Last week, I shared a few quick bites from around the Metro Vancouver area, including some Japanese baked goods and Shanghainese xiaolongbao dumplings. This week, we go for another trip around town to find some good places to eat with quite the variety of cuisine to boot.
PappaRoti – Robson Street
This might be one of the more confusing places that I’ve visited in some time. With “roti” in its name, PappaRoti sounds like a place that would feature East Indian cuisine. It sounds like I’ll be ordering tikka masala or butter chicken so that I can dip unleavened roti bread in there. And I’d be completely wrong, because PappaRoti actually originated in Malaysia and the roti isn’t a flat bread at all.
Instead, it’s a bun that looks a lot like the “Mexico” bun that you’d find at a Hong Kong style bakery. The difference is this costs about $3.15 each, not including any additional toppings like the Nutella and banana shown here. The bun is not too sweet and the crust isn’t as crumbly as I expected. I thought it was fine, but ultimately overhyped.
Hakkaku Ramen – North Burnaby
In my own neighborhood, one of the better options is Hakkaku Ramen on Hastings. During the summer, like a lot of other ramen shops around town, Hakkaku offers a cold ramen. You get a shoyu-like broth on the bottom, the cold noodles, half an onsen egg, and a variety of other toppings. The chashu is replaced by some rather generic ham, so you’ll probably want to add some BBQ pork for a fuller ramen experience.
Personally, I’m still partial to my old standby: shio ramen with regular broth and belly chashu. At Hakkaku, you can choose between the leaner shoulder meat or the fattier belly, both of which come with a visible char on one side. I still prefer the shio ramen at Kintaro or the tsukemen at Santouka, but Hakkaku is good enough to satisfy at less than $10 a bowl.
Ask for Luigi – Strathcona
While I wouldn’t necessarily say that Ask for Luigi is all that expensive, it is decidedly pricier than the other quick bites I’ve featured in this post and last week’s post. For our appetizer, we shared the sardines on toast. The portion was really modestly sized, but it offered some really flavorful quick bites to start our meal.
I ordered the spaghetti nero with octopus. The pasta had a great al dente toothiness to it and while the plate looks oily, this helped to dress the noodles and generous helping of chopped octopus in quite a beautiful way. The portion was just right for me, similar to what I got in Rome. Anton’s this most certainly is not.
Susanne opted for the pappardelle and duck ragu. The modestly-sized portion is just right for a lighter summer meal and it really lets you appreciate the care and attention that goes into the pasta. There’s just the right amount of sauce and it’s a dish that is delectable in its seemingly simple presentation.
Dinner for the two of us, including a tiny glass of house red wine, came to about $62. It should be noted that fresh pasta is only served during dinner (they use dried pasta for lunch) and the dining room fills up very quickly.