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If you are seeking some Dim Sum (Yum Cha for us Aussies) in Toronto with scenic views, or as scenic as Toronto can get. Then Pearl HarbourFront caters to you. My sister took us here one morning and while it didn’t amaze it or anything, it was a pretty good meal all in all.

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The carts come around frequently and there’s your usual dim sum, such as dumplings.

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 Or the more interesting sorts.

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Your dim sum in bamboo steamers. A prawn dumpling steamed or fried usually is a winner for me, especially if it’s in that translucent pastry.

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I never know what any of these dim sum are called, I just point and they provide but this beef one is one of my personal favourites. With a bit of chilli sauce it’s fantastic.

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Chicken wings, because why not.

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Chee Cheong Fun, wasn’t all that great to be honest and I’m not even a big fan of it and I could tell.

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The steamed sticky rice in banana leaf was also a slight disappointment, lacking in flavour.

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Saving the best for last is my all-time favourite dim sum dish that is ordered without fail, Lo Pak Ko (Surprise! I know another Dim Sum). A great Lo Pak Ko in my tastebuds is slightly crispy outside from the pan frying, and soft inside with a good mixture of Chinese sausage and turnips, with just enough salt to give it that something extra. Here it almost lives to my high expectations but I’m always happy to have it.

Impressions

Pearl Harbourfront doesn’t steer too far away from the norm, and its food also it’s something I would say was amazing. However, its array of Dim Sum I would say is above average on taste, but I do recall it being a bit pricier than I’m used to.

Pearl Harbourfront on Urbanspoon

Pearl Harbourfront 
207 Queens Quay W
Toronto ON Canada M5J2M6

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On my last trip to Malaysia, I purchased a couple of recipe books (as I usually do), one of these was Nyonya Kueh by Chef Ricky Ng. I love how cheap the books are over there and such delicious looking recipes too. Nyonya Kueh are one of my favourite Malaysian snacks, there is incredible variety with sweet and savoury delights, but I have a preference for the sweet varieties. On occasion we buy the blue glutinous rice cakes with pandan kaya from Madam Kwong’s in Box Hill but I love giving it a try and making everything from scratch. So here is my adapted recipe from Ricky Ng.

Blue Glutinous Rice Cake (Pulut Tai Tai)

Rice Cake
Ingredients
A
820g glutinous rice (soaked overnight)
12 bunga telang/clitoria flower (or a few drops of blue food colouring mixed with water)
a few pieces banana leaf

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B
2 ¼ cups thick coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1 piece pandan leaf (knotted together) – Original recipe uses 3 pieces

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C
3 tsp sugar (coconut sugar used)
a few drops pandan essence (optional)

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Kaya

85g sugar (coconut sugar used)
35g brown sugar
3 duck eggs/eggs (chicken eggs can be used too)
1 tbsp custard powder
90ml thick coconut milk
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Method
1. Pound bunga telang (blue flowers), mix with 4 tbsp of water well, and strain to get the blue colouring

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2. Mix soaked glutinous rice with Ingredients B and let it rest for 5 minutes.

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2. Steam the rice over high heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir well with chopsticks.

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3. Add in Ingredients C and mix well. Steam mixture for another 10 minutes

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4. Add in blue colouring to ½ portion of cooked rice, mix well and steam it for 5 minutes

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5. Line a 19cm square tin with banana leaves. Spoon cooked blue rice and white rice alternatively into the tin. Cover the rice with banana leaf and place a heavy object on top to compress the rice.

If you don’t have a square tin and banana leaves, you can scoop all the mixture out and place it back into the tray so it’s all mixed up a bit but you’ll also need to compress the rice in the tray too. Set it aside to cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with Kaya (Recipe below)

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Kaya
1. Mix all the ingredients well in a pot, and if need be strain the mix to rid of any lumps.

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2. Place water in a pot to boil. Once the water is simmering, place a heat proof bowl on top of the pot (make sure the water does not touch the heat proof bowl) and cook until kaya mixture turns golden brown and thick. Be careful not to curdle the eggs. Stir constantly to prevent burning at the base of the pot.

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Impressions

I bought some coconut sugar from Costco and thought it would be a good idea to use it in the glutinous rice as well as the kaya. Coconut sugar as a distinct taste (of coconut, duh!) but it also has this toasted coconut taste to it which might be a bit overpowering for some.

What I found was that if you soak the glutinous rice too long and/or leave the rice to steam for too long, the grains aren’t as defined. The rice appears to absorb too much of the coconut mixture or too much moisture from the steam. Flavour wise it’s great, but leaving it longer than just overnight might be overdoing it.

I also realised the colouring from the blue flowers didn’t seem to cover all the rice, so it might be good to make a bigger batch of the natural colouring mixture just in case or if you prefer a darker blue kueh.

Also as a warning, making the kaya even over steaming water that doesn’t touch the bowl can still be a dangerous affair. The eggs can cook extremely quickly if you’re not careful or if you leave the flame too high. If it does look like the eggs have cooked, one little trick is to use a hand blender and give it a good mix to break it up, that allows the kaya to form a smoother paste (taste-wise it’d be the same)

Using coconut sugar in the kaya also gives the kaya a very strong toasty taste, I’d probably just opt for caster sugar next time for that more authentic taste but that’s the good thing about cooking and experimenting, food is never the same.

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 Guu Sakabar definitely has an interesting atmosphere and if you haven’t dined at one of Guu’s locations in Vancouver or in Toronto, you may be surprised as you walk in. For all guests that arrive, you are warmly greeted with cheers from the employees as well as when you exit. So it can get quite noisy on a busy night but that’s all part of the charm.

Guu offers a Japanese-tapas style menu some options having a bit of Korean influences. What I like about tapas menus is that it’s great for sharing and trying a bit of everything from the menu.

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The Okonomiyaki here is deep fried with squid tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayonnaise. I haven’t tried a deep fried Japanese pancake before as I only have found the pan fried variation in Melbourne (Australia) before, however the pancake certainly left an impression on me.

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Probably my favourite dish was Guu’s Kinoko Bibimbap in a stone pot.With mushrooms, cheese and a seaweed sauce, the combination of flavours worked a treat together. Packed full of flavour, can’t go wrong with it and even for me who would prefer not to have mushrooms in anything!

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You can’t leave Guu without trying their drinks, however being a non-local and wanting to do a tapas drinks, we ordered the Sake Sampler that came with 6 different types of sake. As a non-expert in Sake, I can’t really offer my opinions on them but the cloudy ones were more memorable than the rest for sure.

Guu also offer Japanese Vodka, Beers, Wines and Cocktails and your non-alcoholic beverages as well.

Impressions

Guu is definitely for those seeking a good night out with friends and/or family and the atmosphere at Guu allows for that. Food-wise, most of what we tried was great, but on the smaller side of things.  Though, I certainly hope a restaurant like this pops up in Melbourne to enjoy.

Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon

Guu – Sakabar

559 Bloor St W
Toronto ON M5S1Y6

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