Spicy, creamy, fishy, meaty. Throw in cabbage, leafy greens, eggs, wontons, mushrooms, ginger, thin-sliced meats and whatever else your heart (and tastebuds) may desire. There’s no shortage of customizations when it comes to hot pot, the meal you go out for and yet cook yourself.
Made through a Chinese cooking method of preparing your food at the dining table, hot pot is an interactive meal made for group dinners on cool days. While a simmering soup base (spicy, creamy or vegetable, depending on the restaurant) is kept boiling, ingredients are thrown into a pot and cooked at the table.
We found Metro Vancouver’s top 5 Hot Pot spots so you can cook and chow down at the same time.
Pearl Hot Pot
7154 Sperling Ave, Burnaby
Step right up and sit down for a group session at Pearl Hot Pot. Set right in the centre of the restaurant is bar seating, where each foodie has their very own pot and burner. The standard meal selections (lamb, vegetarian, seafood and more) each come with an iced green or fruit tea, along with a heaping plate of vegetables and a single prawn, along with your chosen Hot Pot dish—from ginseng chicken to assorted mushrooms ($14.95 – $23.95), and finished off with ice cream. If Pearl Hot Pot had a mantra, it would be “fresh and filling.”
Multiple locations: find Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond and Vancouver here.
This chain restaurant makes hot pot as authentic to its roots as possible. Legend goes that the original hot pot was created after Mongolian warriors turned their helmets upside down and boiled water over a fire, throwing in their foodstuffs. While you won’t find any used headgear here, you’ll find a consistent way of choosing your meal. First, select one of three soup case options: original, spicy, or half & half. Then, throw in your choice of finely shaved meats, crisp vegetables, seafood and handmade noodles. Each meal comes with a salty, smoky plum juice, but blended fresh watermelon and an assortment of beer and wine is also on the menu. While this spot can be rather pricey, most meals end with a voucher $5 or more off your next visit—or snag a spot before 4:30 pm for their daily $10.99 lunch special.
The old idiom “the lion’s share” applies at Lion Hot Pot Ltd. At this North Vancouver eatery, portions are fit for the king of the jungle, and the service is speedy. The main pot combos ($14.95 – $19.95) include wintermelon juice, tea and dessert with your meal. All Chinese-style noodles, soup bases and sauces are made in-house and MSG-free, and each diner has their own personal pot and burner so you won’t have to share, after all.
Asian-pacific flavours made with local ingredients? That sounds like a win to us! Hotpot Palace meshes locavore values with Asian sensibilities. You’ll find Canadian lobster and west coast dungeness crab, and local, organic greens alongside Wagyu beef, Japanese Matsusaka pork and imported live fish. Individual meals start at $43, so it’s best to buddy up and come with a troupe for their hot pot sets, which include meats and toppings for groups of six to 10. Hotpot Palace provides nine different broth styles from Macau-style pork bone broth to Sukiyaki and half-and-half.
Landmark Hot Pot House
4023 Cambie St, Vancouver
If you’re craving fancy and yet innovative, look no further than Landmark Hot Pot House. The restaurant serves up classic Hong Kong fare, with fresh, live seafood like locally-sourced geoduck clams and gossamer. This hot spot even offers valet parking! Unlike some other spots, you won’t be able to snag a hot pot combo—each set of ingredients must be ordered separately, allowing for personal customization. This spot is for hot pot experts and nightowls: Landmark opens at 5 pm and serves up a late-night menu fit for those getting over their jet lag (or their really late night before).
Take yourself on a tasty adventure with Richmond’s self-guided Dumpling Trail. With each location just a short walking distance from each other, the Trail makes it easy to experience new flavours that are sure to make their way onto your favourites list. Each restaurant has been hand-selected by Tourism Richmond to ensure a great experience, so travel as a group or take your best foodie friend with you and experience all of Richmond’s top dumpling hotspots.
The Dumpling Trail is designed to take you on an exciting culinary adventure. Where to begin? Try one of these sure-fire places:
Avid dim sum lovers look no further. Empire Seafood Restaurant has all the staples, including an elegant white tablecloth and round-table environment to enjoy good dumplings over conversations with your whole family. The quality of each bite is top-notch, with all dumplings handmade and packed with flavour.
What to order?
Deep fried duck and taro pastries
Steamed shrimp dumplings
Deep fried minced pork and dried shrimp dumplings
Bonus: Try the flaky egg tarts!
Note from Tourism Richmond: Try their signature xiao long bao.
For a more intimate atmosphere, try the upscale dining experience at Su Hang. With a window that looks right into the kitchen, you can watch as the dumpling chef works diligently away at creating each tasty morsel from scratch. With quick and friendly service, make sure you come hungry and prepared to eat.
What to order?
Steamed veggie dumplings
Pan fried shrimp and chives dumplings
Steamed bun with pork filling
Bonus: The sweet Sesame Dumplings & Rice Glue in Wine!
Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner lies this gem – an eatery that exists partly because of how good their handmade Korean dumplings are. You see, Samsoonie has been making dumplings – or mandu – for 8 years, and they’ve been so successful as a supplier that they decided to open up a restaurant. You can taste the heart and soul that goes into each piece.
Now this place is a real treat. Located in Lansdowne shopping mall, it’s not only a more quick-and-casual option but it’s also a great learning experience. Watch as they make dumplings right in front of you and enjoy the authentic experience, almost like you’re in someone’s kitchen. Head in for a quick bite or stay awhile and try them all – it’s up to you.
What to order?
Steamed juice pork buns
Boiled pork dumplings with chives
Grilled beef dumplings
Bonus: Take some frozen dumplings home with you!
Note from Tourism Richmond: Try their signature xiao long bao.
Feeling spicy? Hop over to Golden Sichuan Restaurant and tantalize your taste buds with dumplings that have bite. The combination of chillies and the soft texture of their dumpling will leave you craving this handmade goodness for days.
What to order?
Sichuan wonton with chilli oil
Boiled pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings
Bonus: Sichuan-style everything!
To learn more about dumplings styles, and for a complete map of each location, visit the Dumpling Trail website.
When visiting a new city, choosing where to eat can be a daunting task, especially when the options are abundant! Metro Vancouver has an incredible amount of culinary options to enjoy, so, why not book a food tour and let your guide make the restaurant selections for you?
Don’t know where to start? If you’re in the mood for fantastic Asian cuisine (Metro Vancouver has no shortage of that!) check out this list of tours available in Metro Vancouver.
Robert Sung’s guided food tours are unparalleled. Mr Sung is a third-generation Chinese Canadian who was raised in BC’s food hospitality industry–his family has been involved the industry for over 70 years. As a member of the Chinese-Canadian Historical Society of BC and a current member of the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee, Sung has a wealth of local, culinary, and cultural knowledge.
A Wok Around Food Tours offers guided culinary and walking tours of both Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and the colourful, hustle and bustle of Granville Island.
Okay, it’s not actually a trail of dumplings, but it’s pretty close! For those who like to keep their food tours independent, this one is for you. The Dumpling Trail maps out a carefully curated selection of 20 restaurants “serving up some of the most delectable dumplings this side of the Pacific.” Download the Dumpling Trail map directly from their website and set sail on a delicious self-guided expedition. Stretchy pants highly recommended.
If you’ve been wanting to do Dim Sum in Vancouver but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. For $75, Canadian Craft Tour guides will take you on a guided tour adventure to some of Vancouver’s best hidden gems. Sample dishes like har-gow (delicious steamed shrimp dumplings, packed with flavour), char sui (white and fluffy steam buns stuffed with BBQ pork or vegetables), xiao long bao (steamed dumpling with pork and broth filling (think inside-out wonton), and sweet egg tarts to top it all off. Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada, so why not take the time to learn more about its rich history, and vibrant cuisine?
West Coasters are fortunate to dine on some of the best Japanese food in the country. Dating as far back as 1877 when the first immigrants arrived to the West Coast, the traditions have grown from small fishing villages to complex and distinguished high-end restaurants.
Canadian Craft Tours also offers a Japanese cuisine and sushi walking tour through downtown Vancouver’s incredible selection of Japanese restaurants. Drink pairing options are available with Sake, beer, and cocktails all on the menu! Book this one for only $25 per person.
Vancouver Food Tours are offering a modern spin on the traditional Chinatown food tour. Warning: this experience doesn’t cover the more traditional restaurants in Chinatown, so prep your palate for some fusion-fare. Take a tour through the new offerings popping up Vancouver’s growing Chinatown, while drinking, and dining to your heart’s content and learning about what’s new just east and west of Main Street. This $115 guided tour includes four courses and drink pairings at each location.
It’s time to get out your chopsticks with the recent announcement of the Diners’ Choice Awards for the 2018 Chinese Restaurant Awards. And, once again, Richmond has come out on top, with twelve of the twenty-one winners forming part of the city’s vibrant dining landscape.
Now in its tenth year, the successful Chinese Restaurant Awards aims to recognize excellence in both Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine in Metro Vancouver. The Diners’ Choice Awards were tallied from 35,219 on-line and WeChat votes from the public over the course of four weeks.
The results showcase what the Lower Mainland has to offer in terms of exemplary Chinese and Taiwanese dining. Here are the twelve Richmond restaurants that the discerning voting-public thinks you need to try:
Best Shanghainese Stir Fry Egg White Suhang Restaurant (100-8291 Ackroyd Road, Richmond)
This popular Richmond establishment has won one of the four new dish categories. Suhang Restaurant offers a refined dining experience, specializing in Shanghainese dim sum items (eg xiao long bao) and dishes that highlight the flavours of Jiangnam, located south of the Yangtze River. The restaurant’s winning dish is a classic and expertly executed combination of broccoli, egg white, shrimp, and egg yolk.
Best New Restaurant (opened less than one year) Geng Shi Ji (1211-8338 Capstan Way, Richmond)
The winner of best new restaurant is the Richmond outpost of an established restaurant franchise from Hunan, China. The kitchen aims to showcase classic and reinvented dishes from a variety of Chinese regional cuisines. Recommended dishes include egg wrap with pork meatballs, crab with rice cakes, sour cabbage fish soup, and spicy beef shank.
With elevated items like black truffle siu mai and steamed buns filled with salty egg yolk lava, Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant was bound to be crowned the winner of best dim sum. The establishment prides itself on its stellar dim sum experience, from the dazzling room, to the attentive service, to the inventive and delicately crafted dishes.
Located just across the street from the iconic Olympic Oval, Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine is the epitome of upscale Cantonese dining, with elegant interiors and a menu that evidences refined technique and top quality ingredients. Diners come for the chef specialty dim sum items, like truffle chicken, as well as opulent dinner dishes, such as braised sea cucumber with sliced abalone and greens.
