Liuzhou Luosifen, or River Snail Rice Noodles, is a dish not everyone will like. It sounds gross, but when compared to escargot, the difference is in how the protein source is prepared and used. It’s definitely an acquired taste and ever since the pandemic started, has been a trending thing from Liuzhou City, China–where it was first introduced. CNN reported on how this latest trend is the hippest thing. Two years later, I think the fad died as it’s hard to find at local grocery stores now.
The price for a box is $50 CAD when they first started appearing a year ago. I wasn’t ready to blow a bunch of money for a snack I’m unsure of liking. It took three quarters of a year until the grocery store decided selling my individual package was better.
1127 Haultain St
Tues-Sat: 11:30am – 7:30pm
Sunday: 4 – 7:30pm
Phone: (250) 383-8332
Take Out Available.
My childhood memories of visiting grandma in the Fernwood neighbourhood often include her treating me to some of the “famous” Haultain Fish & Chips around the corner. Seniors love their fish n’ chips, and this place served up some mighty fine fixings in the past. This operation is a staple–hardly ever changing over the years. My mother’s side of the family lived in this area for about two decades before finally moving to other parts of town.
Maybe I should’ve stuck to those memories instead of trying them again in my adult years. I’ve been back a few times before but after the third attempt, I’ve finally come to a conclusion. The subtle changes since the switch in ownership isn’t always for the better. There’s nothing special in the batter to enhance the halibut, and the Fanny Bay oysters (without the coating) were the stars. They were plump and juicy. The portion size was smallish for both. They’re a far cry from what I remember from my youth. If I had to say which shop is the best for the Lower Island, it’s Shell’s Fish and Chips out by Jordan River! The fillets, peppering and serving size are huge! They left a lasting memory.
585 Johnson St
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Phone: (778) 432-0664
Yes, I make no bones about it, I love rice balls. A long time ago, a Chinese-style variant included a deep-fried type where the gooey cheese interior made for all the difference. This was before I discovered Onigiri, a healthier Japanese snacking version to which I’ve never looked back in my switch.
Oni-Oni is a satellite operation of Sakura Sushi and is a place I’ll definitely return to when I need my sweet rice vinegar fix! They have fifteen flavours of onigiri to choose from! Not all of them are always available, but if you call ahead, it’s possible to get what you want made to order. Eating one is not enough, and for a hearty individual like me, I can eat up to four of them in one go. These bites are like snacks, and aren’t the huge ones people sometimes see in anime. They’re about the same size as the ones bought at Fujiya’s on Shelbourne. Plus, this store has Okashi and Nomimono too!
L’Authentique Poutine and Burgers
1208 Wharf Street
Weds to Sat 11am to 7pm
Phone: (778) 432-2444
ES: L’Authentique Poutine and Burgers have new digs! Instead of operating out of Langford during the cold winter months (although it’ll soon be Spring), they have a new space down by the wharf to serve up their tasty French fries and burgers for city residents! They’re well known for their fancy poutines and while I don’t expect them to vary the flavours regularly, I will be back to have their french fries time and time again.
DK: Points for longevity. The minor setback of a fire licking the Langford truck into submission back in 2012 doesn’t seem to have had a long-term effect on L’Authentique’s success. Nearly a decade later and here they are in a prime downtown location. But is it worth lining up 30m-1hour once tourists are back in town?
Not if you stick to the published menu. The bacon cheeseburger is reminiscent of an A&W Teen Burger, and the cheese curds in the poutine are squeaky as expected. Don’t get me wrong, it makes for a satisfying enough meal, but I wouldn’t brave tourist crowds for it.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya
320 E Pine St.
Hours: Mon to Sun 11 am to 9:30 pm
Phone: (425) 553-0867
I rarely review franchise operations, but when I was exploring the various diners east of the Washington State Conference Center, the choices are not limited when I was there pre-pandemic! I’m hoping this place survived as ramen shops are the type of operations that would close down during these times. Most traditional shops tightly pack diners in tight and I imagine to keep operating, the space of a chair and half is mandated to keep everyone safe.
When people are allowed to freely travel again, I’ll be there for you, Kizuki! Yes, I’m thinking of a certain TV theme song here, because I recall the camaraderie between the regulars and chefs when I was there last.
I’d be sad if they’re gone, because it’s rare to find an operation I’m definitely in love with. I have yet to find a match with the ramen shops here in Victoria, BC. Kizuki’s food is still prepared the same way as it is in Japan–they have a unique method of roasting bones before boiling. Similar to the French style of making consomme, they were the first in the Japanese ramen industry to employ this method. The result is a rich, flavourful broth that is fragrant and full of depth. They are devoted to replicating the incredible flavour of traditional Japanese ramen. Every operation gets the bulk of their ingredients from this country.
On YouTube, Google Play and Amazon Prime
After watching The Donut King, I now know where to go to get my sugary fix when travel without restrictions is allowed again. The various delights offered by one Santa Monica operation is enough to make me want to jet down instead of fly across the Pacific Ocean! This work was released last year at the Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival and was quickly picked up for wider distribution. To find it, however, meant waiting in line like the time I was in Oregon for Voodoo Doughnut. Though the wait was thirty minutes long, the wait was worth it.
Ted Ngoy is hailed as a pioneer of the enterprising spirit in California. He’s as shrewd as Ray Kroc in taking partial ownership of the name and franchising out McDonalds. The variation is in how he helped his fellow Cambodians who came to America open their operations and when he took a slice of the American dream.