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Dec 9, 2010 08:44 PM

Best Chinese in Vancouver?

Hi. I dearly hope this is not a duplicate thread but can you please let me know what is the BEST Chinese food in Vancouver BC? We are only there for one night.

Many thanks for your patient and thoughtful replies.

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  1. That question is a minefield! ;-)

    Here are my personal favourites:

    Cantonese: Good Choice (Fraser St)
    Shanghainese: Long's Noodle House (Main St)
    Hunan: Alvin Garden (Burnaby)
    Sichuan: Chuan Xiang Ge (Richmond) and S&W Pepperhouse (Burnaby location)
    Dim Sum: really tough one to answer...I would say Jade Seafood, Fisherman's Terrace or Sea Harbour (Richmond)
    Pan-"Mandarin" with Xian and XinJiang thrown in: Peaceful Restaurant (Broadway/Cambie)

    But if there is one place that I think truly excels at being true to form - it is Alvin Garden. Authentic, unpretentious, robust Hunan food. You have to like really spicy food, however. Hunan isn't for everyone.

    Long's Noodle House
    4853 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3R9, CA

    Alvin Garden
    4850 Imperial St, Burnaby, BC V5J, CA

    The Jade Seafood Restaurant
    8511 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X1C3, CA

    Chuan Xiang Ge
    8211 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC V6X 1A7, CA

    13 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      fmed is giving you the straight goods. I'll only add that I have been enjoying Ningtu for Shanghainese, in case you want somewhere that is a bit less cramped and rushed than Long's but a similar vibe and as good quality IMHO.

      Ningtu Restaurant
      2130 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2T5, CA

      1. re: grayelf

        Ningtu is another fave for me too! The food is more rustic than Long's (which is pretty rustic already). It has the best of a couple of Shanghainese classics eg the seaweed fried croaker, smoked duck, crab with rice cakes, and their Shanghai breakfasts (shaobing, sticky rice rolls, etc.)

        Ningtu Restaurant
        2130 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2T5, CA

        1. re: fmed

          An excellent list! Just to add a bit of confusion to the matter, I would also recommend an alternative possibility (perhaps for lunch) is the various Chinese regional cuisines available in the Asian Food Courts around town too such as:

          Crystal Mall (Wang's for XLB, Want Want for lamb rou jiamo, Huaxi Noodle Specialist, etc.)

          Richmond Public Market (Xi'an Cuisine for knife cut noodles, and XinJiang Delicious food for lamb nang)

          Crystal Mall
          4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

          1. re: YVRChow

            Great additions YVRCHow...these stalls serve certain dishes better than most restaurants. They all have a specialty - "that one dish" that they do very well (which you have listed above). Let me add: Huaxi for the Guizhou Beef Nooldes, Xian for the Fenzheng Rou, Otray (at President's Plaza) for the Jianbing and the Soft Tofu (Doufunoar).

            1. re: fmed

              I didn't mention the food courts because the OP said one NIGHT only and they seem to all shut down by about 7 pm...

                1. re: fmed

                  Excellent detailed additions!

      2. re: fmed

        Many thanks for indicating Alvin Garden, we had a really great lunch there today and will definitely go back for tasting more dishes even though we are only here for a one-week visit. The beef tripe salad was quite something, I had never had one like this, wow! The five dishes we ordered were all good and tasted even better as we got along and they started getting cold, a sure sign of good quality ingredients and moderate use of fat.

        Alvin Garden
        4850 Imperial St, Burnaby, BC V5J, CA

        1. re: fmed

          I'm going to hijack this thread for a related question if you guys don't mind. I'm going to be in Vancouver for a couple days up from Miami where good Chinese is hard to come by. I know a lot of the best places serve family-style; Which Chinese restaurant would you recommend for someone on his own? Not a long walk from a SkyTrain stop would be a plus too as I expect a little difficulty adjusting to the climate.

          1. re: billjac

            What part of town are you planning to be in ?

            Yup, the weather sucks at the moment, we don't like it neither.

            1. re: LotusRapper

              I'll be up by UBC but I've got time to kill and a city to explore so I don't mind a bit of travel.

