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Feb 1, 2011 09:08 AM

Foodie Markets etc British Colombia ....

I usually travel to the Canadian west coast at least once a year and so this year am due to fly to Vancouver in November for a month.

I'd love to spend about a week touring (farmers) markets and other food related places In the admittedly rather large B.C area. Has anyone got any ideas on places that I really SHOULD visit?

I've obviously done the Granville Island* market and the Gastown district in Vancouver but not much else.

My main introduction to the Canadian food scene has been through the truly excellent (now defunct?) podcast "Deconstructing Dinner"


TFP (From the UK!)

* Out of interest how do the people who use Granville Market, Vancouver see it? is it a tourist trap with tourist prices or would an average person do part/most/all of their weekly shop there?

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  1. Over the years GIM has devolved into a food court for tourists-although there are still a few quality operations and a smattering of locals who use the place.

    As far as farmer's markets your timing couldn't be worse-November is dark/cold/rainy and miserable-or cold/dark/snowy and miserable-province wide.

    3 Replies
    1. We must be living in different relities if weather in Vancouver is a MYTH...
      As far as "complaining" about farmland - (FYI) Richmond is mostly peat bog...

      1. re: Sam Salmon

        Just a quick note that we removed some comments about the weather in Vancouver, as we know that's a topic that could go on forever. We'd ask that people please keep the focus on the chow, thanks!

        1. re: Sam Salmon

          The link that Sam supplied to the winter farmers' market may prove useful. I go most Saturdays to pick up winter veggies, eggs, apple juice, cheese (my favourite curds from Little Qualicum!), bread, sausages, honey etc. Not as bountiful as similar markets further south for obvious reasons but worth a look. They are adding on snack options to the existing tacos, chili and pizza so it would be worthwhile seeing where that goes in the next iteration. It is centrally located near Queen Elizabeth Park in an outdoor setting. Bring cash.

        2. hello and I'm glad you come out west to enjoy our beautiful British Columbia (not Colombia) nestled between the fabulous Cdn Rockies and the Pacific Ocean.

          there is no better place - and I am of English London heritage

          as a born and raised vancouverite who was born BEFORE expo 86 and all the things that changed our city - yes, Granville Island is a little bit touristy in many ways, but go early enuf and you meet the locals and wanna-be locals. I would say that many of the vendors are genuine BC and many of them have been there since the place was developed by the Federal Gov't. I mean, you can't really go wrong with much of the product down there - and it is stunning. I personally think it's way better than St Lawrence Mkt in TO, which I last visited in Nov 2010.

          i would recommend looking and photographing (w/ permission) the fish - but if you are visiting where you have a kitchen - then buy some! Your nose will tell you the truth about the fish. and the shopkeeper at the counter will tell you the diff flavors and how to prepare. There are also many vendors who sell ready-t0-eat smoked salmon ... it cannot be beat. We have two main flavors here -
          1 - regular lox style in a pkg
          2. "indian candy" - usually hot-smoked and basted in a sweet maple sugar syrup - worth a try, it is like candy

          also - oyama sausage. What else - oh yes the bread across near the net loft. Good sandwiches in the panini style. Le Baguette I think it's called. Check the Granville Island website.

          it's also worth just going down and walking around the genuine historic Vancouver Chinatown on Main and Pender streets. You might wonder what you're looking at - and the photos will be fantastic. I have chinese relatives so it helps to understand the heritage. I know that many people will recommend going out the Richmond BC for asian - but that's not real Vancouver BC. That is - sadly - paved farm land and was developed since the late 1970's. Tho that is not to say the food is not worth the trip (it is near YVR - our big airport)

          the shops in the net loft at Granville Island Market are superb. Circle Crafts, Maiwa, Edie Hat, Paper Ya - can't go wrong for anyone who is looking for artsy creative stuff.

          then make time to walk around - there are unique art studios near the brewery and the Opus art supplies shop. New Leaf editions - for one - tho not always open

          as you might imagine, the best "market" experiences are in the country. Read around here on chowhound and discover some farmgates etc. BC is a huge place - so it depends on the scope of your trip. I think many of us who read this website will agree that it's not the quanity or glamor - it is the people who you meet, both the suppliers and the consumers and those who work in the middle who create delicious items from the products.

          I have experience with the farm markets (summer) in
          Duncan BC (hazelnuts, veg)
          Penticton BC (okanagan usual fruit and veg and some baked items and frozen meats and prepared entrees)
          Naramata BC (okanagan - Martin's Wine Country Bakery breads and treats - plus fruit, veg and Joanne's perogies and cabbage rolls)

          Okanagan wines - well, I always recommend - and I am in no way related in any way - Elephant Island

          Vanc Island wines - same no interest disclaimer as above - the Venturie Schulz balsamic vinegar - wow - expensive and worth every single penny.

          post another question if you need more info
          again - you need to say specifically where you are visiting - as BC is as big as the western USA all put together. and not very easily accessible w/o a friend who lives here w/ a car.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Georgia Strait

            "I know that many people will recommend going out the Richmond BC for asian - but that's not real Vancouver BC" - so what is "real" Vancouver BC?