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We actually stumbled upon Pocha Restaurant as we initially wanted to dine at the Thai restaurant next door but being such a petite space, it was unfortunately full. Luckily enough we looked next door and saw this Korean restaurant opened. From the outside, Pocha didn’t really seem open. It was very dark inside, and no signs it was open. Somehow being desperate for some place to dine we walked in and found this very interesting restaurant. There is a long walkway with each side having this little covered/tent-like dining spaces. It looked like you were in some sort of food market and these were the outside tents to eat in, but somewhat private.

The menu was slightly on the pricer side of things, and we didn’t really know what to order. We ended up ordering meal combo, choosing from the four dishes (you can select two). We ordered the spicy pork bulgogi (pictured above). Lovely flavours, subtle spiciness and a tad sweet marinated pork cooked with onions and carrots. Although, it was on the oilier side of things. It was very tasty.

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The other beef dish was also nicely cooked, and again with onions and carrots. Meat just cooked right but I preferred if they used less sugar on the sauce/marinade. Not too exciting but it’s still satisfying.

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The tofu soup was very light in flavour or seasoning but with the more robust flavours from the two meat dishes I think it complements each other well.

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It also comes with a salad that is dressed with a vinaigrette. Very strong dressing and with the lettuce in large chunks, it was more difficult to eat. I would have liked the Korean/Japanese sesame seed dressing that is creamier and light brown in colour.

Impressions

Overall, I didn’t mind Pocha Restaurant. It’s not the best Korean food I’ve tried but not the worst. The quaint dining atmosphere is certainly a plus, along with the food.  Good service too on that quiet Tuesday night.

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Pocha Restaurant

1221 Thurlow St
Vancouver BC V6E

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Don Buri Ya on Robson Street, Vancouver is what I’d call Japanese Fast Food. Quick and easy meals, that taste great too. Dishes can be ordered in varying degrees of size, ranging from rice dishes to noodles as well as snacks/appetisers such as Takoyaki.

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The Minced Beef with Tofu is similar to the Chinese Mabo Tofu, very similar to be frank. I never realised Japanese cuisine also had a similar dish but what do I know. Nothing spectacular with this dish, just tasty Mabo tofu on Rice with a slight hint of chilli.

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Their Teriyaki Chicken Noodle soup is nice on a cold day, well, like most soups are anyway. Packed full of flavour with perfectly cooked chicken. It’s a great tasting dish.

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Their Yakisoba is gargantuan, I believe I ordered a medium, and it definitely can serve two quite easily. I wasn’t fond of this dish to be honest, it lacks any kick. It feels like eating a soya sauce stir fried dish.

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Being a big fan of Takoyaki, these little balls lack the crispiness are are also unfortunately too full of the flour mixture and only the tiniest octopus pieces can be found. The mayonnaise and Takoyaki sauce (similar to Okonomi sauce) are tasty though. It’s just a disappointment these were mostly soft and basically very average.

Impressions

Whilst my review of the dishes may seem a bit harsh, I still believe for a quick and easy meal it’s still worth a try. Not the greatest Japanese food I’ve tried but definitely nowhere near disastrous.

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Don Buri Ya
1329 Robson St
Vancouver BC V6E

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Gyoza King on Robson Street, Vancouver is a fantastic Japanese restaurant that we stumbled upon on our way to Stanley Park. During lunchtime their menu is varied and appetising. Noodles, rice dishes and of course Gyoza make up its lunch menu. While their dinner menu leans towards the pricer end of things but so very satisfying and delicious.

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Gyoza King’s Ramen is simply divine for a cold Vancouver day. The soup is flavourful, but it doesn’t leave you feeling thirsty like some other Japanese restaurants. The noodles were cooked well, not too soft and not too hard. All it needed was a bit of Togarashi and it was perfect. The stock they use was just so tasty. Really great Ramen here.
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We also ordered the Beef Sukiyaki which was another great dish. Slightly sweet from the onions and the sauce, the beef cooked to perfection. I always hate that chewy, tough beef but here it just melts. The sesame seeds add a bit of crunch and texture and is something I’ve often not found in this dish. What it lacks though is enough sauce, because it was just so good. A bit sweet, salty but simply delicious.

 

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Gyoza King’s Oyako Don is another treat. The onions, egg and chicken just complement each other extremely well. The seaweed on top isn’t just there for looks, it adds that slightly bitterness and roast to the rice. The chicken was marinated well. Sometimes you’ll find with Oyako Don, the chicken is very bland, lacking in anything good and most commonly overcooked and dry. Here it is still moist and that is definitely most welcome. Of course I had to add the Togarashi but it really could do without it too.

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You can’t not go to Gyoza King and not try their Gyoza. While these Japanese dumplings are small, it does pack full of flavour it its filling. The pork and cabbage, with the ginger and chives are in a perfect proportion. Giving it a bit more life is the soya sauce that provides the saltiness. The Gyoza are crisp and not too oily. Absolutely satisfying.

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The salad and miso soup comes complementary with some lunch dishes. The dressing they add on the salad is quite interesting. It’s not the usual sesame dressing I’ve had in other restaurants, but it still has a roasted flavour to it. It felt more rich, like mayonnaise.

The miso soup is quite standard though, I don’t think you can go wrong with miso soup anyway.

