Thursday, August 6, 2015

Birthday Dinner at Pinpin

It was a beautiful day in June, and also the birthday of my aunt. We decided to go out and have dinner with other relatives - but somewhere we don't usually go. Although we have been to this restaurant before, the location is different. Did I mention that it's one of my favourite restaurants?

Oh so glorious
June 7, 2015

My aunt Edith celebrated her... who knows what's her age, she never seems to. I think my other aunt picked the place, and decided to venture into Surrey for this grand restaurant. Pinpin originally opened in Vancouver, but due to high demand, they opened a bigger location (in comparison, Vancouver location has nothing on this place).

Before entering the restaurant, there was a sign on the wall, and I must say that it was fantastic. It displays all of their assets in the best way:

Oversized food is the best food

Not sure how Filipino-Chinese cuisine is different to Filipino cuisine, but there is something about this restaurant that makes it unique from other Filipino restaurants. Upon entering, we saw my aunt's friend, Grace, who lives in the neighbourhood and had time to join us for dinner. There are two main rooms in the restaurant, surrounded by televisions that showed the basketball game that night. A lot of the customers were big groups, indicating that food is so good, you want to try it all.

Our table was quite long, with close to 20 people coming for dinner. The first thing that caught my attention were these chairs:

Comfortably intricate

Like a modernized lawn chair, except it's pleasant to sit on - and not to mention, eye appealing. Rolling in were relatives of the spectrum, from uncles to aunties and even my Ahma (that's grandmother in Fukien).

Leaving the ordering to the adults, there was one thing that I must order every time a Filipino restaurant offers such drink. I don't know how to describe it other than it being similar to root beer. I think it's a little bit more sweeter, and almost resembles the taste of liquorice. If you don't know this drink, you are missing out:

The only pop worth drinking

Some foods are staples when it comes to Filipino cuisine. It amazes me that you can never get sick of it no matter how many times one goes to said restaurant. Without further interruptions, let's get onto the food:

Lumpiang Shanghai

Deep fried, at its finest. They may be small, but you can't just have one. The blend of pork and vegetables wrapped in a crispy shell is the correct ratio for every bite. It's always a crow favourite, and the first one to be done during dinner.

You'd think ordering rice would be plain and simple - but when it's Filipino-Chinese food, it's a heated debate. From a collection of four rices, there would be a difficulty in deciding which carb you would want to fill you up. So the adults picked garlic rice (one of the best) and this colourful masterpiece:

House Special Fried Rice

Was a little skeptical for this dish, as the main ingredient is shrimp paste - I'm not the biggest fan of that flavour. But with the medley of vegetables, I tell you, is enough to make this a winner in my books. Garlic and java rice may be my favourite, but this one is not too far when it comes to my rice.

If you think that rice is enough to fill the stomach, you would be wrong. Since it was my aunt's birthday, we have to order noodles. I don't know about other people's cultures, but noodles represents long life, and what better way to enjoy it other than this style:

Pancit Canton

A thick egg noodle stirred with some vegetables, and it's comfort food that is enjoyed best with company. I cannot recall the name of this dish, so I'll describe it. It's like a curry, but in a Filipino style. The sauce is excellent, but I am not a fan of the meat in this, I think it would have been better off with just vegetables alone. Let's look at it:

Pork, Shrimp, Vegetable Stew

If there was one thing that I could eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be the next dish. To me, it's a grown-up version of the meal I would only eat as a kid. It was dried-up shredded pork, and when it's paired up with rice, I would be one happy camper. Now that I am no longer a picky eater, I must say that this is nostalgic, and who knew that pork skin sizzled with onions and a dash of pepper would take it on another level. Oh, mighty heaven:


And then of course, there are the big dishes that everyone enjoys. I wouldn't say that it's a special plate of food, but it's the ones that people look forward to when at a Filipino restaurant. First off is the chicken, which I must say, is always juicy and exceptionally tasty. The next one is usually served as the whole animal, but since we already had so much food, we just got a little bit of this dish. See if you can identify them:

Pin Pin Fried Chicken

Lechon Kawali

Finally, there is the most visually appealing food display of the night. I have no clue what's in it other than seafood, but it's absolutely stunning. Whoever thought of this display clearly had thought this out:

Seafood Kare-Kare

I didn't even touch this dish, as I was so full at this point. But then again, what birthday would be complete without a little sweetness at the end of the meal? Let's get into that cake. Not sure where my aunt Shirley went to purchase this cake, but you can already tell that it's ube (purple yam) because of its colour. Let's look at this edible:


Simple and beautiful

In accordance to Edith's birthday were both my cousins' and my parent's anniversary. Not the exact same date, but close enough to celebrate the three together. It was also the sam flavour of cake, but it was just so thoughtful of my aunt to get them a cake as well:

Lot of happy going on

Placing the candles were a little difficult, as each candle had to be placed in the letters that spelt 'Happy Birthday.' Shellby helped me with this task, and the cake was really bright. But Edith managed to blow them out all in one take:

Serenading the celebrant

And make a wish

Now what birthday would be complete without some photos? First, we have Grace, my aunt Imelda, and my grandma's caretaker Mary to strike a pose. I tried to capture their Charlie's Angels stance, but this is what I got:

Laughter, lots of laughter

Then we have my cousins taking a photo with my aunt, and they're so adorable:

A 'family' photo

And finally, I joined them for a photo, with me being in the centre as I am her favourite child:

We so happy

Now it was my cousins' and my parents to take an anniversary photo together. Let's just leave this photo here, not sure exactly what was going on:

Left: Shellby & Steven's parents
Right: my parents

Ah, much better

It was a great time at Pinpin, food was always excellent, laughter and joy was spread across the table, and most importantly, left the place fulfilled. Before leaving the restaurant, I had to go to the washroom. Only when I left the washroom did I notice the signs, where I had to take a photo:

Left: Men's Washroom; Right: Women's washroom(?)

Very playful, and quite comical. Afterwards, we headed home... but before that, my father showed me a new instalment of a play environment in Terra Nova. I have seen the news surrounding this park, but never followed through with the updates. What I saw truly amazed me.

My father was jogging one day, and noticed this place along his trail. So he showed me the place, which essentially meant I had to walk by myself because neither of them wanted to see the park -_-" Upon entering, you are introduced with a map that indicates the grounds:

Legends with fun icons are always helpful

Then you have to take a little walk before finding the park. There is absolutely no complaint coming from me, especially with such a view:

So still and calm, it's beautiful

Fish-eye scope - for some reason, I enjoy this

After a few trees with a hop and skip, you are into a new world of the unknown. It's incredible, incomparable to other playgrounds. Although it has your typical sets, it's on a bigger scale. Just see for yourself:

Introduced with some swings - always a must have

Wall climbers and slides, it's fantastic

Logs of exploration

Look how huge this slide is!

That was simply the first half. A little bit beyond the shaded area were the grown-up activities, which are not so mature. If you ever grew up in Steveston, there use to be a zip-line that no longer exists... Well, now it exists in Terra Nova:

Wah, it's gigantic!

And what other way to end park other than some swings that look into the view. This was smart on their part to whoever constructed this recreational area. I mean, it's the perfect setting for relaxing and unwinding, something I'd love to do at Terra Nova:

Secluded, but romantically private

Just as I was making my way back to the car, I looked into the sunset, and saw this incredible view. It was too good to give it up:

Red dots and whatnot

The perfect ending

It is truly a gift to see the park finally constructed, and I can't wait to try the grounds. Who knows, I might even bring my aunt with me.

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