            2. re: billjac

              Peaceful Restaurant on Broadway near Cambie (only one bus from UBC) has a nice list of smaller dishes. They specialize in food from the western and northern parts of China.Their friendly staff will help you navigate through their fairly large menu. Definitely try one of their hand-pulled noodle dishes.

              Lin's on Broadway and Granville is also a good bet. They serve a survey of Shanghainese and Sichuan dishes. Service can be spotty and disorganized. They serve my favourite XLB in town.

              Another great option are the Asian foodcourts in the suburbs (eg Crystal Mall in Burnaby, Richmond Public Market - both readily accessible by transit). Not your usual foodcourt fare. A number of stalls serve some of the most authentic regional specialties around....and as a matter of fact a couple Chinese regional cuisines eg Xi'an, Xinjiang are only available from these stalls. I can expand on it if you are interested in this option.

              Crystal Mall
              4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

              1. re: fmed

                Peaceful is convenient and their menu looks great, just the sort of thing I've been missing since I moved to Miami from NYC. Thanks a lot for your help.

          2. I should probably mention Bao it placed second in En Route magazine's best restaurant listings this year. It is a modern Chinese restaurant with Western-style service and drinks/wine list. If you are looking for a more "hip" place, then consider it. I know a lot of people who like it....but it isn't my personal cuppa tea.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fmed

              Thanks for the excellent responses everyone!

              1. re: ianrjohnson

                We look forward to reading your trip report!

              2. re: fmed

                Bao Bei is also one of our favourites. It's not surprising that their food is good, but some of their food is actually more authentic tasting than the actual Chinese restaurants in Vancouver. I really haven't had a bad dish there. Highly recommend.

              3. bump !

                this thread is highly ranked in google.

                any recent changes, additions?

                Any comments based on nearness to downtown, or at least within easier public transit range? Vancouver seems like my native sf bay, all the good Chinese is in the suburbs.

                here for several weeks, up for a lot of eating.

                9 Replies
                1. re: bbulkow

                  Hey bbulkow, nice to see you on my local board! You've provided so many great tips in SF Bay Area, I'd love to return the favour. Standard response these days I think would be to board the Skytrain/Canada Line to Richmond for the good stuff. HK BBQ Masters is my choice for charsiu and spareribs. Enjoyable snacks can be had at several of the Asian food courts (details available if you are interested). Big Chef has a few mid-range Canto dishes that I crave. Golden Paramount is a great choice for seafood. Ning Bo is a solid choice for more upscale Shanghainese, either the dim sum items or the larger dishes.

                  I've heard good things from reliable folks about Chef Tony's, Park Lane, Hoi Tong and Top Gun.

                  If you don't want to go quite that far, it will take you close to Dynasty or Kirin City Square (there is also a Kirin downtown) if you are looking for dim sum. I also like Good Choice on Fraser for dim sum, though I tend to avoid the dumpling-type options (one bus). There is very good Shanghainese a bus ride away on Main Street at Long's; we had exemplary XLB there just yesterday, along with their delicious thick fish soup, and some mighty fine rice cakes with preserved veg. Lin's has my favourite XLB in town but the rest of the menu is a minefield. Alvin Garden has served me many a fine meal but it's been a while since I've gone. I think Peaceful has gone down hill, personally.

                  You Bay Area Hounds have been so hospitable, do let me know if you wish any eating company to try more dishes, and deffo recommended if you want to do a food court crawl.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Ah! I get it, and thanks.

                    The office I'm at is near waterfront station, so easy to knock off and head down the richmond line. Easy and fun.

                    From your recommendations, it looks like Vancouver is best at Shanghai and HK and cantonese. While I love me some HK BBQ, and who doesn't like dumplings (especially some real SJB if you have a rec handy), I'm wondering if there are any strong chengdu / sichuan / x'ian etc.

                    I have also just signed up for Car2Go, since it seems a sensible way to get out of downtown -- any recs that are a reasonable evening drive for dinner?

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      My pleasure. You picked a good office location.

