By VisitRichmondBC.com

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

HK BBQ Master | image by Tourism Richmond
HK BBQ Master | image by Tourism Richmond

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

Sashimi platter at Ichiro Japanese Restaurant | image by Tourism Richmond
Sashimi platter at Ichiro Japanese Restaurant | image by Tourism Richmond

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.

Szechuan Delicious

Water boiled fish at Szechuan Delicious | image by Tourism Richmond
Water boiled fish at Szechuan Delicious | image by Tourism Richmond

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.

LA Chicken

LA Chicken | image by Lindsay Anderson
LA Chicken | image by Lindsay Anderson

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.

Tsim Chai

Wonton beef noodle soup at Tsim Chai | image by Tourism Richmond
Wonton beef noodle soup at Tsim Chai | image by Tourism Richmond

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.

by Catherine Dunwoody

Health enthusiasts know the benefits of drinking green tea, especially matcha, due to the fact that the bright green stuff is rich in antioxidants, boosts memory and energy levels, plus detoxifies the body.

New Whisk Premium Matcha is the brainchild of Richmond, BC entrepreneur Kimmy Xiao, and this mother of two is pretty stoked about finding, and sharing, the highest quality out matcha out there.

Sourced in Kyoto, Japan, this organic tea is brought in for Xiao’s Whisk brand, then packaged right in Richmond before selling to us online or at select stores throughout the GVRD, including Pure Barre Studios.

Three different grades of matcha are available (including the esteemed Pinnacle Gold), plus a selection of accessories and beautifully packaged gift sets just in time for the holidays. Xiao states that “we want to bring this authentic artisanal matcha experience to people’s everyday life while promoting a healthy, active and balanced lifestyle.”

Image provided by Whisk Premium Matcha
Image provided by Whisk Premium Matcha

Since matcha gives us that kick in the pants that coffee does, but without the crash mid-day, all we can say is arigato – and give this gorgeous green stuff a try.

Find out more at www.whiskmatcha.ca

By Joanne Sasvari

If you think sake is a boiling hot beverage that tastes like turpentine, well, you clearly haven’t tasted Masa Shiroki’s handcrafted sakes.

Since 2007, when he became Canada’s first producer of premium craft sake, he’s been making rice wines that taste delicately of citrus, apple, pineapple and brioche, with notes of spice and touches of herbaceousness.

Not a hint of turpentine anywhere.

A couple years after he started producing his Osake brand, Shiroki started growing his own rice in the Fraser Valley, making his rice wine a truly local and sustainable product.

Rice growing in a field in the Fraser Valley for Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker on Granville Island | image courtesy of Masa Shiroki
Rice growing in a field in the Fraser Valley for Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker on Granville Island | image courtesy of Masa Shiroki

Now he’s heading up Vancouver’s first (and, he hopes, annual) Sake Fest. On Sept. 29, 2016, when 21 producers will gather at the Imperial in Chinatown, where they will pour some 100 different types of sake. Kampai!

“It’s been a long time coming,” Shiroki says.

Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, at his facility on Granville Island | image by Joanne Sasvari
Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, at his facility on Granville Island | image by Joanne Sasvari

Sake is a fermented beverage made from rice, water and “koji,” or rice malt. It has a distinctive umami or savoury flavour profile, and it can be enjoyed cold, room temperature or hot.

“Chilled is my preference, but it depends on what you’re eating,” says Shiroki.

Becoming a sake master was not exactly Shiroki’s original career choice. Back in Japan, he worked in banking, which is what brought him to Canada in 1974. He later moved on to transportation, then government. In 2000, Shiroki was working with the B.C. government when, he recalls, “We all got pink slips and I said to myself, ‘What can I do at age 50?’”

Rice for making sake by Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, at his facility on Granville Island | image by Joanne Sasvari
Rice for making sake by Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, at his facility on Granville Island | image by Joanne Sasvari

The answer was: Import sake. In 2001, Shiroki brought in his first sake imports. But the pricy products were a hard sell, especially in a market obsessed with local ingredients.

