Solo foodie in Vancouver
I'm from Maryland (US) - currently living in Minneapolis, MN - and have only ever posted to Chowhound re my trip to San Francisco. I'm coming to Vancouver for two weeks in July and I am SO excited about the fresh seafood and Japanese cuisine (I'm part Japanese). This is a great board, very active. I looked around but didn't find any answers to my questions.
Two things -
1) Which places are best for dining solo? I'm going to be eating alone for the most part, so I'll want a place that's entertaining and kind of communal.
2) What exactly is Vancouver cuisine? Is it an asian fusion? I saw it referenced a few times, but I don't really know what it is. What are the local delicacies there? I know it's in one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.
Thanks! And, I'll try and remember to report back.
>>1) Which places are best for dining solo? I'm going to be eating alone for the most part, so I'll want a place that's entertaining and kind of communal.
For special dining, Vancouver has a few restaurants with bars/lounge that serve small-plates - Bin 941, Bin 942, Chambar, Boneta, Salt, to name a few. The izakaya scene is the best outside Japan (Hapa, Kingyo, the Guus, etc.) - they are also "small-plate" oriented. We also have excellent sushi (Octopus's Garden, etc).
For sustinence dining - Chinese food (eg Peaceful, Lin's, Legendary, multitudes of noodle/BBQ houses, dim sum, etc.), Ramen (corner of Denman and Robson), "lunch" sushi (everywhere).
>>2) What exactly is Vancouver cuisine? Is it an asian fusion? I saw it referenced a few times, but I don't really know what it is. What are the local delicacies there? I know it's in one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.
Excellent questions. I have been thinking a lot about how to answer this lately. Vancouver's Asian population in the GVA is hovering at around 40%...a good 30% are Chinese (and more than like a full 2/3 of them came in the last 15 years. The food that people cook at home will be predominantly adapted Asian food. (Even Vancouverites of European descent cook a lot of Asian food). As such, restauranteurs don't have a choice but to cater to Asian tastes.....not just second generation Asians...but to new Asian Canadians. Highly influential chefs such as Rob Feenie, Pino Posteraro, John Bishop, Jeff Van Geest, etc. use a lot of Asian ingredients and techniques even in their European style dishes.
Couple the Asian influences with the trend to localvore sourcing and you have what could be a nascent indigenous cuisine where the gastronomy is largely newly imported, then adapted and hybridized. This hybridization has actually been going on for decades....so it has had a chance to become mature and quite sophisticated.
The Japanese cuisine here is a bit of an aberration...the Japanese population isn't that large, but still represents a highly influential gastronomy. Vancouver has excellent Japanese food of a variety of types (izakaya, sushi, ramen, yoshoku, etc.)
That was the long answer...the short answer is "yes" it is Asian Fusion. A flippant answer might be: espresso for breakfast, sushi for lunch, and Chinese for dinner.
>>What are the local delicacies there?
I'm assuming you mean source ingredients. Well we have a lot of seafood - Oysters, Sea Urchin, Spot Prawns, Salmon (...if we have any left), etc. We also have a climate similar to Northern California - so we have great sources for grapes (thus wine), fruit, veggies, etc. We have some nice cheeses and dairy, good sources for pigs, ducks, etc.
Add the "port city" aspect to sources and you have a rich variety of foodstuffs at your disposal.
thank you, thank you!
I feel you on the Salmon. It's hard to get filets that aren't farm-raised anymore. I am so excited! Definitely thinking that I'll check out the izakaya. It sounds like fun and delicious dining. One of the best meals I had in my life was in Montreal, so I have a very healthy respect for how Canadians work their resources/talents.
fmed pretty much nailed it on the head.
Some of my other favorites are Cioppino/enoteca for pasta and seafood dishes but they are a little pricey, and for sushi you cant go wrong with yujis, yoshis and ajisai.
I eat solo lots, and japanese food is perfect for it but not all spots are that entertaining and comunal.
Enjoy Vancouver, the food is priced well and tasty.