Under the same ownership as Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine (180-4260 Number 3 Road, Richmond), Z&Y Shanghai Cuisine invites with modern décor and flavourful Shanghainese cooking. Expect classic dishes like xiao long bao, tea-smoked duck, stir-fried rice cakes, and slow braised pork hock. The large room is ideal for convivial sharing of food with friends and family.
It’s all about the skewers at the two locations of Happy Tree House BBQ (one in Vancouver and one in Richmond). There’s a wide selection of proteins, from the crowd favourite lamb to more exotic choices like chicken gizzards. The meat already comes generously spiced, but flavour addicts can amp things up with ground cumin and chili.
Best Taiwanese Restaurant/BBT Café Memory Corner (6900 Number 3 Road, Richmond)
If you’re wanting rustic, authentic Taiwanese cuisine, Memory Corner is the restaurant to visit. This establishment is a tribute to family roots in the restaurant business, lovingly celebrated with dishes like lamb noodle soup, Taiwanese deep-fried crispy chicken, and three-cup chicken.
Best Hot Pot Restaurant Boiling Point (130-4800 Number 3 Road, Richmond)
With four locations in the Lower Mainland, Boiling Point began originally in California and has since spread globally. The menu at the Richmond restaurant features the chain’s signature hot soups, including their Japanese miso soup, lamb soup, and Taiwanese spicy soup. They all come chockfull of ingredients, with the option to include add-ins like lobster fish balls.
Best Hong Kong-Style Café Copa Café (105-6200 River Road)
The enduring appeal of Hong Kong cafes is exemplified in the success of Copa Café, a chain with three locations in the Lower Mainland. The restaurant provides East meets West classic dishes, such as baked pork chop on rice, a clubhouse sandwich, and seafood and pineapple fried rice.
Best BBQ Shop HK BBQ Master (145-4651 Number Three Road, Richmond)
By this point, HK BBQ Master has reached cult-like status on Canada’s west coast, with people driving especially to Richmond to purchase chef Eric Leung’s barbecue perfection in items like barbecued pork, roast pork, and barbecued spareribs. The slow-cooked meat is tender and intensely flavourful.
Best Bakery Shop Maxim’s Bakery (Richmond Centre, 6551 Number Three Road, Richmond)
The Richmond location of this beloved Chinese bakery chain sees considerable traffic from customers craving their layered fruit and cream cakes, coconut buns, and pineapple buns. Snack on an egg tart as you window shop around Richmond Centre.
Best Fantuan Delivery Me + Crêpe (128-8531 Alexandra Road, Richmond)
This restaurant, with locations in Richmond, Vancouver, and Burnaby, specializes in inventive Asian-style crêpes, with original fillings, like egg, Chinese donut, and soybean paste; and sliced duck with cucumber, green onion, and soybean paste. Who knew that the classic French dish could become even better?
The ushering in of the Year of the Dog was on February 16, and was a joyous and festive time for the Chinese community in the Lower Mainland characterized by time spent with family and friends and, of course, by copious delicious feasting.
Who doesn’t love a good hearty meal? Chinese New Year an opportunity for everyone to partake in holiday eating, most especially dishes that will, hopefully, improve success in the coming lunar year. Richmond, as a confluence of various Chinese cuisines, offers many culinary opportunities for celebrating Year of the Dog well into 2018. Here are 8 luck-magnet dishes that will appeal to your palate and your fortunes throughout the year:
A particularly significant dish for Chinese New Year consists of a whole fish; its associations with unity and good fortune make it a centerpiece item. A whole steamed rock cod at Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant (2200-4540 Number 3 Road, Richmond) is a seemingly simple, yet lovely dish that really highlights the freshness and subtle flavour of the fish.
Because spring rolls resemble gold bars, they are a popular food item for encouraging wealth in your life – plus their deep fried crispiness makes them undeniably enjoyable to eat. While these tasty snacks can be found on most dim sum menus, chef May Chau at Golden Paramount (8071 Park Road, Richmond) has created an inventive version you have to try that has juicy shredded daikon filling.
Dumplings signal wealth in Chinese traditions, and the more of them you eat, the more prosperous you’ll be. In other words, you have full license to gorge on dumplings during the New Year festivities! Richmond has an almost endless selection of dumplings, as evidenced by its Dumpling Trail self-guided itineraries. A classic type is shui jiao, water boiled dumplings filled with ingredients like pork, prawns, shiitake mushroom, and chives. Especially good shui jiao can be gobbled at Golden Sichuan (170-3631 Number 3 Road, Richmond). These dumplings are definitely hearty and very addictive.
Another dish aimed to bolster happiness in the New Year consists of Shangainese savoury chewy pan-fried rice cakes or nian gao. A sweet pudding-type version of nian gao is also available at establishments like Saint Germain Bakery (Aberdeen Centre, 1428-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). In Mandarin, the name nian gao is a homonym for “higher” or “taller” year, making this item particularly lucky. You’ll find them at most Shanghainese restaurants in Richmond, such as at Shanghai Wonderful (Best Western Plus Abercorn Inn, 9260 Bridgeport Road, Richmond), which serves a rendition with spinach, chopped cabbage, and shredded pork.
A dish that appears frequently on Chinese New Year menus consists of braised dried oysters with Chinese mushrooms and sea moss, with a particularly impressive version found at Fisherman’s Terrace (Aberdeen Centre, 3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). The item is a showcase of lucky ingredients. Dried oysters are said to aid in bolstering business, while the name for sea moss (fat choy) is a homonym for “good fortune.”
A feast isn’t complete without a plate of lobster, which symbolizes abundance and prosperity, especially with its red lucky colour. Hoi Tong (8191 Westminster Highway, Richmond) offers wok-tossed double lobsters in a consommé sauce, served atop springy egg noodles. Flavours are kept simple in order to showcase the natural sweetness and texture of the seafood.
Pomelo and Other Fruits
The spherical shape of pomelos and other citrus fruits, like oranges, signal wholeness and prosperity. The name for pomelo, you, also sounds similar to “to have” or “you,” which gives it further prosperity associations. Wild Sweets (2145-12191 Hammersmith Way, Richmond), run by world acclaimed science-based chocolatiers Dominque and Cindy Duby, released a limited edition 2018 “Year of the Dog Chocolate Art Collection” that features these prosperous fruits. The chocolates have fillings such as pomelo caramel ganache and ginger lemon honey nut cream, and kumquat orange caramel ganache and citrus honey nut cream.
At any Chinese New Year’s banquet, diners anticipate noodles to appear as one of the final courses, signaling a celebration of long life. Richmond has a plethora of places for getting your noodle fix, with the hand-pulled noodles at the unassuming Xi’an Cuisine (2370-8260 Westminster Highway, Richmond) at the Richmond Public Market being a very satisfying frontrunner choice. Have them in soup or stir-fried, or go for the noodles in spicy peanut sauce, if you want a saucier version. The non-uniform shape and size of the noodles are part of their rustic charm.
The arrival of 2018 heralds the chance to start afresh and to seek out new dining adventures in Metro Vancouver. Richmond, as an exciting nexus of so many different culinary traditions, is constantly evolving as a dining destination.
In the last six months, many new restaurants have launched, adding their menus to the breadth of options available in the city. Here are five establishments to kick-start your 2018 dining adventures.
I Love Fish
132-4200 No. 3 Road
In the last few years, a host of different hot pot restaurants have emerged in Richmond, offering their take on this delicious and interactive dining experience. I Love Fish one of the most recent entrants that specializes in (you guessed it) fish hot pot, Chongqing style. The room is a colourful space with a graffitied pop art aesthetic and servers are helpful and attentive. When you arrive, you’ll be presented with a laminated menu for checking off your desired broth, as well as add-in ingredients. All soups come with slices of cod, but can be customized with different flavours, such as curry, tomato, or soy.
The hot and spicy version comes particularly recommended, though you should be prepared: even the mild broth is a real tongue burner. There are a range of ingredients to cook in the bubbling broth, including seafood balls (such as crab, shrimp), yam slices, rice noodles, tofu knots, and beef tripe.
Ichigo Ichie Ramen
150-11060 No. 5 Road
The ramen craze continues with the opening of this new establishment. Located in East Richmond just off Highway 99, Ichigo Ichie Ramen exudes a hip vibe, with a stone-tiled accent wall, funky pendant lights, and an overall brightly inviting look.
Ordering works through a paper sheet for customizing your bowl of ramen. Choose between shoyu, shio, miso, vegetable, and mayu (spicy) ramen with garlic black oil. You also get to choose between chicken or pork chasiu, as well as pork, chicken, or vegetable broth. Additional ingredients include pork belly, nori, sweet corn, and a seasoned egg.
The menu offers a variety of rice bowls (such as spicy cod roe), as well as small plates, such as gyoza and chicken karaage. In sum, this is a great new spot for a quick and lip-smacking meal.
Ginger Indian Cuisine
490-9100 Blundell Road
The popular Ginger Indian Cuisine (140-3031 Beckham Place) has opened a new location, making their consistently standout Indian cuisine available to even more hungry diners. Interiors are modern, with plenty of comfortable booth seating. Regulars to the original restaurant (and newbies) can look forward to classic northern Indian dishes, such as butter chicken, lamb rogan josh, chicken or lamb korma, and spinach paneer. Of course, these rich dishes require sharing with friends and family, in addition to sides of saffron pilau rice and naan (garlic, whole wheat, paneer-stuffed).
New to the second location are items like grilled ground lamb sheesh kababs, calamari coated in chick pea batter and deep fried, and chicken wings marinated with ginger, garlic, and spices. Sip from a fragrant cup of chai in between bites of such Indian culinary bounty, and all feels right with the world.
Mr. Black Restaurant
2790-4151 Hazelbridge Way
In Aberdeen Centre, a new restaurant has taken the place of the former Guu Richmond. Mr. Black Restaurant boasts a sleek dark-hued décor and overall vibe, with a menu that distinctively focuses on Japanese katsu (deep fried cutlets) and other deep-fried specialties. Items include wagyu beef and foie gras korokke (croquettes), battered fried chicken, and both seafood (eg halibut) and pork katsu.
Their specialty is gyukatsu, deep fried wagyu beef cutlet that arrives ready for grilling to your liking at the table. Some of the items are coated in charcoal breadcrumbs, giving them a “black” appearance. While all this deep-frying may seem overwhelming, the restaurant aims for a crisp texture and light flavour. Fruit salad with lemon yogurt dressing, and green salad with fruit vinaigrette are available to balance out the indulgence.
