鹿園 Deer Garden

I’m back to being addicted to HK-Style Milk Tea.  Lately, I’ve noticed that there really isn’t a restaurant in Richmond that really makes it good anymore.  The only ones that come to mind who makes decent ones are Alleluia, Cattle Cafe, and Joy’s Kitchen in Parker Place.

Actually, I really really like Cattle Cafe.  They’re one of the ones who I think started the trend of “No-MSG Fish Soup Combo Noodle” type meals.  Now Cattle Cafe’s post will be coming soon (I hope).  Today we’re gonna talk about Deer Garden.

Deer Garden

G’s actually the one who introduced me to it.  Now he’s Filipino but he eats out in Richmond more than me (and I live there!).  He highly recommended that I try their version of the Fish Soup Noodle dish.

My parents and I went on a weekday at around 11am or so and that’s probably the best time to go.  Lots of parking still available, and seated right away.  By the time we finished the waiting area was packed.

Having said that, they still stuffed us into the backroom where it was quite hard to flag people down.  But then I thought the young servers did still try their best.  That room was quite stuffy though.

Deer Garden order sheet

I guess it’s kind of convenient that they place these sheets on the table so you can mark down your own choices.  But then when we handed them the sheet they still just wrote down the whole order on the back, so I thought it was more of a waste of time.  It seems to confuse them too.

Deer Garden: ChaoZhao Fish Soup with Minced Pork

I picked their signature soup (the first one on the list) which was something like ChaoZhao Fish Soup w/ Minced Pork.  I also picked handmade squid balls, fresh bean curd, and thick vermicelli.  Also a cold milk tea.

I guess I should’ve read the sheet over clearly, as apparently it already comes w/ bean curd and mushrooms.  So I got lots and lots of bean curd.  They were stingy w/ the squid balls too.  I only got three.

Now for the taste.  The soup was quite salty, so I was suspicious about the no-MSG claim.  The vermicelli was chewy as always.  The squid balls, were quite small and uneventful.  Overall a “meh” experience.

The milk tea, well, I think I’ll stay w/ Cattle Cafe.

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Koon Bo 冠寶

Koon Bo exterior

Koon Bo is one of those restaurants that if you don’t know about it, you would never think to go there.  After all, the location pretty much sucks, the parking sucks, the decor sucks, the waiting area sucks, you get the drift.  So why is it so popular?  Of course it’s the food.  It’s not the cheapest, but for some reason it is special enough to bring people back time and again.

Koon Bo interior

Like I said, the place is CROWDED.  The waiting area is just in the little pseudo-room right at the front door where they’ve put in an extra door to keep out the cold.  It’s small.  Sometimes, you would be standing right behind of seated people while they’re eating.  But that’s normal for a popular authentic Chinese restaurant isn’t it?

As for the food, they have a few signature dishes that they do very well.  We come back everytime and order the same thing everytime.

Koon Bo signature soup

First up is the signature soup.  This has to be pre-ordered.  Now I’m not quite sure what fish it is, it could be Tilapia.  It’s a Tilapia-2-ways.  The soup is made with tofu and siu tong choi and boiled to a nice white color.  This is the stuff that gets plated afterwards for you to nibble on.  It’s great.

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Dim Sum at Golden Sea City 金城

Mom and I haven’t been to dim sum for quite a while since our schedules haven’t been matching up quite as nicely lately.

So when a chance finally came we went to one of her favorite places: Golden Sea City.

Dim Sum at Golden Sea City

Golden Sea City and its predecessor were favorites of ours.   They are cheap, and they’re probably one of the only dim sum restaurants left that still does the carts.  It’s kind of sad that this tradition is giving way to checklists and efficiency haha.  The carts are likely the reason we keep coming back.

Dim Sum at Golden Sea City: chicken feet

This is also a place that offers mostly traditional dim sum stuff, such as the above.  Nowadays dim sum restaurants serve so much new-age stuff that to quote my aunt, “It’s not dim sum anymore!!”.

An example was when we went to Red Star, we didn’t order any shao mai (steamed pork dumplings with the yellow skin), ha gao (steamed shrimp dumpling) or san jok ao yok (steamed beef balls with bean curd), which are the epitome of dim sum.  My aunt goes on to say, “It doesn’t even feel like we are having dum sum!”

By the way, the chicken feet were delicious.  They were well-done in that the skin comes off the bones very easily, and the knuckles are easily bitten off.

Dim Sum at Golden Sea City: Pan-fried shrimp dumplings with chives

Here’s the Pan-fried shrimp dumplings with chives.  It was a bit on the lukewarm side, which is inevitable with the cart system.  However there were a lot of big pieces of shrimp in it and it was also very fragrant of chives.  So nonetheless it was still very good.

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Aberdeen Centre Food Court Quickie

Nothing like grabbing a quick snack at the food court when you are starving. Fast, cheap, goes down fast and hopefully not-so-fast out. Wendy and I decided to pay a trip to Aberdeen Centre’s food court. I believe this is probably the best Asian food court, not because of the food offerings, but because of the spacious eating/seating area, good view and general cleanliness. Parker Place and Crystal Mall’s food courts put up a good fight, but Aberdeen is just more of an appealing place to be.

Basil Leaf at Aberdeen Centre

Welcome to Basil Leaf.  Supposedly, they use NO MSG! GOOD OLE MONOSODIUMGLUTAMATE taken out.  I don’t know what to do!!

Basil Leaf: House Special Noodle

Wendy ordered the House Special Noodle.  It’s a great mix of rare beef, Vietnamese Pork , tripe and as usual, Wendy’s favorite cilantro was also liberally layered on the top.  The soup base was very good.  However, this time the noodle itself was soggy and made the soup “gummy”.  Wendy thinks it’s probably noodles carried over from the previous night – definitely not the usual standard at Basil Leaf.  Usually it’s very good.

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Seventh Heaven Cafe 七重天

As we’ve said before, the staff of Boston Steakhouse has migrated to Seventh Heaven in Aberdeen. Not sure what the reason for the move was though.

Seventh Heaven Cafe exterior

Anyways, continuing with my HK-style Milk Tea craving as of late, Boyfriend took me to Seventh Heaven.

Seventh Heaven Cafe interior

It has quite a unique decor.  It’s supposedly to be I guess 60’s style?  There’s jukeboxes and old Coca-Cola signs, but it’s quite weird in that there’s a mix of old Chinese and English style posters.  For instance, there’s posters of 50’s/60’s Chinese style girls, but also Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe posters.  A weird combination if you ask me.  The theme is almost there but not quite.

Seventh Heaven Cafe: Hot almond tea and cold milk tea

So we both ordered from the Afternoon Tea menu naturally.  Again they charge $1 for cold drinks.

Boyfriend had his favorite hot Almond Tea again, while obviously I had the cold milk tea.

But perhaps I should’ve ordered the hot one…it was so cold in the restaurant!!

Milk tea was decent but, once again, it’s no Alleluia.

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