As a lifelong Vancouver foodie, I like to think that I know the local food scene somewhat well.
But sometimes, even when you think you’re the big fish in False Creek, you’ll cross paths with an even BIGGER foodie who cordially will serve you a hearty serving of perspective about what you THOUGHT you were an expert in.
Without feeling like I’ve fallen from grace, I can say that partaking in Vancouver Foodie Tours recently, was a deliciously humbling experience. Touring around Granville Island, I was led by my guide Manuela into some outstanding tastes that I wasn’t even aware of.
Of course, we stopped by Lee’s donuts, for a glazed honey dip, and JJ Bean for a freshly pressed coffee pairing, but I am ashamed to say it was the first time I had tried a lobster sandwich from The Lobster Man, and candied salmon courtesy of Longliner Seafoods. Consider my palate now primed for discovery!
We ate our way through the market, often attracting stragglers (and seagulls), noticing how we were eating like royalty.
We then ventured on to South China Seas Trading Co. and enjoyed fresh greens drizzled with their house-made ginger dressing ( i purchased a bottler afterwards and can confirm my salads have since entered another culinary level) and took a wander to Benton Brothers Fine Cheeses and the Oyama Sausage Co for a primer on how to assemble the best charcuterie board you’ve ever had. Elk & Juniper Salami, Kasu Coppa (pork infused with sake), a 5-year-old cheddar, and fresh, unripened goat cheese mixed with local blueberry & bourbon preserve- just a handful of my faves.
Even better than getting a taste of all these stops is hearing the story about each one. Family businesses passing through generations, immigrant journeys to the city to set up shop, and stories of success built on cult followings. Hearing Manuela talk about how each vendor came to be and seeing her engage with each owner is an experience I wouldn’t have gotten even if I had known where we were going.
It’s this dedication not only to the food but also to building relationships that makes for the perfect way to get to know your local food community better.
So in the end, although at first I may have felt taken down a peg in my foodie knowledge, I can’t fault Vancouver Foodie Tours for their impeccable research and food pairing that made me see a famous Vancouver attraction in a new way. Not only did I walk away with a new appreciation for the food I’d been missing out on, but I got to engage with the passion behind each item!
Vancouver Foodie Tours is accepting reservations now!
Visit foodietours.ca to book your spot
By Mark Shelling