Category Archives: expand your cultural taste buds

The Balkan House- Burnaby BC


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The Balkan House
Located:7530 Edmonds Street, Burnaby BC
604-524-0404

Take yourself back to the 1970’s or the Rockerford file days in your mind and when you go in to the Balkan house that describes your initial thoughts when you first walk through the doors. The restaurant says that the decor is reminiscent of a European hunting lodge….

The restaurant is clean, the staff friendly and the service is good.

The Balkan house is an Eastern European restaurant known predominantly for their meat dishes.

Today I was in the mood for salad and Cevapcici – grilled sausage made from ground veal and pork.

The salad was fresh and the cevapcici was perfectly grilled and tasty!

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The restaurant had mostly Eastern Europeans dining at it so by default I would say that the food is genuine to its European heritage and culinary roots….

Lunch for 2 was also very reasonable, approx $30.00 for two plates which included soup, salad, 5 pieces of Cevapcici with potatoes, rice and bread including 2 drinks.
On top of the sausages I am told that they are also known for their schnitzels and fish and one thing for sure is that they are known for the large portions.

At night they often have live music and a spirited atmosphere.

On Sundays they offer a buffet loaded with grilled meats and other goodies…. but don’t expect to take too many trips back to the buffet as the meats definitely will fill you up.

The Balkan House is worth a visit to expand your cultural taste buds or to simply

Get your meat on

You gotta try this!

Balkan House on Urbanspoon

Tiramisu – chocolate cups – a great dessert for your Valentine


    Tiramisu – chocolate cups

Good evening great foodie friends,

This weekend I happened upon some great luck receiving some very artistic fun chocolate cups from a great Master Pastry Chef friend of mine!

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Hmmmm, what to make?!

Tiramisu treats!

A very simple yet delectable treat for your friends and family!

What you need
6 eggs
6 tablespoons of organic sugar
1 full cup top quality Espresso
1 tablespoon (or so) of 70 % dark chocolate
1 tablespoon valrhona cocoa or equal quality.
2 tablespoons kalhua
1 tablespoon brandy
250 grams or 8.8 oz of Mascarpone cheese
200 Grams of Lady finger cookies

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What to do?:
*Make the espresso and put in a bowl and set aside to cool.
*Pull mascarpone from the fridge and let sit
*Separate egg whites from the yolks and place in separate bowls
*Add the sugar to the egg yolks and blend until creamy smooth
*Now beat the egg whites until stiff and firm.
*Now fold the mascarpone cheese into the egg and sugar mixture until smoothly blended.
*Add the egg whites to the egg and mascarpone mixture and gently fold together until smooth and creamy.
*Now add the liquor to the coffee and gently soak the lady fingers 1 at a time until soaked but not mushy.
*Break the cookies in half and place gently in the Chocolate cup.
*Add the egg and cheese mixture to cover the cookie. Grate a little chocolate on that layer.
*Now add another 1/2 cookie on top of the mixture and top again with the egg/cheese mixture until the cookie is covered.
*Grate some chocolate to finish on top and sprinkle with the pure cocoa.

*Now cover gently and set in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or for best results and blending of the flavors overnight.

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When you are ready to serve, plate individually and finish with your favorite garnish. A small dab of whip cream and some fresh berries or some raspberry coulis is nice.

Enjoy!

You Gotta Try This!

Vij’s Railway Express – Cassava Poutine


    Vij’s Railway Expresa – Cassava Poutine

Good afternoon fellow foodie friends.

In an ever evolving culinary cultural city we are so fortunate to have ready access to many new and wondrous culinary treats from around the world.

The perfect part of our culinary eclectic city is that you never need to look far for something new or unique!

Today – Cassava Poutine!
A play on a truly Eastern Canadian treat!

What is Cassava? You ask:
(Here is a note from About.com)

If you don’t already know what it is, you’re probably wondering what is cassava or yuca? It is a long tuberous starchy root about two inches around and eight inches long. The root has a brown fibrous skin and snowy white interior flesh. Because it bruises easily, it’s often sold covered in a protective wax coating. Other names for cassava are yuca, manioc, mandioca, yucca root, casabe, and tapioca.
Cassava is native to Brazil and the tropical areas of the Americas. It’s widely grown all over Latin America and the Caribbean. It was, and still is, an essential root vegetable in the Caribbean diet. It’s been around, since before Columbus’s arrival, as a staple food of the Taino, Carib, and Arawak population, especially in the form of cassava bread. Because it was so crucial to the culture, the natives revered it. A 1554 Spanish historical account describes a ceremony in which a native priest blessed cassava bread and then divided it among the tribal people present. The recipients then preserved the bread to protect their families from danger throughout the following year. Cassava is still eaten throughout all the islands today and you’ll find it piled high at produce markets.

Traditional poutine is french fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy… And by the way are not all created equal.

