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CA + GA friends visit Vancouver for Asian food - need help!

t
thewongmann Jun 8, 2014 06:31 PM

I'm from Southern California (born and raised in San Diego, uni in LA area) and my friend is from Georgia. We're both planning to visit Vancouver July 27-30/31 as part of a Vancouver/Seattle trip and we're so excited!

Since he's from Georgia, I really want him to get a good taste of East and Southeast Asian food, particularly Chinese food and those cuisines non-existent west of the Rockies (i.e. Burmese, Filipino, Cambodian, etc). It's his first time to the West Coast (of either Canada or the US) and I really want to make a culinary impression on him.

After a copious amount of time researching on this board, guides, yelp reviews, urbanspoon, and the like I wanted to get more insight from you all on my planned culinary tour of sorts, sorted by cuisine type below. To note: we won't have a car, but are more than happy to travel the Canada Line to Richmond from our airbnb place around Davie St. / West End.

Dim Sum/HK style seafood - Looking at all the various comments and reviews I'm inclined to go to both Kirin and Sun Sui Wah, one for dim sum and one for dinner. For dinner, price is really no object (I am planning to order some geoduck and/or dungeness crabs), but I'm wondering which one would be best for dinner? Or should I try out Jade or Dynasty instead (though not Sea Harbour as I kind find that in LA)? Also, if I go to Kirin (likely Richmond or downtown locations), do they accept your reservation on the dot or do you still have to wait?

Shanghainese/Taiwanese - All the guide books and reviews seem to point to Shanghai River but the 'hounds seem to prefer Dinesty. Given that we can walk closer to Dinesty's Robson location, would that be better?

HK Style Western Food/Cha Chaan Teng - Okay, so I know the food at HK style cafes aren't the best, but I really want to show him kind of a slice of what I grew up with. Likely I'll order Hainanese Chicken Rice or HK style pork chop, thick toast, and HK style milk tea. Reading Sherman's blog is looks like Alleluia Cafe in Richmond or the Boss in Chinatown would have both decent food and public rail transit accessibility. Any other recommendations?

Burmese - It looks like I can find decent Burmese food in Vancouver but I have no idea if any of the food is accessible by train and/or foot. I am willing to taxi/uber/etc for good food if there's a Burmese place that's great, especially with mohinga, which a family friend of mine made for my family when I was a kid.

Filipino - Again, it looks like there's decent Filipino food. I know Filipino restaurants are few in the first place (even In San Diego with the many Filipinos) and even restaurants are not as good as the homemade meal, but I would love to introduce my friend to pancit bihon, palabok, lumpia, bistek, adobo, sisig, etc. Suggestions?

Vietnamese style Chinese (Hoa or Teochow) - It doesn't look like there's a big Vietnamese Chinese presence in Vancouver, but I'd love to show him a decent place that serves Vietnamese Chinese food, specifically mi hoanh thanh (Vietnamese style Wonton noodle soup). Admittedly I prefer Vietnamese style wonton noodle soup to Cantonese style...even if my ancestors may not approve. There's a ton of those restaurants in CA, but are there any in Vancouver?

Thank you all for reading this long post and helping me out!

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  1. Sam Salmon RE: thewongmann Jun 8, 2014 08:00 PM

    No uber here but transit is cheap and relatively ubiquitous.

    Can't help with the food I'm a sushi slave m'self.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon
      t
      thewongmann RE: Sam Salmon Jun 8, 2014 11:15 PM

      Thanks! Any cab companies in particular I should use or other app based rideshare services like Lyft available?

      1. re: thewongmann
        LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 07:28 AM

        Taxi & rideshare apps:

        Ridejoy I've heard of, but I don't need to use it myself:
        http://ridejoy.com/vancouver

        Uber Taxi.

        Taxi Magic has coverage for Vancouver now.

        And prolly most other local taxi companies like Yellow Cab, Black Top, Vancouver, MacLure's .....

    2. grayelf RE: thewongmann Jun 8, 2014 09:56 PM

      I really like the Kirin at Cambie and 12th for dim sum, and believe it to be superior to the Sun Sui Wah on Main. Haven't done dinner at either as I am too cheap and not a crab or geoduck fan :-). We accidentally ordered a veggie dish at Kirin once off the regular menu and I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the bill.

      I've only been to the Dinesty in Richmond (thrice for lunch) and thought it was decent. There are better Shanghainese places I think but it does have a nice layout and a cool open kitchen. Dunno if the downtown one has same.

      There are only three places serving Burmese that I know of: Laksa King on Hastings which has some Burmese dishes, as does Rangoon on Yew. Then there is Amay's House on Victoria that is all Burmese. I haven't been to the former since it changed hands and I'm sorry to say I haven't made it to the latter at all (yet) but all are easily accessible from downtown by bus, if a schlep. Rangoon would be the closest but also seems the least Burmese based on the menu. There is a review of it somewhere here I think...

