A life consumed by food. A lifetime consuming food.
A few weeks ago I returned to my favorite all you can eat sushi restaurant in Vancouver, Ebei Sushi, for my uncle’s birthday. Although baking isn’t my forte, I like to make cookies and cakes for special occasions. On this particular occasion I made a chocolate cake with egg white frosting.
I decided to make an egg white frosting instead of buttercream because it was considerably less sweet. However, because it was an egg white frosting I wasn’t able to do any fancy decorations or practice the piping skills that I learned from the Michaels ‘Cake Decorating Basics’ course. To make the cake look a bit more presentable I topped it with fresh strawberries, grown in my aunt’s garden and blackberries, from nearby bushes that I had picked myself.
The recipe for the cake was the Better Homes and Gardens ‘Best Ever Chocolate Cake’ and it turned out great. One of my uncle’s favourite things is chocolate, but he enjoys his desserts when they’re not overly sweet. That is why I took the liberty of cutting down the sugar in the recipe for both the cake and the frosting.
I forgot to take into account that the egg white frosting would spoil quicker than a buttercream would, so I was concerned that it would deflate on the way to the restaurant, not to mention while we were eating dinner. But the thought only entered my mind after I frosted the cake.
After getting to the restaurant, we had to wait a few minutes for them to clear a table despite the fact that we had a reservation. But I guess waiting for a table isn’t anything new at Chinese-run restaurants, especially when they’re as busy as Ebei was that night. There were only four of us that night: my aunt, uncle, my cousin(who doesn’t like to eat raw fish), and myself.
We opted for the higher priced all-you-can-eat option because there were a lot more choices including geoduck sashimi. I was surprised that they didn’t have any restrictions on the number of pieces you could order, so we ordered to our hearts content.
We ate all of my favourites and more. Including deep fried chicken knees (unfortunately no picture), ikura nigiri, geoduck sashimi, and raw oysters. I’m the kind of person who eats the cartilage clean off chicken wings, so naturally I enjoyed the crunchy texture of the chicken knees, which were a bit greasy. My secret to fully enjoying the food at all-you-can-eat joints is to slightly lower my standards, so I wasn’t upset that the chicken knees were greasy. In fact it’s almost a given.
The funny thing I love about ikura is the way the little roe pop in your mouth, like eating miniature grapes filled with briny juice. Even though it was the peak of the salmon season when we visited Ebei, the ikura wasn’t fresh tasting. The geoduck was sliced thicker than I’m used to and lacked the sweet ocean taste you get when it’s super fresh. The one raw oyster I ate was extremely milky tasting and I was close to vomiting after struggling to swallow it. Don’t get me wrong, the oyster wasn’t spoiled, the oyster was probably very milky because oysters aren’t in season over the summer months. Like I said, standards have to be adjusted accordingly. Given the price and the portions, there is a reason why I’ve been to this restaurant many times before.
Ebei is the only place I know of that serves fish soup, and I order it each time I’m there. The fish soup was full flavoured, probably due to the fact that the restaurant has tons of scraps to throw into the stock pot. The soup tasted a lot like a soup my grandmother often made when I was younger, except without the tomatoes and carrots she would add. I doubt that the chefs made the soup from Japanese inspiration because it tasted so distinctly Chinese to me.
The four of us do not have big appetites, and we failed to give Ebei a run for its money, especially since my cousin only ordered dynamite rolls, ebi nigiri, and fish soup. A dessert of mango pudding came around, plus we had an entire 2-layer 9″ cake to choke down even though we were all completely stuffed.
I’m happy to report that the egg white frosting didn’t liquify, but the berries did bleed into it, making the cake look like it had just finished a Bikram yoga class. After my uncle cut it into slices, I forced the moist chocolate cake down my throat and had to have the oompa loompas roll me out of the restaurant. Good thing I didn’t frost the cake in buttercream and used a light and airy egg white frosting instead. All jokes aside, the recipe did produce a very moist cake with a fine crumb. Cutting down the sugar didn’t make it bland at all and it wasn’t too sweet for my uncle.
I noticed that Ebei has a very reasonably priced late night menu (only thirteen dollars!) from 9:30pm till closing. However, recent news of a leak at the gas station across the street may be cause for concern, though the report says that there is no risk. Despite the fact that I know there has been a gas leak close to the restaurant, the thirteen dollar all-you-can-eat late night menu is very tempting. I may just have to sacrifice my health to give Ebei a full and proper review.