Tropika @ Aberdeen – Been there, done that? Maybe not!

I’ve eaten at Tropika many many times. I went there often when they were next to the Bread Garden mall on Lansdowne Rd, years ago. After they moved into Aberdeen I haven’t eaten there much, nor was I a big fan. It’s not that it’s bad – certainly for the bigger, “chain” Thai/Malay places it is one of the better ones in the city, but I always like smaller hole-in-the-wall Thai/Malay places better. (Plus I always find myself comparing it to Wong Jun Jun in Hong Kong and that makes me slightly depressed that I’m not there XD )

 

It’s definitely not an uncomfortable restaurant to sit in. High ceilings, leafy, spacious… (and never too busy). Frankly I prefer the old Richmond Tropika more. It was always super dark in there but it felt cozy and like a classy Thai place… Aberdeen is very well lit and there are pretty much windows all around.


 

Recently we went for lunch and it was the same old same old – we always kind of order more or less the same stuff when we dine here, such as roti canai:

 

A gado gado (bean sprouts salad with fried tofu and cucumbers and peanut sauce) for me:

Some chicken and pork satays: which are always nicely grilled and pretty delicious – I like their dipping sauces in general.

 

Some boring fried rice that the rice-lovers must always get *yawn*:

 

Except this time I discovered something I really liked on the menu – their Char Bee Hoon 星洲炒米粉 (not the HK style one which is called Singapore Noodle). Maybe I have tried this a long time ago, I don’t remember. Just not in recent memory. This is basically just fried vermicelli with some mixed seafood (squid, shrimp) and julienned cucumber. It’s only very slightly spicy but all the flavours were really well balanced- delicious!

 

And I also tried their meat and vegetable soup, and there was tons of stuff in it – fish, pork, baby corn, peppers, cabbage, bokchoi, shrimp, broccoli, straw mushrooms… The soup itself was pretty good too. 

 

 

Most of the time I go to Tropika and I leave satisfied (especially when I have some of their tasty drinks) but I wouldn’t say super impressed. This time, however, I left pretty happy and thinking I would go back again soon, and definitely not order the same old stuff. 

 

Tropika at Aberdeen

Unit 1830, Aberdeen Centre
4151 Hazelbridge Way

新東記火鍋 Sun Tung Kee Hot Pot

Like soo many Chinese restaurants in Vancouver,  the name 新東記 (Sun Tung Kee) was transplanted from a hot pot restaurant of the same name in 尖沙咀 (Tsim Sha Tsui), Hong Kong. For most of these “transplanted” restaurants, the same name is supposed to evoke some sense of home and supposed-authenticity; there is of course rarely ever any relationship between the two restaurants.

My family has been coming to Sun Tung Kee for years – it’s somehow the go-to hotpot place of family gatherings. (It doesn’t change. It’s one of those loyalty things with family dining, and being the youngest I don’t get any say.)

Anyhoo. I don’t mind this place. Note this is not the other place down the street people call Sabo. The service here is quite attentive, the restaurant is spacious, and the portions aren’t bad. 

 

Hmmmm dipping condiments. 

The fish fillet slices… I think it’s cod. I can’t be sure. It was pretty good though.

 

 

Hot pot is not complete with fatty beef, right? They always order the fatty beef. Those dumplings have fish in them, I think.

 

Killing some shrimp in the fruit and veggie soup, and there’s some cod head on the bottom right there.
hotpot

 

As a default we also order that mushroom chicken rice that comes in the stone pot. It’s pretty good. I forgot to take a picture of it. Oh well. There’s always complimentary plum juice and tong shui dessert (this time it was red bean soup) afterwards.

 

Sun Tung Kee Hot Pot

1060-8580 Alexandra Road, Richmond (It’s at the eastern end of Alexandra, closer to Garden City)

Mix the Bakery

Mix

Ever since it opened in 2003, Mix the Bakery has been continuously voted one of the best Vancouver bakeries. It’s a modest, modern little bakery right next to Burgoo on West 1oth: I have passed by several times, I have even gone inside all googly-eyed, but haven’t tried anything from there. So, being in the neighbourhood a few days ago, I went in, bought a Parisienne baguette (their “Parisienne” is made with whole wheat, their “Rustic” is white), and left.

Ah, thankfully (?), posts at the Lab of Edibles are never this simple. The story is just beginning. As I headed out the door with the 2 feet long baguette, I briefly surveyed all the food people were eating – pretty darn delicious looking salads, hot soups, and grilled sandwiches. I was expecting more of a full-on bakery where they just sell a lot of bread and cakes, and not much of a hot-sandwiches and soups kind of cafe-style fare. So, after walking back to my car (which was, of course, not a moment before my hungrily tearing off a giant piece of the baguette and munching on it on the street like some starved grad student), putting my baguette in the trunk (lest some salivating passersby might break in to steal this wondrous creation), I decided to go back for lunch (despite having made plans to eat elsewhere).

Inside Mix

I am so glad I did. Like a lot of bakery/cafe’s, Mix is pretty small. There’s all the breads and goods displayed on one side of the shop and seats lining the other. There are about 5 tables and a bar by the window, so it fits about 20. It was lunch time, and the place was packed. I managed to get the little round table right next to the door. I ordered a small Tuscany Tomato Soup, which came with two slices of bread (I was told they were the house Campesino and sourdough, but I don’t think either was a sourdough). I asked for the bread to be toasted, and they told me it would take a little while because they had quite the lineup of sandwhiches waiting to be grilled, but the food actually arrived pretty quickly. It came on a little metal plate:

Tuscan Tomato soup

Both slices of bread were delicious. The one on the bottom that you can’t see here had these beautiful large, irregular airy holes. The one on the top tasted a bit like potatos. The tomato soup was awesome too – hearty, creamy, and with strong but well balanced spices. This cost about $3.50. I was looking around and their sandwiches were pretty big; their chicken salad also looked nice and fresh.

They also have these great looking cakes, cookies and sweets:

Mix Cakes

And of course, who can forget that Parisienne baguette sitting in the trunk? I ate about two-thirds of it that night. It’s definitely one of the best baguettes I’ve had in this city – the crust was crisp and fine, the crumb was soft but not overly so, and overall both combine to give a very nice chewiness. And the bread kind of dissolves in your mouth slowly but surely. I don’t really know how else to describe it. It was just really really good bread.

Mix Baguette

The staff here are friendly and helpful, and pretty happy to explain the food and breads to you. I am definitely going back soon to try out their other breads, soups and sandwiches.

– 

Mix the Bakery
4430 W. 10th avenue, Vancouver (Right next to Burgoo. Near UBC.)
604.221.4145

Seafood hot pot.

Shrimp mushroom tofu hotpot

Mom’s seafood hot pot of jumbo shrimp, enoki mushrooms, napa cabbage, lettuce, in a miso broth. And hidden underneath was soft tofu and Kamaboko (Japanese steamed fish cake). Yum. Was stuffed by the end of this and having several cups of that miso broth, so nice and warm and perfect for a cold day.

This was the kamaboko, which was cut into little half moon slabs. I’m particularly fascinated with the little piece of wood that these cakes are packaged with. It’s purely for your chopping convenience, and then it gets chucked, but I kinda think it’s neat.

Kamaboko