      Filipino is pretty thin on the ground here and most places are turo turo steam table spots. I like PinPin on Fraser (one long bus ride from downtown) but I always stick to the sisig -- best I've had, quite outstanding -- and the crispy pata, so it's a bit of a pork fest. We've have some disappointments eg bad bangus and weak lumpia when we've ventured to other parts of the menu. If they have fresh kalamansi juice, order that too. My favourite place for pancit bihon closed, argh...

      I like our Vietnamese here but haven't come across what you are seeking.

      That's all I know. Good luck and happy eating!

      10 Replies
      1. re: grayelf
        d
        divadmas RE: grayelf Jun 8, 2014 10:55 PM

        Check your credit card company. Some charge a 3% foreign exchange fee, others charge nothing. Discover charges nothing but is not universally accepted.
        While downtown Vancouver has the original Chinatown, before the Hong Kong lease expired many Chinese moved to Vancouver because they had a commonwealth passport. A larger Chinatown formed in Richmond.

        Seattle has Vietnamese, from pho and bahn mi to full menu restaurants mostly in the international district just east of Pioneer square. There is an underground bus station between them. Salami is just a few blocks west. Vietnamese places are a good walk east thru mostly Chinese shops and restaurants.
        I am not familiar with Seattle transit system but with light rail now working getting to the airport can be easier. Vancouver has the sky train but I am unfamiliar with that also.

        1. re: grayelf
          t
          thewongmann RE: grayelf Jun 8, 2014 11:42 PM

          Thanks grayelf! Very helpful. Two follow up questions:

          1) You said better Shanghainese, any recommendations instead? Love to get some great XLB (even if my friend doesn't really like pork...I'll eat the whole order myself!)

          2) Looking at PinPin it seems like it's a fairly reasonable cab ride from Richmond or Main Street? If so...looks promising! Shame that your fav place for pancit bihon closed.

          1. re: thewongmann
            grayelf RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 12:02 AM

            If it's XLB you're after specifically, then I'll recommend Lin's, but that is all you order. Really. The XLB are stellar but there is nothing else noteworthy on the menu, and some of it is bad. So order just the XLB (they'll look at you funny but they'll do it) and be on your way to your next snack/activity. It is only half a block from the Granville or Broadway bus so easy peasy to get to. Closed Tuesday.

            Long's is another in-city option if you want Shanghainese but I don't love their XLB and some people find the service brusque. Also don't go without a reservation unless you want to wait. Their chicken in wine is the best version I've had, and their thick fish soup is second only to Big Chef's in my book.

            Pin Pin is on Fraser which is one major street over from Main so not too far that way. It is relatively far south so could be closeish by cab from Richmond, depending where in Richmond you are. Richmond is BIG and there are only three bridges to it, none of which feed onto Fraser. And cabs are expensive here.

            But if you call Black Top or Yellow and tell them where you are going and where you are starting, they're pretty good about estimating fares beforehand. I don't know of any services like Lyft or Uber here. Car shares seem to be more popular but I think you have to sign up for them ahead of time and pay a deposit of some kind.

            You asked upthread about punctuality on resos at places like Kirin. I've never had a problem (maybe ten minutes adrift max, usually bang on time) but I have heard stories. We once waited half an hour for a reservation at Fisherman's Terrace in Richmond but generally I've had pretty good luck at dim sum places if I have a reso. I simply won't go to places that don't take them as I hate to wait. I think overall restaurants strive to be punctual here -- it's rare I've had to wait for a reso at any restaurant here, though sh*t happens once in a while and it's usual outside the staff's control IME.

            1. re: grayelf
              t
              thewongmann RE: grayelf Jun 9, 2014 07:21 AM

              Ahhh, thanks!

              I do love XLB, but it isn't the only dish I favor in Shanghainese or Taiwanese cuisine. I do love wine/drunken chicken, niu rou mian, rice cakes, and scallion pancakes as well. Would you recommend Long's for those (aside from wine chicken that you mentioned) as well?

              And thanks for your Kirin answer. I find it very helpful that you can reserve at a Chinese restaurant during Dim Sum hours and actually get seated very promptly. That never, ever happens in LA and I always feel resigned to wait at least an hour for a table, especially at the good Dim Sum restaurants there.

              1. re: thewongmann
                grayelf RE: thewongmann Jul 6, 2014 09:09 AM

                If you are still thinking of Long's, do be sure to make a reservation (they definitely take them) or you will have a significant wait.

                They have a beef noodle soup that is tasty but I don't think it is Taiwanese which is what I get when I google niu rou mian. The rice cakes at Long's are well executed but the toppings can be a bit skimpy. Scallion pancakes are adequate. Some things are greasier here than they need to be. I do love both the fish soups, if you're looking for a good soup.

