Eating My Way Through Vancouver, Canada

Kitsilano Beach | Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach

I can’t even begin to extol the virtues of visiting the Pacific Northwest when it is not raining. With all the rain throughout the year, cities like Vancouver really blossom when the sun shines and all the plants are green and lush. If it was like that all year, I think everyone would want to live there!

Coconut Ash and S'Mores Ice Cream at Mister | Vancouver

Coconut Ash and S’Mores Ice Cream at Mister

Besides the proximity to nature (the beach is in the center of town and the mountains are 30 minutes away), Vancouver is bustling with an amazing food scene. I could live there for a month and I wouldn’t make the slightest dent on my things-to-eat list. I did my best in a short amount of time. For novelty ice cream, look no further than the liquid nitrogen treats at Mister (1141 Mainland St.). Their most famous flavor is the coconut ash, which complements the black ice cream cones, but I actually like and recommend the crème brûlée (complete with a crackable sugar top) or s’mores (toasted marshmallow!) more. If you get your ice cream in their signature black cone, expect a massive amount of ice cream. It’s enough to share among 3 people (seriously). Flavors change daily so there’s always a surprise in store.

Lunch at Fable (left) and Ice Cream at Rain or Shine (right) | Vancouver

Lunch at Fable (left) and Ice Cream at Rain or Shine (right)

If you’re looking for a more traditional ice cream experience, head over to Rain or Shine (1926 W 4th Ave #102), close by Kitsilano beach. You can indulge in flavors like coffee toffee and salted caramel. Right next to Rain or Shine, you can grab a bite to eat at Fable (1944 W 4th Ave.). They have one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever tasted (thick-cut bacon and cheese are extra) or you can eat more healthy with local British Columbia salmon and kale.

Granville Public Market | Vancouver

Granville Public Market

Speaking of local salmon, BC salmon is absolutely incredible. Darker and redder in color, the flesh is flaky and ever so creamy with all the rich fish oil. My first stop in Vancouver was the Granville Island Public Market (1669 Johnston St.). The whole island is full of cute boutiques and small art galleries. The highlight is definitely the public market where there is a plethora of lunch choices at different stalls. I had to order the deep-fried salmon and calamari at Celine’s Fish & Chips. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever seen fish and chips with salmon and now that’s all I ever want to eat.

Aburi Sushi at Minami | Vancouver

Aburi Sushi at Minami

When in Vancouver, you have to eat sushi. With fish that fresh, it’d be a travesty if you didn’t. At Minami (1118 Mainland St.), you can try the famed aburi sushi. This flame-seared sushi has an extra touch of magic because the chefs sear the fish with binchotan (Japanese bamboo charcoal). I’d never seen anything like it before in my life! That extra bit of charcoal adds a whole new level of smokiness and complexity to your palate. The salmon oshi sushi (pressed BC wild salmon, jalapeno, Miku sauce) is hands down probably one of my favorite bites of food. Don’t miss out though on the tuna tartare, ebi fritters or Champagne roll (scallop, salmon, cucumber, uni, rolled in golden tobiko, Miku sauce).

Loco-Lomi Poke Salad at the Poke Guy | Vancouver

Loco-Lomi Poke Salad at the Poke Guy

I seriously cannot think of a better place to sell poke than Vancouver. At The Poke Guy (420 Richards St.), you’ll find local Hawaiians (shout-out to Reno!) serving poke with a twist, including toppings like mango and corn. One of their star dishes is the Loco-Lomi salad. Reno was great at explaining that lomi-lomi is a salmon salad with tomatoes and Maui onions. Their salad has smoked lomi-lomi, albacore poke, avocado, house yuzu slaw, kani, mango, peashoots, masago, crispy onion and furikake on a bed of lettuce. While I also loved the Poke Guy’s traditional poke, the loco-lomi salad is definitely unique and worth trying.

Cartems Donuterie | Vancouver

Cartems Donuterie

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Exploring China’s Zhu Jia Jiao

Zhu Jia Jiao

This weekend, I went to Zhu Jia Jiao (朱家角), a small city located in the Qing Pu district of Shanghai. Zhu Jia Jiao is west of Shanghai’s city center and it takes about an hour to drive there. It is most famous for being a water town that has been preserved for the past 1,700 years. Besides the old Chinese architecture, I was really fascinated by all the different types of food stands. I wanted to avoid food poisoning at all costs (a lot of the food is just sitting out in the open), so I didn’t try most of it. But, I did get to try a couple of really delicious things and take some interesting pictures of 零食 (snacks).

Zhong

Zhu Jia Jiao is well-known for its zhong (lotus wrapped rice on the far right) and its pork products (left).

Buns

These Chinese buns were filled with red bean paste. The top is crispy from semi-burnt sugar (think creme brûlée). I actually tried one of them and they were delicious (minus the red bean; I hate red bean).

Radish Croquette

She takes thinly sliced radish, dunks it in batter and deep-fries it.

Crackers

Scrumptious cracker-like bread that has green onions and sesame seeds mixed in. They’re nice and crispy and still warm when I ate one.

Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy lays out to dry.

Western Restaurant

The only Western restaurant I saw in Zhu Jia Jiao was selling French crepes. I thought their advertising sign outside was pretty clever. You don’t have to travel as far to Paris in order to eat a crepe!

Sugar Lollipops

This man made beautiful lollipops out of semi-burnt sugar. He was so fast at making them!

Chinese Lollipops

The dragon was my favorite.

Preserved Vegetables

Only in China can you find preserved vegetables being sold in Sprite bottles.

Zhu Jia Jiao Bridge

Don’t worry! The sun did come out later at Zhu Jia Jiao!

Boats in Zhu Jia Jiao

Boat crossing