowd favorites and naming a best pizza in Chicago that was neither tavern thin nor deep dish. In fact it seemed like a majority of those listed were styles not original to Chicago. If anything it showed we have a deep pizza culture. There's always new spots opening and more times than not they're making pizza other than Chicago style thin crust and deep dish. One of the latest openings is a place called Roebuck Pizza. It's in Lakeview and sits in a pretty big space with a large bar sitting in the middle. They have microbrews and craft cocktails. Pizza is Neapolitan influenced.

 Newly Opened in Lakeview

An article from Eater states this is a project from the DryHop Brewers space next door. It also said the team behind DryHop transformed the Roebuck space from a parking garage into a pizzeria. We visited when it was still warm so the space was pretty open as far as air coming in from the big windows that can fully open in front. The pizza isn't Neapolitan to the strict standards that labeling it so requires so instead it's just inspired by the wood fired pizza from Naples. The middle isn't as wet and soggy on these as a traditional Neapolitan pie. This pizza somewhat reminded me of the product at Stop 50 in Michiana. Not a bad thing in my book as that's one of my favorites. I don't get into Lakeview all that often but if you do you can do much worse for food and drinks with a group.

Sausage and Red Onion at Roebuck Pizza 

Roebuck Pizza
3159 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-2229
Website

Monday, October 28, 2019

Mulata Kitchen + Coffee

-The Sammy's of Chi

Resident Oak Parkers may remember a now gone Brazilian restaurant called Taste of Brasil. It closed a few years ago and many OPRF locals mourned it's passing. While Taste of Brasil hasn't exactly risen from the dead it's owner has opened a new spot with a much better location. Mulata Kitchen + Coffee is located on the corner of Oak Park avenue and Lake Street. Right in the heart of the action.

 Newly Opened in Oak Park

I remember some time shortly before they're opening resident Oak Parker David Hammond posting something about the name. He was curious how his neighbors would react to the Mulata label the owner (a Mulata herself) gave the place. I haven't heard a thing and I didn't read anything as far as the online reviews go either. Which is good bc every neighborhood deserves a spot like Mulata Kitchen + Coffee. In fact it was the online reviews that got me over here. People rave of the empanadas as well as the sandwiches and coffee. That's pretty much the entire menu. All Brazilian focused. There's also a special daily rotating plate that can sometimes be the national dish of Brazil in Feijoada stew. The empanada case sits in front so you can grab and go on with your day. I tried the Brazilian Heart of Palm on the rec of online reviews and it was a good call by all. Empanadas are fairly large and baked.

 Empanada at Mulata Kitchen + Coffee

The sandwich section offers up eight different selections one of which is ever changing. They all sound worth ordering but for my first trip in I had to try the Carne Louca. Brazilian braised beef is topped with sauteed onions and bell peppers and then topped with melted mozzarella. It's served on the house special rustic roll which perfectly soaks up some of the juice from the braised meat. It's a pretty simple sandwich but the ingredients are all top notch and pair really well together. The bread being it's biggest strength as I'm convinced it was the perfect choice for this sandwich. I'll be back.

Carne Louca Sandwich at Mulata Kitchen + Coffee 

Mulata Kitchen  + Coffee 
136 N Oak Park Ave
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 383-3550
Website

Monday, October 21, 2019

Eating BIG in Vancouver

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- Exploring Canada's Pacific Northwest 

After visiting both Montreal and Toronto in the last calendar year I decided it was time to hit on the Canada trifecta this past Labor Day. So we headed out to Vancouver on what was a pretty last second trip. I've always wanted to get out this way but never had the chance to do so. For one the airfare is always sky high to the point where you can usually find equally priced or even cheaper flights to Europe. Your best bet is to fly into Seattle and rent a car. I think Vancouver is one of those cities that warrants renting a vehicle for a variety of reasons. First is if you want to see the natural beauty of the area outside of the city it's much easier to do so with a car. Second reason is if you plan on going to Richmond more than once those ubers will add up. Since my plan included daily trips to Richmond I basically needed a car to make that happen. What's Richmond? Arguably the best place to eat Chinese food outside of China. It sits next to Vancouver and is constantly growing.

Sights from Vancouver

Now that I have an idea of the food scene in all three of Canada's big cities I have my own idea of what each of them brings to the table. Montreal has amazing chef driven type spots while Toronto has an amazing collection of diverse mom and pop spots. Vancouver? They have the strongest scene of any single cuisine of the three. So if you like Chinese food Vancouver is a great place to check out. There's other stuff but I've heard that Richmond (or China / Hong Kong) is where people from SGV in Cali go when they want the best of the best when it comes to Chinese food. The Chinese food scene is so embedded in the local community they have an organization called the 'Chinese Restaurant Awards' that boosts tourism locally and internationally. The group provides web content and dining guides and hosts a yearly awards show showcasing the areas best chefs, restaurants, and dishes. I was lucky enough to be put in contact with one of the board members and he hooked me up with a list of spots I should check out. On top of that there's lots of info online from them and others.


