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Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thank you very much for your in depth report of your visit. It has been a delight to read and has opened up my eyes to a few new (and old) options.

Masters Chili Black Bean Sauce

I have this sauce. Not sure where I bought it from but will keep my eyes open.

I usually stay away from LKK products but I recently had a dish made with the LKK Guizhou black bean chili sauce and it was amazing. Very different from the sauce you are looking for but intensely satisfying.

Aug 11, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Non-Sushi Japanese in Vancouver area?

Hamaei in North Vancouver has some of the best non sushi dishes I've had. The quality of the food is also much higher than most of the other Japanese restaurants in Vancouver. Somewhat limited on non sushi but you can combine with sushi to make a full meal.

Yuji's on Alma also has some non sushi dishes on his menu. The shiokoji grilled chicken with onion sauce is fantastic. Yuji's is also sushi centric so you may have to supplement the non sushi with sushi.

Both very fantastic for sushi as well.

Aug 11, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Places in Montreal you WOULDN'T take your kid?

I'm going to steal this thread as I am a similar situation (1 year old) and will add my commentary. I hope that is okay with OP.

Bouillon Bilk was exceptional but seating was difficult even when it was just the two of us. Very small, cramped and I felt quite awkward at points in the dinner. Not somewhere that I would feel would be okay with children, and the children probably wouldn't be okay with the restaurant either.

On our last trip, we really loved Le Filet, Le Club Chasse e Peche, L'Express, Bouillon Bilk, and Au Pied de Cochon. All of them had very amazing food. L'Express is on a lower level than the rest but I loved the space, the vibe and the tartare.

Le Filet and Chasse et Peche seem a little bit too upscale for very young children but I really do like them and I think it would be okay as long as the restaurant allows (not sure about their policy)

I am a huge fan of Au Pied de Cochon and my understanding is that they are okay with younger children. I have a feeling I might visit twice.

I currently have reservations for Lemeac, Laloux, La Chronique. I think I read previously that Lemeac and Laloux are child friendly. What about La Chronique?

I also recommend Kem Coba for their soft serve. Your child will love it as I did.

Are there any restaurants on these lists that do not allow young children?

What are the best restuarants food wise in the city today? Any other suggestions from CHers? Laurea? Van Horne?

Sorry in advance about the many questions.

reLISH Gourmet Burgers comes to Vancouver from New Brunswick

Not to sound like a hater but it's quite funny how many "small town" chains think that they can not only survive but thrive and beat the competition in larger cities. Yes, you are doing "extremely well" in New Brunswick, but is that supposed to be impressive?

I find that food quality in smaller locales, is typically much lower than higher density areas. Good luck to Relish, but I do not expect them to last in Vancouver.

Aug 08, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Authentic Sichuan Found in Richmond

We tend to stay away from Sichuanese Food though, because Vancouver, sadly, isn't very strong in that cuisine.

Although it isn't an actual Sichuanese dish, the fried chicken at Bao Bei uses Sichuan peppercorns and has an amazing flavour. Their marinated cucumbers are also my favourite of anywhere other than the ones I make at home. I really think this restaurant is one of a kind. It's also easy to get to from downtown, has a good drinks menu, cool ambiance, and you can eat there by yourself as the dishes are typically quite small.

Best Chinese in Vancouver?

Bao Bei is also one of our favourites. It's not surprising that their food is good, but some of their food is actually more authentic tasting than the actual Chinese restaurants in Vancouver. I really haven't had a bad dish there. Highly recommend.

Aug 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Commercial Drive

I like Jamjar a lot. I thought the portions and prices were fine. Sampler style is the way to go though; they do most appetizers and salads in what is basically a half order size. Very good food. Jamjar is what Nuba should be. I am not a fan of Nuba at all.

Aug 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Commercial Drive

Agree. Very expensive for what it is.

Aug 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Cumin seed vs. caraway seed

Persian cumin if you are referring to Iranian cumin is actually black cumin. It is smaller and darker than the typical cumin used in North America. It is also a lot more earthy and has a stronger, more destinct smell.

