Visiting Vancouver: Looking for good Shanghainese & other cuisine
I'm planning on taking a trip to Vancouver with my parents next month, arriving October 13 from Edmonton and leaving October 17. We like to eat, and we're especially looking for great Shanghainese cuisine, or any other good authentic Chinese cuisine that you can't get in Alberta. We're also open to any other cuisine recommendations, though my parents don't care for Japanese food. Places don't have to be fancy decor or service-wise; we'd much rather have great food in a casual environment (family-run places are great!) or even hole-in-the-wall places rather than more upscale places where prices reflect you're paying for their rent and decor. Locals' favorites/best-kept-secret types would be ideal. :) We'll be staying in Richmond, and will have a car rental, though probably not wanting to venture too far out of the Vancouver area. I've heard of the Granville Market--is that worth checking out, and if so, how much time should we plan for it? Any input would be much appreciated, thanks! =)
It's called Granville Island Public Market, and you should apportion 2 hours to half a day, depending on whether you want to do ancillary stuff like taking an Aquabus around False Creek (fun even in the rain). Foodstuffs can be good here but also handy for snagging cool BC artisans' handiworks (textiles, pottery etc) in the Netloft and other shops around the Island.
There are a number of quality Shanghainese places but I like Ningbo at Parker Place in Richmond; $3.95 xlb during the day (Chinese menu) Standout dishes: crunchy salt and pepper fava beans, shrimp skin with parsley, Chinese spinach with pine nuts, Shanghai pan-fried juicy crab buns
Big Chef for mid-range Cantonese: Auntie Song's fish soup and "chawan mushi" steamed assorted preserved egg with dry scallops $14.85 are standouts.80 Alexandra nr Alderbridge/access from 3 Road Richmond (604) 207-0386 Went particularly well with the ham yu (steam pork with salt fish); scallop and chicken with chili and pepper $17.80 -- this was an excellent version of what we used to call jade chicken which has deep fried spinach; peashoots with garlic v good
If your parentals are okay with spicy and smoky and you are okay venturing to an eastern suburb, check out Alvin Garden: 4850 Imperial nr Nelson in Burnaby (604) 437-0828. Hunan Style Red-Braised Pork (whole garlic on top), Pan Fried Spicy Chicken, Double Cooked Pork with Garlic and Chili, Hunan bacon and garlic bolts, pork heart, chopped green bean and pork
The old cannery in Steveston (next to Richmond) is kind of cool and there are some decent restaurants out that way, though no Chinese destinations.
Since you'll be staying in Richmond, you may never leave the island as there's so much there to eat !
Additional recommendations I have. All are modest mid-priced places except Shanghai River and Suhang which are a tad pricier, but neither are exorbitant:
- Suhang Restaurant 蘇杭人家
- Dinesty Chinese Restaurant 聚(Taiwanese/Shanghai hybrid)
- Shanghai River 滬江海派料理
- Chen's Shanghai Kitchen 白玉蘭餐館
- Shanghai Wonderful Restaurant 旺
- HK BBQ Master 明家燒臘專家 (#3 Road, inside parkade of Canadian Superstore)
- Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood Restaurant 海棠海鮮酒家 (Cantonese)
- Master Hung BBQ Restaurant 油雞洪燒臘菜館
- Pearl Castle Café 圓香生活餐飲 (Taiwanese), 2 locations in Richmond
- The Place Restaurant 老地方川滬 (Granville/64 Ave)
I included the restaurants' Chinese names (all from Urbanspoon Vancouver) as I find if I'm looking for directions and I ask a passerby where the restaurant is, I usually use the English name (not knowing what the Chinese name is) and they'd have no idea what restaurant I'm talking about. Restaurants' English and Chinese names rarely match, and a lot of folks don't know the equivalent Chinese (or English) names.
Yes, probably because often the English and Chinese names have little similarity (either in meaning and/or phonetic sounds!). Not to mention, native Chinese speakers probably seldom (need to) learn a restaurant's English name. Thanks for your extra efforts and thoughtfulness in including both, LotusRapper--much appreciated, and I'm sure it'll be very helpful! =)