As an Asian, it is almost impossible to grow up without eating rice. There was a time in elementary school when I tried to bring sandwiches for lunch, but after a week I was complaining to my mom I needed rice to be full. Ohhh those first world problems. Even now, when I bring lunch to work, it will most likely be rice with some sides. In this day and age, we always seem to have less time to do what we want and cooking rice could be a long process if you’re short on time. I had the opportunity to sample some Minute Rice AND make a meal out of it (my kitchen skills are terrible, so there aren’t any photos of the process. And my dad helped. #WillNeverBeACookingBlogger) And if you keep scrolling down, see how you can win 12 boxes of Minute Rice, enough for a year!
For the first time, I went to EAT! Vancouver, a food + cooking festival with 100’s of vendors located at BC Place Stadium. If you’re a true foodie, then this is the place to be. If you’re an alcoholic, this is also a place to be- as there is a huge selection of alcohol (beer, wine..etc) to sample from at a reasonable price. Admission was $14 online or $16 at the door. Some vendors gave samples out, and you can buy food tickets ($10 for 20 tickets) for some food to try. Unfortunately, I got a throat infection the weekend EAT! was taking place, so my appetite wasn’t as ready as it normally was, but I had a fair share of food to try out- I apologize for my lackluster photos. 🙁
The first vendor I stopped at was Kitchening & Co. by Carly Wintschel for macarons! They’re seriously one of my favourites in Vancouver (and I have written an article about them on Vancity Buzz!) I dragged all my friends there and they were super impressed with the macarons, and it was also their first time trying macarons too! A macaron costed $2, or the equivalent of 4 food tickets.
The new macaron that I haven’t tried was the Black Sesame with Lime Mascarpone macaron- which was absolutely delicious and a great combination of sweet and sourness.
A starter macaron I told my friends to try was the Salted Caramel- simply one of the best and a best seller.
My friend saw a stand of fish and sashimi so we went to visit that as well. I’m not a fan of raw fish, to be honest, but the box of giant fish was pretty awesome. I forgot the name of the vendor unfortunately. He ordered a tuna tataki for 4 tickets or equivalent of $2 – which was an extremely good deal given the giant slices and freshness of it. When I met up with my other friend, he was convinced to get some sashimi as well.
There were other samples I had of tea, cola, olive oil…but my favourite of the day was the ice cream from Coconut Bliss. It’s coconut milk based ice cream, so it is soy free and dairy free, but taste just as wonderful as ice cream! Extremely creamy and full of flavour, it is no question why the lineup for these samples were so long! I had a strawberry ice cream sample and here my friend is holding a mint ice cream sample. Also love the eco-friendly paper spoons for this!
There were lots of interesting foods to buy at EAT! Vancouver- such as these super cute designer cookies or tea leaves! I didn’t manage to take as many pictures as I wasn’t feeling well that day. 🙁
One of my purchases included Coconoma chocolate from La Chocolaterie. I have done a review on this Japanese hand made chocolate store before here. These handmade chocolates are simply one of the best I tried- they’re unique and full of melty blissfulness. I bought 2 cups of chocolate for $10- Green Tea and Yuzu.
I haven’t tried the yuzu before and I highly recommend it if you love citrus fruits- there’s chunks of yuzu in it and it tastes great with dark chocolate!
Although I was only at the venue for 4 hours, I felt like I only accomplished of half of what I wanted to do/eat/take pictures of but I was still tired from eating! The place is huge and is a haven for people who simply love to eat. I was full off drinking samples of tea and eating bread with olive oil already.
Come hungry, very hungry. This place is guaranteed to fill you. Bring friends to share everything you eat!
I was trying to find Laudrée at Harbour Grand, and I was so short on time in Hong Kong, I deeply regret not being able to go to one of the most renowned macaron places of all time. Despite that, I did see another macaron store at the mall, which is Jean Paul Hévin. Never heard of him before, but I had to get the macarons anyway. These macarons are very expensive compared to Vancouver – $25HKD for a macaron- and I bought a box of 5 for $125 HKD – which is equivalent to $15.90 CAD for 5 macarons, or $3.18 CAD each!
The box holding the treasure is very important too!
These macarons weren’t wildly coloured, but they were one of the best macarons I ever tasted. I got 5 flavours – coffee, dark chocolate, crème brûlée, fig, and mango coriander.
