Chinese Dinner With A Canadian Foodie

The Good: 

If you don’t believe real friendships can be made through blogging, BELIEVE because here’s proof. My family and I had the pleasure of having the oh so inspiring Valerie from  A Canadian Foodie and her very charming husband Vanja, over for dinner at my parent’s house. After Valerie invited hubby and I to her taste tripping party  and my two holy terrors over again to her house for some cookie making fun, I knew I had to do something in return to thank her. So dinner and a lesson in making XO sauce it was (so I thought) . I’ll explain “so I thought” later. 

If you haven’t met Valerie yet, you sure are missing out! Not only does this woman make amazing dishes from her own family recipes, but her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn makes her a human walking cookbook expanding with recipes by the day. She is one of the warmest, most sincere, generous and inspirational people you’ll ever meet. She sees no colour, difference in age or difference in sex when she welcomes you into her heart (and home). A true Canadian indeed.

This was the first time I really got to talk to Vanja and get to know him better. He’s quite the gentleman and very charming, might I add; even offered to wash dishes after dinner. Valerie, you’ve got a keeper there ;-). You two make the perfect couple. I usually have to give my dishwasher a few boots before he it starts working properly…teehee.

The Bad:

I wanted to invite Valerie over to my house, but since my Mom was going to demonstrate her XO sauce, I thought it’d be better to have the dinner and lesson at my parents’ house. Turned out, Mom misunderstood me. She thought I wanted her to show us just the ingredients and explain her method. There was no demonstration. I was so embarrassed and disappointed, but I had to keep my cool as I didn’t want to ruin the rest of the evening. My apologies again, Valerie.

The Yummy:

So out came the wok and on came my invisible apron. I don’t like wearing an apron when I cook. The OCD in me doesn’t think I need one, but boy is she wrong. I won’t show you the mess I made on Mom’s stove. Valerie…shhhh 😉

I made three dishes and Mom made two dishes plus a soup. I’ll have to say, being brought up in a Chinese home, we don’t care so much for the table setting, but the food must be good.

Mom’s Freshwater Prawns in Tomalley and Shrimp Paste.

My steamed Tilapia with ginger, garlic and green onions, finished with soy sauce drizzled in at the very end on top of everything.

Another plate of steamed Tilapia finished with soy sauce drizzled into the pan while sauteeing the ginger, garlic, and green onions because I prefer it this way while hubby prefers it the first way. Two slightly different dishes for two totally different eaters. Also allowed Valerie and Vanja to try both dishes.

I also made stir fried clams with black bean sauce.

The last dish I made was a stir-fried water spinach with fermented tofu (AKA fu yu ong choy in Chinese).

Mom’s super easy sesame chicken. (Recipe to come soon.)

My Mom also made a winter melon soup but I forgot to take a picture of it. I was probably too excited that the food was finally being served. I don’t function properly when I’m hungry.

 There’s Valerie hard at work with her other camera. Oh come on food bloggers, you all know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “other camera(s)”.

Now I think I got her attention. Always a gorgeous smile for the camera from this gem. Yes Valerie, I remember “the rule”.

Getting to know the youngest in our family, my niece. If you’re a new reader and wondering why there’s so much hair product in the background, it’s because my parents own a salon and they live there too.

Finally the star of the night, Valerie’s kick butt Pavlova.  I kid you not when I say this is THE BEST dessert I have ever eaten! Look how beautiful. It’s every bit as delicious as it looks!

Valerie and Vanja were so kind not only to bring a beautiful, delicious dessert, but they also brought gifts for my holy terrors and my parents (no, my parents were not the holy terrors I was referring to earlier…harhar). Thank you so much Valerie and Vanja, K and L really enjoyed their flashing glasses (L was so excited, he wouldn’t stand still for his picture)!

“Whose big piece of cake is this? ”

“Hands off Dad, that’s MINE! Go get your own.” 😛

Valerie and Vanja, I hope you both enjoyed the food and company as much as we enjoyed yours. Gotta love how food can bring together such cultural differences and create  wonderful friendships such as these.

Kiddies getting ready for bed as Gary and I were about to head out to a Christmas party.

Happy Holidays from the luvtoeat family! I may be taking a blogging break for the holidays, but I’ll be by to visit your blogs as much as I can. This is a crazy time for us as K’s birthday is Christmas eve, and Gary’s is right after new years. Party hardy everyone, but always remember to party responsibly. Continue creating those wonderful bloggie friendships. Until next time, friends and family 😀


33 Responses to “Chinese Dinner With A Canadian Foodie”

  1. 1 Blackswan December 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Lequan, your dishes certainly look good. I love prawns & the pix makes me drool.