Chiu Chow Cuisine
1080-8580 Alexandra Road
The extensive menu at this recently opened restaurant features many quintessential Chiu Chow items, like fried oyster omelette, braised duck, braised egg and tofu, cold crab, and steamed chicken in bean paste. Be sure to order the Chiu Chow-style wide rice noodle soup with seaweed and fish balls for a comforting, wintry dish. End your meal with sugar-coasted deep fried taro bars, a popular regional snack.
Ultimately, 2018 promises to be a fabulous eating year in Richmond. There’s no time like the present in getting started on your New Year’s solution to try new places and new cuisines!
New Westminster’s Wild Rice may well serve some of the best Asian soul food around, and young chef Jericho Garcia can most certainly be credited. He shared his journey with me, and clearly he is a talent to watch.
Where were you born?
Jericho Garcia: I was born in the largest group of islands in Philippines – Luzon, in the town of Pampanga which sits on the northern shore of Manila Bay. It is surrounded by commercial fishponds and rice fields.
What was food like in your growing up household?
Garcia: I grew up in a culture where food preparation is taken seriously. Authentic traditional recipes are handed down generation after generation and kept as a family treasure. We had access to the best seafood the Pacific Ocean has to offer.
Where did you study cooking and when?
Garcia: When I was about 8 years old my parents had a small cantina that served the best pancit (noodles) in town. Though I was too young to get in to the business, I was always fascinated by my parents’ passion for cooking. I’ve been a student of the craft and art of cooking for as long as I can remember even though I have never taken a single culinary class in a formal school environment.
What was your first paying job?
Garcia: At Wendy’s [fast food restaurant] two weeks after my family moved to Canada. I was 17 years old. I was assigned to cook fries, flip burgers and assemble sandwiches.
What was your most rewarding experience in your early days?
Garcia: When you are in the business of cooking for people, every day seems to be rewarding, especially when you see people enjoying your creations. One of the most rewarding milestones of my life took place when I was dishwashing at Earl’s Restaurant. That is where I started to fall in love with what I do. We had the perfect team – I was the best dishwasher around, the nightshift was led by my former Sous Chef Justin Yoon (who is now the Head Chef of Earl’s Victoria) and a very young, up and coming Sous Chef, Levy Johnston. Under them was a group of passionate, hard-working cooks. These two chefs saw great potential in me and I was promoted as 3rd cook after not quite a year in the dish pit. At that moment I found my purpose. I was deeply passionate and I was eager. I had never felt something similar to this in all my life, so at first I didn’t know how to act. My chefs had faith in me and they kept me in line with my goals. Even though I had such great passion for my craft, if it hadn’t been for their mentorship I might not have made it as far as I have.
Are you involved with any new projects or collaborations?
Garcia: The most recent one was on my 26th birthday. Instead of celebrating it with my family and friends like I usually do, I had this great idea of volunteering for homeless people and sharing love with the part of our society who need it most. So I took a trip to Victoria by myself and stayed at a motel right next to the homeless shelter. I volunteered for two days cooking batches of food and feeding the hungry. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my entire life and the memories of that experience still tears me up inside. On my 27th birthday I’m planning to do the same thing.
Do you have a signature dish?
Garcia: Adobo ramen. I mix adobo sauce with chicken stock to give it a bit of tang but not over-powering. Then I pair this with traditional aspects of a ramen bowl – firm and chewy ramen noodles, soy-marinated soft-boiled eggs (with the yolk that melts in your mouth but firm enough not to mix with the soup) and thick creamy chicken broth with a slight hint of dried kelp and dried shitake mushrooms. That way I can keep the integrity of a traditional ramen and fuse it with the flavour of adobo I grew up with.
Do you plan to become a certified chef?
Garcia: Becoming a certified chef would be a confirmation of my hard work. Although it is nice to see yourself with a diploma and that tiny red circle on your jacket, my plans are far deeper than that. Cooking is my way of generosity. I thought I didn’t have much to give and not much to offer but cooking changed that for me. All of the sudden I can connect to the people I love. I can give happiness, I can give comfort. I create memories that might not last a lifetime but I think if I do it consistently, they just might. I don’t think I cook better than anybody else – I’ve never seen it that way, never will. The only possible difference is that I really love what I’m doing and who am I doing it for. The thrill of knowing what triggers someone’s appetite is the greatest challenge about cooking. It’s not always about the money, it’s not always about the depth of your knowledge. Sometimes it’s simply about the pure love of sharing that makes a chef successful.
Hot pot takes on many different forms within China and across Asia, including countries like Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In the past year, Richmond has seen the opening of many new restaurants that offer a spicy kick. Chongqing and Chengdu are styles of hot put and cities in southwestern China that share cultural roots in Sichuan cooking. Chongqing is known as the birthplace of hot pot and a visit to either city necessitates a hot pot eating experience.
If you’re looking to get a taste of this southwestern Chinese style of hot pot, Richmond has much to offer you. Two establishments worth visiting are To Hot (130-8171 Ackroyd Road) and Yuan’s Chuang Chuang Xiang (Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way). They’re both innovative in their own ways, modern in their décor, and definitely lip-smacking in flavour profiles. Armed with an open palate – and an empty stomach, I decided to pay a visit to each.
Situated in a strip mall on Ackroyd Road, To Hot, which bills itself as a Chongqing style hot pot restaurant, greets customers with a bright red awning and red signage. I went alone, but cost, portion, and fun-wise, it makes more sense to go with at least one other person, or even a small group.
The interior is inviting, with high ceilings, lacquered wood booths and bench seating, and modern accents. The servers do their best to overcome any language barrier and explain printed Chinese instructions.
You’ll be presented with a card and a sheet upon arrival before being shown to a table.
The sheet is self-explanatory if you can read Chinese. If not – let the servers help you pick your broth and any proteins you want to add. Broth selections include original Chongqing style, pork rib soup, and duck with pickled vegetable soup (ranging from $9.95-$32.95, with the option of having two flavours with no additional charge). Proteins include Wagyu beef, oysters, spot prawns, and spicy pork ribs (ranging from $7.95 to $29.95). The sheet also allows you to order a variety of side dishes, like lamb fried rice ($5.95) and green onion pancakes ($6.95), as well as drinks.
The next step is a bit tricky if you’re visiting the restaurant for the first time (and I was). I knew that I had to do something with the card, but I wasn’t entirely sure what. My helpful server, seeing my confusion, ushered me over to the end of the room, to a refrigerated section full of all sorts of prepared ingredients for supplementing the order sheet.
I saw various types of mushrooms, vegetables, as well as noodles, seafood (even sea cucumber), and organ meat (such as pork liver). It all looked incredibly fresh and carefully presented.
Basically, what you do here is load a tray with the items you desire and then take them to a swiping station, located to the side. You place your tray on the station and the screen will tally up how much they’ll cost. If you’re happy with your order, you swipe your card. Ta-da! It’s all very high tech and impressive. Items can add up though, so make your selections carefully.
You then take your tray back to your table and wait for your server to bring your massive pot of broth, and your protein selections, all beautifully sliced and plated. Your server will also turn on the element to get your soup bubbling.
I had ordered a split pot, with half traditional Chongqing spicy broth and half chicken soup. As I waited for the broth to reach a boiling state, I took a look and tasted each side.
The spicy broth was eye watering, tongue-burning hot, and was full of dried chili peppers, ginger, green onion, Sichuan peppercorns, and chili oil. I would not recommend drinking this, but rather would suggest that you allow its spicy heat to penetrate your ingredients. I went for mild and was practically swooning from the heat (yikes).
The other side reminded me of home-made chicken soup I had as a child. It had intense chicken flavour, as well as some herbal notes. It included pieces of bone-in black or Silkie chicken, which is prized for its medicinal properties, as well as dried red dates, dried goji berries, ginger, green onion, barley, and medicinal roots. All in all, the broth is intended to increase energy, flush toxins, and increase blood circulation. If you are nursing the beginnings of a cold – this is definitely worth a shot to help clear it away!
And then, it’s a matter of putting your ingredients in and waiting until they reach a satisfactory doneness.
For $2.50, you can also have access to their extensive sauce bar, which allows you to choose and mix together everything from peanuts to mushroom sauce to minced chives. Edamame beans, fruit, and vermicelli salad are also at the bar. With these toppings and side dishes, your meal will be truly complete! I left stuffed, but curious to see what other Sichuan hot pot spots had in store for me.
Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang
The second hot pot contender is found at the end of a long corridor on the second floor of Aberdeen Centre. Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang is the Richmond location of a chain hailing from Chengdu, Sichuan Province in China, and was founded in 1996. It’s a more intimate space, with booth and table seating, plenty of windows, and an overall chic design aesthetic. Photos of Chengdu can be found throughout the restaurant, highlighting the chain’s origins.
The “chuan chuan xiang” in the restaurant’s name refers to a version of hot pot that puts ingredients on bamboo skewers which are then traditionally cooked in hot spicy oil. I had never tried such a concept, so needless to say, I was really intrigued.
Service here is friendly and very attentive. There’s no fancy computer system at this restaurant, just a sheet for checking off what you want. Broth selections are more limited, with only spicy and non-spicy possible ($9.90 for one flavor or $13.90 for a double flavour pot) and both are pork-based.
You can then choose from a host of items such as red pepper powder, wide sweet potato vermicelli, black fungus, duck gizzard, and baby cuttlefish (ranging anywhere from $1.99 to $22.90). The main attractions are the “sticks” ($0.90 per stick or $3.99 for 5), which include chicken skin, kelp, duck tongue, rice cakes, and “numbing spicy beef.” Other side dishes like fried rice with egg and xiao long bao are also available ($1.59-$2.99). Like at To Hot, it’s easy to get carried away with the ordering. The individual sticks, though, are a fairly affordable way to try a bunch of different things.
Once you place your order, you won’t have to wait long before your pot of soup arrives, as well as your platter of sticks. The pork broth’s flavor is intensified with ingredients such as tomato, cucumber, green onion, dried red dates, dried goji berries, ginger, and mushrooms.
If you’re having the spicy version, your server will bring a packet of premade spicy mixture, imported from Chengdu, and add it to your broth (or one side of the pot). The contents of the package are similar to what was in the spicy broth at To Hot and includes dried chili peppers, peppercorns, star anise, garlic, longan skin, and fermented bean paste. The result is a potently spicy broth.
Like any hot pot experience, the key is timing – knowing when to put ingredients into the broth. For instance, harder vegetables, like yam, are going to take longer than seafood items, like shrimp. The beauty though of the sticks is that you can very efficiently add and remove your food without fishing around for them.
