Life has taken us to Vancouver many times, but we’ve never had a chance to explore Richmond’s famous Chinese food scene. So we decided to use some of our vacation days for a trip to Vancouver for a short, but jam-packed, food tour.
We spent quite a bit of time researching online and landed on a list of over sixty (that’s right – six zero!) Asian (primarily Chinese) restaurants that came highly recommended in the Greater Vancouver Area. From a city that boasts more than eight hundred (yup, that’s eight with two zeros!) Chinese restaurants, that’s a pretty comprehensive list.
We’ve compiled all sixty restaurants on Google Maps to help anyone in visiting plan their own foodie adventure: Culinary Slut’s Chinese Food Tour of Vancouver & Richmond
We chose to stay at Hilton Vancouver Airport. It’s perfectly located to allow access to many of the restaurants on our list on foot – which is our favourite way of exploring cities in any case. Its location also allowed for a long, leisurely walk to the Richmond Night Market. (see below) Conveniently, our room had a microwave and an empty mini-fridge so we could enjoy leftovers (especially dumplings for breakfast!); the hotel also has the benefit of being located close to beautiful Minoru Park.
Some Useful Tips:
Many of the Chinese restaurants in Richmond are cash only (or allow only the use of a debit card).
3.7 – 3.9 Is A High Rating on Google Ratings
While in cities like New York or Toronto a user rating of 3.7 with over 100 votes might make us hesitate, that is not true of Vancouver and Richmond’s food scene. The people casting the votes are pretty discerning. (maybe even a little bit harsh) Only on rare occasions did we find restaurants that managed to touch a 4-star rating. In these circumstances a rating of 3.7 – 3.9 is solid and you can count on the food being delicious.
Many Places Close for Turnover in the Afternoon
You’ll see a lot of restaurant closures from 3 – 5pm. Make sure to check the hours of an establishment before rushing out to satisfy that sudden dumpling craving. And you will have sudden dumpling cravings. That’s a thing.
The Richmond Night Market
Arrive early; the line up to enter is huge and if they reach capacity you may not be allowed in. Consider the $28 (per person) VIP pass which gets you in much faster and allows for multiple entries. We just used one entry and then gifted our card to a lovely member of the hotel staff. You can always just hand it to a stranger as you leave the Night Market as a random act of kindness. We recommend that you don’t drive or take a cab to the Market. Traffic to and from is absolutely insane; walk (or take the SkyTrain to the River Rock Casino and take the short walk from there). There’s lots of signage so it’s pretty easy to find and as pedestrians we just had to follow the obvious flow of other humans going our way.
Breakfast and Snacks:
As mentioned already, but worthy of repetition, we tended to take our breakfast pastries over to Minoru Park. This beautiful green space has a pond where Red-Winged Blackbirds nest, filling the air with their beautiful song. Ravens can be seen bathing in the waters, families of Canadian Geese rest in the sunlight and a chorus of unseen songbirds plays in the background. There are a good number of benches where you can sit amongst the flowers and enjoy the peaceful beauty. Past the dense greenery there’s an open field where people can be seen enjoying some casual sports, as well as a high quality running track where we burnt off a few calories. (just enough to justify another day of indulgence!) You may find that the crinkling wrappers of your baked goods draw the attention of some critters. It didn’t take long for an adorable grey squirrel to sidle up to us doing his best to execute all the gestures that have melted the hearts of many a homo sapien before us. He was soon followed by a family of geese also hoping we’d share our meal with them.
A Taste of Taiwan:
HK BBQ Master:
Richmond Night Market:
Our favourite treat at the market were nori tacos. Nori sheets are lightly coated in tempura batter and fried into a shell. They’re then filled with a rice base and a topping of choice. We chose spicy salmon and tempura spam. How were they? We wish they’d open a national chain! On the non-Asian front, it was the Afghani manu that stole our hearts. These dumplings come with a lentil sauce, yogurt sauce, and a slightly spicy sauce. We gave two very popular items a go – grilled squid and fish on a stick. Both good, but see above for our comment about Instagram worthiness outweighing overall food quality. There were many, many sweet treat options, making it hard to choose. But once our eyes settled on the banana fritters in coconut sauce, there was no need to look any further. The food fun doesn’t need to stop when you’re full. It’s loads of fun seeing what people eat as they wander the market, and watching food being prepared is a delight unto itself. Watching ice cream rolls being made was one of the most memorable parts of the trip: a customer’s fruit selection gets mashed and mixed with cream, which is then poured onto a cold griddle. This process is quite similar to how crepes are made – except with completely reversed temperatures at work! The ice cream is then drizzled with a choice of sauce, like caramel or chocolate, and scraped off the plate to form a roll. Check out our photo gallery for a short video.
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