On Danny’s Market, Finding Portuguese Custard Tarts, and Cooking on The Kaisei.

There are the days when I sit at beautifully-set tables, feasting on multi-course meals with fine wines, expertly paired…… and there are the days when I make a meal of a Danny’s screamer, butter chicken samosas, and Price Right’s Portuguese custard tarts.  These latter options may seem a little lowbrow, but they’re institutions of the Richmond culinary scene nonetheless.  And lowbrow can be really good. 

After writing about the screamers from Screamers during the Ice Cream Olympics, I had endless comments telling me that I MUST TRY DANNY’S MARKET.  So recently I decided it was time to try out Danny’s version of these cold and colourful slushy + soft serve ‘meals,’ accompanied by two of the samosas they’re also known for.  The shop was actually a far more dynamic place than I imagined it would be, and I can see why on a hot day, there’d be scores of hungry teenagers saying “Let’s go to Danny’s!”

At the corner of Garden City and Francis Road, Danny’s is one of those places with an odd mix of things that have somehow melded into one cohesive, successful business; first and foremost they’re known for their screamers, which they’ve paired with various foods to make combos; there’s pizza, garlic twists, subs, samosas, and breakfast, as well as racks of convenience store goods and a lounge area with a TV, so you can sit and watch sports for awhile as you suck root beer + soft serve up through a giant straw.

I opted for a pina colada screamer and the butter chicken samosas combo for $6.99, which turned out to be an incredibly filling (if not rather unhealthy) meal.  While the pina colada flavour was delicious, I should have known better than to order something so pale!  It looked just like a giant cup of soft serve.  The visuals, Anderson, you’ve got to consider the visuals.  

I never really thought I’d ever say this, but the soft serve was amazing; so creamy.  The samosas were also surprisingly good; I’d read somewhere that they weren’t note-worthy so my expectations were rather low, but they were filled with soft, spiced meat and were very flavourful.

Not to mention big!  The picture doesn’t do it justice, but two of these triangular pies were more than enough food.  So that was my meal, and I would totally get it again – if you’re biking in the area, or just driving near and want a seriously eclectic, fast, cheap, and unpretentious meal, Danny’s has it for you.

The same day, because I was on such a health spree, I popped into Price Smart Foods on Ackroyd Road because I’d heard they have Portuguese custard tarts, the slightly sweeter, bruléed cousin of the Chinese egg tart.  And they do!  There’s also Chinese BBQ, fresh steam buns, and plenty of other on-the-go Asian meals.

So how was it?  Decent.  The pastry was good, very soft and flaky – as with egg tarts, the tart shell should ‘give’ a little when squeezed –  but the filling didn’t have enough vanilla in it.  Still, a nice treat!

And now, because I promised a few days ago, here’s some more info on the Kaisei, a ship currently docked in Steveston for the Maritime Festival.

As a non-profit project, the Kaisei’s mission is to raise awareness regarding the excessive amounts of plastic debris that have ended up in our oceans.  Focusing on the North Pacific Gyre (home to the North Pacific Garbage Patch), the ship and its crew have made multiple trips to this remote area in order to document and research the amount of garbage that collects in the gyre’s meeting-place of ocean currents.  This great read from the CBC discusses the need to differentiate the tons of floating waste from Japanese tsunami debris, and look at the garbage patch as a problem that’s been accumulating over decades.

While on board, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jocelyn Turner, the ship’s cook, and asked her to take me on a tour of the kitchen.  Having cooked for tree planters, I’m always curious to see how cooks manage to feed large groups in unusual circumstances; while I thought surviving mosquitos in the woods was tough, Jocelyn’s job made mine look like a Caribbean vacation.  On some voyages, she’ll be cooking three meals per day for up to 25 people, 30 days in a row.  All of it at sea.  There’s no one to call if you’ve run out of milk, or if all your meat accidentally defrosts, or if your kitchen is moving up and down like a see-saw.  With a galley kitchen below deck, she literally has to strap herself in, as well as everything she’s cooking with, just to prevent it all from hitting the wall (or floor, or roof).  Have you ever tried preparing dinner for 25 while on a roller-coaster?  Me neither, and I don’t think I’d be very good at it.  Here’s Jocelyn explaining a bit about life in the Kaisei’s kitchen, and her strategies for getting all that food to last throughout the trip.  You can board the Kaisei this weekend if you’re in Steveston, or visit their website to learn more about the important work they do.  Thanks again to Jocelyn for showing me around.

 

Danny’s Market

9040 Francis Road, Richmond BC

604-274-3610

Cash and cards accepted

8 Comments

  1. cwid

    When we lived close to Francis Road in the late 90′s, my daughter and her friends used to skate down to Danny’s for the pizza. She said it was good. It seems like Danny’s Market has been there forever and has become an institution among the kids in the area. Re Price Smart, that used to be Save-On and I wonder why Save-On left the place. Save-On used to have a Chinese food take-out counter that was really good.

    Reply
  2. Lindsay365

    Actually, I think Price Smart is an affiliation of Save-On, because all the branding is still Overwaitea/Save-On, and I was able to use my Save-On card. So I imagine the Chinese takeout counter is pretty much the same!

    Reply
  3. Laurette

    I cycle by this place so often & never would have thought of going in. I live north of it. Thank you for this info & other little hidden gems you are discovering & opening us to more options. Prior to your blog, I knew nothing about Screamers. Now everyone will scream for Screamers LOL

    Reply
  4. Dee

    I’d love to hear if you find any ‘little known’ gems for breakie in Richmond. There isn’t too many outside the franchises. Enjoying your write ups.

    Reply
  5. gish

    I would argue that what you tried was a Chinese version of a Portuguese egg tart. A true Portuguese egg tart is very different than what you get at any Asian bakery. I actually prefer the Chinese version as I like the eggyness of Chinese dahn-tahts and find pasteis de natas too sweet, just my own preference. The only exception is the tarts in Belem in Lisbon. Those are SO GOOD!

    Reply
  6. Crista

    I grew up on Danny’s market back when Danny was around, pre-screamer days and it is so great that it has held up and done so well! There are girls from other cities that come to Richmond to play softball, but the deal is always Danny’s afterwards. I really love that you chose to include this on your journey!

    Reply
  7. Heather

    Screamers?!?! in the lower mainland?!?! I thought I’d have to head to Mr. G’s just to get one. Love the post! Thank you!!

    Reply
  8. Rosie

    I tried a screamer for the first time a couple of weekends ago in Steveston. Wow, I’d been missing out!
    PriceSmart is still part of the Overwaitea group, but I guess they came around to compete with Superstore. Having said that, I don’t have PriceSmart prices all that much different from Save-on.
    I love Portugese egg tarts — must go try the ones at PriceSmart!

    Reply

Leave a Reply