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

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. 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

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

      1. re: thewongmann

        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. 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

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: grayelf

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

                      1. re: LotusRapper

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

                        1. re: LotusRapper

                          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. 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. 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. 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

                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

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

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

              2. 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

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

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    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

                      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. 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

                    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

                      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: LotusRapper

                          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

                            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: grayelf

                          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.

                      1. 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

                          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. 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

                            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. 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

                              "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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                      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

                                      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

                                        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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              This list is spectacular! Thank you!

                                      2. re: thewongmann

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                          "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: LotusRapper

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

                                              1. re: thewongmann

                                                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

                                              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

                                                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

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

                                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                                    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

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

                                                      http://www.taxifarefinder.com/ca

                                                      :-D

                                                  2. re: thewongmann

                                                    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

                                                      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...

                                                1. re: thewongmann

                                                  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
                                                  ???

                                                2. 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

                                                    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

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

                                                      1. re: thewongmann

                                                        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.

                                                  2. First night - Richmond Night Market. Unfortunately because my friend's flight was a little delayed, we got there about 10:30. Still got a pretty decent plate of char kwai teow at a Malaysian stall and some decent (though expensive) bowl of doufu fa. Wish I had more time to explore around, but I enjoyed my time there fairly well and I'm glad it wasn't as crazy as the 626 Night Market in LA.

                                                    Off to Kirin for Dim Sum and Landmark for Hot Pot today!

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: thewongmann

                                                      Glad you landed nicely and started off well. You got a week of fab weather here (thanks for bringing it with you from SoCal). Wednesday night is Celebration of Lights fireworks in English Bay but it IS crowded (+250,000 people) so take measure. Enjoy the dim sum, hotpot and the cruise.

                                                      Have you inquired on the PNW Board on what/where to eat in Seattle ?

                                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                                        Good idea to warn the OP about the fireworks! Best to book dinner well out of the West End or Kitsilano and be aware of road closures, congestion and crowds for sure. I read somewhere that this is the largest event of its kind in NA, in excess of 400,000 attendees each night.

                                                        I'm dining out lateish that night and trying to figure out how to get back to my house in Kits afterward by car :-(.

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          Luckily we're hightailing it out of Vancouver on Wednesday night!

                                                          As for Seattle, we are fortunate enough to have some friends in the area who are going to take us out for most meals and a friend of mine from Bremerton that gave us some good recommendations for Filipino food on the way back to Seattle from Olympic National Park.

                                                          Speaking of reservations though, we did make a mistake in not reserving Landmark Hot Pot for tonight. Coming from Southern California where very few Chinese places take your reservation (and even if they do, there's the lingering question of will it be honored in a timely manner), I was actually pleasantly surprised that was the first thing they asked (both at Kirin and at Landmark). We decided to go to Copa Cafe across the street instead and take my friend out for some very homey and childhood memory inducing HK Cafe food and memories. I got Hainanese Chix Rice which was good (but very disappointed that the rice was not cooked in the chicken fat) and the Russian Borsch which totally reminded me of my family's recipe.

                                                          Kirin was great too. I loved the prawn and pea shoot spring rolls, har gow (one of the best renditions I have had), and the scallop and asparagus rice noodle rolls. Probably the best Dim Sum I've had, though I did also really love Sea Harbour down in LA (haven't been to HK yet, so...)

                                                          Tentative plans for tomorrow:

                                                          Kumare for lunch
                                                          Queen Elizabeth Park and Botanic Gardens
                                                          Asian shopping in Richmond
                                                          Bubble Tea and maybe meet a recent friend at Bubble Queen
                                                          Landmark or Sun Sui Wah for dinner

                                                          Between Landmark or Sun Sui Wah, which would you pick? Yes I know it's the middle of summer for hot pot, but my friend would still love to try it!

                                                          Thanks all so much.

                                                          1. re: thewongmann

                                                            Wongmann, you were in my 'hood (Cambie Village) ! There is also Gloucester Cafe (how's *that* for a British-inspired name for a HK-style cafe !!) on Cambie @ 17th Ave.