    Valerie, your cake’s lovely! Makes me wanna eat them 🙂 I like your pix with that great smile!

    The family portrait is so beautiful especially with your adorable kids. One big happy family indeed!

    Merry X’mas to Lequan & Valerie! With love from, Singapore!

  2. 2 Anna Johnston December 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Wow Lequan…. your evening with Val sounded superb – I love it when you show your Chinese cooking, it all looks wonderful. I agree with you too about the awesome people you meet through our blogs…, its wonderful. Have an amazing Happy Holidays lovely Lequan… hope your have the best time & 2011 is a great year for you.

  3. 3 anncoo December 19, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Lequan,

    Those dishes looks absolutely delicious, I love all the food on that table. Hope that I am invited too *blink *blink ;))
    And thank you very much for the giveaway link. You’re the BEST!
    Merry X’mas to you, your family and Valerie!


  4. 4 Leah @ Why Deprive? December 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Its amazing the friendships you can make through blogging isnt it?

    Its quite the spread you’ve got there, everything sounds amazing.

    I LOVE that last picture btw. You have a gorgeous family. 🙂

  5. 5 Sharon December 20, 2010 at 4:27 am

    What a feast! The pavlova looks delicious too. It looks like you all had such a wonderful time. It’s so funny how bloggers go EVERYWHERE with their cameras haha. What am I laughing at, I do the same thing! The shrimp looks amazing, and I’m curious to see this easy sesame chicken recipe. Would’ve loved to see the winter melon soup, I’ve never had that before. But it’s understandable – I would forget to take photos too if I was ready to devour a display of wonderful food in front of me! And you’re definitely right, it’s amazing how friendships can be made through blogging :).

  6. 6 Biren @ Roti n Rice December 20, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Wow…that’s quite a feast! Everything looks delicious and Valerie’s pavlova looks gorgeous! Blogging is hard work but there are also rewards. It’s amazing how people connect.

    The family picture is awesome. It sure is a busy time of the year. Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  7. 7 Stella December 20, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Hey LeQuanis! This is a really sweet post. And your misunderstanding with your Mom sounds very familiar to me. I don’t know if my Mom is getting kind of nonchalant about listening. You know, like ‘I’m an old lady and too tired to deal with details’ type of thing?! OR maybe I just don’t communicate well. I have a feeling that in our case it’s a little of both. Either way, we end up doing a lot of playing it by ear and trying not to be upset or let down like you did. Coping skills are good (smile)…
    Oh, and the meal looks wonderful anyway. You guys are making me want to eat some seafood. I still need to try your clams. I never see any nice ones here lately though. It’s sad too, b/c I live on the east coast of Florida. Hmm…
    p.s. I saw that last photo and thought it was an end of the dinner and about to go to bed thing. I was like ‘ooh LeQuan looks good at bedtime-I need to start kicking things up a notch!’ Glad to hear you guys were freshened up and about to go out on the town. Phew;-)!

  8. 8 Ameena December 20, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Demonstration or not, the entire meal looks like perfection! I am always amazed at how moms just somehow pull everything together with seemingly little effort, and yet I can barely boil pasta? 🙂 And if I ever do visit you, Ali will certainly expect the Tilapia as that is his favorite fish ever.

    Gorgeous family photo!

    Happy Holidays LeQuan! Enjoy your family and your blogging break.

  9. 9 Faith December 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Wow, is that ever a fantastic spread of food! Sorry it didn’t go off exactly as planned, but it looks like the food was delicious and the company was wonderful. You’re right, Valerie is such a sweetheart, I’m so glad I recently discovered her beautiful blog…and I’m glad you and I found each other too, LeQuan! 🙂 (Thanks again to Lazaro! 🙂 ) Cute pic of you and the family, hope you had fun at the Christmas party!

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, LeQuan!

  10. 10 Lazaro December 20, 2010 at 11:19 am


    Glad you and Faith found each other, two of my favorite bloggers for sure.

    What an amazing spread of food. My kind of meal for sure. We will be having ours on the 24th, me and my brother will be doing the cooking.

    It’s great that you’ve found a good friend like Valerie through blogging. I have yet to meet a blogger in person, soon enough I guess.

