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Review: Red Apple Restaurant

4701 Franklin Avenue, Yellowknife

Red App 1

Date of Visit: October 3, 2015

 

The Red Apple is fairly close to a hotel I stayed in overnight and it was handy for a quick spot of breakfast one morning, I actually ate here (again for breakfast) many, many years ago and it doesn’t look to have changed a great deal in the meantime. Still, it is a pretty good place for cheap meal… Read more

Review: A Taste of Saigon – Yellowknife, NWT

4913-50th Street, Yellowknife
TOS 1

Date of Visit: October 2, 2015

This Vietnamese restaurant, one of two in Yellowknife, appears to be quite a popular place. I arrived at about 1 pm, towards the end of the lunch rush (or so I thought), but every table was full and there was still a line-up inside the door. I left, returning about 45 minutes later, and was very glad I did come back as I enjoyed an excellent meal… Read more

The Arctic Fox

Fox 1

I have lived in Nunavut for going on 16 years now but until this past week I had only ever seen one Arctic Fox. On my recent trip to Cambridge Bay, however, I had at least a half-dozen sightings on each of the six days I was there. What was particularly odd about this was that these all occurred right in the middle of town and mostly from the apartment I was billeted in for the week. It was hard trying to get decent pictures of them, and most I took were very poor, but read on to see the few that did turn out fairly well… Read more

Bean Paste Beef and Eggplant

Bean Paste Beef 1

Some time ago,  I took a look at Lee Kum Kee’s Spicy Bean Sauce and then featured it in a Ma Po Style Eggplant dish (which gave effect to the intended use of the jarred condiment). As I mentioned in the latter post, I was not impressed with the Lee Kum Kee product as a proper ‘Ma Po’ style sauce but I still found it pretty decent and, here, I have paired it once again with eggplant. This time, however, I am using the slender Japanese variety rather than the fatter European ones, and I have replaced the ground pork with strips of beef… Read more

A Pasta Experiment

Pasta Experiment 1

Over the years, I have come across quite a few recipes which use breadcrumbs as a component of simple, rustic pasta sauces. Until now, however, I had never tried it and the result you see above really came about as a last minute idea with leftover ingredients.

I recently bought some very nice veal cutlets. I wanted to use breaded cutlets for a Veal Parmesan Sandwich idea I am working on but I had a whole cutlet leftover and decided to have it with pasta. As always, whenever I bread cutlets (or anything else) I had extra beaten eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs leftover and so, instead of tossing them (as I usually would), I saw a way to use them… Read more

Dim Sum – Steamed Pork and Peanut Dumplings

Steamed Pork and Peanut Dumpling 1

潮洲蒸粉粿

I had these dumplings at Urban China in the City of Edmonton some while ago. The English name given on the menu describes the content well enough but the Chinese Character name more particularly identifies them as a specialty of the Cantonese town of Chaozhou commonly known as ‘Fun Gor’. You should be aware, though, that the town and the dumplings both have a host of different spellings and can appear together on a menu (to list just a few possibilities) as:

  • Teochew Fun Gor;
  • Chiu Chow Dumpling; or,
  • Chaozhou Fen Guo

This type of dumpling has a starch based wrapper that is translucent when steamed. It is typically made with wheat or tapioca starch (or a combination thereof) and flour is sometimes added, with rice flour being the most common. Pork and peanuts are invariable components of the filling but shrimp, both dried and fresh, are often included, as are white radish, black mushrooms, and cilantro.

