632 Yates Street
Hours: Tues to Sunday 9:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: (250) 353-2687
Frickin’ Delights Donuts is almost ready to unseat the mighty Empire Donuts, if the talk around downtown Victoria is any sign. But I see both can comfortably satisfy the city core. However, I should note other local makers also exist, and it’s tough to decide who is the king. Just where they rank is a separate article in itself.
Barely a week since opening its doors, the lineups aren’t yet crazy. Their selection of tastes aren’t too different from other places, and as for their famous dill pickle soup–it’s intense! It took a while for my taste buds to adjust to the savoury concoction, but I was sold. I ended up using it as a dip for my roast beef sandwich over the included cornbread donut.
There’s a new snack food that’s come to North America, and I had to ask which Golden Duck tastes better? Their Gourmet Salted Egg Fish Skin crunchy crisps or Singapore Chilli Crab Seaweed Tempura.
Both are very pricey when considering the volume per bag (102grams), but if I wanted more, to shell out nearly $12 CAD per bag is a deterrent. It’s three times the price of chips. Not everyone will want to purchase, much less believe they’re made with real ingredients.
People who love snacking on sunflower seeds generally don’t have a lot of options. In North America, it’s either David, Spitz or Big. Each of them have their devoted following, but I find that over time they’re not all that good. The reason is that the added (or too salty) flavours don’t help satisfy a basic craving. It’s easy to buy a local grocery store’s bulk version and use for salads, but I miss the the joy of cracking the shell open.
In China, there are several brands (Chacha being the most well known) who also sweeten the nut up. I’ve tried a few brought over by Fairway Market, and they are average. It’s tough to find a naturally smoked and simply baked seed until the deceptive branding of ‘Big Sunflower Seeds’ by Onetang, a Sungiven Foods label, caught my eye.
Unlike other packaging, this canister keeps the seeds in a vacuum sealed bag and upon opening, I was surprised at the all natural scent. I question the use of big in any new product, because they rarely live up to expectations. A single seed surprised me, and the flavour is a lot more natural than others.
If it wasn’t for the hefty price, $6 CAD per 213g can, I’d be stocking up! Nearly five months after finding this product, I’m definitely addicted! There’s no turning back. They’re certainly bigger when compared to the North American brands, and as I’m reluctant to buy a full bag to take a proper picture for comparison, I settled for a different style by showing a few against a Canadian quarter.
The packaging says the seeds are harvested from the fields of Inner Mongolia. Whether that’s true is debatable. Chacha uses the exact same words in their marketing.
But as for saying size matters for this seed, they’re one of the best. I can go through a small rice bowl of these and feel satisfied.
1165 Robson St
Hours: Sun to Sat 11a.m.–11p.m.
Phone: (604) 564-9595
Hello Nori is a relatively new operation that opened in Vancouver’s Robson Street strip during the pandemic, and since they’re both dine-in and takeout, the difference is in whether or not the rolls are cut up for you. However, the taste will be slightly different based on how fast you eat them. The selling point is in how crunchy the sheets of seaweed are. I spotted a butane torch in the preparation area and it’s used for their aburi dishes rather than standard rolls. There are also daily sashimi offerings to which I shouldn’t have passed on. After seeing how they looked at a few bar seats away, I knew I’d have regrets.
However, in the back of my mind, I wondered if the fish were caught Ikejime style or West coast. I suspect it’s the latter (this is BC after all), so what’s offered isn’t necessarily ‘authentic’ Japanese and more designer style to convince patrons in.
Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake
1151 Robson St
Hours: Open every day from 10am to 8pm
Phone: (604) 265-4087
The best time to ensure the best selection of Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake is to stop by late morning, as they are fresh from the oven. This franchise operation makes a surprisingly fluffy and delectable cake to which I finished two successive days. I doubt it could keep its texture beyond that, but after tasting this delight, it’s a stop I’ll have to make every time I’m in Downtown Vancouver. Sorry Cartems, but I think you’ve been beat out for which sweet cake I like to partake in. Even the various Beard Papa operations are out as I’ve found the quality inconsistent.
871 Denman St
Hours: Mon to Sun 12–2:30pm, and 4:30–10pm
Phone: (604) 608-1677
On my latest trip to the mainland for Fan Expo Vancouver, I explored the West End and visited Kingyo. Getting here isn’t that bad at night, but I’d still recommend taking a cab or Uber if safety is a concern. The stroll back along Robson Street to your hotel will help burn the calories.
This smaller sized operation is like Maneki Restaurant in Seattle’s International District; the external decor hides a warm and welcoming interior. Their daily specials have a wider variety of seafood and protein offerings than the usual fixings. It’s rare to see any place offer truffle in this style of cuisine. Next time, I’ll be back for their Pork Miso Carbonara–a pasta dish that uses the black fungi as a garnish.