                1. re: grayelf
                  LotusRapper RE: grayelf Jul 6, 2014 02:22 PM

                  If you don't like small, cramped spaces, Long's isn't for you. The room is small, tables very close together. Add a roomful of people and it's like being in a packed #3 bus running down Main St in the rush hour.

                  http://chowtimes.com/2010/08/02/cra-2...

                  Owner lady Sandy runs the front room all by herself, and thus can be very busy when the room is full (luckily the room is tiny so you can flag her down). She *can* come across as being a bit curt, but if you're a regular she warms up to ya.

                  1. re: LotusRapper
                    grayelf RE: LotusRapper Jul 6, 2014 03:21 PM

                    And the A/C is hit and miss too, which is an issue at this time of year even in Vancouver :-).

                    1. re: grayelf
                      LotusRapper RE: grayelf Jul 6, 2014 09:45 PM

                      Hey, time to dust off that A/C restos list of yours :-D

                      1. re: LotusRapper
                        LotusRapper RE: LotusRapper Jul 6, 2014 09:47 PM

                        Or go for Double Jeopardy ..... dim sum -on-pushcarts restos *with* A/C :-D

                        1. re: LotusRapper
                          t
                          thewongmann RE: LotusRapper Jul 7, 2014 01:40 AM

                          Haha. There's no way I'm going to a dim sum place in Vancouver with pushcarts, and much less one without A/C. I suppose grayelf can tell me which restaurants in my plan have A/C and to what degree is that A/C unit working.

        2. KarenDW RE: thewongmann Jun 8, 2014 11:45 PM

          depending upon the precise location (Davie Street and ?) you should be able to just flag a cab on the street. Taxi rates are consistent between companies, and by law, must be posted in the cab.
          Burmese suggestions from Grayelf are accessible by bus from the city center (likely with no transfers).
          Not familiar with any rideshare services, but if you have a driver's license, and join Zipcar in your hometown, I think you can get cars in Vancouver. There is a mobile app for locating and reserving cars, but you may need to bring your card for vehicle access.
          Re: Kirin and reservations, we were seated within about 10 minutes of our large group reso, but that was a couple of years ago.

          1. p
            Philx RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 07:04 AM

            You might want to consider Copa Cafe or Café Gloucester for your HK experience. Both are on the Cambie St skytrain line. I have only eaten baked pork chops with rice at Copa and it was pretty good. I seem to recall Deer Garden Signatures gets some good reviews and they have branches in Richmond and South Vancouver. Maybe check out the reviews and see if any of these might work for you. Have a great time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Philx
              t
              thewongmann RE: Philx Jun 9, 2014 07:22 AM

              Will check those out! Thanks

            2. LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 07:04 AM

              Adding to Grayelf's comments, my suggestion for Shanghainese spots (with or without great XLBs) are as follows (read the bloggers' reviews):

              1) Dinesty (Robson location):
              http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/170694...

              2) Long's Noodle House (Main St @ 33 Ave):
              http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181110...

              Mind you, Long's is super tiny and a wait is very possible, I don't recall if they even take reservations, let alone for a party of two.

              3) Yu Xiang Yuan (Fraser St @ 50 Ave):
              Relatively new, opened for just over a year. Larger room than Long's. Noodle-making can be seen in the kitchen in the back. Just a couple of blocks down from PinPin.
              http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/174509...

              4) Peaceful Restaurant (3 locations):
              They were a rising star, then after Guy Fieri checked them out in 2011 they took off into the stratosphere, expanding to three locations
              )http://www.urbanspoon.com/ch/14/16775...

              I'm not a fan of Lin's anymore, as Grayelf said, while their XLBs may still be good, none of their other offerings are. My most recent and last impression there was they've dumbed down their dishes catering to 'western' (I use that term respectfully) tastes, with greasy, gloppy dishes over-salted and MSG'd. Lin's is well past their heyday IMHO.

              The biggest concentration of superlative Shanghainese restaurants are now in Richmond (Vancouver's new Chinatown) as can be expected. There's a number of great restos (Shanghainese or other cuisines) along the #3 Road corridor readily accessible via the Canada Line. Coincidentally, Dinesty's two largest locations are both there.

              Since you're both here over a weekend, check out the Richmond Night Market (Asian-style outdoor vendors market), where food is the prime attraction. Right off the Canada Line, adjacent to the Bridgeport Station:
              http://www.richmondnightmarket.com/

              2 Replies
              1. re: LotusRapper
                t
                thewongmann RE: LotusRapper Jun 9, 2014 08:25 AM

                Thanks! I'll definitely go to the Richmond Night Market then. It'll be good as my flight on Sunday comes in around 3PM and his around 9PM so I can just check myself into the airbnb and head to the market around dinner time as I await his arrival.

                Dinesty at Robson looks most promising given the proximity to our airbnb but I'll check out Yu Xiang Yuan as I'm expecting a half day or so around Olympic Village/Science World/Main Street and hopping a cab to Fraser possibly to go to PinPin or Yu Xiang Yuan.

