Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ottawa Ribfest 2013



The 22nd Annual Ottawa Ribfest was kicked off on Wednesday. Furious Pete was at the event and  attempted to break the world record for eating the most pulled pork in six minutes. He ended up setting a new world record by wolfing down 7.5 pounds of pulled pork in that time.

We had initially planned to go down to the ribfest for dinner on Thursday, but things changed and we went for a late lunch on Friday instead. This was the new plan:

  • Andrew and I would go down to ribfest and have a late lunch
  • We'd get some drinks at McD's and then get BBQ from Camp 31 and Silver Bullet
  • Andrew would bus to the Dragon Boat Festival afterwards to volunteer
  • I would head home with the goods

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dinner at Hung Sum

Mom, Andrew, and I were shopping around yesterday and then headed downtown with the intention of grabbing some goods from the ribfest on Sparks Street. We were driving through Chinatown and then a waft of something delicious came through the windows. We all took a deep breath and exhaled in satisfaction.

"Do you want to eat fried rice noodles instead of ribs?" Mom asked as soon as she caught her breath.

"Doesn't matter to me. Andrew?" I threw it to Andrew. Seriously, I didn't care. It was a win-win situation.

"I don't know. What's the plan? Are we going to have ribs?" Andrew asked. What he said was essentially, "the ball's in your court."

"Well if you want to have ribs now, we can still go. If not, we can always grab some ribs tomorrow for lunch." I countered. He's not winning that easily.

Andrew was silent for a minute. "Okay. Then if that's the case, let's stay here (in Chinatown) for dinner."

We parked on Rochester Street and walked down to Hung Sum. I had only been there a handful of times for lunch and was curious about their dinner service. There were two other tables being occupied; one middle-aged couple from Hong Kong, and a group of three older caucasians. It looked like they had just placed their order.

The menu was simple. One one side, there were the dim sum choices and a list of the chef's specials. The other side listed the all the larger dishes. There wasn't anything too special. I checked off what we wanted and gave the menu to the lady.

As we waited for the food to arrive, we watched the table of caucasians receive two steamers of BBQ pork buns (two in each steamer), a steamer of sticky rice (aka lo mai gai), and a plate of cheung fan. Mom scoffed, "they'll get full so fast! At least their bill will be cheap."

Andrew and I killed time by checking out their soy sauce and hot sauce. It used to be my habit to always try a Chinese restaurant's soy sauce. Their hot sauce was the same stuff as most of the other Chinese restaurants use, but Hung Sum's seemed spicier. We both really liked it.

The steamer of tripe and coriander shrimp dumplings arrived. As soon as I saw the shrimp dumplings, I knew that I had ordered the wrong thing again. I wanted to order the dumplings that I had during my first trip. Ah well, they still tasted good - especially with the hot sauce.

[Updated on Sept. 18th, 2013]
The reason why I ordered the wrong thing was because I had mistakenly written the wrong dish. The dumplings I wanted to order are the steamed green onion ginger beef dumplings.

As we devoured the two dishes, we continue to people watch. The table of caucasians got an order of deep-fried squid tentacles, siu mai, and beef balls. "Not bad, they're still hungry."

Our plate of wu gok (aka taro dumplings, taro puffs) arrived. "These are good. This takes too much effort to make. When it's hot like this, it's really good." Mom commented while nodding her head. My jaws dropped. Did she just admit that something wasn't work the effort to make from scratch?

Shortly afterwards, the steamer of shrimp siu mai (not pictured) and plate of rice noodles with beef arrived. Although there were char marks on the noodles, the noodles actually didn't taste smoky at all. How does that happen? It was a bit disappointing. Andrew and Mom enjoyed their house-made noodles.

The caucasians got a plate of eggplants stuffed with shrimp and a plate of youtiao afterwards. "Wow, they're still going. Not bad." I thought to myself.  Mom gave them credit, "they know how to eat." It was quite impressive, considering they started off with the two heavier dim sum dishes.

The amount of food that we ordered was perfect. We were all full and satisfied after the five dishes. The bill was just over $25. I'll definitely be returning to Hung Sum. Mom said she wouldn't mind returning either -- crazy, I know!