Sights from Vancouver

Because Richmond and Vancouver is where many people from Hong Kong moved when Beijing took control of Hong Kong you'll notice most of it is Cantonese. Cantonese people have been coming to Vancouver as far back as the building of the railroad days but that number jumped significantly over the last 20-30 years. These days there's more and more restaurants from Mainland China that are popping up as regional Chinese food continues it's descent into North America and elsewhere. It doesn't end there for Vancouver's food options though. There's a decent sized Japanese population as well as lots of local seafood. You can eat well many of ways. Sights wise the best the city offers is what's outside of it. We hit up a few spots including the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge which is free unlike the more popular one that cost too much to simply have your stomach drop. Lots of fun stuff including a bucket list activity for my wife - Orca whale watching. For me it was about the food.

Sights from Vancouver
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Japadog

After a disastrous start in which I was shut out of my first three stops in Richmond I needed to stop the bleeding. So we headed into the city proper and sought out a spot long on my bucketlist - Japanese inspired hot dogs from Japadog Canada. They have a handful of locations around town. First trip in so I got the most popular offering. The Terimayo comes with teriyaki, mayo, seaweed on a grilled Kurobuta pork sausage. Don’t knock it until you try it. This shit was fucking delicious.

Terimayo Hot Dog at Japadog
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Miku Sushi

Aside from sleep we didn't spend much time in the downtown area. It's kind of a madhouse during the day especially if you're driving. It's also pretty touristy. But the sushi at Miku is worth stopping for. It's the original purveyor of Aburi style flame seared sushi in the area. Popular spot for lunch or dinner but it's also really large so they can most likely accommodate you if you roll in like we did. We tried a few pieces of Nigiri featuring the days fresh catch as well a couple of their signature Aburi rolls. One mackerel and one salmon. The Aburi sushi is pressed and then flame seared. It's become one of the city's signature snacks and that all goes back to the CEO of Aburi Restaurants Canada which owns Miku. The Japanese businessman took over his fathers restaurant ventures back in Japan and now owns a handful of restaurants in Vancouver too. While Aburi style sushi is more of a side item in Japan he and the team at Miku have turned it into the restaurant groups best seller (salmon).

Sushi at Miku
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Oyster Express

If not for the fact there was so much Chinese food to be consumed we would have had more oysters. I'm not sure there's a batter place in the world to eat them than those native to the Vancouver area. I've always preferred cold water oysters and from what I've tried over the years the best seem to always come from the British Colombia region. The best of which barely make it out of the province. There's lots of spots to sip oysters all day and they all seem to have a decent enough happy hour. That said Oyster Express in Chinatown I was told has the best most fresh oysters in town. They had a couple local mollusks on happy hour for $1.50 each which is more like $1 in US currency. So very much a good deal for what were some of the best oysters I've had in a long time. I wish I ate more.

Oysters at Oyster Express
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Bao Bei

Vancouver's Chinatown seemed like it had seen better days. I'm guessing the businesses from there that didn't shut down moved over to Richmond at some point and time. That said it's ripe for restaurant groups to come in and and get a decently priced spot to put out some fun food that makes the local buildings more valuable and the neighborhood more prone to gentrification. Not going to tackle that here but I will say there should be room for a Bao Bei in every neighborhood. I loved the setup of this first come first seated restaurant which doubles as a cocktail bar. The menu takes inspiration from Chinese countries like Taiwan, provinces like Sichuan, and cities like Shanghai. As the name suggests they make all dumplings in-house. I really liked the pork and prawn wonton which were both delicate and also clean tasting. I really appreciated the super thin skins and the broth of ponzu and serrano they sat in. House fried rice was also nice. As described it's fresh turmeric and yogurt marinated rockfish, fried peanuts, fresh dill, chili, and salted egg yolk dusted fish chicharrón.

