Oh My Taiyaki at Snowy Village

Snowy Village
4071-#2a Shelbourne St

Victoria, BC

Phone: (250) 590-2277
Hours: Weds – Monday: 2–8p.m.

Unit #2a at Feltham Centre must be cursed. Every few years, it changes operations. Not even the novel coronavirus can stop Snowy Village during these harder times. I’ve visited this dining space in its previous forms, which can be found here offering churros) and here (Hong Kong style desserts). Instead of going back to what it was (I’m guessing the same Asian family rents the space but depending on whose idea it is to change theme, that person is the manager), the decision to buy into a new franchise was on their mind. Now, I can get cold treats like the bingsoo and a staple with taiyaki.

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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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The Seven Hour Tour … to Tropical Island?

Tropical Island
3690 Shelbourne St #1
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 2:30pm, 5pm to 9pm
Phone: (250) 477-2538

DK: We wanted thick toast in a floral tea bar that rides shotgun with a fitness studio. Instead, we got fried milk and Usher & Lil Jon’s “Yeah” soundtracking voyeursque video of a woman doing squats (I was snooping on the table behind us). More on the tea bar in a future mission. For now, we discuss the compromise.

Tropical Island has an air of reliable tameness that seems to make it popular with old people and families. Buffet fare served a la carte is the general vibe.

ES: I don’t recall how long this operation has been around along the Shelbourne Street corridor, but in all my years living in this municipality, have I thought about going? It certainly looks popular, as Don has said, because of the many apartments nearby. The service is nice and friendly. The food is a mix of various Southern Asian influences.

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Crispy Churros Dessert Cafe

Crispy Churros Dessert Cafe
2A – 4071 Shelbourne
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 8pm
Phone: (250) 590-2277

¡Ay, caramba! Miss Fruits H.K. Desserts closed up shop, and it changed from Asian style sweets to Spanish—well, sort of. The new operation has shaved ice, designer brand coffee and to its namesake, crispy churros!

When the people behind the counter are Korean, this mishmash of cultures is fine by me! The churro has no clear origin story. It may have come from the Orient. In China, we have our own doughnut, a Youtiao. It’s a starchy crispy delight I love to have with congee (or any other thick creamy soup). In Spain, they have a sweeter version which can be consumed on its own and the dips, ranging from chocolate, vanilla or caramel, only enhances the cinnamon flavour. I could eat them all day if I had the metabolism!

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The Return of the Burger King (at Lee’s Restaurant)

Lee’s Restaurant
3960 Shelbourne St,0
Victoria, BC
Phone: (778) 432-2111

ES: I’m not sure how many times the diner next to Save-on-Foods at University Heights has changed. I recall it was once an Italian style place offering up tasty gyros, Japanese with sushi and now it’s a Chinese. The big question is what it will become next? I’m honestly left wondering if it is under the same management or its someone new?

Until I can figure it out, this place is certainly a stop for many a Chinese person to grab a quick bite. Every time I walk past, the patrons there are usually Asian. I suspect many are students from China who have come to this city to study at the University of Victoria. This institution is approximately 15 mins away from here and this municipality has a larger than usual presence of Asian operations.

Donald Kennedy and I will be continuing in the Two Hungry Blokes tradition to explore eateries. We met up at Gauntlet Games (great place to hang out to play Magic the Gathering BTW) to get try out Cthulhu Tales, a card game I bought, and afterward, we were hungry. The dishes came out fast and a bit of home can be tasted in every dish made.

DK: Lookie, lookie Ed found a cookie! And by cookie, I mean washed up local food blogger whose face you vaguely recognize.

“Have I seen this guy online?” You’re asking yourself right now. “Did I print a blogspot photo of him ten years ago and paste it to a vision board under the title ‘RELATIONSHIP GOALS’?” Of course, you did, but turns out you were more into Choclair than Maestro because you did not Stick To Your Vision. Did all your dreams die? Did you STAY HEALTHY and EAT RIGHT? Did you TRAVEL to MELBOURNE? POTENTIAL, PROSPERITY, FOCUS, EARN! How far did you get? I’d love to know, but we’re here to scrutinize small business food offerings, not your lack of follow-through.

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Just How Long is a Pho-Ever?

pho-everPho-Ever
1669 Pear St.,
Gordon Head
Saanich, BC
(250) 388-0028

For as long as I can remember living in the Gordon Head area, Pho-Ever has been around for … well, forever. I have not thought about visiting this place because it’s in a tucked away corner of Shelbourne Plaza and it’s the type of place some would not give a second glance to. As unobtrusive as this establishment is, they can serve up a mean Pho, and it had me savouring every bit of broth from the P-4 I ordered. That is, I had a serving of traditional noodle with bits of rare steak, tendon and tripe mixed in. The traditional plate of bean sprouts, cilantro, lime and hot pepper is offered and beyond that, was there anything that leapt at me?

Not really as there was nothing special in the presentation of the meal. It’s not like I was walking into a trendy restaurant over an every man’s place. The broth was exceptionally well made. It was clear and after applying some hot chilli oil to give it tang, the zest I was craving made the meal. The ratio of the various ingredients were adequate, and I did not realize how hungry I was. I was practically wolfing down the meal as I did not have a proper lunch earlier.

A word of warning: while the serving size of the bowl is perfect, to add any more product on top can get quickly expensive. The charge for adding extra portions of meat, prawn, noodle or vegetables averages $4, making that $11.95 meal turn into $24 if James was here. I stuck with the basics to evaluate the staple of quick Vietnamese street food.

This spot is great for Pokémon GO players. Not only is there a stop but also there were pocket monsters which popped in, eying my meal. I caught mostly common types, but I guess Psyducks love stopping by more often.

Sadly, during a non-busy time, the service was lazy. I had no water refill and the waitress only checked in once on my meal. While I lucked out and got my meal within minutes of ordering, I wonder what this place is like when it is actively busy during lunchtime? Between this operation and another, that’s a block and a half away, I think I’d rather go to the other. I like how they make their Bánh mì sandwiches — they are toasted up and are kept wrapped until I peel the foil out for nibbling when enjoying the view while up on Mount Tolmie.

When I glanced at this Pear St. operation’s menu, I did not find any sandwiches to order. Even though my heart was set for some pho, my eyes kept on glancing at Pokémon GO for some elusive critters that I hoped might appear while here. They used to pop up a few great nest migrations before, but I guess even they are deciding to avoid this place instead of congregating.

3 Blokes out of 5