Btw, what do you think of this template? I changed it so that the photos we upload stand out.



Hung Sum
870 Somerset St W
Ottawa, ON
Hung Sum Restaurant 恆心食馆 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sad Basil, Pho & Westfest

First off, I'd like to update you all on the basil growing in our herb garden.

The bugs are still snacking on the herbs. Since the plants were moved away from the other herbs and flowers, only a few bugs have gotten to them. With all of the rainy dark overcast weather we've had in Ottawa over the past two weeks, the three basil plants are all looking yellow and frail. They are craving heat and lots of sun!

VN and I were going to check out Westfest last week but then decided to try our luck for Sunday. The weather networks were calling for sunny weather. Instead, we went to a friend's BBQ where there were nachos, sausages, burgers, lots of drinks, and hilarious board games. Here's the pitchers of sangria. Mmm... blackberries.

Mom caught a cold last week and so we had homemade pho. The soup was made with pork ribs. It was  a fantastic pot of pho! The iced coffee made my lunch that much better.

I checked out Westfest later in the afternoon. The sunny hot weather was much needed -- and this is coming from someone who loves winter over the summer. To cool off, VN and I grabbed some iced tea at DavidsTea. VN recommended the fruity Buddha's Blend tea. She went with the Pineapple Oolong tea.

With our cold drinks in hand, we went looking for some good eats along Richmond Road. There were some ladies making spinach and cheese-filled parathas. It was very tempting. VN chose to try Railroad Ribs' pulled pork sandwich, while I just kept sipping on my iced tea.

This was my first churro experience. It was so warm, crisp, and yummy! We left Westfest before the bands began playing. I'll check out more of the food options and the concerts next year.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Random Tidbits: May - June

Grandma Tea's jang (aka lo mai gai, nom asom, sticky rice with mung beans and pork) is the best in our extended family. Nobody can make it taste as good.

I typically don't go crazy over them like Lucy. But on one particular day, I fried up some of Mom's batch of jang and had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Perhaps I was lazy to make anything else. Perhaps.


We had a large spread of food during one of our extended family dinners last month. Before that, Mom tried out a new batch of ham chim peng. They were still quite dense. I think that we need some double-acting baking powder or just give the dough more time to rise before frying.

Lucy helped make the prahok khati (aka minced pork curry with anchovies). It's different from gapit pao, which is made without the anchovies. We ate the prahok khati with sliced cucumbers and rice.

There was also salt and pepper shrimp and a large hot pot of samlor maju (Cambodian sour soup) with skate. My aunt also brought over bo kho.

We ended up having leftovers of a few things. Since we had some bo kho, I soaked some noodles and had it for lunch the following day. My aunt added her homemade spice blend in addition to the bo kho seasonings, which made it more fragrant and spicy.

We started to plant some herbs in our garden. This was the basil plants after a few days of being close to the flowers -- they got snacked on by little critters! That's my basil! I don't know youuuu!

How about some homemade baozi? Mom woke up super early and decided to make some. She experimented with adding canned beans and chickpeas. It tasted fine to me.


For Andrew's birthday dinner, Mom made a layered mung bean dessert called banh da long in Vietnamese. She made two types: one was softer than the other.

I had lunch with CA the day after. We opted to share the condensed milk brick toast at My Sweet Tea for dessert. When it arrived, we were both glad that we shared one order. We thought it was too much but then proceeded to inhale it in under five minutes. Woops.

The rain still hung around Ottawa. It wasn't as hard as the torrential rain we had the evening before, but it still rained hard, although it was brief.


We had a BBQ pork rib dinner. The pork ribs were baked in the oven for about two hours before getting a turn on the BBQ. We made a sauce using the pan drippings, onions, sugar, ketchup, and BBQ sauce.


Lucy and Jimmy brought some chocolate cake. We couldn't finish it, despite the pot of strong jasmine tea. The cake reminds Lucy and I of Matilda. Oh gerd, where's Mrs. Trunchbull? I definitely added some peanut butter to my slices of cake afterwards. It tasted like a peanut butter cup, except that the proportions were the other way around: more chocolate than peanut. It was so good!


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