Caraway resembles the cumin used in North America and is easily mistaken in looks. The flavour profiles of cumin and caraway are actually very different.

Many places mix up similar looking ingredients. My wife always makes fun of a famous food blogger who couldn't tell the difference between parsley and cilantro.

Montreal Mega-Visit In Progress

Your favourites seem to be the same as all of ours. Kouign Amann is also probably favourite patisserie in Montreal.

Did you have the poutine at APDC? It's one of the best I've had. Possibly the best.

I haven't had Katz but that is because Langer's was a huge disappointment. I prefer Shwartz's by far.

I think you would have enjoyed L'Express. It feels like you are in the perfect example of what a French bistro should be. The food is simple but delicious. Especially their beef tartare.

Le Club Chasse et Peche, which is Le Filet's sister restaurant, was also one of our favourites. I preferred the ambiance and food at Le Filet.

Montreal Mega-Visit In Progress

Le filet was also one of our highlights as was that same dessert.

Montreal Mega-Visit In Progress

As again, pointing out that Joe Beef is a mediocre institution with too much hype. I don't know how they created the buzz and have maintained it. The restaurant is very small and nice, service is good and menu items sound delicious but the food was actually worse than mediocre. We had a dessert which would be disappointing from a Safeway.

Au pied de cochon is the exact opposite. One of my favourite meals in years. Every single dish was amazing (actually) and we had way too much between the two of us.

Recommendation needed for one 'wow factor', Michelin stars caliber meal in Vancouver

La Quercia. Maenam. Vij's. Phnom Penh.

Pear Tree is extremely overrated. Same with Hawksworth. I didn't even know that Secret Location was supposed to be impressive - it is not on my radar.

Blue Water and West are both very good but typical of high end restaurants.

Baby Friendly Dining in Vancouver?

Tavola (Italian - Robson/denman)

Fisherman's Terrace (Cantonese dinner/dimsum - Richmond)

Jul 13, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Monday night in March - Restaurant AG or Pirouette?

What is the difference between Pirouette and Zebulon?

(as in, food style and quality, restaurant style and price points)

Feb 27, 2015
quddous in France

Dubai - Recommendations


So far the best options are Zomato (which recently bought Urbanspoon) and TripAdvisor. Timeout is the best magazine style website.

I visited Ravi's and though the gravy flavours were really good, the chicken meat itself was precooked/overcooked. The bread for their Qeema nan reminded me more of the Chinese Shaobing than a typical stuffed nan - Very enjoyable. Their mutton biryani and the sauce that came with it were delicious as well. I would probably go with their bbq dishes + stuffed nan + biryani on my next visit. Total bill was 75 dirhams (25usd) for two curries, biryani, stuffed nan, regular nan, raita and two drinks.

Feb 09, 2015
quddous in Middle East & Africa

Dubai - Recommendations

In case anyone wasn't sure - I am looking for recommendations in Dubai. The restaurants I listed above are the ones I found in my earlier research and have some good reviews.

I have researched some more lately.

Ravi's is recommended quite often for Pakistani food.

Other's I will read up on more are -
Tajin and Tanjiah (Moroccan)
Calicut Paragon (South Indian)
Baker and Spice (Bakery)

Jan 14, 2015
quddous in Middle East & Africa

Fresh Curry leaves

T&T and most Indian grocers carry it.

Jan 13, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

making your own vinegar mother

Raw apple cider vinegar has active mother. That is why you use it. If you have your own mother from previous vinegar making then you can just use that instead of raw apple cider vinegar. The mother converts alcohol to acetic acid.

You don't need to feed anything.

You add raw apple cider vinegar to your wine once and you leave your wine until it becomes vinegar. If you don't see mother forming in your wine after a few weeks, you can add more raw apple cider vinegar.