                                                            Seeing that you're in Richmond most of the afternoon tomorrow, I'd suggest staying there for dinner too. Just to save on commuting time. If you do elect to stay in Richmond and are gunning for HP, these should satisfy:

                                                            Cattle Hot Pot Restaurant
                                                            Unit 1150 - 8391 Alexandra Road

                                                            Chubby Lamb Hot Pot
                                                            8391 Alexandra Road

                                                            Claypot Hotpot and B.B.Q
                                                            Unit 105 - 8291 Alexandra Rd

                                                            Tak Henh Hot Pot Restaurant
                                                            #120 - 4260 Number 3 Rd

                                                            And if not HP, you can go to the Sun Sui Wah on #3 Road: http://goo.gl/maps/6iYpx

                                                            *************************

                                                            Coming back to Seattle from Oly Nat'l Park, IF you take the long way via SR101 down to Shelton (an absolutely fantastic drive) and go to Xinh's Clam & Oyster House in Shelton (junction of SR101 and SR3):

                                                            http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/247/11507...

                                                            http://www.xinhsrestaurant.com/

                                                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vevlm...

                                                            They have fabulous "fusion" seafood dishes, esp. the oysters, geoduck and mussels ! And Xinh is such a warm lovely lady that you couldn't help to give her a hug before you leave the restaurant (that is if she's not too busy in the kitchen). When we were there we were lucky to chat with her a bit and when she found out we're from Vancouver she was elated and said she has some good friends up here. But DO CALL AHEAD to the restaurant to make sure they are open that day for dinner, 'tho. Their website says: "Open Tues–Sat 5pm–9pm / Reservations Recommended (360) 427-8709".

                                                            From Shelton you may even possibly meet up with your friend in Bremerton if you continue up SR3, then return to Seattle via the ferry from Bremerton:

                                                            http://www.wsdot.com/ferries/schedule...

                                                            1. re: thewongmann

                                                              If you're feeling snacky in Richmond when you're headed to Bubble Queen, google Admiralty Centre a half block away https://www.google.ca/maps/preview?ie... and go get an order of the Hainanese chicken there to share from M&W Food, item 3 IIRC. Gorgeous rice cooked in the oil, best rendition I've had, but make sure you get the rice cooked in oil. It's the only stand there that does it, logo is a big purple orchid flower.

                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                GE, your link didn't work for some reason. I made a new one that routes from Bubble Queen to Admiralty Centre:

                                                                http://goo.gl/maps/aG9NK

                                                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                  A new link, adding Sun Sui Wah too:

                                                                  http://goo.gl/maps/NQbyP

                                                                  BTW, a high % of good -> best Asian/Chinese restos in Richmond can be found in the square bounded by #3 Road, Cambie Road, Garden City Road and Alderbridge Way, and any that's not inside or on the perimeter of that square are but no more than 1.0 km outside of that perimeter.

                                                      2. So went to Kumare today and it was great. My friend, who doesn't really like pork, at a lot of lumpia. We also got Chicken Kare Kare which was good.

                                                        My friend ended up wanting to go to Granville Island so we explored around there. However, it made us later than we wanted heading into Richmond. Deciding to get something fast instead we went to Boiling Point (in retrospect, while I loved Boiling Point, he would probably have liked Chubby Lamb or Cattle a lot better). We did not go to Sun Sui Wah because our spending habits have left us with drastically less money that we would need to spend for a good meal at Sun Sui Wah.

                                                        Since we were late...we definitely missed the 9PM closing time for Bubble Queen (though a new friend of mine went there upon recommendation, mistakingly not knowing our change in plans, and loved it). We went to True's Tea afterward instead. While the place had a cool vibe that I could see myself in with Asian friends in LA, the bubble tea was definitely not to par. I could even taste the almond powder (texture wise) which was yuck. Probably the only spoiler for me on my otherwise tasty trip so far.

                                                        Tomorrow is Stanley Park, Gastown, then to the train station. He wants to eat Japanese instead of going to Dinesty (and admittedly, I'm not in a very big Shanghainese mood right now) so reasonably priced, decent Japanese eats along Robson, Davie, or Gastown would be nice. This request maybe asking for the impossible, but got to try, right?

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: thewongmann

                                                          Guu with garlic/Kingyo for lunch. Guu with Garlic for dinner.

                                                          1. re: quddous

                                                            Santouka for ramen, though it will be insanely hot in there and you'd have to go at opening or face a line. Toroniku for you :-).

                                                          2. re: thewongmann

                                                            Wednesday lunch (between Stanley Park and Gastown):

                                                            Aki ..... LONGtime institution in Vancouver (this is new location):

                                                            http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/762765...

                                                            You won't go wrong there, and they don't cost an arm & leg for their high quality.

                                                            1. re: LotusRapper

                                                              Haven't been yet but this report intrigues: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9809...

                                                              Kamei Baru is near Robson and Burrard...

