Not Quite Kissing the Fish With Ki Sushi in New West

Ki Sushi Restaurant
45 8th Street
New Westminster, BC

Phone: (604) 521-1833
Hours: 11a.m.–9:30p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11a.m.–10p.m.

Even when I’m in a different part of the Lower Mainland, I gravitate to my dietary staple, fish. If only I was in Japan, I’d find most of it bought from tsukiji market, or caught right from the river and cut up for consumption. If only that was the case out in New Westminster, since it’s by the Fraser River.

Ki Sushi is voted as the best sushi restaurant 14 years in a row by some reader’s choice awards. Of course, that means by mostly locals. After travelling far and wide, just where they rank in the bigger leaderboard is not all that high. Their tuna is mid to lower grade in taste; I could tell by the colour. My recall of what I tasted at Sushi Kashiba (Seattle’s very best) and Fūdo’s when compared to this place told me there’s a huge difference and you get what you pay for, especially when concerning tuna. The BC salmon was far better.

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Clucking In with Masutama Ramen

Marutama Ramen
270 Robson St,
Vancouver, BC V6B 0E7

Phone: (604) 687-0487
Hours: 11:30am–10pm

Like McDonald’s, ramen shops are popping up nearly everywhere, no matter how big the town is. I saw more had sprung up in the downtown core of Vancouver when I was here last. Yes, I admit this blog has become a noodle haven lately, and I go where my stomach tells me to visit. A change will happen soon, I promise!

On the path to Rogers Arena, there were at three places I could hit. Masutama Ramen opened a year and a half ago and is making waves. They offer a chicken-based broth over the usual pork. The taste takes getting used to and when roasted onions are added on top, the blend made sipping the broth a joy. On its own, it’s very rich and really needed toning down.

The noodles were savoury enough and portioned on the low side, which made me realize I should have ordered a double to fill me up. Yes, I have to live up to “Too Hungry” somehow, and on a cold winter evening, it was needed! I’d rather not pay the inflated prices for food or liquid products within the concert venue.

Doubling up on the succulent cha-shu was on the nose. Its smoky flavour was only enhanced by the broth. The egg was well prepared and was perhaps soaked in soy beforehand to give it the brown outer skin. Unlike traditional seaweed, this operation uses sea lettuce, which made for a different ramen eating experience.

Their dumplings are not quite on par with The Gyoza Bar. They were crispy enough to satisfy, and again, I needed two orders than one to sate the craving within me. Patrons usually do not linger in a ramen bar for long. They want a nice hot meal and be out as soon as possible. During lunch-time, I imagine this place has a high turnover. On the later parts of the days, it’s possible to linger around and wait for friends to show up. I was meeting Ira Hunter of Absolute Underground Magazine, and by the time he arrived, I had finished.

My advice: when dining with friends, make sure you all show up at the same time. These bowls are served quick. By the time others show up, you may be done and be craving for more.

3½ Blokes out of 5

Ramen Teh, A Movie Review

After seeing the movie Ramen Teh during the 2019 Victoria Film Festival, I left the theatre with a craving for bak kut teh (Meat Bone Tea). This film suggests the broth in this dish and ramen are similar, though, with the former, more herbs are used. It soothes the soul, and as this film suggests perhaps also help mend fences.

With this movie, it not only offers a lesson in the origins of this noodle dish but also explores the foodie scene in Singapore. The story looks at how Masato (Takumi Saito) seeks to reconnect with a part of the family he’s almost forgotten. When his Japanese father Kazuo (Tsuyoshi Ihara) passes away, he cannot quite continue to run the family ramen shop soon. There are bitter memories, mostly in how distant otōsan has become over the years. No reason is given right away, but it’s quickly revealed he’s never recovered from the loss of his beautiful wife, Mei Lian (Beatrice Chien). Since that departure, he’s become emotionally distant and a complete workaholic.

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Ramen Teh to Play at the Victoria Film Festival

Playing at the
Victoria Film Festival
Victoria, British Columbia

Feb 1 to 10th

Tue | Feb 5 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3
Thur | Feb 7 | 6:15 PM | SilverCity #3

Back in 2011, I saw Chef of the South Polar (review link) at the Victoria Film Festival (VFF), and I learned a good noodle consists of a lot more than the love put into kneading the dough and creating the strands. Kansui is one part sodium bicarbonate and many other parts other trace minerals. To put them together in perfect harmony is part of many an Asian culture.

This year marks this event’s 25th anniversary (Taking place from Feb 1 to 10) and Ramen Shop (Ramen Teh) will continue to teach me something new in terms of how to celebrate life and food. Life lessons are often part of the theme in these movies, and I’m looking forward to what this year’s crop of films will offer.

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Blowfish Sushi by the PNE & Fright Nights

Blowfish Sushi
2828 E Hastings St #107
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11:30 a.m to 9:00pm
Phone: (604) 258-7500

I think the closest I will ever get to eating Fugu, the forbidden fish, is at Blowfish Sushi in Vancouver, BC. I was there last month to partake in Fan Expo Vancouver, and to cap my crazy fun-filled weekend, I had to hit the Fright Nights at the PNE.

I was supposed to meet friends there, but when the Drunk in a Graveyard team arrived into town late, my little voice said, it isn’t going to happen. Instead of feeling down, I said screw it and just enjoy this fair myself and met the devil! If I could sample that said fish that is this diner’s namesake, and let my fates go what may and perhaps my body would be found here at this park, adding to the haunted attraction.

Everything I wish Monster Entertainment’s Fear on the Pier back home could do to make Ogden Point a destination for Halloween was done at the PNE. From actors around the park to heavy use of fog machines made for a cool stroll. The creepy clowns got close, and I loved it!

As for the food, the idea of deep-fried avocado is not one I often see and was not aware of the online raves about this place. I knew I needed a snack before taking on carnival fun. The waitress was friendly and patient as I looked over the menu. The ambiance if more of a modern Tokyo type place than traditional.

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[Burnaby, BC] Yaguchiya Ramen has a secret …

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Yaguchiya Ramen
4679 Kingsway St,
Burnaby, BC

Hours: 11am to 3:30pm, 5-9:30pm
Phone: (604) 620-4679

… and they are willing to tell noodle lovers one of their recipes “of toppings for nice ramen.” Okay, the grammar is odd, but I suspect the image I took makes up their soup base and this revelation will have many reproduce it at home. I doubt this will work for instant ramen (we have sake for that) but for properly refrigerated noodles, to have that perfect broth defines the experience.

I’m enjoying this freedom to discovery establishments when travel lust hits. James R. Shaw to do his research than take chances. For me, I simply look at a map and either decide or roll a die than to depend on what other people say. I’ll gladly ask afterward, but definitely not before! After a long day checking out Metropolis at Metrotown, I did not want to simply visit the food court. Instead, I walked across the street to sample one of a handful of diners occupying this street block.

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