I used to live near Vancouver back in the late 90s in a city called Surrey. My parents ran a Mongolian BBQ style restaurant that I would hang out at most days after school. Disclaimer: This is not where I discovered my hidden magical talent for cooking. This is a place that I do associate certain standards with. Like best fish&chips? Vancouver. Best sunomono thus far, Vancouver. Best Friends? Well a few live in Vancouver.
Some of my most cherished memories while living in Vancouver are of the food we got to enjoy as kids. The waves of immigrants settling in the area has created a tremendously diverse landscape of food. I mean we are talking about superly duperly authentic dishes that you would have to otherwise visit the originating country for. So if you can’t afford Asia at the moment, Vancouver is a good close second.
Returning to Vancouver had been high on my priority list for a long time because there were several things I wanted to do for nostalgia sake. So now that there are plenty of Brentonians I know that still live in the area I thought it was appropriate to take a trip down memory lane.
This is what I did in Vancouver:
- Sushi and Sunomono: Vancouver is easily the sushi capital of North America. To this day, the best sushi I’ve had is in this city. I didn’t take a picture of the sushi I ordered because at the time, I was too excited to think about photos.
- Fish&Chips: Oh yes, how can anyone resist a piece of fish battered and perfectly fried served with golden potatoes? The perfect tools to soak up some malt vinegar. I had fish&chips a couple of times… I have no regrets.
- Granville Island: How so much is packed on this tiny island amazes me. A waterpark, Emily Carr University, and a huge amazing public market all on one island. Rows and rows of vendors selling all sorts of artisanal goods and crafts. I spent hours here wandering around because that’s how much time I needed to see everything.
- Hotpot: If you head over to Richmond there are dozens if not hundreds of hotpot restaurants! Most are AYCE and it’s SO worth it. You can choose from several different broths and my favorite asian delights are always available like thinly sliced beef, fish balls, squid balls, cuttlefish balls, so many balls. On tope of that there’s squid, mushrooms, quail eggs, OH MY!
- Max’s: Now don’t get me wrong, when I’m in Manila I never go to Max’s. But, my craving for Pinoy food was through the roof so DON’T JUDGE. Opt for the classics like pancit canton and lumpia. For dessert I had to have a buko pandan, it’s my guilty pleasure.
- Finch’s: A nice little hipster place in Gastown. They serve these delightful baguette sandwiches. I was recommended the one with prosciutto, blue cheese, pear, walnuts and a balsamic drizzle. I don’t normally eat pears but after this sandwich I don’t know why I didn’t.
- Aberdeen Mall: Before we went to Victoria we stopped by the mall so I could shop at Daiso. We stopped by the food court for lunch, I’d forgotten how much better food courts are when Asian are in charge. My GOD the options were endless but I settled on some awesome Szechuan noodle soups. While we were at the mall we also stocked up on Asian jerky for the ferry ride.
- The Festival Lights at VanDussen Garden: In the middle of winter doing anything outdoorsy in a city was difficult. During the holidays though outdoor spaces are decked out to feel as festive as possible . We stayed for a rather cheesy lightshow but there was an awesome lego display with christmas themed Star Wars figures.
- Vancouver Christmas Night Market: Lots and lots of food options including crepes, german sausages and other roasted meats, and hot apple cider. I opted for a bratwurst because I wanted to use the ketchup dispenser that you use like an udder. It was amazing and I want one for my apartment.
- Quick getaway to Victoria: Just a ferry ride away from the mainland is Victoria, a quiet town with some freaking gorgeous scenery. My lovely friend K.C. lives on the island in the middle of the woods. So of course we built a bonfire and sat under the stars, it was freaking adorable. I also hadn’t seen so many stars in the sky in a very long time so I was mesmerized by the beauty of it all. The best part of the trip were the wild seals we saw at the harbor. I thought I was going to cry.