Monday, January 28, 2008


where is home for me? right now, it is still Toronto, where my family and closest friends are. but when i'm content and well-fed, i don't mind entertaining the thought of staying in BC after i finish my internship. but what happens when i run into difficulties? at this point, i can't say that there's someone here i'd call for my emotional distress like i have in TO, so there's been more of that between God and i...

maybe it all just comes down to fear. the fear of getting involved with people here (makes it harder to leave), fear of letting others in and trusting them with the things on my heart, fear of loving the west coast.....because it will lead to uncertainty if i decide to stay, and i can't deal with that.

not knowing if i'll be able to find a job and support myself, a reasonably priced place to live, or even have a car here....scares the heck out of me. and i think that's the main reason i want to go back to TO after my internship ends-so i don't have to worry about all those uncertainties since everything's taken care of already, and not (entirely) because driving sucks and it's too expensive to live here.

but first, i need to truly immerse myself and give this city a fair chance before i can legitimately reject it.

dim sum

there's quite a few places to have good dim sum in Richmond, although they are two times the prices in TO, but i find that they are a bit more creative in the way they make it.

my favourite place: Sea Harbour Restaurant ("hoi gong") @3711 No. 3 Rd.

Sun Sui Wah (102-4920 No. 3 Rd) and Top Gun (Unit 2020, 8766 Mckim Way; order before 11am and you get 30% off) are good too, but nobody can make lau sah baos as good as SH. actually, TG doesn't even make them. lau sah bao=buns with runny egg yolk filling. best. bao. EVER.

they seriously make the best baos. there's the hoi gong dai yut bao: similar to cha siu chan bao, but with other ingredients like green onion etc, gwai fay bao: also similar to cha siu chan bao, but with the 'mexico' bun topping, and bor loh bao: LITERALLY, with pineapple chunk filling, it actually tastes like what it's called! that's them below:

today i went to a place with my relatives called Shun Feng ("smooth sailing") @Parker Place (4311 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond), and ate a lot. the following are some of what we ordered:

i forget what they called it exactly, something about 'snow', but they're basically gwai fay bao:

the inside:
no idea what these were called, but there's a scallop on top..
with taro and portugese sauce underneath. very interesting and good to eat!
bune tong gao? with shark fin. this tiny little bowl cost ~$15?
loh bak goh (turnip cake): really fried, with some wasabi on top. it was pretty soft inside.
lau sah bao!
unfortunately it wasn't runny :( so it was more like a lai wong bao, but the outside was very crispy so the topping didn't break off as easily as mexico bun toppings do.
this was supposed to have foie gras in it, but my relatives said there wasn't even the slightest trace of it :T i've never had it before, so can't judge, but it was like siu mai, wrapped in pastry form.
can't remember what this was called either, but it's fried sweet potato drizzled with some honey and peanuts. it wasn't very sweet at all, and the texture was like leen goh. pretty good.

i need to go to Sea Harbour again and remember to take a pic of their lau sah bao.

Monday, January 21, 2008

natural beauty

the thing i love the most about Vancouver are the mountains. my favourite drive is going to church every week on Willingdon because i'm driving towards them, and the view is just stunning. you don't have to drive very far to catch a glimpse-just head north. there's really not much else to say, you just have to see for yourself.

the following were taken from my apartment on 9/18/07, 1/15/08, 1/20/08:

abundance: overflowing fullness

after talking to my mom on the way home from dinner with my relatives, i was reminded again tonight (for maybe the millionth time) of how incredibly lucky i am to be here in Vancouver, enjoying all the good food and meeting great people and just living it up.

i have a nice apartment with a gorgeous view of the mountains (when it's not cloudy/rainy), and the mall across the street (which i love and hate), i have a car so i can go anywhere whenever i want, i have a roommate so i can actually support myself (and then some) with my part-time job, i have relatives who invite me over for dinner at least once a week (plus a chef i can question endlessly for all my cooking crises), i have a church i can call my home church, i have friends i love spending time with...i'm totally ready to go.

God has blessed me richly ever since i arrived over 4 months ago, and He has provided for me time and time again even if i was undeserving of it. but that is the beauty about Him-He cannot stop loving even when i have stopped. that is just His character and there's nothing i can do to ever change that.

even at my internship, He's blessed me with a caring supervisor and supportive colleagues, and residents who make my heart smile. not to mention my talented guitarist-songwriter friend whose music = chocolate for my ears.

i can keep on going about the many "little" things that are 'unnecessary' that He's given to me, but the list is never-ending.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


my favourite hobby, besides shopping, is eating. i loooooooove food, so i've tried out some restaurants here and there, some i've been to more than once (obviously the good ones) but sushi/japanese food is the best thing Vancouver's got going on.

there's a ton of jap places, but not all of them are great. i've been to all-you-can-eat restaurants mostly, and they usually have late-night specials for $13-15 after 10pm but selection and sashimi is limited. however, sashimi seems to be pretty good all around-think 1-inch thick pieces of smoothness.

