I often explore the Vancouver restaurant scene with the other two Gourmigos. Here are some of our recent discoveries that we want to share with you. If you have been to any of these restaurants, drop us a line and let us know what you think
Kiriri serves authentic high-end Kaiseki Ryori (Banquet Cuisine) but it doesn't mean your wallet has to suffer. Their lunch sets are great value for money.
Located in the Food Court of Aberdeen Centre, Saboten arguably serves the best Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet) in Vancouver. It began in 1955 in Shinjuku, Tokyo and has become one of the largest chains that specialises in Tonkatsu. The Richmond location is the first to open outside of Asia. The chefs are all trained in Japan and follow the strictest guidelines when preparing mouthwatering pork cutlets.
Mega Sushi - the name says it all. It is mega popular and mega delicious. There is a large selection of contemporary fusion sushi rolls to choose from, all beautifully presented and camera-ready.
You would be surprised to find that the best Peking Duck in Richmond is available at Man Ri Sung which recently moved from Westminster Road to Aberdeen Centre. The owner-chef is ethnic Korean who used to live in Beijing (Peking) where he learned how to make wood-chip fired BBQ Duck. You can order a Peking Duck set for 4, 6 or 8 people with a choice of dumplings, potato noodles, sticky rice sausages, sliced noodles or seafood pancakes. If you are still hungry, I highly recommend their Kim Chi Fried Rice.
Also in Aberdeen Centre is Sura which serves smoke-free Korean BBQ. You cook your own meat at the table or order other cooked items a la carte. Their lunch sets are great value so make sure you come early to secure a table.
Recently opened in Steveston, East On 1 specialises in Cantonese-style seafood dishes. Our favourite dishes are: Pepper Pig's Tripe Soup 胡椒豬肚湯, Steamed / Garlic Oysters 豉汁/蒜蓉蒸蠔, Garlic Razon Clams 蒜蓉蟶子, Curry Crab 咖喱蟹, Soy Sauce Chicken 秘製豉油雞 and Plum Flavoured Dry Pork Ribs 香酥話梅骨.
Chef Tony recently added a series of steamed dishes to his mostly seafood menu. William went last month and tried many of Tony's new additions. The food is steamed at the table using a huge wok-steamer. It is a healthy alternative to calorie and cholesterol-rich deep fried dishes.
Cantonese Dim Sum is still one of my all-time favourites but you have to go with a big group of people so you can try a variety of Dim Sums. My favourite is BBQ Pork Jowl, William's favourite is Beef Siu Mai and Bosco likes Pull Chicken with Jelly Fish. Fisherman's Terrace is very busy so make sure you book a table in advance.
Noodles / Ramen
Yah Yah Ya Ramen one of very few Ramen restaurants in Richmond and in the short time since it opened, it has earned a good reputation among Ramen lovers. William recommends Tonkotsu Ramen (Ramen in Pork Bone Soup). If you like to spice things up a bit, try their Spicy Ramen.
Chef Hung is known in Taiwan as the King of Taiwanese Beef Noodles. He has won the top Taiwan Beef Noodle Award for three consecutive years. In addition to beef noodles, they also search lunch sets and other Taiwanese snack and specialties.
Deer Garden is popular for its Fish Soup Noodles. Mix and match from a wide selection of soups, noodles and toppings to create your own signature noodles. Go early during lunch and evening rush hours to avoid waiting in line.
Although you can buy popular Cantonese BBQ food like BBQ Pork, Roast Pork, BBQ Duck, Soy Sauce Chicken in just about every shopping mall in Richmond, the best one has got to be HK BBQ Master on No. 3 Road. It is very busy at lunch time and it is probably one of very few restaurants that do more take-away than eat-in business.
Whether you call them Mini-Steamed Buns, Soup Dumplings or Xiao Long Bao, the jury is still out on which restaurant is the best. Each of us has our favourite and all three restaurants pass our Xiao Long Bao test - pastry has to be thin and be able to contain all the soup inside the dumpling without breaking. William likes Top Shanghai Cuisine while Bosco and I like Shanghai Morning. Let us know which one you like.
Hot Pot / Steam Boat
There are many all-you-can-eat Hot Pot restaurants in Richmond but this one is a little different - you get your own individual hot pot at the table. We all love family-style meals where we share all the dishes but when it comes to hot pot, it is nice to have your own so the food you eat is not mixed with the food that you don't eat.
Desserts / Patisserie
L'Opera is a great place for afternoon tea but you MUST book ahead as space is limited.
With a name like Sugarholic, you know you're going to be in for a treat at this new cafe in Aberdeen Centre. They do Japanese-style desserts that are so beautifully presented that you would feel guilty devouring them. Apart from desserts, they also have a full lunch and dinner menu with a great selection of Asian and European choices. I ordered a Chicken Omu-Rice (Japanese style Omelette with Rice) the other day and it was big enough for all Three Gourmigoes. Bosco ordered his favourite Pan Fried Pork Belly with Rice and William ordered Curry Seafood Pasta.
One of the best places to go for Bubble Tea and Taiwanese snacks is Pearl Castle Cafe. They have a full menu of milk teas with exotic flavours like Papaya, Lavender etc served hot or cold. It is open till late and a great place to hang out with friends for supper.