The Biggest Buffet(s). Ever.

Breakfast at Xin, a buffet on the first floor of our hotel:

  • almond croissant, bolo bao (Hong Kong style pineapple bun), coconut cocktail bun
  • you tiao (oil crullers) with shrimp and scallion rice rolls and sesame sauce
  • sago custard dumpling, vegetables, fried turnip cakes, baked beans, pumpkin glutinous rice ball with lotus cream filling, char siu bao (barbecue pork bun)
  • vegetable and cheese omelet
  • random ticket (3-day pass) from our time in Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap,

I ate all of it and it was awesome in a now-I-can’t-walk and that-was-so-worth-it way.

Macau is lovely because there is always a lot to see (shows and performances!) and do. We love wandering around the hotels, all of which have a unique theme. The Parisian and the Venetian are both beautifully adorned with European-inspired decor.

Another day, we had dinner at Yum Cha, a dim sum restaurant. We ordered some delicious food – I wasn’t expecting it to be so tasty. Along with a mug of sweet Hong Kong style milk tea, I ate:

  • shrimp siu mai
  • wok-fried beef slices with wide noodles (one of my favourite HK foods)
  • tofu rolls with mushrooms and broth
  • prawn dumplings
  • oil crullers wrapped in rice sheets, soy sauce and sesame dip
  • steamed charcoal buns filled with salted egg yolk and cheese (super unique, and loved the sweet and salty nature of the filling)

This was the centrepiece at Studio City, another nearby hotel.

These are some of my favourite photos of Grandpa. ❤

(All taken after I rode a 4D Batman Flight ride… twice. Truly felt like I developed vertigo after that experience!)

The same day, Dad and I had lunch at BRASSERIE, a lovely French restaurant. Dad had the set menu, which included a raclette cheese appetizer, a chicken Cordon Bleu with Comte cheese and French ham, and creme brûlée. My orders were à la carte – a French onion soup, Croque Madame, and creamy chocolate fondant with white cheese sorbet and vanilla cream, with fresh berries.

I love how it’s easy to go from one hotel to another, without having to walk too much outside.

One night, the three of us watched a show called the House of Dancing Water. It was a stunning show with powerful music, an easy-to-follow storyline, and spectacular special effects and stage changes. The athleticism, while not on the level of Cirque du Soleil, were very diverse and featured divers, contortionists, gymnasts, and ballerinas. The stage was incredible, as it morphed from a pool deep enough for 24-metre dives into flat land for floor acrobatics.

Another evening, dinner at Bene. I loved my creamy conglichie pasta in ricotta cheese, with cured pork loin and plenty of black truffle. I topped my plate with so much parmesan cheese after this photo. 🙂

Tiramisu for dessert. Dad and I shared one, and I asked the waiter to serve it on two plates. Dad was kind enough to give me the larger slice of tiramisu and some of his hazelnut gelato.

The following day, we had the biggest buffet breakfast. Ever. It was quite a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as we dined in Cafe 360, a rotating restaurant on the 60th floor of the Macau Tower.

Here we go! Along with a large glass of sweetened milk tea (very tasty)…

Plate 1:

  • Portuguese spinach soup
  • cheese and saffron bun

I liked tearing off chunks of the flavourful, cheesy bread and dunking it into the brothy vegetable soup.

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Plate 2:

  • naan bread, basmati rice, mango chicken vindaloo, homemade pickled lemon, spicy mint sauce
  • cheesy mushroom bread pudding
  • 2 char siu (barbecued pork) pastries
  • salmon fried rice with eel sauce
  • sago sweet dumpling with custard
  • glutinous rice in lotus leaf with chicken
  • Japanese style sautéed vegetables (cabbage, peppers, carrot, black sesame)
  • lentil dahl in small bowl on the side

Plate 3 (revisiting all of my favourites from Plate 2):

  • 2 sago sweet dumplings with custard
  • 2 char siu (barbecued pork) pastries
  • cheesy mushroom bread pudding

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Plate 4 (dessert):

  • serradura/sawdust pudding/Macau pudding (condensed milk pudding with whipped cream and crumbled Marie cookie), topped with coffee biscotti – this was my favourite part, and I’ve never had serradura before. It’s a Portuguese/HK dessert, and I loved the flavour/texture which reminded me a bit of a nutty, less-sweet, pudding-like caramel mousse.
  • Portuguese almond cake
  • hazelnut torte with raspberry jam
  • praline creme brûlée with fresh berries
  • slivered almond, cinnamon bread pudding with vanilla sauce
  • creamy apricot jam with crushed spice cookies
  • pecan pie with walnuts and whipped cream

At the end, I was so full that I could hardly walk. You know when you realize, upon standing up, that you have serious regrets about eating so much? That was me – because I wanted to do the bungee jump!

Okay, maybe I was a little really freaked out by the bungee jump. So I ended up doing the SkyWalk, in which I walked around the outside of the tower with a harness and an instructor who helped take pictures.