                1. re: thewongmann
                  LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 02:44 PM

                  See this adjacent thread on the RNM. A feast for the eyes and palates:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977955

              2. p
                Philx RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 08:25 PM

                You might want to consider Copa Cafe or Café Gloucester for your HK experience. Both are on the Cambie St skytrain line. I have only eaten baked pork chops with rice at Copa and it was pretty good. Maybe check out the reviews and see if either might work for you. Have a great time.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Philx
                  LotusRapper RE: Philx Jun 9, 2014 08:47 PM

                  Copa is "new school", and Gloucester is "old school" (female servers still wear these green doily aprons).

                  1. re: LotusRapper
                    t
                    thewongmann RE: LotusRapper Jun 9, 2014 09:14 PM

                    Interesting, I didn't even know there was a "new school" and "old school" service difference, but this makes sense now. Looks like Cafe Gloucester might be slightly more of what I want, but I guess I'll go to the one closest to us at the moment!

                    1. re: thewongmann
                      LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 11:19 PM

                      More on HK-style cafes:

                      1) i-Cafe (no, Jobs and The Woz weren't behind this one)
                      http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180861...

                      Sherman's list:

                      http://www.shermansfoodadventures.com...

                2. t
                  thewongmann RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 09:19 PM

                  Oh, I guess I should add. Any particularly good boba places for a good late night boba fix and some snacks? Thanks in advance!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: thewongmann
                    grayelf RE: thewongmann Jun 9, 2014 11:39 PM

                    Bubble Queen in Richmond is my favourite but hard to get to without a car. Be sure to order "half sweet" wherever you go. And get some mango stars!

                    1. re: grayelf
                      t
                      thewongmann RE: grayelf Jun 10, 2014 12:47 AM

                      Looks like it's a 10ish minute walk from Aberdeen Centre? That walk on Cambie doesn't look ideal, but I've probably walked worse distances in the LA area when I was carless for a year.

                      1. re: thewongmann
                        LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jun 10, 2014 07:05 AM

                        Easy peasy :-)

                        http://goo.gl/maps/eCB0G

                        1. re: LotusRapper
                          grayelf RE: LotusRapper Jun 10, 2014 09:40 AM

                          I hate walking in Richmond -- sidewalks often are less than optimal or not there, no trees, distances prolly seem longer than they are.

                          1. re: grayelf
                            LotusRapper RE: grayelf Jun 10, 2014 04:24 PM

                            Oh you Kits gal ! ;-)

                            Actually that particular jaunt between Aberdeen and Bubble Queen is not that bad (relatively speaking) for walking. The sidewalk along Cambie Rd is quite wide and no worse than many places in Vancouver city proper.

                            OTOH, driving in Richmond .....

                        2. re: thewongmann
                          KarenDW RE: thewongmann Jun 13, 2014 09:04 PM

                          or a $5 taxi

                        3. re: grayelf
                          q
                          quddous RE: grayelf Jul 10, 2014 12:43 AM

                          Bubble Queen closes very early most days - check their times online before heading out.

                          It is the one bubble tea place we drive out of our way for.

                      2. t
                        thewongmann RE: thewongmann Jun 27, 2014 03:22 PM

                        Another question. What's the weather usually like in late July?

                        If it gets cool/cold and rains, where would you suggest for hot pot? Heard a lot of good reviews for Landmark but want to get an idea from the experts.

                        In the next week I hope to firm up the itinerary and where we'll be staying exactly.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: thewongmann
                          f
                          Florentine RE: thewongmann Jul 2, 2014 10:41 AM

                          Late July is reliably hot and sunny without any humidity. Statistically unlikely to be cold and rainy, but of course... with climate change, anything's possible these days. I wouldn't expect it, however. July, August, September are a part of the Vancouver drought season - it's why we suffer through winters of rain. ;)

                        2. b
                          betterthanbourdain RE: thewongmann Jun 30, 2014 08:25 AM