The occasional pieces do fall off the skewers, but for the most part they stay on quite well. I’d also think about what items you want to place in the spicy broth, as more porous ingredients, like tofu will soak up more of the flavour (and heat), while other ones, like quail eggs, won’t.
The sauce/seasoning bar ($2.45) has a good selection of options, like oyster sauce, mashed garlic, crushed peanuts, sesame oil, and chopped green onion and coriander.
After you remove your food from the skewers, you can dip them in your individualized sauce or drizzle it over top.
Both places offer excellent and unique hot pot experiences. I really liked the sticks at Yuan’s since I hate losing ingredients in the broth. Both places also use high quality and fresh products. However, I thought the computer system and help-yourself-section at To Hot were really creative and added an extra dimension of fun. Plus, their broth had the slight edge in terms of depth of flavour, and there was more broth selection. Whichever one you choose, just remember – both places take it seriously when it comes to their spicy broth base!
Most restaurants are on lock-down during Christmas and we can’t really blame them. It is, after all, a time to celebrate with friends and family! Even so, Christmas remains the busiest day for the few restaurants that are open during this holiday. If you’re visiting Richmond during the holidays, be sure to try our top five restaurant picks in Richmond open during Christmas:
HK BBQ Master
If you’re looking to get a fill of Cantonese-style barbecue, HK BBQ Master (4651 No. 3 Road) is hands down one of the best places to get your fill of char siu, crispy skin roast pork, BBQ duck or BBQ chicken. It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall type eatery with just 14 seats and they accept cash only for payment. So be warned: come early to snag seats, or buy the meats by the pound with a side of rice and take it to go for an enormously satisfying meal.
Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Closed on Wednesdays. Cash only restaurant.
Ichiro Japanese Restaurant
This top-notch Japanese restaurant will fulfill your sushi craving during the holidays! Open from 11:30am to 2pm for lunch service and again from 5pm to 9pm for dinner service, Ichiro Japanese Restaurant (110 – 12011 Second Avenue) offers authentic and artfully prepared sushi, combined with fresh west coast flavours and ingredients. Take a cue from those in-the-know and order the gomae – the perfect way to start your meal. Next, choose from an extensive menu of traditional entrees and sushi, plus house specialties like the Steveston roll: a combination of sweet shrimp, salmon and tuna.
Open during Christmas Eve. Closed on Christmas day. Credit cards, debit cards and cash accepted.
For those craving something deliciously spicy, we’ve got to warn you – Szechuan Delicious (6610 No. 3 Road) isn’t for the faint of heart! Szechuan cuisine is all about bold flavours and the liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, which often results in a mouth-numbing sensation that makes people come back for more. Must-try dishes include their water-boiled fish, spicy beef in chili oil, the mapo tofu and their extremely spicy dan dan noodles. Don’t be afraid to ask for water or tea to help with the spiciness level!
Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Closed on Tuesdays. Cash only restaurant.
If you still crave poultry for Christmas, a party tray of fried chicken from LA Chicken (160 – 11780 Thorpe Road) is the perfect crowd pleaser. Available in 10 to 20+ pieces per tray, the fried chicken comes in either the original batter or the spicy variety. Locally owned and run by a husband and wife team, LA Chicken serves up some delicious, crispy, crazy good crunchy battered fried chicken that’s guaranteed to satiate any fried chicken craving you might have.
Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The three magic words, “Wonton Noodle Soup” can instantly warm up a cold winter day. The thought of a steaming bowl of clear broth, thin egg noodles and little wrapped packets of minced pork and shrimp are enough to make even the laziest brave the elements to get a bowl of this delicious soup. Where better to get a bowl of comforting noodle soup than Tsim Chai (50 – 8251 Westminster Highway), where wontons reign supreme? Wonton noodle soup plus a piping hot bowl of their shredded pork congee may be exactly what you need to stay warm on a cold winter’s eve!
Open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Cash only accepted for payment.
As the colder months approach, most of us start to seek out more comfort foods to warm our bellies. We had the chance to talk to several Vancouver foodies to ask them what their favourite dishes were in Richmond, BC – check out what they had to say and get your fill today.
Nora Hamade, better known as NomnomYVR on Instagram, is known for her beautiful food photography. With a love for travel and a passion for her hobby – food photography – this Richmondite knows her Chinese comfort foods well. Here’s what her favourite food is:
“The beef noodle soupfromPearl Castle is one of my favourite spots to hit in Richmond! Tender bits of beef and chewy noodles… who doesn’t love that?!”
Get your fill at one of two Pearl Castle locations in Richmond:
Pearl Castle Café Richmond Centre CF Richmond Centre
1782 – 6060 Minoru Boulevard
Richmond, BC V6Y 2A7
Pearl Castle Café Continental Plaza Continental Centre
1128 – 3779 Sexsmith Road
Richmond, BC V6X 3Z9
Please note: both locations accept cash and debit cards for payment.
Lindsay is a food and travel writer based out of Vancouver, but before that, she was the foodie blogger for 365 Days of Dining. Eating at 365 different restaurants over the course of a year, Lindsay definitely knows her Richmond restaurants. Here’s what her favourite Chinese comfort foods are:
“I’d say my comfort go-to’s are the pineapple bun, complete with a slice of salted butter – that’s non-negotiable – from Lido… or the bibimbap from Haroo. Or the tan tan noodles anywhere. Can’t get enough of them!”
Find them here:
Lido Restaurant 4231 Hazelbridge Way
Richmond, BC V6X 3L7
Haroo Restaurant Venezia Place
2000 – 8580 Alexandra Road
Richmond, BC V6X 4B3
Xi’An Cuisine Richmond Public Market, second floor food court
2370 – 8260 Westminster Highway
Richmond, BC V6X 1A7
Please note: all locations above accept cash only for payment.
Sherman’s just a guy who loves food, hockey and softball. Game to eat almost anything from dives to fine dining, Sherman has visited over 200 (and counting) restaurants just in Richmond alone – and he’s written about every one of them on his blog, Sherman’s Food Adventures. Find out what his favourite Chinese comfort food is:
“Whenever I come back into town from holidays, I stop by in Richmond for some wonton soup at Tsim Chai. The warmth and aroma from the steaming hot soup wafts up into the air creating a sense of reassurance that I’m back in the GVRD. But that’s only one part, as the buttery wontons with sweet shrimp kissed by a touch of sesame oil helps soothe the soul. This is my comfort food that I generally crave anytime I’m away.”
Diana first began her blog, Foodology.ca, to keep in touch with friends through food adventures on both the west and east coasts. Since then, the blog’s taken on a life of its own and Diana’s blog has become a destination for local restaurant reviews and fast food. Having dined at over 100 Richmond restaurants, it’s fair to say she has a good handle on what the city has to offer. Here’s her favourite Chinese comfort food dish in Richmond:
“The preserved egg and pork congee from Tsim Chai has to be my pick. Congee has been my comfort food since I was a little kid. Whenever I’m feeling a little under the weather, my mother would make me a big bowl of congee. When it’s raining and I see congee on the menu, it’s hard for me to not order it!”
Visit Tsim Chai and get a bow full of wontons and noodles, or congee (or both!) here:
8251 Westminster Highway
Richmond, BC V6X 1A7
Please note: Tsim Chai accepts cash only for payment.
You might know Mijune better as Follow Me Foodie on Instagram and Twitter. She’s also the founder and writer of FollowMeFoodie.com. While her Instagram account is drool-worthy enough, her blog offers a far more in-depth and honest look into the restaurants she’s dined at in Vancouver, and throughout the world. Here’s what she had to say about her favourite Chinese comfort foods in Richmond:
“This is a good question and I have two answers: Hong Kong BBQ Master and the xiao long bao at Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen. By now, Hong Kong BBQ Master shouldn’t be a secret and if it still is, a lot of people are missing out. I travel a lot for work and if it’s not in Hong Kong, then I look forward to BBQ pork and roast pig from HK BBQ Master. It rivals the local favourites in Hong Kong and it’s a quick, easy meal. I also crave Shanghai soup dumplings – it’s undeniably comforting just thinking of the hot, rich broth that bursts out of these dumplings. A lot of restaurants makes them to order and that alone reminds me of mom’s home cooking. My top pick is Chen’s in Richmond, but everyone has their favourites!”
Get your fill of both xiao long baos and Cantonese-style bbq here:
Hong Kong BBQ Master
4651 No. 3 Road (located inside the parking lot underneath the Superstore on No. 3 Road)
Richmond, BC V6X 2C4
Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen 8095 Park Road
Richmond, BC V6Y 2Y8
Please note: both restaurants accept cash only for payment.
The River Market is thriving with multicultural cuisines, and really is a bon marché of sorts. From Hainanese poultry to European sweet treats, the River Market is a hot bed of gastronomic discovery, so you can live the life of a travelling gourmand without the pricey plane ticket. Bon appetite… or should we say bon voyage?
Aa a country built on its reputation for personal pleasure, it’s no secret Italians pride themselves on their indulgences. Those “indulgences” include fine cheeses, cured meats and, of course, gelato. Grab a made-to-order Italian sandwich at the La Grotta Del Formaggio’s deli counter inside Donald’s Market, along with some plum olives, and enjoy it as a picnic at the adjacent Pier Park. A scoop of Tre Galli Gelato’s homemade lemon gelato in a waffle cone will transport your tastebuds to Florence.
Fitting that traditional Thai coastal cuisine should be located right on a body of water. The River Market’s Longtail Kitchen serves up steaming bowls of curried seafood, like the geng gati southern turmeric curry of mussels and the dom ka hot & sour coconut soup of clams. For a taste of Bangkok fusion, try fried fish balls with sweet chili sauce or crispy oysters with nam jim sauce. Dig into these dishes with a dream of tropical Thailand at the Pier Park Beach while you watch tugboats and fishermen traverse the Fraser.
Ditch the supermarket rotisserie chicken in favour of some Asian-inspired fare from Freebird Chicken Shack. Order a quarter or a half chicken, complete with its take-out fixings: rice and pickles or rice and papaya salad. Less in favour of the ethnic flavours of Hanoi? Take a bite of Freebird’s Vietnamese-style chicken bahn mi. Grab your pack and head down to Pier Park’s volleyball courts to share with friends. Boom box blasting Lynryd Skynryd optional.