“I thought if we made it here, people would feel a sense of ownership. It was a bit of a bet,” he says.

In 2007, he opened Artisan Sake Maker in a compact 1,000-square-foot space on Granville Island. It is at once production facility, retail store and tasting bar, a favourite stop for visitors to the island.

In addition to sake rice, Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, also grows table rice, which he sells at his shop on Granville Island | image by Joanne Sasvari
In addition to sake rice, Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, also grows table rice, which he sells at his shop on Granville Island | image by Joanne Sasvari

He was the first, but has since been joined by about a dozen other sake producers across North America, including two in Canada: Y3K in Richmond and Ontario Spring Water Sake Company in Toronto.

Today, Shiroki produces about 1,000 cases of sake each year, and 10 different styles, including three sparkling sakes and the new, award-winning Renaissance, which has a flavour similar to a grape wine.

“This Renaissance is a completely different style of sake,” he says. “We have to produce something that caters to the palate of our market now.”

And, he admits, it’s more appealing to his palate, too, after so many years in North America: “My palate has completely changed and maybe I have a dual palate now.”

Shiroki also has 18 acres of rice growing in soggy bits of the Fraser Valley. “There is always a portion of the land a farmer doesn’t use because it doesn’t drain and everything rots,” he notes. That’s the bit that’s perfect for rice.

Last year, he harvested 15 tonnes of rice, half of it for sake and half for table rice, a short-grain variety perfect for risotto, which he sells for $9 per two-pound bag.

Rice growing in a field in the Fraser Valley for Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker on Granville Island | image courtesy of Masa Shiroki
Rice growing in a field in the Fraser Valley for Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker on Granville Island | image courtesy of Masa Shiroki

Besides sake and rice, he uses the byproducts from sake making – also known as kasu, fermented rice lees that are high in amino acids – in fruit juices, condiments and a line of skin care products. The kasu itself he describes as “an instant flavour enhancer . . . like natural MSG.” It is a favourite among local chefs, who use it as an umami-rich marinade.

Outside the Railspur Alley storefront of Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, on Granville Island | image byJoanne Sasvari
Outside the Railspur Alley storefront of Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker, on Granville Island | image byJoanne Sasvari

“We do so many things because we have to do so many things,” Shiroki says. “But I’m glad to say it has grown from where we started.”

Three Local Sakes You Must Try

Osake Junmai Nama, $16
Artisan Sake Maker’s signature product is a classic, unfiltered rice wine that is fruity, herbaceous, vegetal and a bit grainy in flavour.

Mirai Traditional Method Sparkling Sake, $42
This crisp, clean bubble was made with the help of Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna. It is pleasantly dry, with notes of brioche and apples and a long, umami finish.

Osake Renaissance, $25
On the nose, this sake has bready notes, but on the palate, it is fruity and tart, surprisingly similar to a grape wine. A new product for Shiroki, it is already winning awards.

Artisan Sake Maker is located at:
1339 Railspur Alley on Granville Island
Vancouver, BC

By VisitRichmondBC.com

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!

Beef Pepper Rice at Pepper Lunch | image by Tourism Richmond
Beef Pepper Rice at Pepper Lunch | image by Visit Richmond BC

Lansdowne Station

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.’

Food Street | image by Tourism Richmond
Food Street | image by Visit Richmond BC

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.

Bingsoo at Snowy Village Desserts | image by Tourism Richmond
Bingsoo at Snowy Village Desserts | image by Visit Richmond BC

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!

Aberdeen Station

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.

Aberdeen Centre food court | image by Tourism Richmond
Aberdeen Centre food court | image by Visit Richmond BC

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.

Bridgeport Station

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.

Satay at the Richmond Night Market | image by Chung Chow for Tourism Richmond
Satay at the Richmond Night Market | image by Chung Chow for Visit Richmond BC

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.

Canada Line in Richmond | image by Al Harvey for Tourism Richmond
Canada Line in Richmond | image by Al Harvey for Visit Richmond BC

By Tara Lee for VisitRichmondBC.com

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:

1. Steamed Crab Dumplings at Golden Paramount

1_ golden paramount _steamed crab dumplings

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.