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Because Gyoza King was so good, we also had to try going there for dinner. We ordered their grilled fish and it was absolutely stunning. My gosh, the fish was so fresh and also extremely moist. It just melts so effortlessly in your mouth. The grilled flavour just seems ever so gently through the flesh. Adding a sprinkling of lemon adds an acidity that complements the subtle saltiness of the charred skin. I really couldn’t have asked for a better grilled fish.

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As we were having a lighter dinner, we shared another order of Gyoza. Again, these little bite sized dumplings are juicy and flavourful. Really great, I definitely recommend it.

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Their crispy chicken is another delight. Crispy, with a very thin skin and moist on the inside. It needs the lemon and mayonnaise to balance the oiliness of fried chicken but nonetheless it’s quite good. You can’t have too much of it though.

IMG_4091What we have here is a almost raw fish. It is just charred ever so slightly with a Japanese sauce. The fish here is so good like this, it really doesn’t need much else other than the lemon and soya sauce. I’ve never quite had something like this before and I’m not quite certain of the name either! Just a big FYI, it is really pleasant.

Impressions

Gyoza King have knocked my socks off with the dishes they have delivered. Both their lunch and dinner selection are varied but have definitely made an impression with the dishes we ordered. I really do recommend giving it a try if you’re around the West End.

Gyoza King on Urbanspoon

Gyoza King

1508 Robson St
Vancouver BC V6G1C3

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Across from our hotel on Robson Street, there is a pretty popular takeout/fast food place called Steamrollers that specialises in Mexican burritos. We wanted something quick and easy to take back to the hotel, and Mexican food being one of my favourite things currently I had to try it. In Australia, there is a fast food Mexican place called Mad Mex and I love their Naked Burritos, which is basically all the ingredients that you would normally put into a burrito and rice but without the bread in a bowl. Love it.

I believe Steamrollers has something similar called a Roller Bowl. However, I was actually drawn to their Wet Burritos, seing as I’ve never heard or tried it before. We ordered the Tommy Burrito which basically is a spinach tortilla with spanish rice, chicken and jack cheese topped with garlic yogurt sauce, their “famous” tomatillo sauce.

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I found that the Wet Burritos are actually too wet for my liking, it gets really messy and hard to eat when the ingredients inside are also slightly moist. The rice and chicken lacked flavour, it could have used a bit more seasoning or maybe just tabasco sauce all the way through. The cheese on top gave it some flavour so it wasn’t all too bad. Decent, but nothing spectacular.

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We ordered one of their standard Beef Burritos too, the addition of beans and rice really makes it much more interesting. It was nice and fresh which is great with the beef well cooked. Again, I think a bit of heat aka tabasco sauce to really bring it alive. All in all, a satisfying meal.

Impressions

Steamrollers may not appeal to everyone, but what it is, is fresh and somewhat healthier then most of burrito joints I’ve come across. It certainly shows with the flavour lacking just a bit, but it is that trade off I guess. It has to compete with plenty of eateries on Robson, but for a quick bite I think this will do you just fine.

Steamrollers on Urbanspoon

Steamrollers
1195 Robson St
Vancouver BC V6E

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On our first half day to Vancouver, just minutes away from our hotel we found Ramen Sanpachi. We arrived after lunch peak so seating wasn’t an issue and after eating predominantly French and Western cuisine for a week or so we were craving something a bit asian. Luckily, around Robson Street, and the West End there are plentiful Japanese eateries around to choose from.

Ramen Sanpachi as the name suggest, serves up ramen with your choice of soup base. It’s something I’ve never really found back in Melbourne apart from one or two restaurants from my recollection. They have six different soup stocks; Miso, Shoyu, Spicy, Shio, Yatai and Tonkotsu.

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I ordered the Gyoza and Ramen with Miso base for something different. I didn’t feel the soup base tasted like Miso but seemed more of the generic ramen soup stock with a tad sourness. It’s a large serve, and luckily I was in a group because I couldn’t finish the Gyoza all by myself. The ramen was nicely cooked, not too soggy and and just enough bite to it. I didn’t really have an opinion either way with this dish, it was neither spectacular or disastrously bad.

The Gyoza was nice and crispy on the outside, had a gingery meat filling inside. The pastry to filling ratio was what I preferred as I don’t like my gyoza/dumplings to be too meaty.

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We also ordered the Spicy soup base for Cha-Shu. I actually really loved the taste of the spicy stock base, it wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy but just gently tingles your tongue and adds something extra to the stock which is lacking in the Miso. Maybe adding Togarashi to the soup would have made it better but this by itself was quite delicious.

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Also ordered was the Spicy Ramen which has a similar taste to the Cha-Shu ramen with Spicy soup stock and has basically all the same ingredients, corn, slices of pork, Japanese mushrooms. Again, the spicy stock makes the dish. It’s probably because you hardly get that back in Melbourne but might be very common in Vancouver.

Impressions

Ramen Sanpachi isn’t the tastiest Japanese restaurant I’ve dined in but I didn’t mind the food. As mentioned before, it’s above good. Nearly great, but not quite there. They serve large dishes that would most definitely satisfy you on a cold day and well for the price I believe it’s reasonably priced. There are probably better Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, but I wouldn’t say no to eating there again.

Ramen Sanpachi on Urbanspoon

Ramen Sanpachi

770 Bute Street
Vancouver BC V6E1A6

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