It was certainly not as exciting as the bungee jump, but I didn’t throw up all four plates of buffet food, like I would’ve if I did the bungee jump. So, I’d call this a success!

The view, while not comparable to the stunning beaches of Cambodia or rice fields of Nepal, was pretty cool. Everything seemed so still from up high, and the lake practically unmoving. The cars, people, and buildings were minuscule, and it almost looked like one of those decorative model cities.

What a spectacular couple of days. What’s next? Tomorrow, we will be leaving Macau to go back to Taipei, which is a one-hour flight. After a day and a half in Taiwan, we will finally be flying back to Vancouver.

Our trip has been exciting and invigorating, and full of new and unique experiences, but at the same time, I am 99% ready to go home and get back into my regular routine which includes banana oatmeal, walks with my doggie, and hanging out with my sister.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Goals and Green Oats

On Saturday, I lounged around the house all day before heading to Tabülè, a Lebanese restaurant in Midtown Toronto. There are two locations – one on Queen Street, and one on Yonge Street. They serve lunch from their dinner menu on Saturdays and Sundays.

My entree was the eggplant dish, which was absolutely divine. The eggplant reminded me of tempura, being lightly crispy on the outside but steaming hot and creamy inside. The tahini dressing was lemony and full of sesame flavour, and the lentil-rice base was hearty and flavourful.

Eggplant Vegetarian Plate
drizzled with taheena on a bed of müjaddara and topped with fresh pomegranate seeds

I’ve always loved eggplant, but this dish takes the cake for the #1 eggplant dish I’ve ever had.

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Dessert was equally impressive. The waitress recommended the custard, and I was happy to try it. On the side, I had two scoops of gelato (smaller than I’d expected): one vanilla halva, the other pistachio. The Künafa Ashta blew my mind. Warm, lightly-sweetened custard with tiny curds and a rich milky flavour, topped with crisp “threads” and a honey-like syrup and crushed pistachios. This dessert was certainly one to remember. A must-try if ever visit Tabülè.

Künafa Ashta
filo layered with custard and topped off with rose water syrup

Oatmeal has been in my bowl every morning. I like having a side of yogurt with granola.

These eggs were cooked in the last little bit of my spaghetti sauce and topped with smoked Gruyere cheese. Like a lazy girl’s shakshuka! The runny egg yolks tasted awesome with avocado toast.

St. Patrick’s day on Friday was celebrated with green oatmeal! I know it doesn’t look appetizing. It didn’t smell appetizing either, when it was cooking – I was preparing myself for the worst as I stirred some quick oats into the pureed spinach and banana. Fortunately, this breakfast was actually JUST AS TASTY as my usual banana oatmeals. I couldn’t detect the spinach at all.

Toronto’s Reference Library is an incredible place. Like a museum!

I love pancakes! Where did my pictures go?

Raspberry Oat Pancakes

Serves 1 (2 pancakes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup quick or rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 medium ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • coconut oil or butter, for greasing
  • raspberries, to decorate the top (I used frozen, unthawed)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until very smooth. If the batter is too thick, add a splash of milk. If the batter is too watery, add a little flour (or extra oats) to thicken. I used a bit of coconut flour, which is extremely absorbent.
  2. Set batter aside to thicken for a few minutes.
  3. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with butter or coconut oil. Drop batter onto skillet. Place raspberries on top. Cook until bubbles appear, then flip and cook until both sides are golden brown. This recipe makes 2 pancakes.

On a completely different note, let’s talk GOALS.

I took a peek at my calendar. It is Sunday, March 19th as I write this, and I have 8 practices left before I am no longer eligible to practice at Cirque-Ability. On an unrelated note, can you believe it’s already mid/late-March? Where did January go? What happened to February? What did I do for the first three weeks of March?

Anyways. 8 practices left. That rounds to a little over 15 hours of aerials left in this month. I should have done this before, but I am going to set some goals and update at the beginning of April.

  • Silks goal: feel solid doing a ginger-isadora, and be confident in a helicopter-flag. Plan a routine to do, and run through it until it is memorized and comfortable.  Film myself doing all tricks from Levels I to IV. Straight leg inverts in the air (a small beat is okay).
  • Hoop goal: learn all Level II tricks, and do a Level II routine. Do a pullover without cheating. I just finished Level I and feel comfortable doing a Level I routine. Do a solid knee hang backbend with straight arms.
  • Acro goal: do a good roundoff, and hold a handstand for 5 seconds.
  • Other goal: register for a 1-month unlimited membership at the gym and at the yoga studio YogaTree on Bay/Dundas. Register for aerials classes at Brass Butterflies, Waterloo for May-August. Register for a one-month membership at the City Dance Corps.
  • Goals’ goal: set April goals for flexibility and conditioning. Take ‘before’ photos for flexibility and determine number of max repetitions for strength at the beginning of April.

