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Metro Vancouver: local flavours, international flair

 

 

When it comes to food, Vancouver is spoiled. Authentic choices abound, from Richmond and Chinatown’s Asian eateries to West Coast cuisine prepared with local, seasonal ingredients that are harvested, raised or caught in the region’s fertile farms, lakes and oceans.

The best part? Compared to other international cities, delicious dining comes cheap. You can splurge on seafood at renowned C Restaurant, or Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar, high-end restaurants where award-winning chefs make sure that every sea urchin, halibut or Dungeness crab is caught in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment. The experience won’t soon be forgotten.

For $10 or less, you can also fill your belly at one of Vancouver’s new street food carts; whet your appetite with a steamed pork bun, dare to eat a Korean-style taco, or indulge in a grilled Brie cheese sandwich. Vancouver’s enduring food scene has continued to expand its repertoire too. Sushi and dim sum are still super-popular, but the Japanese izakaya, where small skewers of grilled meat, seafood and vegetables are served, is gaining ground. Restaurants with multiple locations, such as Guu, and Hapa Izakaya, have a loyal following.

European cuisine still holds strong, with French restaurants leading the pack. Expect perfectly cooked steak, frites (French fries) and decadent fois gras (goose or duck liver pate) at bistros like Pied-à-Terre and Les Faux Bourgeois. Add to that the English and Irish “gastropub,” where chefs prove that you can have a hearty and tasty plate of bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) with your pint of Guinness.

For a decade now, Vancouver has also been hosting Dine Out Vancouver, an annual event where restaurants put on special three-course menus for a fixed price: $18, $28 or $38. The event typically starts in late January after the post-holiday season, and runs for three weeks. Other annual food-focused events include the Slow Food Vancouver cycle tours and the Spot Prawn Festival, which both celebrate and showcase the best of local, seasonal ingredients.

 

Restaurants are scattered all over town, but there are a few notable districts where restaurants are concentrated:

  • Downtown: from oyster bars to cozy bistros, from Greek to Italian to Thai, the wide variety of eateries in downtown Vancouver is sure to offer something to delight the most well-traveled tastebuds.
  • Richmond: with 45% of the population being of Chinese ancestry, it's not surprising that over 400 of the 800 or so restaurants in Richmond are Chinese. Richmond is where you can find some of the best Chinese food outside China. Apart from the many restaurants, you'll also want to visit the two popular Asian night markets, with not only many retail and food vendors, but also entertainment and games.
  • Granville Island: after touring this small island and visiting some of the many artisan shops, you may have a hard time deciding what you want to eat, since there's much to choose from: a delicious ethnic snack at the public market, a casual lunch at a waterfront cafe, or a stylish dinner in an upscale restaurant.
  • Steveston Harbour: visit the Steveston Fish Market, enjoy the friendly village atmosphere and the great views of the harbour and the river as well as the fresh ocean breeze, before dining on some freshly caught seafood in one of the many restaurants, from award-winning fine dining to more casual fare.

 

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