You can get dim sum anywhere from Vancouver to Surrey, but in traditional Chinese custom, you won’t be able to get it past 2 p.m. Enter Wild Rice, where Asian-inspired small dishes come with local flavours (and no time limit). Chef Todd Albright sources BC-raised pork and coastal spot prawns for his Sui Mai dumplings, and goes for Chinatown-style curried steam buns, stuffed with local root vegetables and sitting in coconut curry. These small plates are best enjoyed on Wild Rice’s own patio along the Quay boulevard.
Flip open the tailgate and watch the river pass in the quay parking lot – The River Market’s Re-Up BBQ is the closest we’ll get to Memphis. Grab a slow-cooked pulled pork sandwich, complete with in-house coleslaw; tack on a side of pit beans and sip on some clear, homemade cola. Alternatively, Re-Up BBQ offers up bring-home combos of pulled pork or smoked brisket and sells their signature buttermilk biscuits in packs of 12. All the fixings needed for a southern feast up north.
Perhaps best known for its fresh-baked breads and irresistibly beautiful sweets, Pamola Bakery doles out a little taste of Mexico to those in the know. Bag up some fresh loaves to take home, but snack on Pamola’s tacos or a three-enchiladas combo. Your bag of sweets and Mexican hot chocolate are best enjoyed under the city’s iconic W sculpture at the very end of the Pier Park boulevard.
Often hailed by locals as the future “little Brooklyn” to Vancouver’s NYC, Downtown New Westminster has undergone significant revitalization in the past few years. Along with it came a new shopping centre, Shops at New West, located right inside the New Westminster Sky Train Station. The transit hub — populated by shops, restaurants and even a movie theatre — has become its own culinary destination, with a plethora of regional cuisines to choose from.
We took a trip to the Shops at New West to bring you five food pairings on offer for under $15.
Four Tacos & Café Mexicano at Originals Restaurante Mexicano
(Pictured above.) For $11.50, Original’s Restaurante Mexicano offers up four traditional-style tacos. You can mix and match your flavours from nine options, including pastor (pineapple marinated pork), Baja Fish (chipotle-crusted tilapia with cilantro and avocado), barbacoa (lamb) and lengua (beef tongue). We washed it down with an authentic Café Mexicano (think Americano brewed with beans from Tapachula Chiapas) for $2.75.
Night Market Poutine & Beer at the Spud Shack
Try a funky place to eat Canada’s national culinary creation. Spud Shack serves up 10 unique styles of poutine, most notably its locally-inspired the “night market”: a veritable tower of kimchi, ginger beef, green onions, and spicy mayo all atop a bed of fries, cheese, and gravy. A small size runs you $8.75. Pair it with a $5 craft beer for the ultimate nationalistic guilty pleasure.
Happy Hour Appies & Wine at the Hub
There’s a whole lot you can get at The Hub (what an apt name) for less than $15 if you time it right. The spot’s happy hour runs daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and from Sundays to Thursdays from 10 p.m. to closing. Mix and match appies such as the wok squid ($6), chicken karaage ($6), or Italian meatballs ($6), while sipping on $5 house wine or $4 craft beer. A straight-from-the-oven pazookie ($8.75) — the signature Hub dessert — is a fabulous shared treat if you’re looking for a fresh-baked sweet.
Waffles & Bubble Tea at BobaCabana
If happiness had a taste, you would find it on the menu at BobaCabana. Locally famous for its Belgian waffles, which range from the Parisien ($6.95) with savoury brie and green apple to the sweet Banana Nut-ella, and bubble tea, this sweet shack has seemingly unlimited heavenly pairings. We tried a strawberry slush with pearls ($3.75) and a liege waffle ($2 each).
Won Ton Soup with Noodles & Canned Juice at North Noodle House
Where dim sum joints and places to get won ton soup are a dime a dozen in Greater Vancouver, a rarity is an authentic northern Chinese noodle house. At North Noodle House, all noodles are made in-house and by hand. A six-piece won ton soup with noodles ($8.95), complete with baby shrimp and vegetables, tastes even better knowing each ingredient is hand-sourced. Complement your northern noodle bowl with a can of Chinese peach juice ($2.50).
If you feel like eating some of the best Asian food available but don’t have a car, don’t worry! You can hop on the Canada Line Skytrain, Metro Vancouver’s fully-automated rapid transit line that connects travelers to Richmond’s diverse culinary scene. Bring your appetites because this easy-to-navigate self-guided tour is bound to fill you up!
Richmond Brighouse Station
Located in the heart of Richmond city centre, Brighouse is the first stop on the Canada Line, and it’s also where our tour begins. Your self-guided food tour begins at Pepper Lunch (150-5951 No. 3 Road). With over 200 branches in Asia, this particular Pepper Lunch was the first one to open in Canada. To get there, head for a leisurely stroll north along No. 3 Road for about 1.5 blocks towards Westminster Highway. Located on the west side of the street, you’ll find Pepper Lunch tucked away beside a TD Canada Trust. Shake, stir, mix – it’s that easy to enjoy a sizzling hot teppan plate of steaks, pastas or curry rice. We recommend the beef pepper rice combo ($11.70), which comes with miso soup and your choice of drink. Definitely a stop worth checking out!
Taking the Canada Line one stop north, Lansdowne Station is the second stop on the rapid transit line. Located just in front of one of Richmond’s many excellent shopping destinations, Lansdowne Centre, this particular station is also the one closest to Alexandra Road, which locals refer to as ‘Food Street.’
To get to Food Street, simply head north on No. 3 Road for two blocks, and turn right at Alexandra Road. Known for having over 200 Asian restaurants in a stretch of just three blocks, Alexandra Road has a restaurant for every taste. From dim sum to afternoon tea, to ramen and late night snacks, there’s a restaurant that serves every kind of Asian food imaginable here.
It’s easy to let your taste buds wander here on this three-block stretch, but here are our top two picks for Food Street for a complete meal. Our biggest tip: Bring cash! A lot of the restaurants on Food Street will only accept cash payments instead of debit or credit.
Vivacity Restaurant 110 – 8351 Alexandra Road
Vivacity Restaurant aims to give their diners an experience they won’t forget! Using only the freshest local ingredients, Vivacity offers a dazzling array of dishes for dim sum and dinner services. Featuring Chinese classics with a twist from the co-owner and chef, David Li, Vivacity promises to delight your taste buds. We recommend the char-siu bao, the oyster and century egg congee and their shrimp rice rolls for dim sum.
Snowy Village Desserts
2000 – 8580 Alexandra Road
Snowy Village specializes in a photogenic sweet treat that has been dominating locals’ Instagram feeds and fueling their sugar cravings recently. Bingsoo, a Korean shaved ice dessert is the current ‘it’ dessert and a must-eat item. At Snowy Village, when you order a bingsoo, staff pile a metal bowl with a tower of creamy shaved ice that has the texture of fluffy snow. Your snowdrift-in-a-bowl is then crowned with your choice of toppings – mango, strawberry, blueberry, injelomi (sweet rice cake), matcha, oreo, chocolate or cheesecake. Bring a friend – a small size is enough to share for two people!
The next stop on the Canada Line is Aberdeen Station, also known as the centre of Richmond’s thriving Golden Village. Richmond’s three Asian malls, Aberdeen Centre, Yaohan Centre and Parker Place Mall are all within easy walking distance from here.
Don’t be afraid to poke your head into the various strip malls found in the neighbourhood – you’ll find Lido Restaurant (4231 Hazelbridge Way) hidden away in a corner at Central Square, on the corner of Browngate Road and Hazelbridge. Try one of their famous pineapple buns – a delectable Chinese pastry without any actual pineapple – with a slab of butter… or double butter, if you dare.
After indulging in one of Lido’s famous pineapple buns, walk off those calories at Aberdeen Centre (4151 Hazelbridge Way), Richmond’s largest Asian mall. Still feeling hungry? Head on up to the food court located on the third floor of the mall. Here, you’ll find a huge variety of food stalls serving everything from Chinese street-food snacks such as curry fish balls and bubble waffles, to Singaporean delights such as Hainanese Chicken Rice and Japanese dishes such as sushi and ramen. Wash it all down with a Hong Kong-style iced lemon tea. For more food options, you could also check out the two food courts at Parker Place and Yaohan Centre.
Your tour of Richmond via the Canada Line ends at Bridgeport Station. Not to be mistaken with Brighouse Station where your tour began, this station is the connection point for all trains heading for the Vancouver International Airport or for folks heading to downtown Vancouver.
Head over to the River Rock Casino Resort (8811 River Road) via the skybridge at the station to enjoy The Buffet at River Rock. Located above the casino floor, The Buffet treats guests to a spectacular view of the Fraser River. Offering everybody’s favourite dishes, it has become a popular dining spot for special occasions, resort guests and casino-goers.
At night, walk over from the station to the Richmond Night Market (8351 River Road). Follow the bright signs and look for the tents – that’s where you’ll find one of Richmond’s Asian night markets with over 100 food stalls serving everything from Asian street food snacks to inventive desserts, such as the egg waffle parfait. Our top food stall picks at the night market include Chef James’ Meat Skewers, Ohana Poke (pictured at the top of this page), Hurricane Potatoes and Lao Er BBQ Squid. Admission is $3.75 and it’s open on weekends and holiday Mondays this summer through to October 10.
Richmond, BC, is a food lover’s paradise with more than 800 restaurants in the city, and you can see for yourself why Richmond’s been visited by many food critics and has made a real name for itself as a foodie destination. Over 400 of the city’s restaurants serve Asian cuisine and Frommer’s notes that Richmond is “arguably the Asian food capital of North America.”
Whether you choose to dine at restaurants, cafes, food courts or at one of the night markets, you won’t be disappointed. To help you on your dining adventure here are my top 10 dishes in Richmond:
Whenever a friend asks me for a dim sum recommendation, I end up raving about Golden Paramount and the incredible talent of dim sum chef May Chau. The steamed crab dumplings ($4.98) look deceptively simple, but showcase a paper-thin, translucent wrapper and finely minced Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots, pork, crab meat, shrimp and cilantro. You can taste the artistry with each bite.
This classic Taiwanese dish is wonderfully hearty, especially on a cozy sweater sort of day. I tried many versions around town, but the one at Delicious Cuisine truly lives up to the restaurant’s name. The chicken is moist and coated with a caramelized sauce of soy, sesame oil and rice wine. Eaten with white rice, the dish ($12.50/large $23.95) will satisfy any discerning appetite.
Who wants cereal for breakfast when you can try a home-style Filipino breakfast platter! Kumare’sbangsilog combo ($9), which comes with fried boneless milkfish, a fried egg, a heaping portion of garlicky rice, and chopped tomatoes and onion. Bonus: coffee or tea is also included.
