Beyond Wontons: Where to Find Vancouver’s Best Chinese Cuisine?

Photo: Asian Canadian Cultural Association

Conde Nast Traveler recently awarded Vancouver a gold medal for its outstanding Chinese Cuisine – the best in the world (China included), according to the article’s author.  But despite this embarrassment of riches, finding a great Chinese meal isn’t always easy in the city.

The best restaurants are often well off the beaten path, tucked away in smaller neighborhoods and below the radar of most diners.  Plus, many restaurants are so authentic that menus are printed only in Chinese, deterring even the most intrepid of eaters.

Which is why I’d like to ask for your help:

Do you have a favorite Chinese restaurant in Vancouver or Richmond?  A place that serves incredible dimsum or the best hotpot in the city?  If so, please leave a comment below.

In an effort to bring more attention to the city’s overlooked culinary treasures, the Chinese Restaurant Awards were started in 2009.  Outstanding restaurants are awarded gold and silver medals in particular categories, from the best Cantonese dimsum to best Chinese barbecue.   For diners like me – who love Chinese food but have rarely ventured beyond wontons and lo mein  – the awards offer a kind of cheat sheet, providing descriptions of classic Chinese dishes and explaining where to find the best examples of each one.
Check out my next post for a review of Jade Seafood Restaurant, one of the perennial gold medal winners in the Chinese Restaurant competition.

And please leave a comment below with your favorite Chinese restaurant and its best dish.

Remy Scalza

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16 Responses to Beyond Wontons: Where to Find Vancouver’s Best Chinese Cuisine?

  1. Coco

    The best have to be Golden Ocean Restaurant on 41st near West and East Boulevard (east of Granville). Their pan-fried pork bun is the best of its kind in Vancouver, and probably the sweet BBQ pork bun too!

    • a hakkila

      agreed. it is the best.

  2. Chub

    My favorite dimsum place has to be Fisherman’s Terrance in Aberdeen Centre. It’s consistent and I haven’t had a bad dimsum there. My favorite would be the “sticky ice chicken wrapped with lotus leaf” and “hand-ripped chicken”.

  3. Empress

    It’s true, we have awesome chinese food in our city. But whoever wrote that Conde Nast article doesn’t know anything about good chinese food! My husband and I who are both Chinese, went with both our parents to try out the Conde Nast recommendation of Yan’s Garden Restaurant in Burnaby. It is really nothing special. They also recommended Ken’s Chinese Restaurant on Kingsway. Havn’t tried that one yet, but just from viewing the menu online, it already sounds like nothing special. I agree with Chub though that Fisherman’s Terrace is good for dim sum. Gingeri in Lansdowne centre is also another good dim sum place. Chen’s Shanghai restaurant in Richmond makes the best xia long bao. They’re tucked away in a little plaza kinda close to the IHOP restaurant in Richmond.

  4. Does anyone know any Great Dim Sum places in the downtown Vancouver, or along North Burnaby Hastings area that offer a great selection on vegetarian/poultry or seafood dimsum dishes? I dont eat beef or pork, so my selections are always limited! I’d love to be able to order more than the usual 5 dishes that dont have pork or beef.

    • Minnie

      Kirin on Alberni!

  5. Maria Crossan

    The best dimsum place is East river seafood restaurant.
    1345 Kingsway
    Vancouver, BC V5V3E3
    Tel: (604) 879-8299
    All the dimsum is only 2.50 except for specialty dishes.
    Must get there before 11am or you will be in a lineup.

  6. Empress

    Not Kirin on Alberni! It’s horrible. The Kirin in Richmond and at City Square are both very good. For some reason though, the one on Alberni is very substandard. Not sure about selection of vegetarian/poultry or seafood. I don’t really take note of those things. But just in general, for good dim sum, in downtown try the Imperial restaurant at the foot of Burrard St. For North Burnaby Hastings area, try Fortune Court.

    • Ivan

      Imperial is garbage n overly priced. $100 for 2 ppl dim sum??? $$$ way way too much.

  7. Carm

    One of my absolutely favourite Chinese restaurants is Hakkasan in Richmond on No. 5 Road, and River Road in East Richmond. It is definitely tucked away in an off-the-beaten path in a industrial area. The food is excellent! I have too many favourite dishes to name, but a few that stand out for me is their Curried Stuffed Whelk, Wagyu AAA Beef Tataki Salad, Salty Free Range Chicken, and Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks, just to name a few. It’s authentic Chinese food done on a whole other level. It’s different and it’s a really refreshing change to the usual Chinese fare. Even the service and atmosphere is different, it’s actually good! It’s a great place to go on a date, or to take visitors, or do special family events. Definitely worth it! Check out their website (which is pretty impressive too!):

    • Carm – Thanks for the tip on Hakkasan. I’d never heard of it, but I’m going to check it out now. There’s just so much incredible food in Richmond. There should really be a blog dedicated just to Richmond’s dining scene.


  8. I’m nearly embarrassed to say that I haven’t tried a huge range of Chinese restaurants in Vancouver. Part of it is due to cost and also well, eating alot at restaurants isn’t the greatest thing. (I’m sure a food blogger will fire a salvo at me.)

    I recommend this Metro Vancouver blog, chow times

    The couple has a strong following by Asian cuisine affectionados and other food bloggers which is an immense compliment to chow times. No, I don’t know them. And they don’t know me. But I did notice they organize dinners to highlight and educate others on the 8 main Chinese regional cuisines.

    And if you’re vegetarian….you might not be too crazy about the photos. But the food blog will give one some insight what is culturally considered tasty Chinese cuisine. Yes, the couple includes many reviews of Richmond restaurants. The food blog will confirm why it should not be surprising that lovers of Asian cuisine have fairly flexible/adventurous palates.

    • Juno

      Red Star is my favorite and go-to Restaurant. Hands down BEST duck and love their Peking Duck!

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  11. Amazing… amazing… amazing…. Keep up the work.