                          My suggestions based on your criteria's:
                          Kirin or Fisherman Terrace: I generally prefer reso between 11:30-12:30 on busy weekends. I find kitchen execute dishes best around those times.
                          Amigo(sp? hkg western) or Lido(hkg Chinese)not Alleluia(better known for value destination) and mui garden for the hong kong's version of Hainanese chix rice. All ok Richmond.
                          There is a Burmese mentioned by Joyce station. That be ur best option for more authentic.
                          Kumare in Richmond does not not have Turo Turo. And have all the dishes u are requested.
                          I agree that that viet Chinese is very good. Though not represented in Vancouver. And the wonton in Vietnam was amazing. I had three bowl each visit. But objectively speaking, a well made hkg wonton is superior. Richmond has a couple of decent ones, mcnoodle(brisket is good), tsim chai.
                          Phnom Penh is popular and seems to always impress guess that I've eaten with.
                          I'd comment that shanghai river is popular but not necessary becomes of the food. I'd opt for dinesty in Richmond. My experience is each resto has items they tend to cook well. Shanghai Wonderful, Top Shanghai are options as well. Service is more consistent at shanghai river is that matters. Owner is from hkg, not that should matter.
                          Hotpot in this city has been ruined by the ayce places. As quality is deemed a luxury not requisite. As you prob know hot pot is very regional. Hkg, Taiwan, Mongolian, nothern Chinese, southern Chinese, south East Asian Chinese etc etc... And that is generalizing hot pot eating already.... Landmark iirc if the one by king Edward station in prob ur best best. Get the geoduck. Garden city hot pot is pretty consistent too. And very close to bubble queen. Which by the way is walkable 15mins or 2 minutes bus ride, iirc #430.
                          Taking a cab is easy in Richmond. You call and it's there within 5 minutes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: betterthanbourdain
                            t
                            thewongmann RE: betterthanbourdain Jun 30, 2014 02:43 PM

                            Thank you! That is so helpful. As for hot pot, I actually don't have a preference for what region of China it comes from. From my experience, nearly all of the broth bases are delicious so I'm not that picky. I suppose I do have a slight preference for HK given my family, but it's minor, if that.

                            We just booked an AirBnB place near Davie and Howe and I'll draft an itinerary tonight.

                          2. t
                            thewongmann RE: thewongmann Jul 1, 2014 09:05 PM

                            Now that we have our AirBnB place, here is the proposed itinerary. Suggest edits as you see fit.

                            SUNDAY:
                            Afternoon - land, check in at AirBnB place
                            Dinner - Richmond Night Market, wait for friend to land
                            Night - Wait for friend, go back to AirBnB place

                            MONDAY:
                            Morning - coffee around Davie Street
                            Lunch - Dim Sum at Kirin (City Square)
                            Afternoon - Olympic Village/False Creek/Science World/Walk down Main Street
                            Dinner - Mui Garden (Main St) or Landmark if it's cool and rainy
                            Evening - Back to West End/Yaletown, bars if we want

                            TUESDAY:
                            Morning - Coffee around Yaletown or Granville Island
                            Lunch - Pin Pin
                            Afternoon - Queen Elizabeth Park/Bloedel Conservatory/VanDusen Botanical Gardens
                            Late Afternon - Go to Golden Village, do some Asian shopping
                            Dinner - Sun Sui Wah (Richmond)
                            Evening - Walk around Richmond (well as much as you can "walk"), boba at Bubble Queen

                            WEDNESDAY
                            Morning - Stanley Park
                            Late Lunch - Dinesty (Robson)
                            Afternoon - Gastown/Chinatown exploration
                            Early Dinner Hour - Quick bowl of wonton noodles in Chinatown or some to go items at a Chinese bakery (need some recommendations here)
                            Evening - Take the train to Seattle

                            31 Replies
                            1. re: thewongmann
                              Sam Salmon RE: thewongmann Jul 1, 2014 09:37 PM

                              "Morning - coffee around Davie Street"

                              Had a look @ this place last week-don't take coffee m'self but the pastries looked delicious.

                              http://www.baguetteandco.ca/

                              1. re: Sam Salmon
                                grayelf RE: Sam Salmon Jul 1, 2014 11:16 PM

                                Baguette and Co does have very nice pastries but the coffee is just okay. Musette is the closest good coffee place I can think of to Davie -- it is a wee bit hard to find, actually in a laneway off Davie. Be sure to Google map it before you set off.

                                Good coffee nearish Granville Island is also tricky. I like Cafe Bica's offerings, and their pastries and breaky sandwiches are very good also.

                                Other good coffee places around town: Elysian (two locations; I prefer the Broadway one because the Fifth Avenue one has the rattiest upholstery, so gross!), 49th Parallel (Fourth Avenue and also Main Street; I prefer the latter -- nab a Lucky's Doughnut while you're at it), Revolver (nearish Gastown), Matchstick (two locations, one in Chinatown, very good house made pastries).

                                There are many coffee shops/cafes around but a lot of them are bad. Artigiano used to be good but it is no longer worthy. Caveat emptor!

                                I really can't recommend anywhere in Chinatown right now. The chicken banh mi from Golden Garden are tasty, and the apple tarts from New Town (this location only, don't bother with the other two) are good. But that's it. Phnom Penh gets a lot of love but it just doesn't do it for me. We have so many better, cheaper, faster and more courteous places, albeit outside of Chinatown. If you need to get a quick bite earlier, perhaps consider someplace in Gastown that opens at 5??