Meal at Bao Bei
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Kissa Tanto

With the success of Bao Bei the chef from there decided to open another spot in the area. Kissa Tanto was high on my hit list for it's Japanese-Italian food served inside a dining room said to be a flashback to 1960's Tokyo. Japanese-Italian food is very much a thing. Just like with French food you can find some of the worlds best Italian food in Japan and Tokyo in particular. Many chefs will train making pizza in Naples or sauces in Lyon and then come home and use what they learned there mixed in with Japanese technique and also ingredients. Kissa-Tanto is a great spot to check out if you have an appreciation for the marriage of two cuisines like I do. Top to bottom it was maybe the best meal of the trip with the pasta in particular being one of my favorite bites from the entire trip. It was also the most Japanese-Italian of all the dishes. The whole fried fish was so crisp I ate the face.

Fried Stuffed Olives - yuzu and smoked chili sausage

Octopus Salad - crispy smoked octopus, fresh and pickled radishes, parsley, and chili purée

Tsukune Agnolotti - roasted chicken, confit gizzard, Tokyo leek, chicken tare sauce, ginger, sesame, shisho, lotus

Whole Fried Fish (Pacific Rock Cod) - daikon soy dipping sauce
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Northern Cafe

Up and down the west coast you can find spots like Northern Cafe. Asian owned diners where they’re slanging both classic American breakfast and also plates of Asian food that skew towards western palates. However none of them I’ve been to are quite like Northern Cafe in Vancouver. Hidden in a lumber yard on the second floor of a dilapidated building it’s like walking onto a set for Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives were it trying to be recreated. It’s a family owned spot and Jimmy the owner and his wife and son are some of the most hospitable people I’ve come across while eating. Jimmy being from Hong Kong originally so items like wonton soup are longtime family recipes. I got the special combination plate consisting of sweet and sour pork (an actual Cantonese dish) with BBQ pork chow mein and white rice. My type of breakfast. Particularly the noodles which had great smoky flavor from the wok. The S&S pork was semi sweet but fried to a perfect crunch. I regret not coming here earlier in the trip as I would’ve been back for a burger and fries. They both looked fantastic. It all did.

Lunch Plate Special at Northern Cafe
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Duffin's Donuts

Behold the Stoners Delight that is Duffins Donuts. Owned by an immigrant from Cambodia who learned to make donuts in California (this is a thing). The menu is the ultimate guide in a what’s what of munchies. Donuts, fried chicken, rice and or fries with gravy, banh mi sandwiches, and Mexican tortas stuffed with meats like teriyaki beef. Papusas, breakfast plates, and chili cheese dogs too. All available 24 hours a day. The parking lot was filled with hot boxers ready to attack all of it. Love it.

Midnight munchies at Duffin's Donuts
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Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant

My biggest regret of this trip was not getting to eat more dim sum. Due to the large Cantonese / Hong Kong connection you can find more dim sum spots in this area than you will almost anywhere else in North America. I was led to Golden Paramount by a well known local who helps with the Vancouver Chinese Restaurant Awards. His top pick for dim sum was here. They had a nice size crowd for lunch and most all of them were speaking in native tongue. Most were older too so I got the feeling this place is still doing most of their stuff the old fashioned way. First item he mentioned as a must were the pork and shrimp dumplings. We ordered another immediately after realizing one of us would only get one otherwise. I love all dumplings but these were special in that they were unlike any others. Rice rolls are still made in house here. The shrimp were wonderful and the beef were even better.

Dim Sum at Golden Paramount
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HK BBQ Master

This was scheduled to be my very first stop in Vancouver or even in Canada for that matter. Before the hotel check in I planned to hit a few spots in Richmond on the way in. I didn't realize that Canada also celebrated Labor Day and thus HK BBQ Master was packed with people and had a line out the door both to eat there and takeaway. Well actually they most always have a line bc it's a super small space hidden within the parking lot basement of a super large grocery store. I had to pass but did make it back. We arrived at the 11am opening time the next day and were sat right away. The star of the show was the Char Siu ordered “mou tao” (the most tender part) thanks to a tip from the previously mentioned Lee Man. A simple plate of food can only be this good when a lifetime has been dedicated to perfecting it. So some say this is the best Hong Kong style BBQ outside of HK.

Char Siu Plate at HK BBQ Master
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Macau Cafe

This little Macanese stall in a mall was my only successful stop of my first trip into Richmond. I found it searching for restaurants in the area serving food from Macau. It would seem as though Macau Cafe is the only place in town where you can get a baked pork chop bun for breakfast or lunch. Even though I was successful in finding it and they were actually open and not packed to the gills I still had a slight mishap in my ordering of a pork chop bun. Instead I said sandwich so I got the baked pork chop served between two pieces of toasted bread instead of the traditional Portuguese bun. Still very satisfying for me and since it's hard to acquire a good Portuguese bun I now have an idea for next time I want one and the only way to get it is making one at home. I'll just make it on toast.

