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Guu Garden

February 15, 2011

Ever since Guu Garden opened on Nelson St last year, I’ve been meaning to give it a try. On this visit, Monkey, Apple, and I were here to celebrate Lady Grey’s birthday. Having been to the Thurlow and Robson locations and left satisfied on both occasions, I was curious about what how Guu Garden would measure up. Although there are five different Guu locations in Greater Vancouver, they each have their own specializations that makes them stand out from one another. For this reason, I was eager to give Guu Garden a try and to sample some of their oden, which happens to be what this location specializes in.

For those who don’t know, oden is a hot pot popular in the winter that consists of ingredients such as fish cakes, daikon radish, boiled eggs, and tofu.

Having never been to Japan before, my oden standards are not high at all. The only kind that I’ve tried before is from the 7-eleven convenience stores in Taiwan, which is by no means authentic (but so good nonetheless). For this reason, I am only able to judge on the taste and quality of the oden alone. Unless someone knowledgeable  can convince me otherwise, I will put my faith in Guu Garden and trust that they are serving me authentic oden reminiscent of the kind made in Japan.

Although we did not make a reservation on a Saturday night, we were seated promptly without much of a wait. Unlike the Thurlow location, the ambiance at Guu Garden is not as loud, something that izakayas are synonymous with. Our waitress was friendly and gave us some time to peruse through the extensive and exciting menu upon taking our orders.

Sakura Fizz in Love:

I really enjoyed this drink. I don’t remember what the contents were anymore, but it tasted light and refreshing , with just the right balance of sweetness.

The Strawberry Season:

Snow White:

Kabocha Korroke:

This is a pumpkin croquette with a boiled egg in the centre and drizzled with their original mayonnaise sauce. The first time I tried this dish, I instantly fell in love with it. The sweetness of the pumpkin pairs so well with the egg and mayo sauce on top. This is a must-eat for me whenever I go to Guu.

Since their specialty is oden, we all got the assorted oden special which came with five pieces of oden of your choice. You also have a choice between the kanto or miso soup base. I went with the kanto-daki with a free range egg, taro jelly (konnyaku), daikon radish, chikuwa fish cake, and mochi tofu bag:

According to the menu, the kanto-daki is a light soy sauce based soup while the miso-oden is miso based and slightly richer. When they came with the bowl of oden, I thought that they had missed an item, as the mochi tofu bag was missing. It turns out that it takes longer to prepare, so you have to wait awhile.

This also came with a small smear of wasabi on the side of the bowl for flavouring. The kanto soup base was very light and flavourful, and the oden items soaked up the flavour of the broth well. I especially enjoyed the konnyaku, which has always been a favorite of mine because of its jelly-like texture. The chikuwa fish cake was chewy and cooked to perfection. The daikon was probably the most flavorful out of the ones listed above, as it soaked in the most of the kanto-daki.

Mochi Tofu Bag:

This was definitely my favorite oden item. I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into the soft skin of the tofu to find a piece of sticky mochi hidden within the parcel!  Definitely order this, you will not be disappointed. Even the “ribbon” is edible!


I didn’t get a chance to try this, but the colour of the soup looks significantly darker than the kanto-daki.

Avocado and Four Cheese Pizza:

This dish was ordered off the specials menu. The avocado and the cheese on the pizza made this dish very creamy and delectable. The pizza “dough” is just a flour tortilla, however, so it was very thin. I didn’t find this dish very creative nor interesting — it was just okay.

And how could we end our meal without dessert? 

Chestnut Cheesecake:

Kabocha Pudding :

Both desserts were delicious and a good way to end off the meal.

Although there were still many dishes that I wanted to try,  they will just have to be put on hold until my next visit. While I enjoyed the oden at Guu Garden, I still prefer the other Guu locations more for the noisy and lively ambiance.

Nevertheless, nothing speaks comfort more than a warm bowl of oden on a cold, rainy day.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 9:32 PM

    Ooo~ Oden!! :D Good stuff~ I’m looking forward to trying out Guu on Thurlow!

  2. February 28, 2011 9:57 AM

    Yay another food blog!

    The Pumpkin Croquette is a must-order for me everytime at Guu too! Plus I think it’s super cheap too XD

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