I believe that food like good music and a good book is a solace to a person's soul. Food is both a science and an art - a yin-yang balance to your body and also an appreciation of colors, textures and sensory experience.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hawker's Delight - 4127 Main Street

Hawker's Delight on Urbanspoon

The word "hawker" usually denotes a person who goes from place to place selling food. And that basically is the origin of the phase hawker food in Southeast Asia and Asia. In the early colonial days, many of these itinerant hawkers were unlicensed and over time, strict controls were implemented to ensure food safety and for better controls in sanitary conditions. The term hawkers eventually evolved from an itinerant trader to one which became settled into a fixed place - where people usually congregate to eat cheap and good street food. The hawker centers are now an ubiquitous feature in many parts of Asia and its a great way to savor a variety of street food.

I was thus very excited to try out the hawkers delight at main street. Actually, the place is pretty gritty itself - small and hole in the wall place and where one can see the chefs frantically stir-frying food in huge iron woks over the hot stove.

For appetizers, we ordered vegetable fritters. I have to say that the dough was pretty light and bouncy and it was so crunchy. Gator loves her fritters.

Crunch veggie fritters

The inside of the veggie fritters

For main course, we ordered two dishes. The mee pok noodles were a HUGE disappointment for me. It came choke full of ingredients - bbq pork, prawns and vegetables. But the brown sauce was weird. The sauce was salty and came with minced meat.Traditionally, the sauce should come with a bit of spicy chilli sauce, mixed with soya sauce and vinegar - it should be spicy, salty and a bit tangy. The sauce served unfortunately was just salty and lacks the oomph factor .Mee pok refers to the type of noodles and can be served with wanton or even with fish balls, fish cakes or minced meat.

Mountain of mee pok noodles
Gator loves her shrimp but the sauce wasn't nice at all :(
View of meat in noodles
The second main course - nasi goreng (in Malay) which means fried rice  was much better. Even then, I found it pretty ordinary - it was fried with onions, tomatoes, shrimp and some pieces of fish cake and tofu. Nothing much to rave about.
My fried rice paradise wasn't much of a paradise :(
Close up shot of the nasi goreng

Overall Experience:
Deco: 2/5 - this is a no fuss, eat and go place. No problems for me in that aspect
Quality of food: 2/5 - except for the veggie fritters, the 2 main dishes were a thumbs down for Gator. Quite disappointing
Value for $$: $$/5 - price is cheap - between CAN$5.25-CAN$9 bucks. But the quality of food is below average
Overall Experience: 2/5

It was an overall disappointing experience for Gator. Hopefully, the other dishes like the laksa will be much better.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dragon Ball Tea House, West King Edward Avenue

Dragon Ball Tea House on Urbanspoon

One of my favourite comfort food is bubble tea. It is like a perfect ending to an Asian meal. And my all-time favourite bubble tea place is Dragon Ball. I usually have mango slush without pearls. Tons of people have told me that they don't see a point of me having bubble tea without pearls. Don't get me wrong - I like those  sago pearls but I don't enjoy the experience of sucking those pearls from a straw and chewing them. I much enjoy having them as a desert - coconut milk and sago in a proper desert bowl.

One of the reasons why I really like Dragon Ball is that the drinks are really not that sweet. The place does get busy in the evening but service is pretty prompt. Dragon Ball opens at 2pm till midnight so I usually go there in the evenings or late at night.

My two favourite orders - mango slush and purple taro slush
If you are a blueberry fan, you will enjoy this drink
I tried a couple of flavours at DragonBall - including logan, strawberry and horlicks. But I always gravitate towards my favourite mango slush. Yummy!!

A note of warning though - do not think about parking at the back of the building. Apparently, there are frequent patrols and your vehicle might be towed. So, if you drive, parking your car at the Saveway parking lot (opposite Dragon Ball) is the best bet.
A notice put up by Dragon Ball - there are designated parking lots for DragonBall customers.
I have never ordered their snacks at Dragon Ball. The pictures of their snacks don't look very appetising. I usually grab the bubble tea as a takeaway. Another note of caution: this place only accepts cash.

Overall Experience:
Deco: Limited sitting capacity. Dragon Ball does look a bit old and tired.
Quality: 4/5 for the drinks - The place has become my benchmark for all other bubble tea joints. Whenever I have bubble tea at other places, I always comment that I prefer Dragon Ball.
Value for $$: $$$$/5 
Overall Experience: 4/5 - What can I say?? I am addicted to this place.