AYCE recommendations:
BC Sushi @2126 W Broadway, Vancouver
out of the 4, 5 places i've been to, this one seems to be the best overall in terms of food, service, and consistency for about the same price as the other places. late night special is definitely worth it.

Tomokazu @201-1128 W Broadway, Vancouver
They have shark fin sushi, which other places don't have, but it sounds better than it tastes. it's mixed with jellyfish and it's slightly spicy. pretty decent sushi, but do not go for the late-night special! it's a huge drop in quality. The shark fin sushi is the top left:

A la carte recommendations:

Sushi Garden @4635 Kingsway, Burnaby
a 5 minute walk from my apartment, this place has huuuge rolls, and is always packed.

AOKI @W 1888 Broadway, Vancouver
cheap authentic jap food, with innovations. (ie. Godzilla roll=deep fried sushi with whole strawberries on top) they use a lot of smoked salmon instead of the usual salmon, which is nice, and i remember there was a salmon/mango roll too. very interesting combinations which we weren't ready to try. we ordered one of the 'love' combos: the roll on the left is topped with smoked salmon

Monday, January 14, 2008

new year, new discoveries

i probably should've started this 4 months ago, but after returning from TO, my new year's resolution was to explore and not waste another moment here in the next 8 months. or more accurately, i was suddenly hit with the desire to see and do new, undiscovered things, and to make every minute count. maybe this is another defense mechanism for underlying homesickness, but it's constructive at least.

i'm going to try and be as detailed as possible when describing restaurants, places, etc., so that if YOU ever want to visit or move here, you'll at least know some good places to eat or see. but it's for my own sake as well, since i have really bad memory.

so let's start with some general things you REALLY should know about Vancouver:

Driving (the only part i really, strongly dislike about living here):
-people don't know how to drive = you have to be alert all the time so you can slam on your brakes when drivers come onto the road even though you're going downhill from 60km/hr
-a blinking green traffic light does NOT = advance left turn!!it only means that pedestrians can cross at that intersection when the light turns red, and the intersecting road has stop signs
-there are no highways (100km/hr) here, therefore, it's ALL street driving at 50km/hr
-there are very few left turn lanes, which means if you follow too closely, you'll probably get stuck behind a car waiting to make a left turn
-people seem to be more passive (they're probably used to all the stupid drivers) and don't honk often. maybe that's why i got the finger and a rude comment after i honked at someone for cutting me off
-there are a ton of red-light camera boxes, usually at major intersections. most, if not all, have yellow signs to tell you as you approach the intersection. however, there are just 30 cameras for the 120 locations in the whole province, so you can decide whether you want to take that $200 risk.
-most parking in vancouver is metered parking, which means parallel parking galore!
-DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING VALUABLE IN THE CAR or else it'll get broken into!

Survival Tips:
-look farther ahead
-give yourself lots of space in the front so you can switch lanes easier if there's a car making a left
-know that drivers will cut you off, so you won't be as pissed when it does happen
-you're facing north if you see the mountains
-carry lots of change for parking

-people generally have a more easygoing and relaxed attitude
-somewhat equally divided between cold/snobbish or open/friendly
-looooooove their starbucks
-more 'small town' feel than city atmosphere
-focus on active, healthy living in the outdoors
-higher cost of living with lower salaries than in TO = rich or poor
-Vancouver's supposed to be a "green" city, so their recycling program is slightly different than TO's: you can get $ back for returning certain things to either the recycling depot or supermarket, but 2 full shopping bags of stuff will only be $2 or so

-there are many small, unique shops vs. big chain stores
-fewer big concerts/events/festivals = less things to do on the weekend
-only GST is charged on prepared food (ie. in restaurants)
-sometimes the cashier at a store will ask if the item you're buying is taxable, which means if it's for someone aged 14 or younger, so they'll just charge one tax
-it's only a 2hr drive (depending on the wait at the border) to the US. it's so close that apparently some people even go across the border every weekend to get gas and buy groceries

i will save restaurants and food for the next post, because that deserves a post of its own.