Beware: it’s hard to stop eating this dish of fried diced lamb ($15.95) from this destination for Hui cuisine. It’s basically like popcorn lamb, coated in whole and ground cumin and chili powder, and deep-fried until perfectly crisp. The meat itself stays juicy.
Teppan Kitchen in Aberdeen Centre’s food court features Japanese iron griddle cooking. The rib eye version comes with slices of beef, corn, green onion, rice and egg ($8.95 with miso soup), which you then mix together until the ingredients are cooked, and your rice is crispy on the bottom. If the dish gives you a hankering for more teppan, visit Pepper Lunch (150-5951 Number 3 Road), whose first Canadian location took Richmond by storm earlier this year.
At Shanghai Wonderful located in the Best Western Plus Abercorn Inn I adore the turnip cake ($5.95) available for dim sum. An exterior of rich flaky pastry gives way to shredded vinegary radish, chicken and dried pork. It’s a decadent mid-day treat.
Location: Best Western Plus Albercorn Inn, 9260 Bridgeport Road
7. Takoyaki at Richmond Night Markets
If you are visiting Richmond in night market season, head to one of the two night markets. I enjoy the usual favourites, such as the rotato, deep fried squid, and pan-fried pork buns. Another addictive night market staple is Takoyaki (6 for around $5.75 pictured above). The jumbo Bakudanyaki is the ultimate snack, but not quite as good for sharing. The mini balls come with diced octopus in wheat flour batter, and are topped with Japanese mayo, as well as seaweed and bonito flakes. You can also find scallop and shrimp varieties at the night market if those are more your preference.
As pretty much the only restaurant in town that serves Hakka Chinese dishes, I have a soft spot in my foodie heart for Hakkasan Bistro. The wok-sautéed fillet of sole in black bean sauce ($10.95 as part of a lunch combo; $22 à la carte) is rustic fare quintessential of Hakka cooking. Red and green peppers, onion, and crunchy, zingy pickled cabbage add flavour and textural contrast to the fish.
The Godzilla Bite ($13.95) at Mega Sushi for its sheer inventiveness and aesthetic wow factor. The creation has chopped scallop, salmon and tuna atop deep-fried seaweed and rice. Tobiko (flying fish roe) and alfalfa sprouts complete the dish. Tempura crunch with whisky is set alight in the centre of the dish for added drama.
I had to finish the list of with a sweet treat of fancy toast, which I found to be a major foodie trend of 2015. Fortunately, for toast fiends, Richmond boasts many cafes that serve towering Taiwanese thick toast. The I Luv Strawberries ($8.95) at Well Tea is a hollowed out loaf of sweet white bread, toasted and filled with strawberry jam, strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, an Oreo cookie, whipped cream and chocolate Pocky.
Location: 170-4811 Hazelbridge Way
As you can see there are lots of amazing dining experiences in Richmond, this is only 10 of the thousands of dishes out there. Plan your trip and create your own top 10 list!
Chowing down at a food court in Richmond is somewhat different compared to the typical North American mall food court; you’ll find incredibly unique mom ‘n pop stalls serving tasty curries, warming noodle soups, creating mouth-watering dumplings, barbecuing meats – you name it, you’ll probably find it in Richmond. Each and every food court in Richmond has a hidden treasure waiting for you to discover it.
It can be slightly overwhelming on your first visit; there are so many options to choose from that you may not be able to decide. To help you out, here are some insider tips about two popular Asian malls and their food courts, including where to go for the best eats and how they compare to each other in the ultimate face-off!
Established in 1993, Parker Place Mall has become a shopping landmark in downtown Richmond. At this mall you can dine on the tastiest cuisine and shop for the trendiest fashion, the coolest toys and gadgets.
Yaohan Centre is one of the earliest Asian Malls developed in Richmond. You’ll find over 80 stores selling fashion, health and beauty products, art and gifts; both the Osaka Asian supermarket and food court sell an array of dishes.
Yaohan Centre vs. Parker Place
The Mall: First Impressions
Easily accessible from the Canada Line’s Aberdeen Station, both malls are just a five minute walk in either direction (north for Yaohan, south for Parker Place). Both malls also have large parking lots offering free parking, making it easy to stop in for a quick bite.
Each mall has a few different entrances, but both food courts are easy to find. Parker Place has lots of Asian stores selling various items from rice cookers to fresh fish. Yaohan is home to Osaka Supermarket; if you have not been to an Asian supermarket before, this is a good one to look around and grab some cooking sauces, teas and candies.
The Food Court
Parker Place’s Food Court is long and narrow with food stalls on both sides and seating running down the centre. They have big tables, ideal for groups of friends and family and it is light and airy, making for a comfortable dining environment.
Yaohan Centre’s Food Court is quite spacious compared to Parker Place’s food court, with food stalls on three sides and plenty of seating in the middle. They have a nice path to walk around and view all food stalls.
The Food Stalls | Parker Place – Our Favourites:
Parker Place Meat & BBQ
While not formally in the food court, we would be remiss to leave this off the list of favourites. Found at unit 1020, Parker Place BBQ Meats is a small butcher shop selling freshly barbecued meats (chicken, duck and pork) as well as a variety of ready-to-go BBQ meals for under $10. Arguably serving up the best BBQ duck in Richmond, there are often long line ups so patience is necessary – we promise that the BBQ meats will be well worth the wait!
This unassuming Vietnamese food stall offers tons of items including a huge selection of noodle soups and lemongrass dishes, but the star at this stall are the foot-long Vietnamese subs, or Bahn Mi, available for under $5, including tea. The buns are light and crispy and our top picks are the fried fish and pork sandwiches.
Joy’s Taiwanese Kitchen
For those looking for a traditional bowl of beef noodle soup and a side dish of onion pancakes, or some savoury beef wraps, Joy’s Taiwanese Kitchen serves up traditional Taiwanese fare in generous portion sizes. The value here is fantastic, with every dish available for under $10.
Has a good choice of noodle and rice dishes, desserts and Shanghai snacks. We recommend you try their Tan Tan noodles.
Visit this stall for sweet treats and bubble tea. It’s the best place for bubble waffles and a delicious treat made in-house, the dragon’s beard candy.
Yaohan Centre | Our Favourites:
Curry House’s Laksa is one of the best in town. Not too spicy, not too creamy and with a good amount of noodles, chicken, egg and tofu puffs, this laksa is sure to fill any curry cravings you might have. They also serve up delicious Malaysian dishes for under $10, such as curries, Hainanese chicken, char kway teow and roti.
Wah Yuen Noodle House
This place offers almost every kind of congee, noodle, noodle soup, and noodle with meat combo possible. The wonton and BBQ pork noodle soup is always good – pair that with a Chinese donut or Chinese donut wrapped in rice noodle and you’ll have a very tasty lunch/dinner for under $10.
Chun Hing Cuisine, Golden Rice Bowl and Pak Tak
These three stalls are next to each other and offer a smorgasbord of Chinese dishes. You can choose from two or three dishes with rice or noodles from $6.99. They pile the plate so high, you’ll have enough to feed a family of four. All three stalls offer similar dishes, so take a look and see which one tickles your taste buds. Insider tip: go after 6pm and you’ll be able to get FOUR items plus rice or noodles for a mere $5.50.
Little Bean Tea Station
Serving bubble tea, shaved ice desserts and other sweet treats including Wheel Cake, which is filled with red bean or custard – your choice.
Head here for tasty BBQ meats, including duck, pork and quail. They have a variety of mix and match combos.
Although both food courts serve up staple dishes and desserts you’d expect at a Chinese eatery, each have their own highlights. You won’t find barbecued meats as succulent as the ones at Parker Place Meats & BBQ serves up, but if you’re looking to feed a family, the three food stalls at Yaohan offering triple decker combos will beat any offering from Parker Place’s food court.
Having said that, we think both food courts are well managed. The stalls are diverse, with a lot of Asian cuisines represented. Each one has their own highlight and go-to dishes. Both are well worth a visit and both offer amazing value for their food. Our suggestion? Have lunch at Parker Place and dinner after 6pm at Yaohan to help stretch your travel budget.
Looking for a quick getaway? 48 hours gives you time to explore some amazing cuisine in Richmond, the only problem is figuring out where to eat. Read on for a list of some of Tourism Richmond’s favourite places to help you make the most out of your culinary adventures.
Keep in mind, many Asian restaurants are accommodating to patrons who aren’t experienced in non-Western cuisine and do offer English menus or have photos of food items to help you with your selections. But remember to bring cash – some don’t accept credit or debit cards.
10:00am – Dim sum at Shanghai River
Shanghai River is the perfect place to start your day off right with delicious dim sum. Through glass windows, diners can watch the chefs hard at work, hand rolling their famous dumplings. The xiao long bao are clear standouts of the menu. This restaurant is a hotspot for locals, so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
7831 Westminster Highway
12:00pm – Fisherman’s Wharf in historic Steveston Village
After eating to your heart’s content, make your way to historic Steveston Village to explore Fisherman’s Wharf. Once known as the salmon capital of the world, Steveston is home to Canada’s largest active fishing fleet with 600 boats. Don’t forget to bring your coolers – seafood lovers can buy fresh fish* from the docks, where local fishermen sell their daily catch right off their boat for great prices. Depending on the season, catches of the day can include fresh salmon, crab, black cod and sea urchin.
On the pier, next to Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll find one of the best patio restaurants in Steveston. Blue Canoe is an award-winning restaurant with a simple and fresh menu. Enjoy your lunch with an unobstructed view of the water and the boardwalk. This waterside location prides itself on using top quality seafood with locally sourced ingredients.
Make your way to Lulu Island Winery, the largest winery in Richmond, producing a variety of red and white table wines, fruit wines and ice wines. The winery offers daily complimentary wine tastings of their award-winning wines and tours in different languages. Owner John Chang combines traditional Chinese wine-making with modern Western technology and equipment. All of Lulu Island’s wines go through a slow-cool fermentation process which brings out the natural flavours of the fruit.
For dinner, we recommend Vivacity, a Southern Chinese restaurant located on Alexandra Road. The chefs here specialize in seafood and serve only organic fish. Owner Kitty Huang explains that the food is prepared in a healthy way, without sacrificing taste. We recommend the BBQ pork buns – they’re a local favourite! Vivacity offers a more intimate dining experience, with VIP rooms that seat up to 40 people. Reservations are highly recommended.
