In the run up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver food blogger Melody Fury (Gourmet Fury) is dropping by to guide travelers to the city's hidden gems in a series of Top 10 Local Recommendations. These locations are easily accessible from Downtown (within walking distance or by public transit). The recommendations boast of the unique, international delights that this beautiful sea-to-sky city offers. —The Mgmt.
Vancouver is a proudly multicultural city and we lovingly embrace our diverse culinary scene. Surrounded by a wide spectrum of ethnic cuisines, YVR foodies have distinguishing palettes and can spot imitations from a mile away.
Let me show you how to eat your way around the World this Olympic in our Top 10 Ethnic Specialties.
1. Cambodian/ Vietnamese: Line-ups won't keep diners away from the remarkable South Asian dishes. Signature favorites include the Marinated Butter Beef (cilantro-topped rare beef marinated in garlic oil and vinegar) and the Spicy Garlic Squid with a pepper lime dipping sauce. Anthony Bourdain says this is the most authentic place outside of Cambodia! Phnom Penh: Chinatown, 244 E. Georgia Street (map)
2. Dim Sum: Any decent Vancouverite will make sure you have dim sum at least once, especially since we've been crowned as the world's best Chinese food destination by Conde Nast. There are countless choices around so let me suggest a renowned restaurant that's close to the skytrain station. True foodies will take the Canada Line to Richmond, our modern Chinese food central. Kirin: City Square/ Cambie, 555 W. 12th Avenue (map)
3. Izakaya: This dining style originates from Japan where tapas-sized dishes accompany beer and sake after a hard day's work. Quick-paced izakaya joints are extremely popular in the 604. There are many fantastic spots to choose from but if I had to pick just one, it'd be Kingyo. Or for a variation, try Zakkushi's tasty skewers, grilled to order over charcoal.Kingyo: West End, 871 Denman Street (map). Zakkushi: West End, 823 Denman Street (map)
4. East Indian: Having a large East Indian population means we're blessed with a variety of spicy food and vibrant desserts. I highly recommend taking a bus ride to Punjabi Market (South Main Street) for authentic flavors and great value. Here is a convenient downtown alternative. All India: 1256 Robson Street (map)
5. Latin American: Enjoy fresh and innovative Latin dishes in the heart of Gastown. Sip on yummy cocktails and nibble on tapas at this swanky spot. Their daily selection of ceviche, pulled duck taco, and maple chipotle glazed wild boar belly cannot be missed. Cobre: Gastown 52 Powell Street (map)
6. Malaysian/Singaporean: Tropical flavors are celebrated here in the form of delicious satays, sambal dishes, laksas, mees, and lots of seafood and vegetarian options. Don't miss their flaky and tender roti canai with a curry dipping sauce. Banana Leaf: 820 W. Broadway (map) and 1096 Denman Street (map)
7. Middle Eastern, Afghan - This casual, communal restaurant houses a refreshing, organic spin on Middle Eastern cuisine. Share a few platters and laughs with friends over their signature ginger chai. East is East: Kitsilano 3243 W Broadway (map)
8. Caribbean: This hip Main Street joint doesn't skimp on the jerk seasoning. Chill with a stiff tropical cocktail with a side of plantain chips on the road-side balcony or chowdown on their famous Bajan fried chicken and Calypso oxtail. The Reef: 4172 Main Street (map)
9. Korean: Open till daybreak, this successful family operation welcomes hungry clubbers. Studies show that a sizzling bowl of shortrib soup and a massive plate of japchae prevents hangovers in the morning. Of course, their large selection of comfort food is equally tasty for lunch and dinner. Jang Mo Jib: 1719 Robson Street (map)
10. Spanish: Pitchers of sangria and a tableful of traditional Spanish tapas will get any party started. Since 1971, this double-level restaurant is always packed with fun (and often rowdy) diners. Save room for the Flan Al Caramelo for dessert. La Bodega Restaurante & Tapa Bar: 1277 Howe Street (map)