The first one I ate was the dark chocolate- it had the perfect combination of dark chocolate’s bitterness and minimal sweetness. I love dark chocolate ganache.
The coffee macaron was moist, like a molten cappuccino; but it was still airy with a crunchy exterior. The coffee macaron had a white coffee biscuit and creamy coffee ganache.
The winner out of the five was definitely the crème brûlée macaron for me. It tasted exactly like the dessert, not too sweet, and it also had the caramelized sauce when I bit into it. Hello heaven!
Sorry for the blurry picture- had to take a quick snapshot of the inside fast enough without spilling it everywhere!
The mango coriander macaron was very delicious as well – it had two layers of flavour and it packed a lot of mango flavour in it. The mango coriander macaron had an orange biscuit with mango juice cream with coriander.
Last but not least, was the fig macaron. I didn’t take a picture of it. The fig macaron has a deep purple and dark chocolate shell with chocolate and fig ganache. I’m not sure how fig actually tastes like, but I did taste a lot of dark chocolate (yummy!) and a bit of weird tarteness of the fig- it wasn’t a bad macaron; I just didn’t know what to expect of it!
The macarons at Jean Paul Hévin are definitely one of the best I ever tried. I am a bit sad I didn’t get to Laudrée but then I would’ve never had such a delicious crème brûlée macaron!
Have you had macarons from Hong Kong or anywhere overseas that surprised you? 🙂
My friend and I bought a Groupon for a Chocolate Making Class at Cocoa Nymph‘s new location! They have two stores and recently opened a new branch on East 7th and Ontario. We got the deal for $35/person instead of the regular price of $70. We’ve heard raving reviews about their chocolates, so we were excited to go behind the scenes and make our own truffles!
The class is from 2-4:30, and we spent the first part of class learning the history of chocolate and how it’s actually made. Making chocolate is definitely a lot harder than I thought. Our very own Vancouver Aquarium actually has a cocoa tree! After our lesson, the real fun stuff began as we headed to the back of their kitchen for some hands on chocolate making.
First, we did a bit of taste testing and tried some chocolate that originated from various countries. The yellow bits on the far left of the picture is pure cocoa butter, and it tastes quite waxy and fat. Then we have some dark chocolate from Mexico, Cuba, and other exotic places I forgot. The little brown bits on the right are cocoa nibs. The long bar of chocolate at the very right is the ganache which is the centre of the truffles we will be making.
To begin, we started breaking the ganache and molding it into small bits. We were given cookie cutters to shape our ganache, but I failed to make nice shapes, so I just made squares or rolled them into balls. After I made separate ganache pieces, they were dipped in 100% chocolate!
Dipping the chocolate was not easy either, it was a goopy mess! After dipping the ganace in the chocolate, we could decorate them with strawberry chooclate pieces, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, or these little plastic sheets that adds pattern on the top of the truffle!
After they were all decorated, the chocolate truffles were placed in the fridge for around 5 minutes, then they were ready to be taken out and boxed! The plastic sheets are peeled off after taking the chocolates out of the fridge. I love the heart pattern!
I had three more chooclates that couldn’t fit in the box, so I thought, why not, and ate them in store! They were delicious for every chocolate lover and every dark chocolate lover, which is me!
The Chocolate Making Class was such a fun cooking experience! It’s a really good deal if you find a groupon deal on it, since a truffle costs around $2/piece at Cocoa Nymph and I made 18 (in box) plus another 3 which I consumed, which is 21 pieces! They’re also a great homemade gift for anyone special! (Also, in store purchases during the day of the class gets a 10% discount!)
Also, the chocolates don’t have to be fridged and can be left in room temperature for a week. Needless, they were all devoured by the second day! Being a true chocolatier is a talent; my truffles had awkward sizes and randomized placement of toppings; but nevertheless fun! Definitely try out the class or chocolate at Cocoa Nymph.
Hope I made you all hungry!
Hi everyone, today I’m going to review my two experiences at The Urban Tea Merchant. I want to talk about their Macarons and their Moon Festival Tea Service which I was invited to for food blogging on behalf of VancityBuzz. VancityBuzz is a growing blog that aims to share news, fashion, food, entertainment and more to Vancouver. The Urban Tea Merchant is a classy retail store and tea salon- serving quality and luxury teas. Some of their teas can be $18/100g or even up to $295/250 g of tea. That’s a pair of Marc Jacobs shoes right there!!