9:00pm – Walk down Food Street and taste something new
After dinner, grab some fresh air and go for a leisurely stroll to walk off your day of eating. Richmond is home to some of the most authentic Asian restaurants outside of Asia, and many of the best restaurants can be found on Alexandra Road, nicknamed “Food Street”. It’s quite amazing to see 200 plus restaurants packed into a stretch of just three city blocks. Don’t be afraid to peek in some of the amazing shops for dessert – our favourites include Leisure Tea & Coffee, Snowy Village Dessert Cafe and for something different, try The TRUE’STEA Restaurant, located next to the Four Points Sheraton.
10:00am – Dim Sum at Sun Sui Wah
For day 2 in Richmond, indulge in dim sum again! World-renowned Chinese restaurant, Sun Sui Wah is based on the motto of “warm hospitality, superb quality and value.” With locations in Hong Kong and Vancouver, this famous restaurant has been delighting patrons with delicious Cantonese cuisine and excellent service for over 30 years. Sun Sui Wah is especially famous for its roasted squab, a signature dish.
Richmond is home to a variety of Asian bakeries, with selections of sweet and savoury baked goods. Kam Do is a Richmond staple, known as one of the best bakeries in the city with delicious pastries in a self-serve style. We recommend the coconut buns and the taro cakes. Kam Do is also a great place to purchase gifts or late-night snacks, including wife cakes (laopo bing), mochi and pastes. Like many other establishments in Richmond, Kam Do is cash only.
6211 No. 3 Road
12:30pm – New Town Bakery
New Town Bakery is another Asian bakery that you can’t miss! This bakery is family-owned and has been serving Chinese and Filipino baked goods for over 30 years. They are known for their award-winning Apple Tarts as well as their Chicken Deluxe steamed bun or Bola Bola. We recommend getting a box of their apple tarts to indulge in later.
For authentic, home-style Korean food, Haroo Korean Restaurant is the place to go. Hidden away on the second level of a strip mall on Alexandra Road, this small eatery is run by a husband and wife team. For lunch, we recommend their spicy tofu soup or soonduboo served with rice, or the Korean seafood pancake called, “Haemul Pajeon.”
8580 Alexandra Road, second floor
3:00pm – Sugarholic Café
Located on the ground level of Aberdeen Centre, Sugarholic Café is one of the newest additions to the afternoon tea scene in Richmond. The café is decorated in a luxurious European style, but it is still considered a fusion-style tea house. Afternoon tea service is offered all day, with tiered dessert sets available. Almost all of the desserts are made in-house. Highlights include the Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Cake and the Japanese Cheesecake. We highly recommend their dessert toast boxes, toast cubes filled with ice cream, fruit and other delightful sweets.
4151 Hazelbridge Way
5:00pm – Aberdeen Centre
After your afternoon snack, it’s time to explore Aberdeen Centre. Aberdeen Centre is one of North America’s largest Asian shopping malls, with unique stores such as Candyland, an Asian candy store, and a world famous Chinese tea shop, Ten Fu Tea. And if you are still hungry, there is an 800-seat food court with incredible Asian food.
7:00pm – Suhang Restaurant
For dinner, we recommend Suhang Restaurant for authentic Shanghainese Cuisine. Known for their great service and affordable menu, Suhang also has some of the juiciest pork dumplings in town. Other recommendations at this restaurant include the marinated bean curd with special vegetables, drunken chicken, and shredded beef with chili and brown sauce.
100 – 8291 Ackroyd Road
9:00pm – The BBT Shop
No trip to Richmond is complete without bubble tea! Hidden under the Superstore on one of the busiest roads in the city, The BBT Shop is famous for their decadent bubble waffle desserts with piles of delicious toppings, such as the Super Matcha, with strawberries, whipped cream, red bean and matcha ice cream. The BBT Shop has an extensive menu offering all kinds of drinks, including milk teas, specialty drinks such as the signature frozen hot chocolate, as well as fruit teas and slush.
105 – 4651 No. 3 Road
While this is the end of the 48 hour food itinerary, it’s definitely not the end of the food exploration in Richmond. With over 800 restaurants in the island city, this list barely scratches the surface of what foodies can find here.
Gung hay fat choy! The Year of the Monkey begins on Monday, February 8, and why not celebrate in Richmond? Considering there are over 400 Asian restaurants in the area, finding the feast that suits you best should be easy.
Traditionally, families gather on Lunar New Year’s Eve (this year on Sunday, February 7) for a reunion dinner to kick things off. Numerous dishes are served, most of them having a symbolic meaning to inspire good luck and prosperity. Fish is served whole with the head and tail attached, marking the end and beginning of a new year. Noodles represent long life. Dumplings and spring rolls resemble ancient Chinese currency and gold bars. To really eat like a local, you simply can’t miss these important delicacies to bring in the New Year:
Chinese New Year Cake or Nian Gao
The literal translation means sticky cake in Chinese. Made from glutinous rice flour and eaten for good luck, and can served sweet or savoury plus hot or cold. Snap some up at Osaka Supermarket in Yaohan Centre, and the savoury versions at The Jade Seafood Restaurant and Su Hang Restaurant.
Glutinous Rice Balls in Soup (Tang Yuan)
Typically eaten with family members, as the round shape togetherness and is meant to bring happiness. Fillings range from sesame to sweet bean paste. Try these at Jade Seafood Restaurant and Su Hang Restaurant as well.
Meant to resemble ancient Chinese currency, this is a must-eat during Lunar New Year celebrations. Bring on that increased wealth, right?
Get a group together and enjoy, as a number of restaurants in Richmond are offering special set menus for 4-10 people. Reservations are highly recommended. Here are a few highlights worth checking out.
Vivacity Restaurant • 8351 Alexandra Road
Located on “Food Street,” Vivacity Restaurant is a southern Chinese restaurant that specializes in seafood, in a cozy environment. Set menus for groups of 4, 6 and 10 with up to 11 courses. Special dishes include the abalone, which symbolizes good fortune for the New Year, and fresh, live lobster. From $188 – $888 for set menus.
An award-winning contemporary Chinese restaurant offers set menus for groups of 4, 6 and 10 people. Have an even larger group? Book one of their VIP rooms for large groups of 15+. Set menu prices for 10 people range from $539-$988, with up to 10 courses.
Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant • 101-4600 No. 3 Road
For upscale Cantonese and a modern take on traditional dishes, here is where you want to be. Order the whole cod, and the word fish by the way, in Chinese is, “yu,” which also sounds like the word abundance.
Coastal and multicultural are the flavours of Vancouver’s most recognized specialties. To get to know the unique bites (and sips) Vancouverites love to munch, start with these eleven favorites:
Vancouver’s original most-talked-about food cart serves Japanese-inspired hotdogs. Bask in the salty, sweet, and spicy tastes of seaweed flakes, teriyaki sauce, miso, wasabi and kimchi. There are multiple locations in downtown Vancouver, including an indoor location at 530 Robson.
British Columbia’s signature sushi roll is done in many ways, but the one consistent ingredient is grilled savoury and chewy salmon skin. Get them at just about any sushi joint in Vancouver.
Busy Vancouverites are often particular about their favorite liquid pick-me-up, and love their pour-overs and flavoured espresso drinks. Some local chains to try are Milano Coffee, 49th Parallel, and JJ Bean. But don’t forget the many cozy independent shops to be found who take their coffee very seriously. Try soy or almond milk to replace traditional milk and cream at almost any place you find – dairy-free options are standard here!
B.C. smoked salmon glazed with maple syrup or local honey is smokey, salty, sweet, and impossible to stop eating once you’ve started. If you want to save some as a gift for family back home, make sure you get a little extra for yourself – more than you thought you needed even, It is seriously addictive! You can find it at Granville Island Public Market and Fish Counter on Main Street.
These beautiful pink creatures are large, sweet shrimp fished in the waters surrounding Vancouver in the month of May. Most fine restaurants in Vancouver serve fresh prawns when available, such as Yew at the Four Seasons Hotel, and the annual Spot Prawn Festival is held every year on Granville Island.
Large meaty crabs are harvested along the west coast, and trapping them yourself for dinner is a local pastime, but you don’t need to get in the water to enjoy them in many local restaurants. Some great places to try Dungeness Crab are Blue Water Café & Raw Bar or Hawksworth.
Salmon, fiddleheads, elk, and other native west coast foods make for a warm and hearty meal. Indigenous foods are proof that the land was rich with delicious ingredients and diverse flavours long before we called it “Vancouver.” One place to try it is Salmon n’Bannock Bistro.
Chinese Cuisine and Dim Sum
Richmond, where the native Chinese languages-speaking population is over 40%, is considered to have some of the best Chinese food outside of China. In Vancouver, you can get a taste in Chinatown. Places such as Floata Seafood Restaurant serve excellent dim sum as well as a variety of traditional and modern dishes.
Japanese Ramen and Izakaya
There are few things cozier than tucking into a steaming bowl of ramen, or gathering with friends and sharing hot sake and a table full of various izakaya dishes. Izakaya is a tradition originating from sake shops in the Edo period (1603-1867) where customers could sit down for drinks and bites. Today in Vancouver, izakaya is a range of diverse Japanese bites with a flourish of Japanese spirit -infused beverages. You can find it all over Vancouver, but particularly in the West End neighbourhood, at places such as Kingyo on Denman.
Famous Cuisine: Vij’s Curry and Tojo’s Sushi
Vikram Vij and Hidekazu Tojo are two of Vancouver’s most iconic chefs, lauded by everyone from Anthony Bourdain to Martha Stewart. Vikram Vij has restaurants in Vancouver and Surrey. Tojo’s is located in West Broadway in Vancouver.
If you haven’t tried dim sum before, think of it as Chinese tapas – irresistible dumplings, noodles and fried snacks – that just happen to be the best way to start the day. Literally translated the expression “dim sum” means “touch the heart,” but to those who love Chinese food, what it really means is tender dumplings, fragrant soups, crispy spring rolls, pillowy steamed buns and savoury bites of braised meat. Dim sum is a parade of small plates usually served between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and a terrific way to explore one of the world’s great cuisines.
The tradition of dim sum originated in the ancient teahouses along the Silk Road in southern China’s Canton province. Travelers would stop for a refreshing cup of tea accompanied with savoury snacks. Back then, the tea was the main point of the meal and still is for many Chinese, which is why they don’t say they’re “going for dim sum,” they “go yum cha,” or “go drink tea.”
One of the best places in Canada to experience dim sum is in Richmond, especially in the city’s many Cantonese restaurants. But whatever region their cuisine hails from, most Chinese restaurants will serve some sort of dim sum, as do Richmond’s food courts and supermarkets.
What you need to know about dim sum (yum cha):
Go early, because the best dim sum restaurants get busy fast and at peak times lineups of more than an hour are not unusual. It is also best to go in groups of at least four so that everyone gets to taste as many nibbles as possible.
