Henry Poon's Blog

Restaurant Amani–A Japanese-Chinese-Korean Dinner

Day 217

A while back I bought Groupons for a sushi platter at this restaurant and so today my friends and I went here for dinner to use them.  When we walked in, I went up to the counter and told the lady in German that I made a reservation for four people yesterday.  I then overheard her speaking Mandarin to her colleague.  It threw me off since I expected the staff there to be Japanese (even though a lot of Chinese people run sushi restaurants in Vancouver).  Knowing that the lady spoke Mandarin, I started speaking that instead and I told her that we wanted to use Groupons.  She seemed really surprised at how I started speaking Chinese and asked where I was from.  I told her I was from Hong Kong and she told me she was from Korea.  That totally took me aback.  For a Korean, she spoke Mandarin as well as someone natively Chinese.  She said that I spoke pretty good Mandarin for someone that came from Hong Kong (but maybe that’s just her being polite).  After that brief chat, she then invited us to sit anywhere we wanted and gave us our food menus.

Looking through the menu, I realized the restaurant had more than just Japanese food.  It had Korean and Chinese food.  The last few pages of my menu had some items written only in Chinese and my friend didn’t have those pages in their menus (likely because they knew that I knew Chinese).  It turns out they served the Cantonese style chicken feet (鳳爪)!  I definitely had to order that one.  I also ordered a bowl of Kimchi as I hadn’t eaten that in a while.  I had both of those along with the sushi platter that the Groupon got me.  My friends ordered Gyoza, spicy fried squid (I think it was 椒鹽鮮魷), miso soup, and Inarizushi (fried tofu filled with sushi rice).

My friends didn’t know what it was so I explained it as a Korean version of German sauerkraut except spicy.  I don’t eat Kimchi much, but this one tasted really good.  It had the perfect amount of spiciness.  I guess that is kind of subjective since everyone can handle a different amount of that.

The chicken feet that I ordered didn’t taste as good as I thought it would.  I can’t help but compare the taste with the kind I’ve had in Vancouver.  Some people do say that Vancouver has the best Chinese food in the world and now I’ve begun to see that.  Compared to Vancouver, the meat (pretty much skin I suppose) on the  chicken feet I got here seemed to be a lot “tougher”.  I was really expecting it to be really soft.

Although I didn’t try the miso soup, it looked really delicious.  It looked a lot different that the usual kind that I’ve seen in Vancouver.  I wouldn’t know which one is more legit or better tasting though.  Everything else looked really good and super legit too – especially the fried squid; that looked really good.

After eating our appetizers, we chowed down on the sushi platter.  Almost immediately, the mediocre seafood quality of Stuttgart revealed itself.  The taste was a lot more bland and had less of the natural flavour of the animal itself.  Again, I compared it to Vancouver and it’s really no contest there.  Vancouver has such good access to the ocean for fishing, while Stuttgart is landlocked and relies on frozen fish being delivered. 

Despite that though, I thought that this place had good sushi for a landlocked city. Although, the biggest drawback in eating sushi in Stuttgart is that it’s really expensive. The only reason we went was because of the Groupon that gave us 50% off the sushi platter.  I don’t think I would have gone otherwise.  Seeing that I’m going to be back in Vancouver really soon (16 days by my count), I can have all the amazing Japanese, Chinese and Korean food I want!

On our way out, I had another brief chat with the lady there and it was really difficult for me to understand Mandarin.  It wasn’t the way she spoke, but more so the way I really had to focus my attention to her talking because my Mandarin ability wasn’t that good.  My mind literally zoned out of everything and focussed purely on understanding what she said.  I ended up saying something back in like a mix of Chinese, German and English.  It was kind of strange, but she understood what I wanted to say.  It was kind of random yet really fascinating to have a trilingual language conversation and tri-culture meal going on.

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