How many visitors fly into and out of Vancouver International Airport -- a gifted design boasting a distinctive West Coast touch -- without knowing exactly where they are? Surprise! -- they're in suburban Richmond.
For those in the know, leaving town without sampling the local cuisine would be a faux pas of the first magnitude. Why? Because Richmond is a veritable cornucopia of restaurants and eateries to tempt one's palate -- most especially with Asian fare.
It's where East meets West in over 400 Asian eateries. Sure, these days every place claims to be multi-ethnic, but Richmond truly is with a population that's 65% Asian (40 per cent of which are of Chinese descent). Add fresh BC seafood and produce, combine with traditional expertise, add a generous mix of entrepreneurial spirit and you've got one hot spot for dining.
Hot pots, crock pots, sushi and naan, lobster and scallops, catch what you can -- at every turn diners are treated to mouth watering choices. The city centre, dubbed the Golden Village is an easy ride from Vancouver proper and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) via the new Canada Line rapid transit system.
As the city's website points out, 'within a four-block radius there are more than 300 shops and services including three Hong Kong-inspired malls, Asian specialty grocery stores, jewelry stores, art galleries and the latest Asian designer fashions, not to mention the over 200 Asian hidden gem restaurants on Alexandra (Food Street)'. And don't forget the summer night markets which draw thousands of locals and visitors.
These people are serious about food. Richmond is now advertising a one year position for a food blogger, complete with salary and living space. The "catch" is that the chosen foodie will have to eat in at least one of 800+ restaurants daily for an entire year. Shucks, someone's gotta do it. (www.facebook.com/RichmondBC)
Richmond isn't only about its Far East dishes. The city encompasses the historic fishing village of Steveston too, where West Coast cuisine is prepared from ridiculously fresh seafood. Any fresher than this and you would be swimming with the fish.
What's next? Emerging culinary centres like Richmond that have access to quality produce from both the land and sea are uniquely positioned to champion sustainable harvests. Would it be willing to assume such a leadership role? Having established themselves as serving “the best Chinese food outside of China” it will be interesting to see the next level to which Richmonders take their city.
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1) Traditional Chinese earthenware teapot, Shiang Garden Chinese Restaurant. shianggarden.com/
2) Shiang Garden serves an extensive dim sum -- bite-size portions of food.
3) Shiang Garden. A mango dessert suitably ended our dim sum, which literally means "point of" or "touch my heart"
4) Food preparation at Shanghai River Restaurant is done behind glass for diners to view. This restaurant has more than 126 pictures of food on the urbanspoon reviewer website.
5) Spiced fish, Shanghai River.
6) Teapots await their orders, POSH Restaurant
7) A serving spoon and chopsticks, POSH Restaurant
8) Patrons select their food and cook at their table in POSH Restaurant's 4 locations.
9) Ingredients are prepared sukiyaki-style at POSH
10) Gulls rest on the bank of the Fraser River along Dyke Road.
11) London Heritage Farm is a restored 1880's farm house serving full English cream teas. http://londonfarm.ca/
12) Restored barn, London Heritage Farm.
13) A foot and bicycle path straddle the river dyke near the Farm.
14) Blue Canoe executive chef Vincent Mabanta on the restaurant's patio deck. http://www.bluecanoerestaurant.com
15) Blue Canoe Restaurant sits on the harbour
16) A fresh catch of prawns for sale at dockside in Steveston.
17) Dockside fish, chips & coleslaw are venerable cheap eats.
18) The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, a museum on Steveston dock, was a major producer of canned salmon through the first half of the 20th century
19) European pastry chef for Asian royalty Gerald Stenson is proprietor of The Diplomat Bakery. diplomatbakery.com
20) A warmth infused both pastry and patrons during my taste test at The Diplomat Bakery, now located on London Rd near Dyke Rd.
Please note: Story and all photos copyright © Gary Crallé 2012. Not for commercial reproduction without written consent.
City of Richmond BC Canada
Tourism British Columbia
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Gary Crallé is a seriously sociable travel photographer who appreciates wherever he is. With almost 70 countries under his travel belt it’s surprising he hasn’t put on weight. He likes to concentrate on what is good for the body and soul (history & culture, gastronomy, health & leisure) and the spirit within us (geography, self-discovery/adventure). Image-based stories are his passion.
Located: Georgetown Canada
Likes: photography, adventure, gastronomy, history, events, health & leisure