Cracking Open the Sunflower Seed Snack Food Conspiracy

sunflower1People 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. 

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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.

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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.

When Cultures Collide in Master Cheng at Devour 9.5 Food & Film Fest

Devour Food & Film Festival
Location: Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Date: Fri, Oct 20, 2020
Time: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm

Buy In-person tickets or online tickets here

Price: $10.00

Master Cheung (warmly played by Pak Hon Chu), is a stranger in a strange land. In this film’s case, it’s Finland. Together with his son, Niu Niu (Lucas Hsuan), they travelled here in search of Fongtron, and Sirkka’s (Anna-Maija Tuokko) diner is the only place where he can ask for his whereabouts.

Nobody in the tiny hamlet knows who this person is, and why this Chinese man is adamant on finding him. Part of it is due to how he pronounces his syllables, and it doesn’t make for any comic moments. Chu plays his character up somewhat like Jackie Chan, naïve and strong, but without the fighting prowess and necessity to yuk it up. I feel this direction is intentional to show the parts of his life that he’s closed off.

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Not Too Heung Up when Searching for Food at Shelbourne Plaza

Lin Heung Restaurant
3749 Shelbourne St
Victoria, BC

Phone: (250) 721-1398
Tues–Sun: 11 AM–9 PM

Available for pickup and delivery

In Gordon Head, lower Saanich, there is no shortage of Chinese and Asian restaurants (Purple Garden and Pho Ever are nearby) to visit. I was here getting a quick lunch before my relatives and I went Pokemon Go hunting, and this was before the pandemic was declared and the BC government said it’s time to socially isolate.

Lin Heung is a decent Cantonese style Chinese restaurant, and it’s been in operation in the southernmost part of Shelbourne Plaza for as long as I can remember.

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When Another Cook, er Comic Book Won’t Do; Zao Dao’s Cuisine Chinoise Brings Worlds Together

Plenty of Chinese cooking philosophy can be learned in the release of Zao Dao’s comic anthology Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food. Dark Horse Comics is publishing the translated edition and it is set for release June 2020.

In what’s key to this culture’s style of cuisine is in different ingredients gel together. It’s not just about the tastes, but also in how it brings people together. It’s said to bring different people of conflicting ideologies together. Just look at Voltron: Legendary Defender. In the finale. Hunk (the Yellow Paladin) believes he can bring feuding empires together at the dinner table. Peace can be made one meal at a time. Mending old wounds can be tough, and when some food has healing properties, perhaps all that’s needed is a careful time to taste that fine red wine.

Not only are the principles of yin and yang involved to bring balance, there’s other facts to be found that nearly all Chinese master chefs share. Key to bringing this balance to the force are also the five flavours–Sour (酸 suān); Sweetness (甜 tián or 甘 gān); Spice (辛 xīn); Bitter (苦 kǔ) and Salt (咸 xián). These specific natures are reflected for those who read Dao’s work when it was originally published in France. Editions Mosquito handled this release and those impatient can hunt Abebooks.com for a copy.

The overlap between food, family, and culture are seamlessly highlighted in this special “cook book.” From insects looking for a meal to a man whose passion for cooking is the only hope of maintaining a family legacy, these wonderfully illustrated stories explore the rich and humorous world within while showcasing the beautiful relationship between Chinese culture and food.

Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food has two release dates. Some may consider comic shops are getting the appetizer on June 10, 2020 and hopefully a main course (book signing perhaps?) at bookstores June 23, 2020. The 96-page paperback graphic novel anthology is available for pre-order through Amazon and at your local comic shop for $19.99.

Always Wanton for J & J Wonton Noodle House

J & J Wonton Noodle House
1012 Fort St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 2pm,
4:30pm to 8:30pm

Phone: (250) 383-0680

When an operation touts their specialty is with wonton, my craving for this wonderful dumpling is better served at home, here in beautiful Victoria, BC than going to the mainland. The shrimp & pork style is the best. For those craving one protein than both, the single variety can be ordered. This operation was very accommodating by taking my order while I was waiting for a seat. Like a ramen shop, I easily popped in for a bite even though other people were here for dinner. When people are opting for the latter, I recommend making a reservation!

Wor style is preferred over traditional. Not only are the dumplings bigger, but you get more bang out of your buck. In this visit, I opted for simple and it’s my fault for not realizing how hungry I was. Even on a quiet day, to see this place is always busy is very good.

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[Vancouver, BC] Not So Wanton for Neptune Wonton Noodle

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Neptune Wonton Noodle
4405 Central Blvd,
Burnaby, BC

Hours: 10am–1am
Phone: (778) 379-0639

There is more to the Neptune franchise name than just their Seafood Restaurants in downtown Vancouver and Coquitlam (to name a few). Yes, I’ve been visiting Vancouver quite a bit, and it’s tough for me to not say a thing about many an established chain on the mainland.

For regular Asian customers, it’s a place to hit (especially in Burnaby) and the staff treats them more kindly than Caucasians. I’m sorry, but this detail was particularly jarring when I suggested to my friend that we check this place out. We were in the area for a book signing at Chapters. Instead of a bite in Metropolis in Metrotown (Burnaby, BC), we opted for an establishment close to our hotel. While behaviours from the older generation never change in regards to other cultures wanting to come in to explore ethnic tastes, I question whether they should be working in the dining / public service sector or not. Continue reading