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Aug 28, 2011 09:28 AM

modern chinese (or vietnamese) beyond Bao Bei

I absolutely love Bao Bei. Someone was telling me about another modern chinese wonderful restaurant (I think in Chinatown too) but can't remember the name of the place. Any recommendations for a place in the same vein as Bao Bei.

Similarly, wondering if Van offers anything like Slanted Door (San Fran) for modern Vietnamese food ?


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  1. If you like Bao Bei, then you might like The Keefer (a couple of doors away) and Terracotta.

    There are no places like the Slanted Door here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      I love Keefer for drinks... Never ate there yet... Thanks

    2. There's a modern Vietnamese resto in downtown called Chau Veggie Express:

      For "modern" Chinese, there are two in Richmond, Zen and Hakkasan:

      I've not been to any of the three places above.

      6 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper

        The new Chau Veggie Express is on Victoria Dr - just to clarify. (And I wouldn't put in it the same class as Slanted Door).

        Good call on Zen and Hakkasan. In terms of the food, they are more modern than Bao Bei. And from what I can remember, I think the food is much better, frankly. (I haven't been to Zen since it reopened and Hakkasan in a couple of years, so my intel may be a bit stale.)

        1. re: fmed

          Thanks for that Fmed. I don't know anything about the old or re-branded Chau other than reading about them in the Georgia Straight way back when they first opened, IIRC the owner is the daughter of the family who owns My Chau on Kingsway.

          A couple of other potential contemporary Chinese (& pan Asian) options:

          Red Door Pan Asian Grill:

          NOA Pan Asian Bistro (on Cambie, where Spices Vietnamese used to occupy):

          I'm too close to NOA to have a good excuse of not checking them out soon one of these days !

          1. re: LotusRapper

            It is your duty to report back on NOA. ;-)

            1. re: LotusRapper

              The Red Door is now closed. I never considered it modern. Given their own write ups I always felt it was more the kinda place that tried to capture the charm of Old style Chinatown restaurants but dumbed down the food and allowed the experience without having to face scary Chinatown and it's people. Maybe I was reading too much in the subtext but it offended me to no end on many levels.
              I did love Wild Rice which did Asian fusion well when it first opened. Have not been in years.

              Wild Rice
              117 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B1S4, CA

              1. re: lunchslut

                I found the food at Wild Rice quite salty the few times we eat dinner there (and I"m a self-proclaimed salt hound) so we haven't eaten there in years either. However, the big draw for me is that most, if not all, of their desserts are dairy-free so I've been a few times just for drinks and dessert. For someone with a dairy-allergy getting to order creme brulee (made with coconut milk) in a restaurant is a rare treat.

                Wild Rice
                117 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B1S4, CA

              2. re: LotusRapper

                We have tried NOA and it was a great dining experience. The food were tasty and their prices are very reasonable. I love the Tiger Prawns with Black Pepper & Onion, it was so delicious I even finished all the onion (I think it was $11). There were many other yummy dishes and all of them were below $10.00 each. Also loved their papaya salad, curry bowls, and their signature chicken wings... I am hungry just by naming them! Service was excellent and they have drinks special everyday. I will definitely go back.

          2. I believe the restaurant you are thinking of is Terracotta Modern Chinese on Alexander Street

            1. The original comment has been removed
              1. There's a piece in Walrus magazine that features Bao Bei, Wild Rice, Terracotta and Zen.

                Wild Rice
                117 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B1S4, CA

                9 Replies
                1. re: clutterer

                  Nice one, clutterer. I get the paper version and when I went online for the link it hadn't been posted yet. Kind of interesting.

                  1. re: clutterer

                    Nice Read and interesting topic to think about. Being second generation Chinese, my only explanation is that "old school" Chinese food a la congee noodle house is one of the few things in my life that connects me to my Chinese culture, roots and family memories.

                    Modernize Chinese cuisine and you lose the cultural aspect of the food and a portal to one's Chinese heritage, at least here in Canada, which is where I think the resistance comes from. The modern food can't beat those fond memories of dinner with grandma.

                    1. re: moyenchow

                      Can't beat memories nor the price point..

                      1. re: moyenchow


                        No restaurant food, no matter how exquisite the ingredients or techniques, can ever match simple downhome dishes made by one's grandma and mom. Even a pedestrian meal as a fried egg on white rice, sprinkled with Maggi sauce (or Worcestershire), accompanied by steamed pork meat "cake" (fancied with Chinese salted fish), washed down with an elixir soup made with beefbone stock, watercress, dried plums and almonds, evokes deep and fond memories of childhood and family.

                        1. re: LotusRapper

                          One thing my mom used to make is steamed egg with broken pieces of "nyu gwok", this deep fried pretzel type thing. A little drizzle of soy sauce or maggi sauce over top and eat with rice...mmmmm...

                          Steamed ground pork with salted fish is awesome. My mother-in-law also makes a mean vietnamese version too, so I've been lucky enough to enjoy two versions of it.

                          But nothing beats my mom's sliced pork belly with taro, usually just a Chinese New Years dish, unfortunately.

                          1. re: LotusRapper

                            This is what I'm talking about .... Steamed minced pork & dried squid & shitake mushrooms or layered pork belly & taro are not only yummy but part of my connection to being Chinese.

                            Can you imagine being serve deconstructed layered pork belly & taro? It wouldn't go over well with me.

                            Is chinese food still chinese food if you remove the cultural context, especially in immigrant nations where there are so many figuring out what it means to both Chinese & Canadian/American?

                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                OMG - i just made the pork and salted fish dish for the first time last week - it turned out great. I used bacalao and thought it was perfect for the dish.

                                A great chef can use flavours to evoke memories without freezing food in time; you can still innovate and be creative without losing that emotional connection we all have to food. I think that's the basis of the appeal of someone like Heston Blumenthal, who mines classic English cuisine to to very radical things.

                                1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                  Agreed. There's nothing quite like the cookin' that mom used to serve up, but that shouldn't limit any chef from pushing the limits of what Chinese cuisine (or N. American Chinese cuisine) could be. There's enough of an audience in town for both the traditional and the modern...even if the latter genre tends to have many more missteps than the former.

                                  But you know what would be a revelation? A traditional Chinese restaurant in town that dims its lights. Wouldn't cost a thing.