Vij’s play on this dish is truly unique and full of flavor wow! $8.50

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On top of the perfectly seasoned cassava fries is a Fenugreek cream curry (fenugreek is a healthy herb/spice), anise infused bacon bits and house made paneer (an Indian fresh cheese)

The layers of flavors as you eat this delectable dish unfold in your mouth to truly create a flavor party!

Make sure that you get down to Vancouver before the trucks potentially close due to inclement weather and enjoy what new flavors and foods are offered while the weather lasts.

If you are a little cold, try one of Vij’s fresh made Chai teas!

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You Gotta Try This!

Vij's Railway Express on Urbanspoon

Soho Road – Naan Kebab


    Soho Road – Naan Kebabs street cart

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While the Vancouver weather is still so nice make a trip to downtown Vancouver and stop by to see Sarb, Mack and Uncle at Soho Road.

Vancouver is lucky to have so many great street food trucks / carts that you should do your best to try one or better yet, mix it up and try a few!!

It is such pleasure to see the many simple ingredients being prepared right in front of you…… Trust when I say, it makes all the difference

Uncle is rolling the naan dough right in front of you and then shapes it and sets it into what looks like a custom clay oven.
Traditional naan is baked in a clay oven reaching temperatures of nearly 900F.

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Beside Uncle, Sarb and Mack are taking the fresh baked chicken and lamb off the long skewers that look so fresh and full of flavor!

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Today Sarb was making a 1/2 Butter Chicken kebab on fresh baked naan bread right out of the clay baker- tandoori chicken with butter chicken sauce, tamarind chutney and salad made of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro….

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The flavors popped and were fresh… The smell of the fresh naked naan while you were eating was a lingering delight!

You Gotta Try This!

Pig on the Street – Scotch Egg special


Good day great foodie friends….

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In researching this unique play on an egg dish I have found that this British treat is well known in the UK.

The British say that the scotch egg needs no introduction – their English origins go back a few hundred years (they were said to have been created by the department store Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly in 1738).

The British may need no introduction but I think many North Americans may….
So here is my findings……

A scotch egg is basically a hard boiled egg wrapped in flavorful sausage meat, breaded and deep fried or baked.
What Pig on The Street does is kick it up several notches!

What do they do with it you ask?

Bacon of course
Chef Krissy adds their double smoked bacon, caramelized onions, farmhouse cheddar, avocado and a wonderful spicy heirloom ketchup…. All wrapped up in Pig On The Streets handmade flat bread…. The layers of textures and different flavors found in this sandwich all go towards the wow factor on your taste buds.
This unique sandwich definitely adds a new dimension to the Pigs menu board.

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The Scotch egg is a guest star offering so keep your eyes on twitter (follow the piggy @PigOnTheStreet) for a heads up from Krissy or Mark or also for any mention on the vans “specials” window!

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You Gotta Try This!

Pig on the Street on Urbanspoon

The Spritz- a perfect Italian refreshing cocktail


    The Spritz- Refreshing Italian cocktail with 3 simple ingredients plus a slice…


Happy dog days of summer great foodie friends…. This has to be one of the nicest Septembers in a longtime….. Sunny days brought me back to a perfect refresher that we first tried in Italy and now can happily make at home with ease!
The Spritz!

Ingredients:
Prosecco
Aperol
Soda or Pelligrino
A fresh slice of orange

Both Prosecco and Aperol can be easily found at the local liquor store and are reasonably priced.
This refreshing drink is a pleasant surprise to most and a perfect thing to enjoy with your friends.

The drink is best served in a wine or a rocks glass and over ice.

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The amounts you ask?
Approx 2 + parts of Prosecco and 1 part Aperol and just a dash of soda, and just drop in a nice fresh slice of orange.

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The Aperol looks like this…..

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The Prosecco can be found easily as well and there are several brands. You don’t need to spend too much but it is advisable to look for one from the Valdobbiadene region of Italy. Any producer or brand will do….you will also see an organic Prosecco on the shelf which is very good.
What is Prosecco?:

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A word from Wkipedia
Unlike Champagne, its main commercial competitor, Prosecco is usually produced using the Charmat method, in which the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks making the wine less expensive to produce. The rules for the DOCG Prosecco Valdobbiadene also allow the use of the Metodo Classico: secondary fermentation in the bottle.
Approximately 150 million bottles of Italian Prosecco are produced annually. As of 2008, 60 percent of all Prosecco is made in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene area.Production there amounted to €370 million in 2007. Since the 2000s, Glera (Prosecco) grapes are also cultivated and wine from the grapes is produced in other countries including Brazil, Romania, Argentina and Australia.
Most history shows that Prosecco originates from the Valdobbiadene region and that is where most of the production comes from.
As stated gone are the days of overly sweet bubbly….. You will enjoy this refreshing frizzante vino and if you get a chance visit this beautiful area of Northern Italy….it is breathtaking.