                                1. re: grayelf
                                  t
                                  thewongmann RE: grayelf Jul 2, 2014 12:03 AM

                                  Well unfortunately our train departs at 5:45PM so we're kinda stuck. Maybe we can get something in Gastown during the late afternoon, but not much we can do in such a bind. I did try to see if my friend wanted to take a bus, but he insisted on the train. Oh well. (train doesn't arrive in Seattle until 10:30 so there's no waiting for that either)

                                  Even a semi decent Chinese bakery with some zongzi, bao (steamed or baked), etc. in Chinatown would be nice, if there are any. Alternatively, fast, no frills wonton noodle shop.

                                  1. re: thewongmann
                                    grayelf RE: thewongmann Jul 2, 2014 07:58 AM

                                    Well maybe the chicken banh mi at Golden Garden would work for you -- all her banh mi are good, actually, I just prefer that one. Can't beat it for $4. You can call ahead and order it to go if time is a factor (I do so frequently) but I don't think it would be too busy at that time. Maybe just make sure they make it after 5 pm because some places stop making banh mi before dinner.

                                    Alternatively you could have a bowl of pho or bun there. It's quite a nice place (recent reno) with air conditioning which is unusual in Vancouver. They have an extensive menu for sit down as well. It's not the best Vietnamese in the city but it's solid to very good and so reasonable.

                                    There are a bunch of Chinese bakeries but I haven't found one yet that does a good job. You have to go to Richmond for that. Dollar Meats has pretty decent bbq pork but it's a butcher with no seating at all, and this is not a neighbourhood where you can walk to a park and eat, trust me.

                                    You could try some of the savoury Filipino stuff at New Town but I've never been blown away by any of it and some of it is not salutary at all.

                                    I think Bica is better than Musette but Musette is the best option I can think of in that area. Try a cold brew if they have it at Bica (the coffee, not the tea). Musette is frequently by cyclists so don't be surprised to find yourself surrounded by bike-gear clad folk. Be sure to grab a glass of the free bubbly water at Elysian if you go. Their iced coffees, Clover I think, are mighty fine as well if it is hot. The shop doesn't have AC but there is a teeny tiny little patio on the east side.

                                    That is a long train ride! We're driving up from Seattle today and I'm hoping it won't take more than 2.5 hrs if we're lucky with traffic.

                                    1. re: grayelf
                                      t
                                      thewongmann RE: grayelf Jul 2, 2014 08:20 AM

                                      I'm assuming at the border the US Customs office does some sort of inspection and identity verification process. I can imagine that on a train, it might take some time to go through all passengers.

                                      Anyway, banh mi and pho will do. Either way it'll be cheap and easy. The pho or banh mi still might be better than anything he's been able to have in Atlanta, Indianapolis, or Chicago. Not sure how Vancouver's Vietnamese food scene compares to Orange County, CA but at that point I'm looking for cheap, edible, and easy. I can always get a good bowl of pho or a decent banh mi sandwich the next time I go to Orange County.

                                    2. re: thewongmann
                                      grayelf RE: thewongmann Jul 5, 2014 09:24 AM

                                      One other idea in Chinatown: http://www.szechuanchongqing.com/cont...

                                      I haven't been to this location (didn't even know it was there till today when I saw a discount deal for it). The people that run this opened one of the first (maybe the first) Sichuan restaurant in Vancouver -- you can see their evolution on the website if you're interested. It's not going to be as "authentic" as others in Richmond but it should be tasty, and they're open all day. Plus they are Ocean Wise which is somewhat unusual for Chinese restos here. Here's the link for the deal, available to buy for the next three days: https://www.livingsocial.com/deals/11...

                                      I also noticed yesterday that there is a Musette in Chinatown if you need coffee there: http://www.musettecaffe.com/chinatown/ I like the look of their cannoli! And the waffles don't look too shabby either.

                                    3. re: grayelf
                                      t
                                      thewongmann RE: grayelf Jul 2, 2014 12:16 AM

                                      I'll try Musette or Cafe Bica then. On that Wednesday I want to spend as much time as I can in Stanley Park and down Robson before going to Dinesty.

                                      On that Tuesday, however, we can probably go to Elysian. Would make sense as we'll be near there to go to Kirin anyway. We could do coffee - Olympic Village - Kirin and then go to Science World.

                                      1. re: thewongmann
                                        grayelf RE: thewongmann Jul 4, 2014 02:16 PM

                                        Added intel re Bica: they are carrying Cadeaux Bakery goods which are quite tasty. I had a more than serviceable ham and cheese croissant today, and they are getting the lemon meringue tarts in which are very good. Even better are the passionfruit ones, which are seasonal. Do get one if they have them, truly worthy.

                                        They do some wee codfish cakes in house that are savoury goodness as well, if you fancy something like that. Around a buck each so not a huge commitment either.

                                  2. re: thewongmann
                                    f
                                    Florentine RE: thewongmann Jul 2, 2014 10:44 AM

                                    Re: Coffee on Davie, if you're closer to English Bay than to Yaletown, check this place out:

                                    http://www.greenhorncafe.com/

                                    1. re: Florentine
                                      t
                                      thewongmann RE: Florentine Jul 2, 2014 10:57 AM

                                      Our place is closer to Yaletown (Davie & Howe) but that seems like a great place to stop by on that Wednesday on our way to Stanley Park!

