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By VisitRichmondBC.com

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

I Love Fish
I Love Fish | Image by Tara Lee

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.

I Love Fish Richmond BC Canada
I Love Fish | Image by Tara Lee

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

Ichigo Ichie Ramen Richmond BC Canada
Ichigo Mayu ramen | Image by Ichigo Ichie Ramen

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

Ginger Indian korma at Ginger Indian Cuisine
Ginger Indian korma at Ginger Indian Cuisine | Image by Tourism Richmond

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

Guykatsu at Mr. Black Richmond BC Canada
Guykatsu at Mr. Black | Image by Under Table Studio

 

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

Chiu Chow Cuisine Richmond BC
Braised egg tofu | Image provided by Chiu Chow Cuisine

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!

 

By Catherine Dunwoody

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.

Image courtesy of Wild Rice

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.

Image courtesy of Wild Rice

 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.

Wild Rice
810 Quayside Drive
New Westminster, BC
wildricebc.ca