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You Gotta Try This famous Italian drink!

Le tigre – Authentic Asian cuisine


Who is this new food truck and why should you go and try it?

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Clement Chan
Clement Chan holds several Provincial cooking championships and is the National 2010 Canadian Chef of the Year (awarded by the CCFCC). He graduated Culinary Arts at VCC in 2002, and then went to Dubrelle to claim his Baking and Desserts diploma. He has worked in most of the finest establishments in Vancouver over the last decade in restaurants and hotels. Chambar, Lumiere, Blue Water Cafe, Raincity Grill, Fairmont YVR, Hyatt Regency, Glowbal Grill, Hapa Umi and Sanafir Restaurant, are just to name a few. He has also worked as a member of the opening team in various restaurants in Vancouver: Blue Water Cafe, Lucky Diner and Hapa Umi. Clement has opened restaurant like Shor, Swim Pool and Bar Grill, and Medi Restaurant which are all properties of Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort..

Steve Kuan
Steve Kuan has won several regional/provincial apprentice competitions and was the National 2010 Canadian Apprentice of the Year awarded by the CCFCC. Steve went to culinary school at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in 2006. He has gained experience in award winning restaurants in the past 5 years such as: Ciopipno’s, Mosaic @ the Hyatt Regency and completed his red seal certification at La Belle Auberge.

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As in all restaurants or food trucks the heart and soul of culinary journey starts with the people behind it.
I can’t say I know Clement or Steve well yet but I can say that their skills are a great start.
The food so far speaks for itself……
a signature dish

Kick Ass rice:
Rice, butter, sake, dashi served with a poached egg and spiced pork belly.

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The great part of learning about new foods and continuing on a culinary side journey is to “go outside of your comfort zone” and try new things….
Case in point, beets are not on my list of wow flavor foods… Sorry beets but honesty is the best policy.
What’s my point?
Well….. I just may have found a beet that I like!

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These beet fries are served with steam buns and Bang Bang chicken….with greens.

Go see Clement and Steve and tryout their culinary fare…..
They are on the corner of Bute and Alberni Street in Vancouver….
They seem friendly and wanting to please…. Stay humble and patient Chefs and your delectable fusion / contemporary Asian fare will sell itself.

Also keep your eye out for Le Tigre on season 4 of Eat Street! I hear a rumor that they may be on it!

You Gotta Try This!

Mai Thai & Phó Restaurant


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    Mai Thai & Pho Restaurant

Good afternoon great foodie friends.

Go down and see Mai in her newest restaurant. Granted she has been in this location for nearly 5 years, I just re-found Mai as she has been very busy building up her great clientele and followers and then has sold her previous 2 locations.
Mai’s food is always terrific and the flavors are definitely addictive.

To start was a fresh roll
served with a peanut sauce that was out of this world.
A fresh roll is essentially a fresh spring roll filled with fresh cooked shrimp, leaf lettuce, cucumber, julienned carrot and cilantro.
This roll is a perfect start to a Thai meal as it is light and fresh.

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Next up, Gai Yang was on the menu today with fresh salad.

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The flavors that present in this dish are amazing and hard to believe that such few ingredients can make such an impact to the wonderment of Gai Yang (pronounced Kai yang) dish.

There are a few different iterations of ingredients used in Gai Yang but mostly present is:

Chicken
Garlic
Salt and pepper
Fish sauce
Coconut milk
Cane sugar
And soya sauce.

I am sure that what exactly is in Mai’s sauce is a family secret as I have found it to be the best I’ve eaten and the same consistently every time and at all 3 of her restaurants.
This Thai restaurant is worth a stop if you are in Renton close to South Center.

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/1/1574967/restaurant/Seattle/Kent/Mai-Thai-Pho-Renton

Go and meet these amazing owners and her great staff!
You Gotta Try This!

Experiment: Shrimp with Chayote in Ginger Black Bean Sauce


Experiment: Shrimp with Chayote in Ginger Black Bean Sauce.

Prabu Sweets


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Prabu Sweets
If you are looking to expand your flavor world look up Parbu Sweets in Surrey, BC.
A pleasant surprise of wonderment and colorful sweets.

A word from Prabu

Indian Sweet Shop
Indian sweets or Mithai, are known throughout the entire World. Indian sweets rely heavily on sugar, milk and condensed milk, and frying, however the bases of the sweets vary by region. In the Eastern part of India for example, milk is a staple, and most sweets from this region are based on milk products.

Prabu Sweets provide “Traditional Indian Sweets” made with high quality food products and excellent customer service.

their mantra
A tempting range of exotic North, Indian & Bengali sweets, premium quality namkeens are displayed in a very practical as well as elegant manner.