The version you see pictured above has the standard starch-based wrapper and is of a fairly common shape (although you can often find them formed as a flat, half-moon, with the pleat on the side). These ones were quite large and a little unwieldy when trying to manipulate them with chopsticks, but they held together well and didn’t fall apart. The pork presence in the filling was a bit bland, while the coarsely chopped peanuts added some texture but little taste. Most of the flavor actually came from dried black mushroom, with a little cilantro in the back ground. The dumplings were not bad, overall, but definitely not the best ‘fun gor’ I have ever had…

By the way (and for those interested), the first two characters in the Chinese menu name indicate Chaozhou (or Chiu Chow, etc.) while the middle character (pronounced zhēng, in Mandarin) means ‘steamed’. The last two characters identify the dumpling type and yield the ‘Fun Gor’ pronunciation but they are actually non-standard deviations from the typical menu listing . Usually, the characters 粉果 are used for this sort of dumpling (and the pronunciation is the same) but, here, the restaurant has employed 粉粿, instead. This makes a bit of linguistic sense in that the final character translates as ‘cooked rice for making cake’, but. In usual renditions, the standard character (果) means fruit. Anyone have any information on this point?

 

Review: L’Atitudes Restaurant, Yellowknife

5010 49 St, Yellowknife, Yellowknife

L'Atitudes 01

Date of Visit: October 2, 2015

This restaurant is part of the Yellowknife Inn but, rather than being inside the hotel itself, it is located in the Center Square Mall to which the hotel is attached. I probably wouldn’t have found myself here except that I was booked into the Inn during a layover in Yellowknife and it was a handy spot for breakfast. Read more

A Simple Meatloaf

Simple Meatloaf 1

I haven’t made meatloaf in many years; chiefly because my wife, who likes burgers and meatballs, HATES meatloaf. However, since I have been living an enforced bachelor life of late, I decided to try one again. I have purposely made this recipe fairly simple. Many people add all sorts of other ingredients like carrot, celery, or onion into the meat mix but I find the texture suffers and I prefer to serve these sorts of things separately… Read more

A Circuit to Baker Lake

Baker Lake Circuit 01

The last time I was in the little community of Baker Lake I was still a Crown Prosecutor and it was in the dead of winter. On this, my second only visit, I got to see the place before the first snow fall of the year.

Baker Lake has the distinction of being Nunavut’s only inland community, that is, one not situated on a sea coast, and it is also very nearly at the geographical center of the country. It has a population of nearly 2000 or so but, while I was there, it struck me as a fairly quiet sort of place. Possibly, though, I just happened to visit while many community members were out hunting or fishing… Read more

Dim Sum: Grilled Abalone and Meat Buns

Grilled Abalone and Meat Bun

鮑魚生煎飽

This delicacy, which I was served at Urban China in Edmonton this past July, was very interesting from both a culinary and linguistic standpoint. The buns of stuffed, leavened dough, were described as being ‘grilled’ on the English menu but the penultimate character in the Chinese name means to ‘pan-fry’, which was clearly the case here. However, each bun was nearly the width of my palm so I rather suspect that they must have been steamed first.

The filling contained both abalone and pork and was very tasty. The abalone was diced very small, and there wasn’t a great deal of it (abalone is very expensive) but it did add a nice, sweetish marine flavor to the umami of the meat. There was, unfortunately, some cilantro added, which I dislike, but it was in small enough amount that it didn’t diminish my pleasure.

For those interested, the Chinese name has a bit of a poetic quality as the first and last characters are both pronounced ‘bao’, albeit with a fractional difference in tone. The first two characters specify Abalone, but can be read as ‘abalone fish’, indicating how the Chinese categorize this animal. Interestingly, the first character does not contain the ‘insect/bug radical’ as do most of the characters for various types of shell-fish.

I was a bit confused by the middle character (生, pronounced ‘shēng’). This usually indicates an item that is fresh or raw, and I first thought it indicated that fresh rather than dried abalone had been used except that the placement of the character was wrong. I have since learned that it forms a compound with the next character and that a生煎 bun is a particular specialty of Shanghai.

The very last character is curious and I could use some help… Many bread and dumpling delicacies are specified by the generic包character in their name. Here, the final character includes, you will note, 包as its right half, and the pronunciation of both is just about the same. The meaning of the 飽character, however, is ‘eat until full’ so I am not sure if the person who drafted the menu used the wrong character, or whether they were employing a well-known Chines pun. Can anybody shed some light on this?