January 24, 2022

Latest Eats: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, The Union, Hooked Poke Bar, The Sardine Can

Are you hungry? Maybe after this post, you will be. Here are my latest eats in Vancouver.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

I met up with a friend for lunch at their Broadway location. Ramen is a comfort food for me and I have tried a handful of places. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka‘s broth really impressed me. When I have barely any broth left, that shows how much I loved it. It’s a pork bone broth that’s cooked at low temperature for a long time, allowing the flavours to infuse. Toppings are an extra cost, but worth it with the egg and corn (and whatever else you want). The bowl appears small but the portion was just right. After reading the website, it turns out there’s a reason as to why they chose those bowls. The thick walls don’t allow the broth to cool too quickly. Check out this place or the other location on Robson to see what the hype is all about.

See above photo

The Union

The Union is a jewel in Strathcona with flavours inspired by Southeast Asia. The first time I went there, I had the Bakmi Goreng. Sorry I don’t have a photo but all I can tell you is that it’s one of my favourite noodle dishes because it was so hearty. The next time I go back for dinner, I will definitely be ordering it. The second time I went, it was for brunch. Being Filipino, I couldn’t resist the Filipino Pankaplog. They didn’t skimp on the garlic in the fried rice. The pandesal was toasted and perfect. Furthermore, I was surprised by the Thai spiced sausage. I thought it would be a little weird but it works. You can choose bacon instead of the sausage, if you’re not too adventurous.

The Union is a great place to meet up for dinner or drinks with friends or maybe you can make some new ones (if you end up sitting at the communal tables).

Hooked Poke Bar

Poke is popping up everywhere and it was nice to see one close to my work. I’ve gone to Hooked Poke Bar twice so far and both times have been great. I tried their Twin Dragon bowl and, while it was delicious, it was a tad too spicy for me. Last night I built my own bowl and included half albacore tuna and half salmon, green tea rice, avocado (extra cost), crab salad (extra cost), sweet onions, and crispy garlic and onions. This was much better and I just inhaled it. The fish was fresh and the soy-based sauce that I chose complemented everything well. The small bowl was more than enough for a meal. The only thing that bugged me is that it’s a little pricey and the rice was a little dry. It’s a nice treat once in a while though so I’d go back.

The Sardine Can

Do you love Spanish tapas? If you don’t or if you are not familiar with it, The Sardine Can can quickly change your mind. One thing to note is that this place is tiny, so get there early or wait. Also, the dishes are all small (obviously), but order a few and it’s still quite filling. We started with some tostas and tried all three (sardinas – not shown, queso fresco and tomate). They were delicious and I love the plates they were served on. It was a nice intro to the dinner that awaits us.

The special was brussels sprouts cooked in ham fat. That’s not the exact wording but that’s basically what it is. I’m not normally a brussels sprouts fan but this dish convinced me.

Below is Chorizo con Jerez. The chorizo arrived at our table still sizzling from the oil. The flavour was rich and although it doesn’t look like much (the pan was small), there’s a lot of pieces. It was more than enough to share with a friend. It also paired nicely with…

… Patatas Bravas! It also comes with a garlic aioli that we asked to be served on the side. You must eat this with the aioli. It just enhanced my patatas bravas experience.

This is an interesting dessert: Terrina de chocolate. You spread the terrine on the crostini. Make sure you get the olive oil and chili mixed in. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and indulge. It’s savoury and sweet at the same time and if you run out of bread, there’s no shame in using the spoon to get every last terrine.

Have you been to any of these places? What did you think? If you have suggestions on where I should go, let me know in the comments below.


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