Last night I was hosted by Tourism Richmond for a walking and tasting tour along with over a dozen food and travel writers.
The theme of the evening was Demystifying “Food Street” which is a nickname given to Alexandra Road, home to over 200 restaurants within 3 city blocks. We were split into two groups and I followed Michelle Ng, who runs the Vancouver Foodie Tour. She was brought in by Tourism Richmond as a host and independent connoisseur of all things dining in Richmond. Having lived in the city for 25 years Michelle recently got out of her gig in the technology industry and followed her heart – to hosting delicious (and affordable) food tours.
Our first stop was Well Tea Taiwanese Restaurant where they had bubble tea and slushes waiting for the entire group. I admit, I’ve never had bubble tea before and it was a delightfully refreshing way to start the tour (although it was rather filling and this was just the first stop). Well Tea is very spacious inside and they serve up over 40 varieties of tea as well as casual Taiwanese snacks.
We had four official stops on the 4 hour tour but as we walked and Michelle talked, the group learned about everything from ‘how to know if a dumpling is properly cooked’ to the difference between Hong Kong style Western Cafes and Izakayas. Michelle not only spoke as though she was educated about Asian food, but as someone who was passionate about her community, often tossing in personal tidbits of information (ie. where to get the best foot massage and who to ask for).
Our unofficial second stop was at Kam Do Bakery which is the place to go for Loh Po Beng (winter melon pastry). You can read a bit more about Loh Po Beng here. On to our “official” second stop at Cattle Cafe.
Here we enjoyed Malay Laksa Soup, Baked Pork Chop with Tomatoe Sauce on Rice, Baked Seafood with Creams Sauce on Rice, Unagi (BBQ eel) Sandwich with Cucumber (and white bread with the crusts cut off), and Bubble Waffle. Favourite at this stop: The soup (though very spicy) and sandwich.
The next stop was Nan Chuu Japanese Izakaya, part of the Gyoza King family. With its extensive beverage list and vast tapas menu I think it’s here that I started getting really full (even with another stop left on the tour). What we found helpful was that they listed their Top 5 menu items from the past week on their menu so if you walked in and didn’t know what to order, that would be a great place to start.
Vegetarians beware our samplings at Nan Chuu were Ebi Mayo, Udon with Mushroom and Bacon, Deep Fried Chicken Skins (two ways), Chicken Hearts (two ways), Chicken Gizzard (two ways), Salmon Wraps, and Thinly-sliced Beef Tongue Stew. Favourite at this stop: The salmon and the beef stew.
We polished off the evening was Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant. It looks like a schnitzel house on the outside which stands to reason as the building used to be home to pub. The owners renovated and created a top-notch Korean dining experience which is rather evident when you arrive and see an endorsement from James Barber on the front door.
The dining room is huge, with high ceilings and the Food Network playing from flat screen TV’s. I think we had the most food here which included: Soon Dae Jub See (blood sausage), Jok Bahl (BBQ pork feet), Jab Che (sweet potato noodle), Hae Mool Pah Jun (seafood pancake), Tohng Gahl Bee (beef short ribs), and pork ribs. Favourite at this stop: Jab Che, Tohng Gahl Bee, and Hae Mool Pah Jun.
In order to avoid wasting the food samples, Tourism Richmond provided everyone with a take-away food container so that we could savour the leftovers later on or bring home some of our favourite dishes for our loved ones.
It’s amazing to think that we explored so many Asian culinary styles and dishes within about a 2-block radius. We had great guides that definitely opened my eyes to some of the dining possibilities within Richmond. “Food Street” is a short walk from Lansdowne Canada Line Station and everyone recommended that you either make dinner reservations or arrive before 6:00pm before the entire block fills up with dinner guests for the evening. Check out a recommended food tour itinerary on the Tourism Richmond website.
Disclosure cmp.ly/2 our meals were compliments of Tourism Richmond.