Back to the food! New recipe for you guys. This was created when I realized I didn’t have 2 cups of hazelnut flour… I had 3/4 cup. Sad.

Pantry-Clearing Raspberry Cake

Serves 16

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup hazelnut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • toppings: chocolate chips, berries, coconut, etc. as desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 320°F degrees. Grease 8×8 pan and line with parchment.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together.
  3. Pour into pan and top with desired toppings. I used frozen raspberries.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  6. Enjoy!

If this cake is cut into 16 squares, each piece will have under 190 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre, and 6 grams of sugar.


Cool link for you: scrambled eggs around the world!

Speaking of around the world, I’ve been visiting lots of restaurants and cafes around Toronto that serve food from different countries. It’s been great! I can’t wait to go to Rol San, a Chinese dim sum place.

Do you like dim sum? What would you order from their menu?

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This is what I’d have:

  • 2: steamed BBQ pork buns
  • 3: steamed custard buns
  • 24: pan fried pancakes
  • 27: fried eggplant
  • 38: puff BBQ pork pastry
  • 40: deep fried taro puffs with pork
  • 41: coconut red bean cake
  • 42: sesame paste ball
  • 43: baked milk tart
  • 50: deep fried pumpkin with yolk, cashew, sweet potato
  • 53: homemade steamed rice rolls

Okay, happy Monday!

From Dim Sum to Dill Salmon {Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant}

Good morning everyone! I’ve got a restaurant review to share with you today 🙂 Have you ever been to Fisherman’s Terrace in Richmond? It’s located in Aberdeen Centre, and we visited at 11:00 on Sunday to meet up with Grandpa’s old friends. I brought some healthy vegan pumpkin muffins for my grandparents as well as some report cards to work on for my kids at skating lessons. These muffins were made with butter avocado and sugar banana!

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Looks like a classic dim sum restaurant with the large spinning glass centrepiece in the middle of the table. Aunt Mimi ordered our dishes for the day from their menu. I took a peek at the menu – they sell a “cold marinated chicken feet plate”, “pig stomach”, “cow intestine soup”, and “apple sautéed snails”. Those were just some things my sister and I noticed and discussed. 😛 We actually ended up getting the first three items, though. No snails for us this time, but I can’t wait to try escargot in Paris with Seline this summer!

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This was lobster congee with ginger. I liked the flavour of the slow-cooked rice stew, and so did Seline. The lobster was a bit hard to eat because it was still on the shell. On the right is a piece of charred eggplant topped with a shrimp ball. I loved taste of the blackened eggplant – it was smoky and really tasty.

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Steamed BBQ pork buns were so delicious! Big, fluffy white-flour buns that were softer and squishier than a cloud wrapped around sweet and tangy pork in the most delicious sauce! I really loved this bun. On the right is a fried shrimp and chive cake, which was also very tasty and loaded with chives. I want to recreate this at home!

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More shrimp, this time wrapped in a sticky rice wrapper bun. I also had a piece of pan-fried taro, which I enjoyed as well. That shrimp-chive cake though… yummers.

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This steamed rice wrap was filled with chicken. The rice was really tasty but I found the chicken inside a bit dense and fibrous. Either way, these rice wraps were a hit at the table. Seline loved them, too! Seline’s favourite dish of the day, however, was the fried squid on the right. We ordered two plates and Seline ate most of it, claiming that the Asian calamari was “really, really good”.

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For dessert, we ordered two things: lychee pudding and durian tarts. I was a little reluctant to try durian for the first time, especially after Dad made a deal about how gross it is. Still, I really enjoyed this dessert. The durian taste was prominent, but it wasn’t bad at all. I’m also in love with anything enrobed in flaky puff pastry. 🙂 Cute baby on the right was also sitting with us – he ate his berries while we dined on dim sum.

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Here’s the superb dinner that I really wanted to share with you all – delicious dill salmon! We served it with sautéed corn and leeks with quinoa and steamed vegetables with a scoop of coconut curry hummus from the farmer’s market.

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This recipe is super easy – you’ll need to mix some ingredients, including garlic, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon. Then you’ll add some olive oil, pour it over four salmon filets, and then top them each with half a tablespoon (little cube) of butter for richness and contrast. Here’s the recipe below!

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Baked Dill Salmon

Makes 4 salmon filets

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into four squares
  • 4 salmon filets

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix garlic, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. Whisk quickly as you add olive oil to emulsify.
  4. Pour mixture over four filets of salmon.
  5. Top with butter squares.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filets.

You will love this recipe! It was definitely the star of this dinner. I liked it so much more than the carrots and hummus. 😛 Another great thing about the recipe is that the WHOLE recipe has just a teaspoon of salt. That means each serving has just over a pinch of salt on the fish. Again, cooking with fresh herbs is such a great way to impart huge flavour without adding too much sodium. Here are some other tips to decrease salt in your cooking. 🙂

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Thanks for reading, guys – have a great week and I’m off to hot yoga!