Jan 12, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

perfect mexican/spanish rice

That is a very interesting way of cooking rice. Iranians do something similar but still very different. Thry start by cooking the rice in boiling water until 90% cooked; they will then drain the rice, wash off excess starch and cook the rice at low temperature until fully cooked.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

making your own vinegar mother

Unfiltered Raw Cider Vinegar. Braggs is an example but I didn't get a mother using it the first time. I bought another brand and it worked.

You want to use a wide mouth jar, Fill with your wine then add a few tablespoons of cider vinegar, cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and use a rubberband to secure it. Leave it in a dark room temperature area. My vinegars have taken anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to develop. Smell and taste until it tastes good to you.

My favorite vinegar so far has been a Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar. So amazing.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Why did my polenta corn grits get watery when I added cream?

I've never had that problem. You may have just added too much liquid for the amount of grains you had. I wouldn't recommend adding more grains after the fact. Your best bet would have been to put the grits/polenta on low heat until it thickened up.

I typically make mine thicker to begin, then when serving I will heat the grits/polenta and add water slowly until I get the consistency that I want.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Quick Simple Asian

When making fried rice, only use the meat/vegetable ingredients, day old rice and salt. Do not add soy sauce.

kochujang + sugar + sesame oil is a delicious sauce for any quick meal.

Froze udon noodles are super quick and easy as one poster noted. Soak the noodles in warm water until pliable. Fry ingredients for udon, add udon and add soy/butter mixture. Guu (Izakay) uses a butter/soy mixture as their base for their noodles.

Nobu Miso sauce works for chicken/fish

1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar

I like making sichuan chili oil.

My ratios are approximately
sichuan peppercorns 1 part
dried chili 4 parts
neutral oil 10 parts

Grind the spices
Heat the oil until hot but not smoking
Pour oil over spices

I like to add a touch of sesame oil to the chili oil.

I keep the oil in my fridge - I think it preserves the flavors better.

I like making a Sichuan cold noodle dish using this chili oil.

Garlic, sugar, chili oil, chinese black vinegar, soy sauce

I also use a similar sauce for chargrilled eggplants or cucumbers.

Chinese five spice is also really delicious and can be used in many dishes. Cinnamon, sichuan peppercorn, cloves, fennel, star anise.

Best wood for a cutting board?

Haha, agreed. Luckily, it is from Costco and I will probably be returning it sometime (they have the best return policy ever).

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Cookware

Help with a Southern Style Supper

White barbecue sauce with smoked turkey. Yum.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Help with a Southern Style Supper

I did that turkey gravy recently and it was phenomenal.

I typically make my own cajun/creole seasoning - paprika, cayenne, cumin, thyme. I usually add garlic too but didn't for the gravy.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Best wood for a cutting board?

Agree with all the posters above. I have quite a few different cutting wood boards and don't really notice a difference between them (I'm too busy cooking to worry really). I actually tend to use my large epicurean the most because I care about it the least and it is lighter than my wood cutting boards - easiet to move around and easier to clean. My recommendation - get something that isn't too heavy for you but is still large enough to handle the amounts you cut.

PS I have an 18" Boos which looks amazing but is so heavy that I barely use it.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Cookware

Best Dim Sum in Shanghai?

I recommend Nanxiang over DTF for a few reasons, first being their xlb are better (though Din Tai Fung was phenomenal the last time I went). Secondly, Din Tai Fung is everywhere now. If you go to Nanxiang, there are three floors with prices and quality increasing at each floor and decreasing in line length. The area around it is very nice to see as well.

I really love one Dimsum restaurant in Shanghai - it is called Tang's in Dickson Center Mall. They are chain and this particular location seems to be a higher end location. I've included a link.

Other restaurant recs -
Jesse for Shanghainese
Southern Barbarian for Yunnanese
Yershari for Xinjiang
Mala Youhuo for Sichuanese
Yang's Fry Dumpling for Shengjian bao

TV cooking show pet peeves

I personally only dislike shows which aren't about the food. Ie drama instead of food. You don't learn anything, you just waste time. That is really what I don't like about current food shows and tv shows in general.

Search for Bites of China on YouTube.

Jan 08, 2015
quddous in Food Media & News