Baked Pork Chop Sandwich
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Creating Taste

My interest was high for this regional spot offering bowls of noodles from the Guangxi region of China. Tucked into the corner of a large strip mall it’s called Creating Taste and I was told to get the number one which is how the people of Guilin like to eat rice noodles. They’re tossed with a nice sour house marinade and topped with super crispy pork belly, extra tender beef, deep fried Chinese sausage, sour beans, and fried peanuts. What a flavor combination. As regional Chinese food makes its way across North America it’s the food from China’s southern provinces I find most intriguing. As Richmond continues to grow so too does the local food scene. Cantonese is still king but there’s lots of other options popping up. Many of them offering regional favorites from the Mainland of China.

Number One Guilin Rice Noodles at Creating Taste
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Mama's Dumpling & Coffee

Meet the star of my Richmond crawl(s). As previously mentioned there’s a yearly awards banquet held for the Chinese restaurants of Vancouver. One of the yearly lists features ten of the best dishes of the year as agreed upon by a group of panelists. These Sheng Jian Bao aka fried soup dumplings finished second in the 2019 best dishes of Richmond. Made by a mom who’s a native of Shanghai you must order ahead or be prepared to wait for 30 minutes as they’re made fresh to order. Easily the crispiest SJB I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. As good as those at Cheung Hing Kee in HK. It was the second time I’d had killer sheng jian bao in Canada this year. Send some down to us!

Sheng Jian Boa at Mama's Dumplings & Coffee
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R&H Chinese Food

The Vancouver area has enough Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) vendors that it has it's own XLB trail. They seem to do a good job boosting local spots to both tourists and locals. It would be nice to see Chicago get in on that. Anyway that Dumpling Trail guide is how I found R&H Chinese Food which sits in a still active mall. Not all of the food court tenants are making regional Chinese food but it looked like quite a few of them were. The dumplings are made by an old grandma right there in front of the house. I got an order and waited for them to steam. Not bad at all. Better than anything we have in Chicago that's for sure. Though that's not saying much. Haha. Not sure how they compare to others around Vancouver and Richmond. If only I had an extra week or three to try them all.

Xiao Long Bao
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Chao Shou Wang

As soon as I saw a picture of the wonton at Chao Shao Wang it rose to near the top of my Vancouver hit list. This is yet another food stall located in a very active mall in Burnaby right on the edge of Richmond. I took what was an extra 15/20 minute drive just to try these but it was cool walking around the mall. It's probably the closest to Asia I've felt in North America. Chao Shou Wang is in the main food court which was dominated by Chinese vendors. Most of them pushing regional dishes like this. According to a poster at Chowhound - "The 炒手/Chao Shou part is the same as the Sichuan dish Wontons in Spicy Red Chili Oil (炒手餛飩), and “王” means king." So consider me intrigued by anyone who calls themselves the wonton king. Consider me sold after trying a platter of the "spicy wonton" made from house pork wonton covered in chile oil with bean sprouts and roasted peanuts.

Spicy Chile oil dumplings at Chao Shou Wang
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The Fish Man

I came by this upscale Northern Chinese fish specialist for a late night snack one evening. There were groups of tables with mostly younger crowds eating big pots of fish in fiery red Sichuan broth. But since it was just me I couldn't really partake in one of those. Instead I was here to sample another winning dish from the 2019 'Chinese Restaurant Awards' - Spicy Stir Fried Clams. This dish had a bit of it all. Spicy, savory, and sweet. At something like $15 US this was what I thought to be a steal of a deal. That's bc compared to the pots of fish at $60+ this still packed as much flavor as any dish I tried in Richmond. So that's pretty great bang for the buck value. But I would like to get back for that fish.

Spicy Stir Fried Clams at The Fish Man
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Mui Garden

Mui Garden made it onto my google maps guide of spots scouted before arriving. It also came rec'd by a well traveled friend from the online food world and thus it earned a visit from me. Or should I say I earned this fragrant Hong Kong style brisket curry by listening to others. It's pretty much the definition of "Ugly Delicious" and sure to bring back vivid memories to anyone who's enjoyed this Hong Kong favorite on the island itself. Loaded with spoon tender brisket and perfectly cooked potatoes both of which are covered in the restaurants signature Hong Kong curry sauce. Like most Cantonese classics it's not spicy but deep in savory flavor. I also heard the Hainanese chicken rice and baked pork chop rice are great but it was just me so I had to choose one. I was happy with my choice.

Brisket Curry at Mui Garden
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Note: To find the locations of all the spots featured in this post, as well as places I didn't make it to, please click HERE for my google maps guide to Vancouver.

See ya next time @chibbqking 

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