                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                Wish I had seen this earlier! Anyway, we walked all the way near Stanley Park before we got hungry so we went to Ramen Santouka. Same great quality of ramen as shops in the US (the ones I go to are the Irvine and San Diego branches inside the Mitsuwa marketplaces).

                                                                We're now headed back to the States, but I really wish I had more time and money to stay (if only my friend didn't also want to spend a length of time in Seattle...). I definitely hope my work send me on a business trip to the Northwestern US soon again so I can come again. The Chinese and Filipino food are definitely better than LA, which already has pretty top notch Chinese and Filipino food.

                                                                Favorite to least favorite:
                                                                Kirin (Dim Sum)
                                                                Kumare (Filipino)
                                                                Copa Cafe (HK Style Cafe)
                                                                Boiling Point (Chinese varieties of hot pot)
                                                                Richmond Night Market (Malay stall + Doufu Fa stall)
                                                                Paul's Omlettery (average American/Canadian breakfast place)
                                                                True's Tea (severely disappointing bubble tea)

                                                                Sorely tempted to look for a job here, but I am sure y'all don't want another insufferable American ;)

                                                                Thank you all for your help and if y'all take a vacation to New Mexico (or during the times I am traveling to see family in LA/San Diego), let me know!

                                                                1. re: thewongmann

                                                                  Glad you guys had an enjoyable time here, eats and otherwise :-)

                                                                  Maybe the grass is always greener (to me, it seems), as I'm always looking for excuses to go Stateside (and not just for cheaper gas ....). If I'm in NM I'll definitely look you up, Wongmann (Southwest Board ?). Never been to NM, the closest I've been were Phoenix and Houston.

                                                                  Enjoy the rest of your trip in WA. See my post above from 2 days ago re: eats between Olympic Peninsula and Seattle.

                                                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                    Yes, Southwest board. Admittedly I'm not there much (more active on LA, SD, and DC boards given my breadth of experience in those cities). However, I do plan to be more active there as it seems that the ramen craze has hit ABQ. Two new (and good!) ramen places opened in the last 3-4 months.

                                                                    I did see your suggestions and time depending on Friday, I hope to stop at Xinh's. Thanks!

                                                                  2. re: thewongmann

                                                                    I think you did just fine! I'm sad for you that you didn't have a better bubble tea experience, though. And Paul's is not terrible but we coulda done better for ya in that hood for breaky if ya'd asked :-). Hope to see you in these parts again soon!

                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                      Thanks! Unfortunately it was a spur of the moment thing given that Bubble Queen had closed. Ah well, next time! Grayelf, I see you go to San Francisco fairly regularly. If we happen to be in the Bay at the same time, I'd love to chowdown and thank you in person for your wonderful tips.

                                                            2. So last reply - I ended up not going to Xinh's because hellish traffic between Federal Way and Olympia meant that we entered (and left) Olympic National Park later than expected.

                                                              However, I did go to Taylor's Shellfish Oyster Bar in Capitol Hill the next day and it was incredible. A mussel, clam, and geoduck seafood stew that was incredibly delicious and fresh for a bargain price of $6.50. I don't think I ever ate something with geoduck that cheap (and their $12 geoduck sashimi was a bargain too).

                                                              I am really tempted to do some job hunting in Vancouver, even if the work visa, job hunting (as a person who works in a policy oriented nonprofit), and winter rains make such a prospect highly unlikely.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: thewongmann

                                                                Glad you had a great meal at Taylor's. Their actual farm is just on Chuckanut Drive south of Bellingham, near a "foodie"-liked hamlet called Bow-Edison. I've not stopped in myself even after all these years but it's on my to-do list.

                                                                Policy non-profit would be interesting, esp. in the West Coast, but of course that depends on what type of policy(ies) you're into. As a first step maybe check with NM's state govt's resources for work visa apps into Canada, and/or a Canadian consulate nearest you that covers NM in jurisdiction.

                                                                Found it here:
                                                                http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/trave...

                                                                However it's also possible that a prospective employer up here would sponsor you to emigrate and take care of all the immigration and related procedures for you. At the end of the day, you'd have to do some legwork research on the who's and how's of potential NPO/NGO's in Vancouver and BC that interest you in the first place.

                                                                Good luck !

                                                                PS: and do find a GOOD-paying position .... living costs in Vancouver are very high comparatively to other N. American metropolitan areas. And you'd be spending a lot of $ eating too ;-)

                                                                1. re: thewongmann

                                                                  The winter rain isn't all that bad here as people make it out to be. If anything, over the past 10-15 years, our winters/springs have become milder and drier. It's the bloody grey, dreary, sun-less days that drive me nuts.