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Saturday, August 28, 2004
Vacation day 3: Food, Glorious Food
Wednesday August 25th
Today was set aside as a day of shopping. We went to Richmond Town Center, and walked around the very big shopping mall.

On our way there, i noticed the large number of oriental stores that we passed. This place actually looked more like a Chinatown than the official Chinatown in Vancouver. Perhaps the Asians came here after the drug problems started to occur in Vancouver's Chinatown.

Come lunchtime, we wanted to try another well known Singaporean stall in the Richmond Public Market. Took a while for us to find the market, but alas! They only accept cash payments.

This was something that i overestimated Vancouver on. Before the trip, I told Sharon that perhaps exchanging 100 USD would be good enough. However, the large number of businesses that do not accept plastic was shocking and alarming.

With only cash to get us back to Vancouver, we went to a few banks to try getting cash advance from our visa card. Must be Murphy's Law happening again as
1) HSBC - "oh.. this branch doesn't do cash advance." er.. ok
2) Bank of Montreal - "oh we do cash advance.. but ONLY on Mastercard." er.. ok
3) CIBC - "We do cash advance, and we do visa. Can we have two photo ids please?" Er.. i only have my driving license as my photo id. Passport was left in the bag in the locker.

Gave up, and brought Sharon to a North Indian restaurant along Richmond Road. Upon getting in, we saw a rather awkward setting. This place looks very much a one-family operations.

The lady of the place did not look like she knew much English. She told us about the buffet, and the ala carte menu. An unappetising look at the buffet spread and we started to look at the menu.

A appetiser of tandoori fish fillet, which tasted absolutely brilliant, with the fish and tandoori spices, combined with the citrous and mint sauce. Yumm.

Sharon had her Chicken Briyani, which was in a typical western-sized serving. It wasn't the same standards that you migh get in Singapore, but the rice was actually a lot better. The fragrance of the spices infused the basmati rice grains and the chicken slices were nice. This was also the first place that really took our request for "very very very very spicy" as a real consideration in their cooking of our dishes.

I have the tandoori chicken, which came on a sizzling hot plate. The tandoori chicken was red hot and spicy, perhaps the best that i've ever eaten all around the world. The side dish of plain naan and white bismati rice made this a very filling meal.

Indeed the servings of all the dishes surprised us. The price wasn't too expensive, and i think overall, it's a place that i would go back and visit.

Out of the Indian restaurant, we were walking back to the main shopping mall. We walked past the Scotiabank and Sharon suggested that we try cash advance at this bank too. Reluctantly, i agreed, and we got the process started again.

"Cash advance?" - yes
"Visa?" - yes
"Photo id?" - yes.. but wait.. they need two again. Sharon took out HER driving license and supplementary card, and they accepted it! Hooray!

A few signatures later, we have our CDN$200 bucks. Sharon even bought a paperback for 25cents as part of the bank's charity programme.

With cash in our hands, the first thing i did was to get my hair cut since i left Singapore. It was at a traditional barber store, with a group of old men doing the cutting. It looked very much like the typical "Pink Panther" barber stores that i visited in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore. That brought a smile to m face. 8).

Eventually, we came back to Vancouver, and we visited another Singaporean themed restaurant. This one was called Kam, and it had a shorter and not as authentic menu as compared to Tropika. The queue was long though.

The food, though not authentic enough, was good and delicious. The generous serving of balachan made any dish good in our tastebuds. In terms of quality, i still think Tropika was better. Too bad we were not able to try the Rasa Singapura store in Richmond. Perhaps another time.

It certainly looked more of a quest for Singaporean food than a shopping day today. If you still think we were holding onto our diet this week, you're wrong!
posted by Jonathan at 3:22 PM | Permalink |