For reading break, some of the members of my mini club (Food Heavens Around the World) had a great idea of going out for an entire day of food. A light bulb then went on in my head: why not invite ALL the mini club members for a whole-day dine-out? Hence our journey began; we definitely pushed the limits of being a foodie with this event. I was also surprised by how much we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company while endeavouring on a full-day quest for amazing cuisine. A total of 44 people attended least one of the three events. Our most popular event was lunch at Fable, with a total of 33 guests, followed by 21 guests for dinner at East is East and 15 at Ming Dynasty for dim sum.
Our journey began early at 9:30 AM at Ming Dynasty. The luxury of having a big group is being able to order a lot of dishes and share them without making a huge dent in our wallets. With 15 people, we had two big round tables merged together. The service was really good and we got our food in a timely manner. Ming Dynasty is comparable to Western Lake on Victoria Dr, another restaurant serving dim sum that is known for their value and quality. Ming Dynasty did not fail to satisfy, the food was great and at $12 per person, it was a steal. We had many classic dim sum dishes such as shrimp dumpling (ha gao) and Siu-Mai. Out of all the dishes, the rice rolls were the best compared to other restaurants. Overall there were no complaints about any of the dishes except that we ordered so much the bill got cut off, we had to ask the manager to manually write out the total. All in all, I highly recommend going to Ming Dynasty for some good quality dim sum.
Our next stop was lunch at Fable and we had only about an hour to digest. Lunch was served two hours after we left Ming Dynasty. With the extra hour, we decided to walk around West 4th Street and window-shop at some local stores. Once we arrived at Fable, the tables were set and to our surprise we took up at least 80 % of the restaurant.
I would like to thank Vivian Kwan for getting us the group deal with Fable. She managed to turn a potentially $20 lunch to a $15 lunch. The food was extraordinary; I never knew you could make a sandwich taste so good. I had the meatball sandwich and the pulled pork sandwich, and between the two, the pulled pork sandwich was slightly better. On top of it all, we had a jar of chips and endless refills of drinks. Jasmine also made some brownies to give out to our members to further enhance their dining experience. As with any large event, we had a group picture taken.
With about 4 hours between lunch and dinner, we decided to head downtown. We spent an hour and a bit at Commodore Lanes on Granville, bowling and playing pool. We had lots of fun, and according to sources, Frank Zhang is amazing at 5 pin bowling and was the champ of our group. Ironically, I found out that I am probably one of the worst pool players out there. Afterwards we ventured to Pacific Center to kill some time. For some of us, we were just too tired to shop, while for others they spent a little too much time shopping.
For the grand finale, we went to East is East on Main. The place is simply amazing. The first thing you will notice is the décor and how much detail they spent from the tables to the walls to the washrooms. The food was just as good as the décor, there was a lot of variety and for some it may have been their first time trying Middle Eastern cuisine.
Most of us got separate dishes, however there were the select few that were brave enough to go through the Silk Route Feast, an all you can eat menu sampling all that the restaurant offers. It includes 13 entrees, 3 soups, 3 salads, rice and naan bread. Between the 5 of us, we tried all the soups and salads. While some ordered multiples of the amazing lamb kebab, I decided to be more adventurous and tried 9 out of the 13 dishes. My favorite entrée surprisingly was the mango butternut squash. Though I consider myself a pure carnivore, this vegan dish was just too good for me to pass by, so that is saying something.
After the fulfilling day, we had to say our good-byes and go our separate ways. It was an amazing journey trying out these restaurants and hopefully, I will be able to plan something along the lines next year. In total, the individual cost for the day ranged between fifty to seventy dollars for 3 meals and a game of bowling or pool. But of course, the fun and the company we had with each other was priceless.
Special Thanks to Vincent Chan for all the photographs currently posted. There are 128 photos, posted on the UBC Food Society Facebook Page. If you attended the event and would like to share pictures, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be posted in the album.