Culture and Cuisine Itinerary

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF COAST

Vancouver is home to many diverse cultures and is renowned internationally for incredible cuisine and as a West Coast hub for arts and culture. Open your mind and expand your palate through a weekend of one-of-a-kind cultural experiences, exploring museums and enjoying innovative cuisine in our Culture and Cuisine Itinerary. Continue reading:
Culture and Cuisine Itinerary

Vancouver’s Best Yakiniku Japanese BBQ Restaurant? You make the call

Photo credit: Rickchung.com | Flickr

Vancouver is justly famous for its sushi, with hundreds (if not thousands) of restaurants around the city.  We’ve also got plenty of izakayas, the Japanese-style pubs that became popular in the late 1990s.  And we’re no slouch when it comes to ramen restaurants, which serve exclusively the popular Japanese noodle soup.

But I was surprised to discover another Japanese import in the city last week: a yakiniku barbecue. In yakiniku-style restaurants, diners cook up raw, bite-sized chunks of marinated meats and veggies over a grill built right into their tables.  It’s an interactive, hands-on form of dining, quite similar in many respects to Korean barbecue (a controversy rages to this day about whether the practice originated in Korea or Japan).

Considering how fun the experience is (and how tasty the results are), I was surprised I hadn’t tried a yakiniku restaurant in Vancouver before.  I know there must be a bunch out there, but they don’t get much attention.

Do you enjoy Japanese yakiniku barbecue?  Do you have a favourite yakiniku restaurant in Vancouver?  Let us know below.

I’ll start things off be describing my first yakiniku adventure in downtown Vancouver.  Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Best Yakiniku Japanese BBQ Restaurant? You make the call

New Street Cart: Indian Food from Vikram Vij

Photo credit: Canadian Veggie | Flickr

One name in Vancouver is synonymous with mouthwatering Indian cuisine: Vikram Vij.

Vij’s, the eatery he opened off Granville Street in 1994, has consistently been named the city’s best Indian restaurant by Vancouver Magazine, justly famous for such delicacies as lamb popsicles in cream curry and spot prawns in coconut masala.

Now – to the delight of street food enthusiasts – Vij has branched out into the food truck business.

Vij’s Railway Express opened earlier this month in the heart of downtown, on West Georgia Street, between Thurlow and Burrard Streets.  While some of the menu items are similar to what’s in the restaurant, the theme is a bit different.  The focus is on the diverse cuisine you’d find at railway stations across India – dishes from Delhi to Bombay and Calcutta that go way beyond the typical tikka masalas.

Each menu item is intended to represent a different “station” on a rail journey across the country.  Offerings change all the time: day to day and week to week.   So just what kind of dishes are we talking about?  Even by Vancouver’s lofty street food standards, they’re something special (Warning: Stop reading now if you’re hungry.).

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New Street Cart: Indian Food from Vikram Vij

Finding Latin Flavour in Vancouver? You make the call!

Vancouver is justly famous for its authentic ethnic cuisine. In fact, the city boasts some of the finest dim sum and freshest sushi in North America.  But one cuisine that doesn’t get a lot of attention is Latin fare.

Everything from traditional Mexican tacos to Brazilian buffet-style rodizio is available here, if you know where to look.  I’ve got a few ideas (below), but I’d like to hear your favourites:

Where’s your favourite spot for Latin cuisine?  Please comment below.

Here are a few options to get you started:

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Finding Latin Flavour in Vancouver? You make the call!

First Nations Cuisine in Stanley Park

Photo: Remy Scalza

Finding authentic cuisine from around the world is rarely a problem in Vancouver.  The city boasts the best Chinese food in North America and more sushi joints per capita than just about anyplace outside Japan, not to mention great Persian, Indian, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.

But Aboriginal cuisine – the traditional dishes enjoyed by Vancouver’s own First Nations communities – has always been hard, if not impossible, to find here.  Bannock bread and candied salmon are sometimes available at special ceremonies (like at the Aboriginal pavilion at the Olympic Games), but – at least during the last few years – not many restaurants in Vancouver have offered a menu dedicated to Aboriginal cooking.

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First Nations Cuisine in Stanley Park

Favorite Italian Restaurants? The case for Trattoria

Dine Out 2010 has brought the spotlight on Vancouver’s impressive restaurant scene.  Among its lesser appreciated aspects is great Italian cuisine.  From classics like Il Giardino to newbies like Campagnolo, Italian restaurants in the city offer authentic food that incorporates fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  I had the chance to check out one of Vancouver’s newer favorites, Trattoria, this week.

Located in Kitsilano, Trattoria offers a more casual alternative to its downtown sister restaurant, Italian Kitchen.  To keep things lively and spontaneous, reservations aren’t accepted.  I arrived in the early evening to find a line stretching out the door.   But a cozy waiting area, with upholstered couches and plenty of drinks on offer, made for a nice prelude to dinner.

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Favorite Italian Restaurants? The case for Trattoria