Vancouver - Chinese Restaurant Award
I was reading Gill's review of Salam Bombay (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081029.wldish29/BNStory/lifeFoodWine/home) today and came across this award
There are 2 parts to the award - Critics Choice and Diner's Choice. The critics will vote on 25 signature dishes while diners will vote in 8 categories.
This award looks promising! My only reservation is that the panel of judges are mainly from Hong Kong.
The category I have the most knowledge about is dim sum. I would disagree about the 1st place winner, Sun Sui Wah (Main St). Kirin and Red Star as 2nd & 3rd are both better than Sun Sui Wah, IMHO. I'm not able figure out which branch of Kirin came in 2nd but I've been very pleased with the Richmond location. And I think a Northern Chinese restaurant could easily be in the top three (my choice Shanghai River).
Well perhaps the HK bias has made the Diners' Choice poll a bit sketchy. I may be a bit pedantic here, but I think the categorization needs work if we are to recognize the burgeoning Regional Chinese restaurant scene here. It is, however, understandable since most of our Chinese food is Cantonese-based.
For example: "Northern Chinese" seems to be a catch-all...places like Szechuan Chongqing ended up there...probably best to call it "Regional Chinese other than Cantonese". Also...some of my personal faves are not on the list and I have no clue how to add them (if I can add them at all...eg The Xiang/Alvin Garden, Peaceful, Chen's, etc.)
For some reason, they have an "Others" on the Nominee List...but no way to express the specific restaurant....so many of my votes ended up as "Others" (!???) with no way of changing it! I think my ballot has been soiled.
And why are Diners not able to vote for signature dishes? I have my own ideas there. Good to see Lee Man on the list...he knows his stuff.
Maybe it's my bias from reading, and viewing, a lot of delicious reviews by a few of you local Vancouverites (is that a word), but I put a good level of confidence in your opinions. Not to take anything away from the judges, but sometimes the down to earth approach creates a tried and true experience. I find at times in Edmonton the best of, or readers favorites, that some magazines put on is the same year after year. A simple reflection, I would think, of the the typical viewers. There can be so many restaurants skipped over. But I digress.
fmed - maybe they should call you in to consult on the side about categories! ;)
Thanks again raidar.
The "Best of" lists for Vancouver are always a bit infuriating for me to read and I cannot accept that it is all a matter of personal preference from reading the results. It's no different here.
To be fair, there are a few of the judges on the panel that really know their Chinese food. I'm not really that concerned about the HK bias because I know that they will have some solid criteria.
On the CRA...the web-based data gathering has some fairly major problems...I hope they fix it so I am not forced to vote for the six or so listed and "Other" in each category. Maybe I'm just not seeing how to do this on the website...in which case - that is still a problem.
The CRA is a good step towards a true acknowledgment of the impact and qualty of Chinese cuisine in town and I welcome it wholeheartedly. It may help the un-initiated diners with their own choices and perhaps educate them to the regional differences of Chinese cuisine.
Along with the basic regions, Vancouver is lucky in that we have 'hyphenated' Chinese food too (Indian-Chinese, Filipino-Chinese, Vietnamese-Chinese, etc)...one day those could be categories themselves. Perhaps in a special catch-all category.
One category that really deserves to be there is Westernized-Chinese where I can vote for old-school Vancouver-Chinese places like Koon Bo, et al and not have to choose it from the "Cantonese" pool. I think that modern Cantonese (eg from places like Sea Harbour) is very different from Westernized-Cantonese and should be judged differently.
I would like to also see categories based on price tiers....for example, Sea Harbour, Sun Sui Wah, Shanghai WInd, are "special occasion" places....Peaceful, Chen's, Long's are for "everyday".
I really like how they addressed the "Signature Dish" issue. Chinese diners would flock to particular restaurants to order of "that one dish." This is a great idea. It shows that the committee understands how the Chinese like to dine.