Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sun Bo Kong Vegetarian Restaurant

Sun Bo Kong Vegetarian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato DISCLAIMER: I grew up eating Chinese food and my mom's wonton soup, so Chinese food is comparatively mundane for me. If it's a delicious novelty for you, then you might want to rate this restaurant higher.

NOTE: This is a vegetarian Chinese restaurant that uses meat substitutes. Part of my positive tilt on how I rate them is in the quality of the fakeness of the meat.

B14 Assorted Vegetables and Wonton in Soup ($12.95)
  • Overall pretty ordinary tasting. In fact, I'm a bit inclined to give it bonus points for tasting just like my mom's home cooking.
  • Not exactly thick with wontons since this is mixed wontons and vegetables (and it says so right in the menu name), so if you're looking for tons of wontons and just token veggies, you might want to check with the server for something else to order.
  • The wontons are themselves quite interesting from a fake-meat point of view. They actually taste fairly close to pork. But more than that, they actually make an effort to have it look like pork-and-shrimp wontons: If you cut open one, you'll likely see a fat chunk of (fake) prawn. It doesn't taste like prawn (tastes more like bland nothing if you isolate it and taste it) but the appearance is comforting for omnivores that might be missing meat.
2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - B14 Assorted Vegetables and Wonton in Soup


2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - B14 Assorted Vegetables and Wonton in Soup

2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - wonton interior

C27 Veggie Balls and Mushrooms with Black Pepper Sauce ($13.95)
  • Pretty simple and tasty. Sauce not too strong though, so if you're worried about that, or looking forward to a very strong pepperiness, check with your server.
  • Except for the shape, the "veggie balls" are pretty good at passing for tender chunks of (fake) chicken. And camouflaged amongst the comparably sized mushrooms, you might not even notice the odd shapes. If you're looking for fake chicken, this is probably better than the overtly fake-looking chicken options.
  • NOT swimming in oily sauce. This is good.
2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - C27 Veggie Balls and Mushrooms with Black Pepper Sauce

2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - C27 Veggie Balls and Mushrooms with Black Pepper Sauce

G10 Baked Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Cheese ($16.95)
  • Weird to see cheese and pumpkin in a Chinese restaurant, much less in the same dish. I recommend you try it! It's not only novel but the sauce makes it pretty tasty.
  • It's also a LOT of rice -- the server rated a single order as being enough rice for five persons! Certainly on it's own it's a meal for two.
  • It does NOT taste like Kraft cheddar mac 'n cheese. Nor does it taste like someone melted an awful lot of cheddar on top. In fact, it doesn't taste like cheese so much. The sauce (that doesn't harden up like cheese when it cools) kind of tasted to me like a sweet, not-spicy-hot, curry.
  • The pumpkin comes in small wedges with some of the green skin on, but baked enough to be tender and sweet. Make sure you scoop up some.
2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - G10 Baked Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Cheese

2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - G10 Baked Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Cheese

2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - G10 Baked Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Cheese

2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - G10 Baked Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Cheese

2017-10-21 Sun Bo Kong - G10 Baked Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Cheese

Service very friendly and helpful to non-Chinese speakers!
Not a lot of small tables for 2-4 so if you're a duo you might get stuck with a small table basically at the kitchen exit and the only other option is only a bit farther away.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Social Nature - Little Northern Bakehouse

The latest free sample I received from SocialNature is Little Northern Bakehouse gluten-free bread.

For restrictive diets, there's lots to like with this pretty much lowest-common denominator almost-everyone-can-eat-it bread: Gluten-free, but also non-GMO and Vegan.

The first challenge in getting them was actually finding them in-store. From the online Store Locator, I knew to look in Save-On-Foods but I didn't see it with the rest of the breads, and ended up having to ask the Bakery Department, who directed me to a freezer near the meat section. Nowhere close to breads and chock full of other gluten-free breads.

I really wanted a "normal" loaf of plain white to compare with "normal" bread, but they only have fancy varieties with stuff in it. In the end I picked Cinnamon & Raisin Loaf because I figured raisin breads are common enough that I could compare and non-raisin-hater readers could also relate.
Here are some *before store discount* price-per-100 gram comparisons of Raisin loaves from the Save-On-Foods near Metrotown (2017-October-17):

$0.74/100g - Country Harvest whole wheat raisin cinnamon
$0.84/100g - Dempsters Cinnamon Raisin
$0.77/100g - local/baked in-store (?) Raisin Bread
$1.35/100g - Little Northern Gluten Free (and vegan) Cinnamon Raisin

Price for portion, getting a specialty loaf costs about twice as much. The bag size looks about the same but the loaf is definitely smaller.
IMPORTANT: I am not celiac. I am not vegan. So it's definitely daunting to want to switch. But if you are either, then to a certain extent, beggars can't be choosers and the market makes you pay a premium for a specialty product.

2017-Oct-17 Save on Foods - 4.99-5.69 cinnamon raisin bread

2017-Oct-17 Save on Foods - 3.50 local Raisin Bread with 40% raisins

2017-Oct-17 Save on Foods - 6.49 Little Northern Bakehouse gluten free cinnamon raisin loaf

The shape is also, in a word, horrible. Maybe freezing it did it no favours. Here are some pictures of the still-basically-frozen loaf when I got it home from Save-On-Foods:

2017-10-17 - Little Northern Bakehouse gf cinnamon raisin loaf - in package

2017-10-17 - Little Northern Bakehouse gf cinnamon raisin loaf - loaf (frozen)

2017-10-17 - Little Northern Bakehouse gf cinnamon raisin loaf - cross section (frozen)

I let it thaw a bit, then threw the two slices pictured above into my toaster on the very lowest setting. TIP: The raisins take a bit longer to warm up than the bread.

I'm not celiac, so I can be picky about gluten-free breads and the early ones were dry and crumbly. Little Northern Bakehouse promises "the consistency and feel of regular bread, so they won't crumble or fall apart". The texture is in fact very, very, close to "normal bread". If you put any kind of spread on it, or if you're just not paying close attention, you'll miss the slightly grainy texture on your tongue.

Overall as bread goes, it's pretty good except for the shape. For people who want to switch to gluten free (and vegan) and miss bread, this is a very good facsimile. If you're going to serve it, best to try disguising its shape with some kind of dressing or topping -- and the Little Northern Bakehouse blog has no shortage of recipes.

2017-10-17 Social Nature - Little Northern Bakehouse

2017-10-17 Social Nature - Little Northern Bakehouse

2017-10-17 Social Nature - Little Northern Bakehouse