Visiting Vanouver and want to know about special eats! :)
I am heading to Vancouver this weekend and would love to get some recommendations on some special eats! I go to Japadog each time I visit but I do want to venture out and see what's out there as well! Something... different? Cheap eats and Yum?
My friend and I just came back from a 4-day food tour of Vancouver, so maybe I can help!
I highly recommend izakayas. There are at least 3 or so that are highly recommended on chowhound within 2~3 blocks of Robson/Denman. We ended up izakaya hopping and went to Guu with Garlic and Zakkushi, where we met grayelf! I thought the price of the izakayas were quite decent- cheaper than Gochi or Tanto, and the line to get in was nowhere near as crazy. In fact, we got lucky and didn't have to wait in line at all!
Guu with Garlic was vibrant, the food was great. The menu's quite limited compared to Gochi's but if it's just the two of you, it's probably best that the menu's small. Many of the dishes were $5-10.
Zakkushi was quite good- skewers were good, though variety was lacking. I'm always disappointed when a yakitori (technically kushiyaki, I guess) joint doesn't serve grilled chicken skin and cartilage.
There's another izakaya called Hapa nearby that we didn't get to check out.
Do go to Richmond Night Market! It's not full of food trucks like Off the Grid- more like food stands at farmer's market, but serving up mostly Asian junk food. I ended up having grilled squid legs (garlic flavor, best food I had that night), grilled lamb skewer (a bit dry), takoyaki, taiwan-style shaved ice (huge!), and twirly fried potato snack. Everything was around $5. And the lines weren't crazy long. If I had to wait in line at all, it was 5 min max to order, and another 5-10 minutes to get my food. Apparently there are 88 food vendors but a lot of the vendors served up similar food, so that was a bit disappointing. My friend LOVED the shaved ice, so if you have a sweet tooth, get it!
I say skip Vietnamese- there are a ton of great Viet places in San Jose...
Santouka ramen is good, but there's another Santouka in Mitsuwa market down in San Jose. I wouldn't exactly put this place at the top of your list. I did try Santouka in Vancouver anyway and the flavor's the same as the one in Mitsuwa (as it should be). My favorite is Shio ramen. There's another ramen place called Kintaro nearby that is supposed to be popular too...
Bella Gelateria was great, as grayelf mentioned. It seemed like their salted flavors were popular- like salted caramel, salted hazelnuts and salted chocolate.
This is exciting!! Thank you sooo much! I love Gochi and Tanto so knowing that there's something similar and CHEAPER is very exciting!!! Maybe I should see if I need to make reservations~ I've heard so much good things about Guu so it's a must to stop there! :)
I do play to stop by the Summer Night Market since we go there every time we visit! I do like Asian junk food! :) Shave ice is a must! I always do when I was in Hawaii! :)
In regards to Vietnamese, I was thinking the same thing, too! :) Was curious but after your comment, I think I can save my tummy for other yummy spots!
I did wonder if the Santouka was the same as the one in Mitsuwa. Good to know that they're the same. Looks like Kintaro and it is! :)
THANK YOU to both you and grayelf!!!
Pass on Hapa, it's well executed but very entry level and will not impress if you've been to other izakaya. It's where we were before we met EBV78 at Zakkushi -- hadn't been in ages and needed to update my thoughts on it.
We were at Guu with Garlic a couple of weeks ago and I found it much weaker than previously -- it used to be my favourite. It's also very lively (read LOUD) which may or may not appeal. If you make it to Zakkushi, try the umeshiso tsukune (original chicken) -- I am obsessed!
I'm not a fan of Kintaro anymore with the newer and I think better options. Jinya has a very nice black garlic ramen if you are interested. Santouka has the best noodles and broth that I've tried here.
At Bella I really like their citrus flavoured sorbettos which change frequently. I'm still haunted by a lime basil one...
Lately I've been enjoying Vietnamese and izakaya most in our fair burg. Avoid hamburgers if you're from anywhere that allows you to order them as you wish them cooked. There has been a surgence (is that a word?) of thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza here in the last year or so that gets a fair bit of play. Sushi is something you might want to seek out though I don't necessarily recommend it as cheap eats. Dim sum on the other hand can certainly qualify, especially if you can scare up a couple of dining companions to share the cost. If you don't have Hunanese where you're from, we have a couple of worthies in Burnaby. There are Asian food courts in both Richmond and Burnaby that I would target if I were a visitor. If the weather cools down a bit, maybe a bowl of ramen on Robson? Why don't you provide us with a bit more detail (where you're coming from, anything you dislike or really like) and we can help more.
Thanks!!! Let me add more info about myself.
I'm coming from San Francisco and am influenced by a lot of Asian food here :)
I have a sweet tooth and I love to snack around so a sit down lunch/dinner place or formal dining is not really something I like. I am planning to head to the Summer Night Market in Richmond since it interests me a lot. I'm not sure if Food Truck/Cart is what I'm looking at but I am keeping my options open. :) Will definitely hit up ramen as well! Me and my sister planned this trip just to eat so I guess we're trying to pack as much food in your tiny stomach in the 3 days in Vancouver! :)
Ha, we hit up your hometown twice a year for the same purpose! Next trip should be November, can't wait. So definitely wouldn't bother with pizza here. I do like Vietnamese better here than in SF but YMMV and you have to go out to Kingsway (Hai Phong and others) to get the good stuff ie. nothing downtown. Izakaya is a good bet for snacky people and I don't believe you have more than a couple in the Bay Area as yet. My current favourite is the Zakkushi on Denman, though I like the one on 4th Ave (Kits) as well, it just has terrible HVAC and is boiling in the summer.
Sushi will be cheaper and possibly better than at home. Miko on Robson is my current go-to downtown (order a la carte off the dinner menu even if you go at lunch). Santouka is my choice for ramen (go early and get the toroniku) but avoid anything that looks like a seasonal special. A board regular had the hiyashi chuka recently and was not impressed, and their dandanmian is pretty abysmal but they do have superior noodlage and stockage on the regular stuff.
The night markets are kinda fun. We recently went to the "new" one near Bridgeport Station and the standout item was actually a German pork hock (!). I think this one is better laid out and easier to navigate, also seems to have more options.
If you don't feel like going all the way to Richmond for dimsum, Dynasty on Broadway and Kirin on Cambie near 12th are both worthy. For Hunan, either Lucky Noodle or Alvin Garden (both a schlep, slight edge to the latter for me).
You have better food carts in SF and they're easier to find. Food courts, on the other hand, are pretty interesting here. Each one has a couple of real standouts so if you're interested, we can add more info.
Oh and if you have a sweet tooth and like ice cream type stuff, you should prolly try Bella Gelateria. Yes, it's expensive but it's pretty darn good, and I say that having tried a few of the top gelatos/ice creams in the Bay Area.