                      There is a place called Chengdu Xiao Chi just south of Aberdeen station that we recently had a chowdown at. There were some high points but also some misses that night and when three of us went back a week or so later. For Sichuan I like New Chonqing in Kerrisdale, though again there are some weak dishes.

                      There was a great Xi'an stall at Richmond Public Market but alas it closed. Peaceful has a couple of dishes but they are not top of my list any more. This place is still doing its thing and has the advantage of smaller portions if dining solo:

                      Good call on the Car2Go as well. The world is your oyster. You could do Alvin Garden with a car for sure. Were you just wanting Asian reccos?

                      Went to the SF Bay Area board to find out what SJB stands for: sheng jian bao. Lin's has good ones but they seem to run out frequently. I'm trying to think where else I've had them recently...

                      1. re: grayelf

                        I should probably just give up my bent for Szechuan and stick to what's best here --- enjoy the HK / Shanghai / etc flavor.

                        Thanks for the Chengdu Xiao Chi rec. That seems like a good speed, right near the station.

                        It looks like Car2Go requires a few days to validate my person, and I'm still wondering about phone-based vs card-required cars....

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          FWIW bbulkow, I've tried a couple of the Sichuan places in SF and I think we do a little better here, so it might still be worth your while.

                          Chengdu is tucked away in an odd little strip mall just past the station so persevere if you go.

                          Can't help on the cars, alas, but drop me a line if you want/need any other tips on things to do etc.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            My favorite sichuan places in the bay area are:
                            * Chef Zhao in MV
                            * A place in east san jose my chinese friend took me to
                            * Da Sichuan in PA
                            * Crouching Tiger in RWC isn't great but their water beef, dry-cooked dishes scratch the itch.

                            I haven't been to any of the SF-proper places so can't compare.

                            I think those places I listed are only average when compared to actual chinese places

                            I would love a bump in quality compared to these.

                        2. re: grayelf

                          Hey Greyelf: could you give me some guidance on the New Chonqing? What to order and avoid - I am not a big fan of tripe or tendons but otherwise pretty much anything would be OK as long as it is tasty and well prepared.


                          1. re: Philx

                            The Chinese cabbage with millet rocks (I know, I can't believe I am recommending a green vegetable either). The water boiled fish is tip top, as is their water boiled beef according to another member of our party who'd had it recently. The steamed pork ribs with rice is solid.

                            There are several interesting noodle dishes. We tried one which I didn't note the name of and though subtle it worked, with good bounce on the noodles. It is topped with crushed peanuts and had the name of a place in it IIRC. I think you'd prolly be okay with most noodle dishes here. I remember I liked their ants climbing a tree when I was last here a few years ago.

                            Also from our last visit I would give the pork "fire exploded" kidneys a whirl. They did a pretty good job of them back then and it appears to be all the same folks in the FOH at least so maybe the same chefs too?

                            I'm also gonna hazard that the dumpling dishes would be a safe bet, based on the chili wontons we got which were very good, much better than the ones at Chengdu in Richmond.

                            We tried their version of la zi ji and though different from any other I've had was quite addictive, if a bit salty.

                            They also have fried bread which I love and so many places don't stock any more. And yes I hogged the condensed milk :-).

                            Pass on the shredded potatoes. There are two listed and the one with disc shaped spuds is very cumin heavy and a bit greasy. The other one is actually shredded and served cold. I fear it might have a gassy flavour as did the Chinese bacon with garlic shoots. I find if one dish like that tastes gassy in a place, they all do. I'd also skip the hot and sour soup. It was fine but didn't have nearly enough cool bits in it for me :-).

                            Prices are a bit west side but not outrageous. We ended up paying $25 a head for a generous amount of food for six, with a bunch of soup leftover as we asked for the large (size of a bathtub!).

                            Hope that helps a bit. There are lots of pictures on their menu now which is actually quite useful.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              This is great Greyelf; thanks so much. I am going to take your comments with us when we go. We love good noodle dishes and the idea of cabbage and millet is interesting. That together with a couple of water boiled dishes and some ribs should do us, maybe try the pork kidneys as well.