    Have a fantastic holiday with your lovely family.

  11. 11 tigerfish December 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    The food looks so delicious! I love it even by looking and you are just making me hungry :O and the steamed chicken is beautifully presented! almost in bloom!

    Merry Christmas!

  12. 12 Yum Yucky December 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Ooo-la-la! Look at the spread of good eatin’. Daaang. I want it all, of course.

  13. 13 Pachecopatty December 20, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    LeQuan I really enjoyed this post! You are so sweet to share this wonderful meal. I love that you invited Valerie to meet your parents and have this wonderful and delicious experience. I see she came prepared to contribute to your meal with her magnificent Pavlova covered with fresh berries, yum! I think my favorite is the steamed Tilapia with ginger and garlic, that is making my mouth water, lol:) Also, thanks for sharing the cute family pictures and enjoy your holidays:)

  14. 14 sophia December 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Aaaaah!!! I long for the day when your blog title says: “A Chinese dinner with Burp and Slurp”. When oh when can I stuff myself with your dishes? Everything looks SO freaking good…I miss Chinese seafood like crazy! And yeah, who cares abt tablescape so long as the food is wonderful!!! And like Vanja, I would be offering to do the dishes too, so long as I get fed by you and your mom 🙂

  15. 15 Maki December 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Oh, I bet Valerie and her hubby were ecstatic! How wonderful 🙂

    And LeQuan, you are one sexy lookin’ mama! ha-cha-cha.

  16. 17 5 Star Foodie December 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    What a fun dinner with Valerie! It’s great that you guys have developed such a wonderful friendship. You made quite a feast there and Valerie’s Pavlova looks like an excellent dessert!

  17. 18 denise @ quickies on the dinner table December 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    “I don’t function properly when I’m hungry” – ROFL – I totally understand 😉

    This is what I call food for the (Asian) soul! I love everything on that table LeQuan! Your mum’s tomalley prawns and the water spinach look especially wonderful. Do not be surprised if you one day find me on your doorstep!

    I hope you and your lovely family have a truly wonderful Christmas!!

    Sending hugs your way,


  18. 19 denise @ quickies on the dinner table December 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    p/s – Valerie’s pavlova is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!

  19. 20 A Canadian Foodie December 22, 2010 at 6:19 am

    LeQuan – I have been terribly ill with the flu since Sunday – but when I read your post yesterday, I was too overwhelmed to respond. I knew it would take a while for me to digest the richness of your words here. I feel completely humbled by your praise… and it took me aback, a bit. Only because, when I read this “She sees no colour, difference in age or difference in sex when she welcomes you into her heart (and home). A true Canadian indeed.” I was deeply touched. Well, I was touched by everything you wrote – and you know, by you, and your family.
    Both Vanja and I were completely overwhelmed by the grace and graciousness of the hospitality we experienced at your mom’s house. I told you this, but I want your readers to know that the first thing Vanja said when we got into the car was, “What beautiful people. What a lovely family.” And we were just silent, savouring that for a bit, on the way home.
    This is the home that drew me to your blog. The mom with the hairdresser in the front of the house and the 20 course gourmet meal simmering in the kitchen for lunch “between clients”. I thought your blog – and life – should be made into a family sitcom on TV. It was hilarious! How can anyone do all that? Now I know. What an amazing world you come from and what rich heritage we were able to participate in and enjoy through your sharing!!!
    Vanja’s favourite (like almost everyone) was the shrimp. Mine was actually the fish. That topping was phenomenal – done YOUR way (sorry, Gary!). Everyone loved the clams, too. They were the best clams I have ever eaten!!! But, for me, the special moment was the recipe your mom made with that slowly poached chicken. One you have never had: what a gift. The dish was so simple to make, so delicious and such a gorgeous and unexpected presentation! Wasn’t that fun? Your mom has such a lively and perky personality! And your dad… what a gentle, loving, intuitive man. Hello, everyone out there: Her dad speaks too many languages for me to remember…. incredible!
    And, there was no bad. The XO sauce “lesson” would have been overkill. You were weak with hunger by the time we ate. According to your mom, that sauce takes 5-6 hours. That’s what I had read, too. That’s why I kept saying… we don’t need to come earlier to make the sauce?
    But, hey!
    You and I can fumble through it together sometime. She gave excellent instructions. I am sure we will succeed.
    So, now, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your wonderful family, LeQuan. BIG TIGHT SQUEEZE with lots of love.