When you are seated, a server will bring you a pot of tea, which will typically be a simple jasmine tea unless you ask for something else, such as the sophisticated Iron Buddha, fragrant oolong or “pu-erh,” the dark, musky brew that is definitely an acquired taste. Remember that it is rude to have the spout of the teapot pointing at anyone at the table, and when the pot is empty, simply leave the lid askew and someone will refill it.
The server will also bring menus. The days of trundling steam carts are long over, and now guests order off the menu, which can easily run to a couple of hundred items. To make it simpler, many restaurants also hand out paper menus (in both Chinese and English) with boxes to tick off beside each item. Each diner should select two to three dishes to share among the table.
But what to choose? Perhaps the best place to start is with three of the most popular dim sum dishes: the delicate steamed shrimp dumplings called har gow; the savoury steamed pork dumplings called siu mai; and spring rolls, crispy fried packets filled with meat and vegetables. They will arrive with small saucers of hot sauce; savvy guests will also order the XO sauce, a spicy condiment made from dried seafood and chilis.
Other popular dishes include: steamed buns filled with barbecued pork; “sticky rice” steamed in lotus leaves; wide rice noodles wrapped around beef, shrimp or barbecued pork; braised sheets of tofu stuffed with a shrimp-pork filling; pot stickers that are steamed and then pan-fried; steamed beef meatballs; spare ribs in black bean sauce; deep-fried squid with salt and chili pepper; the savoury rice porridge called congee; and “Phoenix claws,” braised chicken feet that may appear intimidating, but are surprisingly delicious.
And don’t forget the sweets, such as mango pudding, egg tarts and deep-fried dumplings filled with red bean paste.
Other regional cuisines have their own dim sum specialties as well. At Szechuan restaurants, which are known for their lavish hand with hot spices, you may find wontons drizzled in chili sauce or spicy dan-dan noodles (darn-darn mien). Taiwanese restaurants favour exotic textures and flavours, such as fritters stuffed with dried, shredded pork (sarn-jin bao). And the new dim sum darling is the Shanghai dumpling (xiao long bao), a savoury little bundle of pork wrapped in delicate dough and steamed so that it creates its own broth inside.
Finally, when it comes time to pay, make sure you have cash — many Richmond restaurants don’t accept credit cards (and many don’t serve alcohol, either.)
Where to dim sum:
Here are a few Richmond restaurants known for their exceptional dim sum.
Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant
#101 – 46100 No. 3 Rd. (Empire Mall), 604-279-0083 Website
Chef Tony He is building an empire including four restaurants in China and one in Los Angeles with exuberantly opulent decor and equally opulent cuisine. Book a private room, then feast on his signature dim sum, including siu mai topped with fragrant black truffle, sumptuous wild mushroom pastry and tender bitter melon noodle stuffed with shredded chicken.
Just steps away from the Canada Line stop at Aberdeen Centre, this fine-dining Cantonese restaurant is a big, posh room with glittering crystal chandeliers, attentive servers and terrific dim sum, both classic and creative. If you feel daring, try the platter of cold meats, including jellyfish and beef shank.
Jade Seafood Restaurant
8511 Alexandra Road, 604-249-0082 Website
This is a grand restaurant, decorated in soothing greens and sparkling chandeliers, Jade is known for its exceptional dim sum, stellar seafood and the creativity of its chef, Tony Luk. He has a passion for high-quality ingredients and adds a modern touch to classic Cantonese fare: everything here is as fresh and flavourful as it can be. Dim sum here is an extravaganza that simply must be experienced.
150 – 8888 River Road, 604.232.0816 Website
100-8291 Ackroyd Road, 604.278.7787 Website
Dinesty Dumpling House
#160 – 8111 Ackroyd Road, 604-303-7772 Website Note: It is ideal to have a Mandarin-speaking colleague when making reservations here.
Known locally as “Wai Sek Kai” or “Food Street,” Alexandra Road has been a dining destination created by locals for locals for as long as anyone can remember. Easily accessible by SkyTrain, Food Street is right in the heart of the Golden Village and runs from busy No. 3 Road to Garden City Road (between Lansdowne and Aberdeen malls.) It has evolved organically over the years, especially in the last decade, with new restaurateurs attracted by the success of their colleagues and new immigrants searching for a likely place to share the foods of their homeland.
Now nearly 200 eateries strong, cuisine ranges from humble noodle shops to grand Cantonese banquet rooms.
The street itself is a jumble of strip malls, each one a warren of eateries adorned with bright, colourful signs advertising hot pot or pho, dim sum or sushi. Interspersed among them are a handful of grand standalone restaurants and a single vacant field waiting for the next appetizing project. At peak hours, traffic slows to a crawl as hungry diners seek rare and precious parking spots. Wise diners leave the car at home and instead take the Canada Line and walk from either Aberdeen or Lansdowne station.
Hungry visitors will find just about every style of Asian and even some European cuisine along here, including Cantonese, Japanese, Hong Kong, Thai, Korean and more. The chefs here also engage in heated competition with each other; those who don’t offer great food, quality and value simply don’t survive on Food Street.
All that said, exploring Food Street can be intimidating for a first-time visitor. Where to start? (You could start the morning with some Dim Sum.) When to go? (Almost any time is good, from breakfast to late night, depending where you’re headed.) Do they serve booze? (They don’t always, so be prepared.) How to pay? (Bring cash, and expect to tip 10 to 15 per cent.) Perhaps most importantly, what to order?
Where to go, what to eat:
Here are some favourite places to check out along Alexandra Road, a.k.a, Food Street.
Known for their baked (not steamed) BBQ pork buns, this busy Alexandra Road mainstay features dim sum seven days a week during lunch service and other Cantonese specialties in a comfortable setting. Expect fresh flavours and high quality from favourites such as har gow and siu mei.
What else you need to know: Moderately priced. Cash and credit cards accepted. Open for lunch and dinner.
Hungry? Really hungry? Then you may want to check out this super popular all-you-can-eat hot pot joint. You order your broth (the brave can try the super spicy one) and then try a vast array of things to dip in it, ranging from thinly sliced strips of beef to all sorts of seafood, vegetables, tofu, noodles, dumplings and more. The house-made meatballs are especially fine, and the plum juice is a must. Be warned though: This place is popular and can be a real madhouse, especially on weekends and holidays.
What else you need to know: Moderately priced (about $20 a head plus cost of broth). All you can eat. Reservations essential. Credit cards accepted. Beer and wine available. Open for lunch and dinner.
This is the grandest restaurant on Food Street, decorated in soothing greens and sparkling chandeliers, Jade is known for its exceptional dim sum, stellar seafood and the creativity of its chef, Tony Luk. He has a passion for high-quality ingredients and adds a modern touch to classic Cantonese fare: everything here is as fresh and flavourful as it can be. The dumplings stuffed with mushrooms are wonderfully tender and earthy, while the king crab with vegetables and the cold tea-smoked chicken can’t be missed. Dim sum is an extravaganza that simply must be experienced.
What else you need to know: Moderate to expensive. Credit cards accepted. Beer and wine available. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The name means “grandmother’s house,” and guests can expect all the traditional Korean dishes here, including claypot cooking, spicy soups and barbecued meats. Dishes to try include the classic pork neck soup, as well as “japchae,” bean thread noodles with veggies and meat, and “bibimbap,” rice topped with veggies, beef, chili paste and sometimes a raw egg, then mixed together thoroughly. A great place to experience a cuisine that is rapidly growing in popularity.
What else you need to know: Moderate prices. Credit cards accepted. Beer and wine available. Open lunch, dinner and late night.
If you’ve never experienced Japanese izakaya, this is a good place to start. Izakayas are basically lively, fun bars that serve food, usually tapas-style small bites, to accompany the drinks. At the cozily modern Manzo, the specialty is robata, delicious grilled items, as well as sushi, sashimi and a wide range of creative nibbles from the kitchen. It’s all designed to complement a drinks list focused on beer and premium sake.
What else you need to know: Moderate prices. Credit cards accepted. Full bar. Open for dinner.
It’s impossible to miss this casual, Beijing-style eatery – it has the brightest signage along Alexandra Road. Decor is simple, almost cafeteria-style, and the specialty here is all-you-can-eat hot pot, along with spicy, northern Chinese barbecue skewers. For those who like fiery foods, the chicken wings “bien tai” are a must – so hot, they come with a warning and a “fire extinguisher” side of frozen cherry tomatoes.
What else you need to know: Moderate prices. All you can eat. Cash only. Beer available. Open for lunch and dinner daily; late night Fridays and Saturdays.
This popular, classic Cantonese restaurant specializes in dim sum and live seafood. The place is huge, bright and always busy, with efficient and helpful servers. Dim sum is probably the most popular meal here, and features all the usual favourites done exceptionally well. Diners who come for dinner must try the signature dish of roast squab – pigeon marinated in secret spices then roasted until it’s crispy on the outside, tender inside – though western diners should perhaps be warned that it arrives with the head still on. Guests also can’t go wrong with whatever is fresh and swimming in the restaurant tanks, whether it be shrimp, geoduck or Alaska king crab, best served with minced garlic.
What else you need to know: Moderate to expensive. Credit cards accepted. Full bar. Open for lunch and dinner.
This popular chain has locations throughout Vancouver and North Vancouver and offers a reliable selection of the usual Thai fare: noodle dishes such as pad thai, fragrant curries, eye-wateringly spicy soups and tantalizing appetizers such as the boneless stuffed chicken wings. All that, along with the cheerfully casual décor and reasonable prices, keeps the joint hopping.
What else you need to know: Moderately priced. Credit cards accepted. Full bar. Open for lunch and dinner.
Looking for a late night bubble tea and electronic darts? Then this quirky joint is the place for you. It’s one of the biggest Taiwanese-style restos in the Lower Mainland, and features bubble tea, milky coffee, savoury waffles, noodles, hot pot and a huge list of other nibbles. It’s also just plain fun, with loud DJs, auto-majhong tables, TVs, Wi-Fi and more.
What else you need to know: Inexpensive. Credit cards accepted. No alcohol. Open lunch, dinner and late (until 2 a.m. nightly and 3 a.m. weekends).
Located on the second floor of small strip mall on Alexandra Road, this husband and wife operated eatery features authentic homestyle Korean dishes such as hot pots, bibimbap, seafood pancakes, tofu soup, and BBQ short ribs. The restaurant has a homey feel and diners can expect attentive service as well as a limited bar menu and free Wi-Fi.
What else you need to know: Moderately priced. Credit cards accepted. Limited bar menu. Open for lunch and dinner.