Kung-Po

Foodblogger Feast at Kalvin’s “Szechuen”

About a month ago, in the midst of a whole bunch of stupidity, Kevin from 604foodtography, suggested a big ol’ chowdown at Kalvin’s Restaurant. Within a day or so, thirteen of us responded with a resounding “Hell, yeah!“. From a rather depressing, unfortunate day, the focus was returned to where it should always be in the food blogging community…on the food! After all, that’s what we’re only here for…right?

Other bloggers at this night’s feast included:

Strange thing about Kalvin’s…the awning says “Kalvin’s Szechuen Restaurant” so I was all geared up for a fiery, chile-laden feast. Turns out they put up mostly Taiwanese fare. No problem…I’m game for anything! There were a few spicy dishes and some interesting Taiwanese I’d not yet tried.

This’d be one of those dishes I’d put in the “I’ll-try-it-one-time” category. The Fondue Spicy Pork with Organ Stew was actually quite tasty if you can get your head around the intestine part. It’s obviously a cultural thing that I’ve yet to adapt to. Texturally, it was fine. No excessive chewiness…not rubbery at all. For me, it’s all about the funky aroma. There’s a load of foods I love that give off strange, unique smells. It’s just that when the smell originates from that part of the animal, it can be difficult to adjust to.

The Pork & Ton Choy in BBQ Sauce also had a unique flavor to it. If you close your eyes, you’d swear you were eating a seafood dish. That was due, according to Kevin, to the use of a satay sauce or, as I later found out, it can be called “Shacha sauce“.  It’s a much different flavor to most satay sauces due to the addition of brill fish and dried shrimp. The ton choy itself was nicely cooked giving the dish a well needed fresh, crisp element.

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Bubble World

A couple of weeks back, on a rather lackluster Tuesday, The Gut asked, “What’s for lunch?”. After the usual suspects came to mind, I remembered checking out some posts on Bubble World the previous evening. Upon reading a bunch of mixed reviews and checking out their somewhat diverse menu, I figured it was worth a shot.

Bubble World is a chain of eight restaurants throughout the GVRD. The spot in Burnaby is a popular late-night hangout for Bubble Tea aficionados, obviously. I’ve never been a big fan of jelly globules in my beverages. Maybe its just the fact that I have to chew my drink. Much prefer ice…it serves a purpose!

The menu here is mainly Taiwanese with a smattering of dim sum and a bit of Japanese. It’s very much like No. 1 Beef Noodle House and The One, just to name a couple of local spots. Not sure why these places feel the need to widen their menus so far…there’s so much good Taiwanese fare already. It seems odd and a bit tricky, kitchen-wise. Unless you have a top-notch kitchen staff, the quality of the food will always suffer.

Enough with the opinionating! On to the food!

Always a popular choice, the Salty Peppery Chicken here was very good. Not a huge portion but big on quality and flavor. Large, tender morsels and not a bit of gristle in sight.

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Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

A couple of months ago a new, up-scale Chinese restaurant opened its doors in Burnaby. Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant is located in the Grand Villa Casino complex. With a mix of high-quality Dim Sum and top-notch plates, it seems to be the go-to place for well-heeled locals.

Upon arrival, we asked for a table for six. There were a few tables available but we were seated at the biggest one, a ten-top. When I asked why we were given a table so big, the service captain said, jokingly, “So you order more food!”. I knew he was kidding, but in the end, he was spot on.

The service here, it must be noted, is well above average. There’s a small army of suited waiters looking out for their customers. While waiting for the other half of our party to arrive, I realized I hadn’t plugged the parking meter. On my way a server actually followed me outside to offer suggestions on where to park for free. As I was parked just outside, and it was a dollar an hour, I just paid the meter. You’ve got to appreciate that level of attention.

Seeing as how we are a group of five and a half Caucasians, there was a small amount of trepidation. Three of us were adorned in our finest work clothes, the other three nattily attired in office gear. But, as Kim says, “I’m only here for the food!”.

We started with an array of dim sum. The price points are a tad higher than most. Small $4.50, medium $4.95, large $5.25, special $5.50 and Chef’s Special $6.50.

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