Apart from sweets & namkeens, we offer mouthwatering chaat to our those customers who have an inclination towards Chatpata’ (tingling) taste.

A well equipped kitchen is the integral part of our shop. We strictly follow the modern methods of preparation. A team of experienced karigars have been deputed to keep an eye on the process of manufacturing, so that no stone is left unturned. Hygiene is the ‘mantra’ among our kitchen staff.

We are 100% Vegetarian

They are located at:
105-7035 128th street
Surrey, BC

A little education on the products:
Prabu’s website is full of helpful and easy to understand information.
Motichoor laddu or Boondi laddu is a sweet delicacy made from grilled gram flour flakes which are sweetened, mixed with almonds, pressed into balls and fried in ghee. This sweetmeat is believed to have originated from Motichur, a small town near Haridwar and popularized by the Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar region of Uttar Pradesh. The fact that the western Uttar Pradesh belt is the largest producer of cane sugar in the country has helpd develop variants of this laddu – known as khaand ke laddu and guldane ke laddu. Maner, a small town near Patna in Bihar, is also famous for its delicious motichoor laddus. It is a traditional gift at weddings, engagements and births.

Gulab jamun

Gulab Jambu is a popular northern Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Pakistani sweet dish made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids (often including double cream and a little flour) in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater or saffron.

A similar Arabic dessert is lu’mat al-adi (Arabic for judge’s bread). Like the South Asian gulab jamun, rosewater syrup is often used, however saffron syrup and honey are also common

Rasgolla

The rasagolla was invented in the state of Orissa, where it has been a traditional sweet dish for centuries. Soft, spongy balls of cottage cheese soaked in chilled sugar syrup…. Nicely made Rasgulla melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting more…always! The Bengalis (from eastern India) sure know their sweet making.

Kalakand or Qalaqand

(Urdu: قلا‏قند ) is a very popular Indian and Pakistani sweet made out of solidified, sweetened milk, to which is added ricotta cheese. It owes it origin to the milk-rich Braj area of western Uttar Pradesh. It is a very popular sweetmeat in North and East India, including Orissa and Bengal and is reputed for its exquisite taste. The ‘Kand’ of Kalakand is derived from the Arabic language which means sweets. Another such example is Gulkand.

Bessan Barfi

Besan Barfi is an Indian sweet made from besan (gram flour), condensed milk and sugar. The sugar blends into a creamy texture that comes from the basic mixture.

Besan barfi is a very common sweet in North India especially during winters. Besan barfi is often garnished with sliced or chopped almonds or pistachios.

Kaju Burfi
Kaju Barfi is an Indian dessert. Kaju literally means Cashew nuts and Barfi is a type of Indian sweet, which varies in ingredients used but is usually prepared according to a standard method. Barfi is often but not always, made by thickening milk with sugar and other ingredients. It is then spread in a flat, shallow dish and cut into bite-sized pieces. These pieces are sometimes decorated with edible silver foil.

Kaju Barfi is made with cashew nuts soaked in water overnight and ground the next day; then sugar, saffron (kesar) and other dried fruits are added. However, you can make kaju barfi with only sugar, water, and ghee. It is usually tan. If made with pistachios, it can be green

Kheer Kadam

A Bengali sweet which has a moist centre surrounded by a sandesh coating! Utterly yummy! When you bite into the crumbly white sweet, you wouldnt suspect the syrup soaked sweet inside!

Dhoda (Sohan Halwa)

Dhoda is the most famous sweat in Khushab, Mianwali and D.I.Khan. Sohni is available at Karyana stores in Pakistan

Rasmalai

Rasmalai originated somewhere in the coastal parts of the Indian states of Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar.[2] Sometimes shown as Rassmalai. Ras malai consists of sugary, cream to yellow-colored balls (or flattened balls) of paneer soaked in sweetened, thickened, creamy milk

Gajrela (Carrot Cake)
Also known as carrot delight, gajrela is a tasty blend of carrots, spices, and heavy cream. This sweet dessert hails from the Punjab region of India.

Petha
The Petha cluster in Agra is more than a century old. Petha is a form of sweet that is made from Ash-Pumpkins. It has been an Indian favourite due to its medicinal properties and sublime flavour. The clustering of enterprises involved in the production of Petha sweet occurred in Agra due to the availability of raw fruit here and the fondness of the local people for sweets.

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Now with their great success the professional family run business has opened a new facility creating new wonders of their highest quality products by producing Paneer
– a specialty cheese coveted by many of the South Asian community and where the

old world traditional way of producing

the product with highest standards the original quality way as it should be. Don’t settle for shortcuts of products made with fillers or inferior process that doesn’t follow the

old world way

Expand your world of tasting and drop by this great shop and if you want more than just sweets, try their excellent Samosa or Pekoras

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If you see this fine gentlemen, say hi to the creator of Prabu Sweet shop!
You Gotta Try this!

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