I cover “Macarons in Vancouver” for a Vancouver blog and I also was invited back to The Urban Tea Merchant to taste test their new Moon Festival Tea Service that they are offering from September 1- 30. To see my article on VancityBuzz, click here!
The Moon Festival Tea Service did a good integration of Asian cuisine within their tea service, while still sticking to their concept of tea.
Due to my recent re-infection with H. Pylori, I had a Choco Mint Truffle tea to accompany my meal, rather than teas (that had caffeine) that were made specifically for the tea service. I loved the tea, it was a bit sweet and had an African aroma to it. It was a roobios tea, so caffeine free! For starters, I had a petit-chou. Inside a glass cup, there were several balls of very light and fluffy bread balls- sort of like a cream puff but without the cream. Additionally, it came with Weekend in St. Tropez tea infused butter.
Time to move on the main course! There was a lot of food, and I couldn’t finish it. Inside the steamer basket were 4 multi-coloured, tea-infused pork dumplings! Delicious! I can taste the herbs (cilantro I think!) in them. It came with spicy ginger dipping sauce too.
The smoked salmon on the open sandwich, with ponzu jelly and some wasabi sauce was delicious! The wasabi sauce definitely made my hungrier as I ate. And as a lover of smoked salmon, this was pretty delicious. Too bad these were so small.
Next, I dug into these tiny “Lapsang Souchong Tea” chicken salad cones. It’s like chicken ice cream, and as delicious as ice cream. It’s a very fresh chicken dominated salad, and that sauce was amazing! There were only four of these little guys. I could have ate a mountain of these.
There were also small round pieces of sable fish on butter lettuce, with little garlic crisps on top. This was delicious, and you’re technically supposed to eat it as a mini wrap. However, I failed at wrapping these soft things, so I ended up downing the fish first, then eat the lettuce separately. Awkward…
After eating all the meaty stuff, I dove into the fruits, truffles, chocolate covered strawberries, and the mooncake!
I had the Pagoda mooncake- infused with Moonlit Night tea in the lotus paste, and it has dried mango dazzle inside (aka dried mango bits?) This was definitely a unique mooncake. It was very big and dense, and of course, I did not finish it. Out of the four tea-infused mooncakes The Urban Tea Merchant has to offer, only one has the one with a salted egg yolk in the centre. Wish I got to try that one…I love salted egg yolk- screw calories! Nevertheless, this was delicious! I brought it home….and ate it as a snack before dinner..then my brother and I shared the remaining bits as a midnight snack.
Did I mention- those flowers in the picture, they are edible too!
This was a scrumptious meal, and the presentation of this was absolutely beautiful. I thank The Urban Tea Merchant continuously for sharing this with me, and VancityBuzz for giving me the opportunity! If you’re in Vancouver, try the Moon Festival Tea Service to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in a different way! It is a bit costly- $38 per person, minimum two people. But, this is a limited edition service, and The Urban Tea Merchant only started to offer it this year.
Also- I had previously visited The Urban Tea Merchant to try their macarons. My friend and I were macaron hunting around Vancouver and she said we have to try this place. They had eight different flavours of tea-infused macarons that are flow in from Singapore. These macarons are infused with the luxurious TWG tea. I guess that is why these macarons were at a whopping $4 each. Four dollars. Probably one of the most expensive in Vancouver so far. To prevent my wallet from being too light, I bought one macaron, and my friend bought another one, and we shared them with each other.
My friend bought the purple macaron on the left: The Grand Wedding Tea macaron. It is a black tea with notes of passionfruit. There were also coconut shreds within the filling. I had the Bainds de Roses Tea macaron, which is the pink macaron on the left.
These macarons were very, very, very soft, delicate, and fragile. Hold them too hard, and they start to become a pile of mush. These were yummy, and I love the rose aroma of the Bains de Roses Tea macaron. I would’ve bought more if they weren’t $4. Apparently, the chef used to train with Laudree, which is where the original macaron came from. I never had a Laudree macaron though, hopefully one day I can try one!
Thanks for reading about my long post on this food adventure!