Ask many people what Canadian cuisine is and they’ll mumble something about poutine and maple syrup. But anyone who lives in Vancouver knows that local food culture goes a lot deeper than that.
And finally there’s a one-stop shop where you can take the skeptics to show just how rich and varied Canadian cuisine can be: Edible Canada on Granville Island. This is the brainchild of the Edible BC people, who run those in-depth chef-guided tours of the Public Market and who used to have a tiny little shop inside selling all kinds of Canadian goodies. They’ve traded that space for a massive 4,000-square-foot bistro, bar and food shop next door (Does anyone remember what used to be there? As far as I recall, it used to be a parking garage!)
The heart of Edible Canada is the 150-seat bistro, all gleaming wood and glass, with a huge outdoor patio. The menu is actually not 100-percent Canadian, but the focus is on showcasing British Columbia’s edible splendor, from local salmon, spot prawns and sablefish to artisan goat cheese, organic pork and naturally-raised lamb.
Some early favourites so far are the Canadian burger, featuring a Tenderland Meats patty, Fraser Valley double-smoked bacon, smoky cheddar and home-made pickles and ketchup. According to a great article in the Vancouver Sun, the Edible Canada staff sampled something like 125 different burgers before deciding on the final recipe. The burger pairs well with Edible Canada’s signature fries, cooked in duck fat and served with bacon aioli.
Another popular dish (which includes a playful take on consummately Canadian maple syrup) is the birch syrup and kasu roasted sablefish, which is marinated in birch syrup and served with pickled ginger and fava beans.
Drinks are 100 percent Canadian and include juices, sodas, teas, wines and beers from around the province and the country. They even have wine on tap, which I think is a rarity for Vancouver, featuring red and whites from the Okanagan’s Nichol Vineyard.
Has anyone been to Edible Canada? What did you think?