                                      1. re: Florentine
                                        grayelf RE: Florentine Jul 2, 2014 03:39 PM

                                        Nice one, Florentine! That shop dropped off my radar when I realized it was somewhere I never am without a car :-). Have you tried it? The snacks look good. Not too many places offering tortilla espanola...

                                        1. re: grayelf
                                          f
                                          Florentine RE: grayelf Jul 3, 2014 09:43 AM

                                          I wish I could say I've tried their food, but I only ventured there once in the evening for an art opening... so that doesn't really count! But everything I've heard about the Greenhorn has been favourable - a culinary/coffee oasis in the West End!

                                          1. re: Florentine
                                            grayelf RE: Florentine Jul 6, 2014 09:03 AM

                                            This recent coffee list is pretty good and could be handy for an out of towner: http://vancouver.eater.com/archives/2...

                                            I also really like this fellow's coffee/café blog: http://cafeyvr.com/

                                            1. re: grayelf
                                              t
                                              thewongmann RE: grayelf Jul 6, 2014 10:29 AM

                                              This list is spectacular! Thank you!

                                      2. re: thewongmann
                                        moyenchow RE: thewongmann Jul 5, 2014 12:57 PM

                                        Regarding your Wednesday dilemma with the Train. Would you consider taking a short bus ride (15 minutes or less depending on traffic) for a very good meal sized Wonton Noodle?

                                        At Main and Broadway, you can find Congee Noodle House which serves one of the better meal sized Shrimp wonton noodles (or Congee if you feel like it) in the city

                                        You can easily get there by hopping on the #3 bus along Main Street South bound in Chinatown. Once finish you can take the same bus Northbound and just get off at the stop in front of the train station.

                                        I know Chinese food is the main focus of your trip but if you want to stay in Chinatown before your train then I actually would recommend Bestie for their currywurst and sausages.

                                        1. re: moyenchow
                                          t
                                          thewongmann RE: moyenchow Jul 5, 2014 10:08 PM

                                          I'd love to go down there but I just feel Wednesday will be really tight given that we'll be walking through West End to Stanley Park then down Robson for lunch. After lunch we then only have a few hours through downtown, Gastown, and Chinatown with a possible Vancouver Art Gallery stop. Ideally we'll be at the train station by 5/5:15 or so.

                                          I do appreciate the suggestion though and maybe we'll go to Bestie instead. I can always take a small break from Chinese.

                                          1. re: thewongmann
                                            KarenDW RE: thewongmann Jul 6, 2014 08:47 PM

                                            Another option, if you do end up stopping at the Art Gallery (VAG), is to eat or get take away from the Gallery Cafe. Not cheap, but good. The patio is lovely in all weather, and they are licensed for beer and wine if you dine-in. The menu is the same all afternoon.

                                        2. re: thewongmann
                                          KarenDW RE: thewongmann Jul 5, 2014 05:09 PM

                                          "walk around Richmond" If you refer to walking in nature, there are a couple of options:
                                          Minoru Park, on the east side of No. 3 Road. Mostly grassy, with 3 miles of trails through tree-planted areas, man-make lakes, and a lawn-bowling green. Take CanadaLine south to Brighouse Station, then walk west (through/around the shopping center?) past the library and cultural center into the greenspace.
                                          Or, Garden City Park, which offers 2 miles of meandering trails; a Pacific Northwest and Asia Pacific arboretum (1000 varieties of trees), lake and a child-designed playground. Take the CanadaLine to Brighouse, then transfer to Bus 401Riverport to the park.
                                          Another option... in afternoon, go to Steveston Village, walk around in nature along the dock, and Garry Park trails. Bus back to Sun Sui Wah for dinner, and then do the Golden Village shopping. The Asian shopping centers are open until 9pm.

                                          1. re: KarenDW
                                            LotusRapper RE: KarenDW Jul 5, 2014 10:33 PM

                                            I second the Steveston Village walk [thumbs up]

                                            http://www.tourismrichmond.com/things...

                                            1. re: LotusRapper
                                              t
                                              thewongmann RE: LotusRapper Jul 5, 2014 10:46 PM

                                              Hmmm...2 recommendations! Sounds like a great idea.

                                              1. re: thewongmann
                                                LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jul 5, 2014 11:05 PM

                                                If there's room in your tummies while at Steveston ....

                                                PaJo's Fish & Chips:

                                                http://www.365daysofdining.com/2012/0...

                                                Gudrun Tasting Room:

                                                http://www.365daysofdining.com/2012/0...

