Fliptop Filipino Fusion food truck

A friend of mine has been pointing out lately the lack of Filipino food on our site, so this one’s for you pandeSally.  Fliptop Filipino Fusion food truck (Phew!  Try saying that five times fast.  Or just once for that matter!) came onto our radar a month or so ago, but since they tend to move around a fair bit we haven’t been in the right place at the right time until yesterday.

“Fliptop” is a bit of a play on words coming from the Filipino’s nickname for themselves as “flips”.  This term once held some racist undertones but it seems to have been fully adopted into the culture, to the point where it doesn’t seem to have any negative connotations anymore (yay!).  In fact it may just stand for Fine Looking Island Person :)

Fliptop Filipino Fusion food truck

Anyway, we were on our way downtown around lunchtime when Wendy spotted this brightly coloured food truck on Terminal near Main Street Skytrain, obviously inspired by the flamboyantly painted jeepneys of the Philippines.  Realizing it was Fliptop, I cranked a U-ey and parked at the college across the street.  I’ve been including service-side views of food trucks in my Food Truck Friday posts recently, but this one’s art deserves to be shown in all its eye-popping glory.

Fliptop’s food truck was a welcome spot of colour on a grey and miserable day, and the operators’ sunny disposition also helped chase away those Raincity blues.  We were greeted in a warm and friendly manner and enjoyed chatting with the guys while they prepared our food.  They definitely get an A+ in the customer relations department!  That’s the problem with reviewing food trucks, most of these guys and gals are so darn friendly that it’s tough to be critical of the food.  But I’ll do my best to give an honest review:

Fliptop Filipino Fusion: Fliptop's Pulled Pork Sandwich

After a couple of great experiences with pulled pork food truck offerings I went with Fliptop’s Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8).  It’s served on a pandesal bun, a sweet white bread that many Filipinos go nuts over, but I personally don’t see what the fuss is about.  This one was a bit burnt, but not to the point of being inedible.  The toppings you see here are crispy deep-fried leeks, roasted garlic aioli, micro greens, and Achara made from pickled cabbage and green papaya.

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Tealips Bubble Tea for Waffles and Sandwiches

I was told of Tealips cafe by Awkward Diner a while ago. I was so happy to find that there was a dessert waffle place so close to me. I quickly brought Hitman to try it out with me on a few occasions, for dessert AND for lunch.

Our first visit was for dessert after dinner.  We had to get it to go since the place was packed.  Always a sucker for mochi I picked the Matcha Red Bean Waffle liege style (for it’s chewy consistency).  It’s topped with red bean paste, vanilla ice cream, and dusted with matcha powder.

Tealips Bubble Tea & Coffee: Matcha Red Bean Waffle

I was quite disappointed to see that the ‘mochi’ was actually cut up pieces of the usual Asian snack of bean paste-filled green tea mochi.  It seems like they cut up one piece enough to give you a “few” pieces.  I had originally hoped that Tealips’ mochi would be in the style of Menchie’s or Qoola’s.

The liege style waffle was almost as they described: slightly chewy with balls of sugar.  It was denser than the Brussels style.  I don’t think they make this style fresh…I believe they heat up pre-made ones for this.  The red bean paste was expectedly sweet.

Tealips Bubble Tea & Coffee: Cinnamon Banana Waffle Brussels style

Hitman had the Cinnamon Banana Waffle on Brussels style waffle.  This one I believe they made the waffle in-house.  This style of waffle was fluffier and lighter.

They had a waffle combo deal where you could get 2 waffles for about $9 if I remember correctly.

Tealips Bubble Tea & Coffee: Mixed Berries Waffle Brussels style

On another visit to Tealips with TDog I had the Mixed Berries Waffle on Brussels style.

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Bestie with my Bestie

Bestie Fun

Where’s the sausage??

Sorry Fannypack, but the real reason why I asked you to go with me to Bestie (a German restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown) was so that I could name my post as such.  I used you I know, I’m sorry.  Hey at least we got a date and some Bestie/Bestie badges out of it right?

Bestie: exteriorAs we were driving on the approach to the location our GPS was suggesting was Bestie, we could NOT find the restaurant.  We decided to trust our GPS though, parked, and walked on.  We were across the street and STILL we couldn’t find the restaurant, until by fluke, I saw the name “Bestie” on the window.  Not on the awning.  The window.  The one that’s hidden in the shadows and partly behind the metal fence.  Why wouldn’t you change your awning??  It was not especially easy to spot on the cloudy rainy day we visited.

Anyways…

Bestie: interior and special menuI did like the decor and lighting of the restaurant.  However I think they might have had the heat on high the day we were there.

The restaurant definitely has more of a hipster vibe than a Chinatown vibe.  There were very chillaxed servers in slicked-back hair and high-waisted jeans, male cooks with man-buns and torn white t-shirts, patrons with big black thick-rimmed glasses…you know, the works.  I guess that’s what gentrification and “revitalization” does to what’s supposed to be preserved as a historical heritage neighborhood.  But in the end progress is inevitable.

Enough of my pseudo-rant though.  On to the food!

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Beggar’s Chicken @ Suhang Restaurant 蘇杭人家

Going way, way back to our Mid-Autumn Festival family celebration, Hitman and I had dinner with my parents and relatives at Suhang Restaurant. It was his first time for Shanghainese food. The draw for me was that my uncle had pre-ordered the Beggar’s Chicken and I was excited to see and try it.  I hadn’t known where to go for Beggar’s Chicken in Vancouver (in this case, Richmond) prior to this dinner.

When I told Hitman about it, I basically said that it’s traditionally wrapped in dirt…now that got him intrigued!  If you want to read more about the origins of this dish we’ve included at the end of this post our own Legend of the Beggar’s Chicken based on variations of the story we’ve cobbled together.

I don’t have the prices for the dishes below as they were special order items; if you want to try them for yourself be sure to phone in your order in advance.

Suhang Restaurant: Cold Appetizer Platter

Anyways, as with most dinners with Uncle G, we start with a cold appetizer platter that consisted of (clockwise from bottom) Smoked Beef Shank, Sesame Oil Ma Lang Tao, Pork Terrine, Mushroom Bean Curd Wrap, and Fava Beans in the middle.

My favorite is always the ma lang tao, a green leafy vegetable mixed with tofu.

Suhang Restaurant: Braised Fried Gluten with DaikonAunt Iris is a vegetarian so this was for her.  It’s Braised Fried Gluten with Daikon.  Not much to say about this one.

Suhang Restaurant: Bean Curd Sheets with Edamame and Chinese BroccoliThis is another vegetarian dish of Bean Curd Sheets with Edamame and Chinese Broccoli.

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Trader Joe’s Thai “Dry” Chili Paste Review & Recipes

Trader Joes Thai Dry Chili Paste

On my recent trip to the States I visited the beloved Trader Joe’s again, as with all my trips down South.  This time one of the products that caught my eye was the Trader Joe’s Thai “Dry” Chili Paste.  As Hitman is a huge fan of Thai food, I thought I could make good use of this seasoning paste at home.  Plus, it was only $0.99!

Trader Joes Thai Dry Chili Paste

This is a vegan paste made of fried mushrooms and various spices and seasonings such as tamarind, coconut sugar, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, and of course the namesake dried chili.

I had a taste of it by itself, just a tiny amount.  It’s savory and a bit sweet, but very fragrant of mushrooms.  I wouldn’t say that this spice mixture is as “moderately spicy” as the label says, I would say there’s just a kick, unless you eat it by the spoonfuls.

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