Vancouver is a foodie city. That’s not just our opinion: last year it was named one of the Top 15 foodie capitals of the world by CN Traveller. Anyone who has ever eaten in the British Columbia capital can see (or taste) why it deserves this accolade.
Partially what makes Vancouver such a foodie city is its western location. Sitting on the Pacific coast, a foodie fusion between seafood and Asian influence was born. But it’s not just oriental flavours and fresh ocean catches that makeup Vancouver’s eclectic culinary mix.
The different districts of Vancouver bring a unique ingredient to this cosmopolitan melting pot. Yaletown is known for trendy restaurants, while Gastown has been revamped as a hub for creative types and Kitsilano is brimming with up-and-coming contemporary restaurants.
Vancouver’s food and drink scene is so expansive, even the biggest appetites can’t gorge on everything during one trip. To make it easier to plan your foodie itinerary, we’ve rounded up the dishes Vancouver is best known for and where to find them.
Situated on the Pacific coast, fresh seafood is literally within arm’s reach. Seafood fans will find a plethora of choices, ranging from everyday dishes such as salmon right through to exquisite shellfish. Most notably the Spot Prawn. Considered such delicacies that every year it gets its own festival with cooking demos, kids’ corners and limited edition spot prawn dishes available at local restaurants.
The neighbourhoods around False Creek – such as Yaletown and the West End – are both brimming with seafood restaurants. Restaurants such as Blue Water Café, Rodney’s Oyster Bar and Miku are constantly making top 10 lists across the city.
Asian and Ethnic Cuisine
Vancouver has a large Asian population, and lovers of Far East cuisine will not be disappointed. Chinatown is right in the heart of the city and offers old-style dim sum restaurants mixed in with more contemporary takes on traditional dishes. However, the city is full of oriental flavours – Richmond is said to serve the “the best Chinese cuisine outside of China” and Vancouver is renowned in foodies circles for its ramen. The Californian roll was also invented by Vancouver sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo who owns the renowned Tojo’s Restaurant in Fairview.
You also can’t leave the city without trying a Japadog (a Japanese hotdog). In downtown Vancouver, you’ll find an outlet (called Japadog) that offers 20 interesting toppings – including avocado, noodles and shrimp. You can also have a hot dog deep-fried in tempura batter.
Brunch is big in Vancouver and foodies will be delighted with the dedicated brunch menus. These menus can be very creative – for example, lavender lattes at Medina Café or a pulled pork hock omelette at Chambar. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered what a Peruvian, Lebanese, Mexican or South Asian brunch would taste like, this is the city where you can find out.
Street stalls and food trucks
Vancouver boasts a street food scene that is unrivalled in Canada. When you’re out and about exploring you can grab something quick and tasty to eat. The mix of food trucks is impressive, ranging from juice stalls to fish tacos to poached eggs.
Craft beers have grown in popularity across the globe, and Vancouver has been one of the driving forces. There are 50 craft breweries across the city, some offering tours or just providing local bars with a great selection of drinks.
Vancouver Beer Week takes place in Spring (May 26th 2017 is the next one). If that doesn’t prove how much Vancouverites enjoy craft beer, maybe the Beerlesque show in October will convince you.
Vegetarian and Vegan options
Vancouver caters well to plant-based diets. If you’re looking for a meatless dinner head to Main Street or Kensington-Cedar Cottage. Here you’ll find The Acorn that offers high-end cuisine, CHAU veggiexpress for a 100% vegetarian Vietnamese affair plus Budgies Burritos, a Mexican café serving an eclectic collection of 100% vegetarian nosh (including mock meats as well as vegetable chilli).