Because I live in Richmond I seldom venture into Chinatown when I have a yearning for the food of my motherland. But there seems to be a trend for Noveau Chinois, and with Sai Woo and Le Tigre’s brick and mortar Torafuku on the list of Chinatown Tasting Plates restaurants, I was excited to have my first taste at these fairly new establishments.
158 East Pender Street
Already nominated for Canada’s Best New Restaurant 2015 by en Route magazine, it was obviously why as our Tasting Plates of Pork dumplings, salt cod fritter and drummettes had an array of spicy and vibrant flavours which strayed away from the usual flavours one finds in Chinese restaurants. I’m already a fan of Chef Mah’s cuisine was he was the past chef of Pidgin and Bambudda and have it high on my list of places to return as Sai Woo offers a $38 OR $48 prix fixe menu and yes, dietary restrictions are considered. But what caught my eye was menu items such as curry brisket pastrami and seared foie gras with tempura, plums, and kumquat jam which would tickle any serious food’s fancy. And lover of cocktails that I am, bartender Dave Truscott apparently infuses drinks with exotic fruits and house-made infusions.
Rye So Messy Chicken Wings: Crowned 2015 Chicken Fight Best Dish — rye and gochujang marinate, mango glaze, ramen crumble, kfc sauce. This is not Tortellini: Pork, shiso, ginger, garlic, scallion, angry tiger sauce
958 Main Street
Cuisine: Modern Asian Eatery
Is it fair to say that Clement Chan, the keeper of the funky glasses has way too much fun cooking and even more fun making up outrageous names for his menu items? I’ve already been to the Le Tigre food truck and had Angry Tiger sauce that screamed “Yummy” out loud. So I was ready to be enchanted by this food at his brick and mortar establishment, Torafuku with the the Rye So Messy Chicken Wings and This is not Tortellini. The wings were crispy and tortellini, well wasn’t tortellini but a gyoza which was really spicy and had me screaming my head off for water – but hey, I like it spicy and I also like to scream. I will be coming back though for Brown Cow which has two of my favorite things – oxtail and sticky rice cake.
Sometimes if I’m lucky, I manage to find a food truck during my one hour lunch break. I’ve hiked the five blocks to Bute and Alberni on Thursdays to Le Tigre for his angry Tigre sauce or his Kickass rice with freaken chicken which has a nice ooey gooey half cooked egg and has a definitely kick. It’s a hardy meal and I found myself packing away half of this in my tupperware. P.S. You can call ahead of time to preorder your food at Le Tigre Truck..
Organic oolong with orange, organic white mango, organic lavender Pu-erh
227 East Georgia Street
Cuisine: Chinese Tea House
Olivia is a rare example of a second generation Chinese merchant in Chinatown who incorporates traditional tea with artisanal products, like camellia tea oil, tea martinis & iced tea along with special event classes for tea enthusiasts. Our Tasting Plates consisted of a flight of ice tea & tea infused with tea oil drip. The flight of iced tea surprisingly tasted nothing like Snapple Ice Tea or any other iced tea for that matter as the emphasis here is on the taste of pure tea and only.agave honey is used to sweeten the tea.
When you’re living through a long drought, there’s nothing better than iced coffee and the cold brew coffee at Proganda Coffee hit the spot and tasted better than any iced coffee at Starbucks as you can really tell that Proganda Coffee uses high quality beans.
Floata Seafood Restaurant
400-180 Keefer Street,
Floata in Chinatown which seats 1,000 people is the biggest Chinese Restaurant in Canada and a much smaller location in Richmond which offers karaoke. On weekends, Floata offers dim sum. Our tasting plate consisted of BBQ pork bun, spring roll, sesame ball and soy sauce chow mein, none of which were spectacular as being the daughter of a restaurant owner, I have high standards for my Chinese food and didn’t consider this as being authentic Chinese food.