    • 21 lequan December 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

      Oh no, Valerie! I hope you feel better soon, my dear. This time of the year is really bad for colds and flu 😦 Please take good care of yourself. I know your sweet Vanja will take great care of you though, so I’m not too worried.

      For the record, I wanted everyone who hasn’t met you to know what a sweet, genuine person you truly are. I’m so happy to have met such beautiful people as you and Vanja.

      Take good care of yourself! Wishing you, Vanja, and your lovely family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Big squishy hug!!!

  20. 22 Matthew December 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

    The prawn dish sounds particularly interesting.

    Generally speaking the cuisines that China has offer always intrigues me.


  21. 23 Devaki @ weavethousandflavors December 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

    LUCKY LUCKY VAL! Dear Le Quan – It’s official – I just turned a light shade of green…so cool that you live near each otehr and can eat together. The food is AMAZING.

    PLEASE teach me how to make your steamed tilapia. We LOVE that and it would make my heart go pitter patter. Awesome!

    Merry Christmas Dahling 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  22. 24 Monet December 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    How amazing…a wonderful night of food, family and friends. It is great that you were able to have Valarie over. She is such a sweetheart! The dishes that you and your mom prepared look amazing. The steamed tilapia in particular was making me drool. I wish I could come over for dinner with you all! And I loved seeing that family photograph at the end. You and Gary make such a cute couple..and the kiddos? Just precious. I hope that you are having such a wonderful week of holiday celebration. Thanks for sharing, my sweet friend!

  23. 25 Juliana December 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Lequan, I wish I live near you 🙂 All the dishes look amazing, lucky Val!

  24. 26 Jessie December 24, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I completely agree with you on how wonderful it is to meet friends through blogging – I’ve “met” you, which certainly makes it worthwhile 🙂 It sounds like you and Valerie had a wonderful time at your parents’ house and I think that it’s really friends and family that make a meal the wonderful event that it is. I am 100% in agreement with everything you said about Valerie, and the fact that you see all these qualities in her and write about them shows what a wonderful friend you are.

    Your Chinese spread is having my mouth watering – yum! I would go for either version of your delectable-looking tilapia. In fact, I think I would eat anything you put in front of me 🙂 I’m still raring to make your water spinach with fermented tofu. And winter melon is one of my favorites! I love the picture of K with the lightup cup (happy birthday, sweetie!), and the last picture of the four of you is just too precious!

    Have a wonderful holiday, LeQuan, to you and your family! xoxo!

  25. 28 Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron December 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    What a feast! Everything looks delicious on the table! I like steamed tilapia and water spinach! We sometimes eat it with porridge. That poached chicken is something. Yes, something that’s so inviting.I wouldn’t believe to make friends through blogging if i have not experienced it myself. However, I haven’t yet them in person. I wish someday and soon! It makes me happy by looking at your photos. I like family-gathering and for Asian the family and food are big deal! The pavlova looks gorgeous!

    I like the family pic with your w/o glasses!

  26. 29 Magic of Spice December 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    How amazingly wonderful for you and Valerie’s family to share such an amazing feast…Love the photos especially your family photo, just beautiful 🙂
    Wishing a most amazing New Year for you and your family…
    Big hugs and lots of love,

  27. 30 Quay Po Cooks December 29, 2010 at 3:21 am

    What a WONDERFUL post about friendship! Everything thing you and your mum prepared were FANTASTIC! If I am not so far away from you, I will request for cooking lessons from you both. I believe 100% that through blogging, we can be good friends, I consider you as mine although we never meet but I always feed connected with you. Your comments on my blog delights me and I love reading your posts, they always warm my heart and put a smile on my face. Take a break fo the holidays but not too long for I will miss reading your posts! HUGS!

  28. 31 Lawyer Loves Lunch December 30, 2010 at 10:21 am

    LeQuan, this is such a lovely post! It’s so nice to read about blogging friends becoming real-life friends. And that feast looks spectacular. I can’t wait to see your mom’s sesame chicken recipe. Happy New Year to your beautiful family! 🙂

  29. 32 DessertDarling January 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    What an incredible and moving entry. It really moved me to tears. So so lovely. I hope you had a Merry Christmas with your beautiful family and continue to enjoy and incredible new year.

    Dessert Darling

  1. 1 Super Easy Sesame Chicken « luvtoeat Trackback on January 12, 2011 at 12:52 am

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