Location: 8071 Park Road

2. Three Cup Chicken (san bei ji) at Delicious Cuisine

2_three cup chicken_delicious cuisine

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.

Location: 100-7911 Alderbridge Way

3. Bangsilog Breakfast Plate at Kumare Restaurant


Who wants cereal for breakfast when you can try a home-style Filipino breakfast platter! Kumare’s bangsilog 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.

Location: 8130 Park Road

4. Fried Diced Lamb at Silkway Halal Cuisine


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.

Location: 110-8188 Saba Road

5. Grade “A” Ribeye Beef Teppan Rice at Teppan Kitchen

5_Beef Teppan Rice _ Teppan Kitchen

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.

Location: Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way

6. Turnip Cake at Shanghai Wonderful


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

7_Takoyaki_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.

Location: The Richmond Night Market is at 3063-8700 McKim Way and Panda Night Market is at 12631 Vulcan Way.

8. Sautéed Black Bean Sole with Pickled Cabbage at Hakkasan Bistro

8_Black bean sole_Hakkasan Bistro

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.

Location: Unit 110 – 2188 No. 5 Road

9. The Godzilla Bite at Mega Sushi

9_Godzilla Bite_mega Sushi

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.

Location: 100-3131 Chatham Street

10. I Luv Strawberries at Well Tea

10_I luv Strawberries_well tea

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!

By Alexis Baran

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.

Japadog | Photo: are you gonna eat that | Flickr
Japadog | Photo: are you gonna eat that | Flickr

B.C. Rolls

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.

B.C. Rolls | Photo: Leila Kwok
B.C. Rolls | Photo: Leila Kwok


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!

Coffee | Photo: protographer23 | Flickr
Coffee | Photo: protographer23 | Flickr

Salmon Candy

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.

Salmon Candy | Photo: Carol M Chan
Salmon Candy | Photo: Carol M Chan

Spot Prawns

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.

Spot Prawns | Photo: West Restauraunt
Spot Prawns | Photo: West Restauraunt

West Coast Oysters

West coast oysters are a taste of the freshness of the ocean itself. Kumamoto, Kusshi, and Fanny Bay are some of our local varieties, and oyster houses will have a variety to try, along with knowledgeable servers who can recommend a type for every taste. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House, Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar, and Merchants Oyster Bar are excellent places to start.

Oysters | Photo: Joe Fortes
Oysters | Photo: Joe Fortes

Dungeness Crab

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.

Indigenous Cuisine

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.

First Nations Cuisine | Photo: Degan Walters
First Nations Cuisine | Photo: Degan Walters

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.

Chinese Cuisine and Dim Sum | Photo: Tourism Richmond
Chinese Cuisine and Dim Sum | Photo: Tourism Richmond

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.

Izakaya | Photo: Kingyo on Denman
Izakaya | Photo: 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.

Tojo’s | Photo: Leila Kwok
Tojo’s | Photo: Leila Kwok

By Visit Richmond BC

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.


8351 Alexandra Road, 604-279-1513

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.

Claypot Hot Pot & BBQ

105 – 8291 Alexandra Rd., 604-284-5181

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.

Jade Seafood Restaurant

8511 Alexandra Rd., 604-249-0082

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.

Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant

8320 Alexandra Rd., 604-233-0712

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.

Manzo Izakaya

2170 – 8391 Alexandra Rd., 604-276-2882

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.

Point Zero Four Fusion Restaurant

8500 Alexandra Rd., 604-278-1213

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.

Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant

102 – 4940 No. 3 Rd., 604-273-8208

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.

Thai House Restaurant

4940 No. 3 Rd., 604-278-7373

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.

The True’s Tea Restaurant

180 – 8400 Alexandra Rd., 604-207-8469

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).

Haroo Korean-Japanese Homestyle Cuisine

2000-8580 Alexandra Road 604-284-5596

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.

Also try:

Deer Garden Signatures

8580 Alexandra Road, 604-278-9229

Old Buddies Seafood Cuisine

8391 Alexandra Road 604-370-4833