                                            2. re: KarenDW
                                              t
                                              thewongmann RE: KarenDW Jul 5, 2014 10:44 PM

                                              Those suggestions sound fantastic! I wasn't really going for nature, per se (more just shopping and walking around various shopping malls), but the Minoru Park suggestion sounds really great. We could go to Minoru Park then do some shopping at Richmond Center (like Zara) then head to dinner!

                                              1. re: thewongmann
                                                f
                                                Florentine RE: thewongmann Jul 7, 2014 11:44 AM

                                                Richmond is an island at the mouth of the Fraser River. Minoru's a nice serene park in the middle of what's otherwise an ugly city, but if you get a chance to get along Richmond's waterfront - not its industrial waterfront by the night market, but its Richmond West Dyke Trail or Steveston's Garry Point Point waterfront, it can be quite awe-inspiring.

                                              2. re: KarenDW
                                                t
                                                thewongmann RE: KarenDW Jul 9, 2014 08:20 PM

                                                Considering this more and more. How much would a cab ride cost from, say, Aberdeen Centre?

                                                1. re: thewongmann
                                                  LotusRapper RE: thewongmann Jul 9, 2014 10:17 PM

                                                  To downtown, I'd guess $30-35 ?

                                                  1. re: LotusRapper
                                                    grayelf RE: LotusRapper Jul 9, 2014 10:36 PM

                                                    If you call Black Top or Yellow Cab dispatch, they're usually pretty good about estimating fares. It costs me $30 to get from Kitsilano to the airport, which takes about 25 minutes. If the OP is going from one part of Richmond (Minoru Park) to another (Aberdeen) it could be less but cabs aren't cheap here, and Richmond is BIG.

                                                    1. re: grayelf
                                                      LotusRapper RE: grayelf Jul 9, 2014 11:02 PM

                                                      The answer (Aberdeen Centre -> Steveston): $23.87 !!!

                                                      http://www.taxifarefinder.com/ca

                                                      :-D

                                                      1. re: LotusRapper
                                                        LotusRapper RE: LotusRapper Jul 9, 2014 11:06 PM

                                                        http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.ph...

                                                  2. re: thewongmann
                                                    KarenDW RE: thewongmann Jul 9, 2014 10:33 PM

                                                    Aberdeen Centre to Steveston, is possible via transit. CanadaLine south to Brighouse station. Then 401 or 402 bus. 40 minutes.
                                                    Or, taxi... $30-$35

                                                    1. re: KarenDW
                                                      t
                                                      thewongmann RE: KarenDW Jul 9, 2014 11:41 PM

                                                      Hmm...might be cost prohibitive. Well actually, not that it's cost prohibitive, but that it'll dent the amount of money I have to order geoduck, crab, or other wonderful (and expensive) dishes at SSW. Decisions, decisions...

                                                2. re: thewongmann
                                                  q
                                                  quddous RE: thewongmann Jul 10, 2014 01:00 AM

                                                  Mui Garden is only good for their beef brisket curry and it is delicious and I crave it often but I wouldn't waste an out of town meal on it. Possibly a lunch, but only if I was craving curry.

                                                  I would recommend changing Sun Sui Wah or Kirin for Fisherman's Terrace - they do the best Cantonese dinner and dimsum (though they don't have the taro puff dim sum which I crave for). But those two are still quite good.

                                                  Food at the night market is mediocre. I personally wouldn't waste an entire meal there.

                                                  Dinesty had really good XLB last time I went. Their food is quite good, it is a bit one dimensional but well done. Soy, vinegar, ginger, garlic - that's basically all you will get out of them.

                                                  Phnom Penh, Vij's, Guu, Farmer's Apprentice, Bella Gelateria, Espana, Thomas Haas, Beta 5, Bao Bei
                                                  ???

                                                3. t
                                                  thewongmann RE: thewongmann Jul 9, 2014 08:22 PM

                                                  As I get closer to this trip, I'm wondering about reservations. I suspect that given my early-mid week travels that I should be able to get a table for 2 without a problem for little to no wait. However, is that true and would you still recommend a reservation, maybe for Kirin or SSW, on the safe side?

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: thewongmann
                                                    grayelf RE: thewongmann Jul 9, 2014 09:42 PM

                                                    I even reserve on weekdays for dim sum, but especially in summer when the (cough, cough) tourists swell the ranks. Pin Pin is tiny and doesn't take resos so go early if you do. Deffo go for resos at Dinesty, and really any other Shanghainese/Cantonese place, as two tops are harder to come by at these types of restos where they're more geared to larger groups.

                                                    1. re: grayelf
                                                      t
                                                      thewongmann RE: grayelf Jul 9, 2014 11:53 PM

                                                      Good to know. Though the two top problem perhaps means that I should organize a lunch time chowdown...

                                                      1. re: thewongmann
                                                        grayelf RE: thewongmann Jul 10, 2014 06:34 AM

                                                        If July 29 works for you for dim sum at Kirin with a couple of other Hounds, drop me a line at the email in my profile.

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