Vancouver’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest in British Columbia. Yet, often it is neglected by locals who find downtown’s swanky West Coast dining, or the array of cuisines on Main, Cambie and Commercial, more enticing.
Richard Wolak decided to highlight this historical neighbourhood in his most recent Tasting Plates. During it attendees had the opportunity to sample some Chinese delicacies from long-standing restaurants while also testing out some of the new dining spots in the area. While walking or biking from place to place it also gave guests an opportunity to check out the designated heritage buildings and savor the rich ethnicity of a culture that has surpassed generations.
Below is a summary of the dishes we nibbled on during our gastronomical journey.
223 East Georgia Street
(L to R) Kefta skewer with spicy tomato sauce, French onion soup with garlic, cheese toast (V.), Spanish torta with mojo sauce (V.), Spiced almond labneh with preserved lemon + herb salsa on a pita chip (V.)
I had recently sampled all of these menu items at the restaurant but wasn’t disappointed to be served them again as they are all delicious. As a carnivorous individual I was particularly fond of the kefta skewer when served warm and swirled in the tomato sauce.
Colin Turner, East of Main’s head bartender, was also working hard behind the bar as guests had a break from their tour over a carefully crafted cocktail. (Not included in the ticket price.)
413 Industrial Avenue
Seasonal cream puff
Hot chocolate ( dark or milk )
Beta 5 showcased a clever way to make hot chocolate – warm milk with a block of dark or milk chocolate on a stir stick. It was a great way to warm up on the chilly, but fortunately dry, winter evening.
I’ll be back to try some of their pastries and croissants.
Location: 413 Industrial Avenue
Choice of: Margherita, Spicy Salami w/Mushroom, Maple Bacon (above) and a Spinach Feta pizza
Wood-fired pizza is the way every pizza should be made. With a large line-up with individuals waiting for their pizza slice of choice the staff of Pazza Rella Pizza were working hard. I tried Maple Bacon because it seemed the most unique of the four and proved to be as tasty as it sounded with it’s sweet, salty and smoky flavours.
243 Union Street
Ramen with Fraser Valley pork shoulder and SOLEfood radish.
Andrea Carlson was in house showing off her contribution to Harvest Union. She recently joined the team and has been doing a great job with her noodle creations and vietnamese subs. Add to the fact that this is an awesome store/deli with a unique origin and you’ve got a definite go-to place for lunch or groceries.
227 East Georgia Street
Treasure Green Extra Virgin Tea Oil dips and Smoky Tea Tofu (shown above).
Their 2012 Treasure Green Seasons Blend (hot tea) prepared in tea ceremony style.
I love the idea of tea-infused food and was fond of the oil and bread that they served. The tofu wasn’t my favorite but that’s simply because it’s not my ideal source of protein. Expect a pungent smell of green tea in this shop and friendly staff that will guide you through the process, including when to drink the tea and what to eat before and after.
400-180 Keefer Street
BBQ Pork Bun, Vegetable Spring Roll, Sesame Ball, Soya Sauce Chow Mein
This was a large venue which was great because it allowed our group to sit together and have a moment to chat. We were all a little bit saddened by the fact that they didn’t have seafood as part of thier selection since it is, according to the name, a seafood restaurant. Instead what we were offered seemed to be the leftovers from Dim Sum that day. The spring rolls may have been the best of what they offered.
296 Keefer Street
Cuisine: Oysters & Soul Food
One local beach oyster per person.
101 East Pender Street
Green Tea: Cloud Mist Green Tea
Oolong Tea: Taiwan Dong Ding Oolong, Ginseng Oolong
Pu-erh Tea: Mini Tao Black Pu-erh
They gave guests a brief tea lesson on the benefits of tea and a demonstration on how to make the tea in the GongFu Cha style.
928 Main Street
Mini Eggplant sub – Their take on a vegetarian Vietnamese sub.
Golden-fried, panko-breaded eggplant served on a tiny baguette-style sub bun. Sweet and savory red pepper almond spread, house pickled julienned vegetables, cucumber and Sriracha mayo.
Fukuro Burger Sliders
In house chuck beef slider patty, on a mini brioche bun with sweet and savoury tomato jam, wasabi slaw and butter lettuce.
Grey Goose battered ling cod bite on shoestring potatoes with tartar sauce, and red cabbage slaw. (my favorite)
They also served a Red Bean and Lemon Zest Panna Cotta – Rich and creamy red bean paste panna cotta with a hint of lemon zest. Accompanied with blueberry puree.
I was too late for this one but sampled a variation of it.
Finding myself at Electric Owl for the last stop of Tasting Plates Fall Edition I was lucky to be entertained by Uno Mas who put on a good show with their passion and energy. It was nice to rejuvenate with a cold beverage and some live music after a long night of walking and sampling.
A donation of $3 from each ticket purchased went to support Project Limelight. East of Main Cafe supports the society on a regular basis so were proud to have some of the children in their establishment singing during the event. They wowed the crowd with their large range of notes and their sweet voices.
For more photos (there are lots) check out my Tasting Plates gallery on Flickr.