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The Food Nomad – Travels back to the Great Northwest, Vancouver

Like Dorothy once said, “there’s no place like home”, and that’s exactly how I feel about my beautiful hometown, Vancouver.  There’s been so many times when I wished I had Dorothy’s red slippers, and I can click my heels and be transported to this haven of my childhood, where everything seems to shine a little brighter (probably because of the pollution-free air) and where smiles seem a little more genuine.  

Vancouver is also home to some of the freshest, most exciting produce on earth (our line-caught BC salmon is unbeatable!)  and its food culture is a leader in the organic, garden-to-table movement.  

I love visiting the farmer markets and local food producers (from honey keepers to local cheese makers), and every time I’m back home I’m inspired by new ways in which people are forming bonds between our daily lives and locally produced foods.  During a visit to a local food truck, I was surprised to find a map of British Columbia with highlights on where the operator sources all their fish and the ecological footprint they create and try to diminish.  Socially responsible produce seem to be the new buzz word around town, and I guess when your town is as beautiful as Vancouver, it makes sense to want to preserve it!

Below are some of my food highlights from this trip, and I couldn’t resist throwing in a few scenery shots of this beautiful city!  

The heart-stopping (quite literally, with all this fat!) braised short-rib and bone marrow mashed potatoes at the Flying Pig in Yaletown.  I love the concept, although I could only finish 1/3 of the mash because the bone marrow made it way to rich.  

These chicken wings have actually appeared in one of my dreams!  I always have to stop by Aberdeen food court for these “golden sand” chicken wings when in Richmond.  They don’t look special but they pack a bow-wow of flavour – I suspect they’ve been marinated in garlic and ginger before the fry-up.  

An oldie but a goodie – Sophie’s.  I love the eclectic, goofy atmosphere of this little diner. 

Yes, it’s weird, but Chinese food tastes the best in Vancouver.  Is it because of the fresh ingredients, or the fact that some of the best paid Chinese chefs live here?

Walking along Stanley Park to work off some of the calories!

Short-ribs for breakfast with poached eggs and potato crostini at The Oakwood on 4th. Delicious but I would have preferred the short-rib a little more gelatinous.

Best SE Asian curry hands down – Mui Garden.  I’ve travelled all through SE Asia and haven’t found a worthy opponent.  

A slice of my favourite strawberry cheesecake at Cheesecake Etc.  

This is a must visit for their mouth-watering breakfasts – Cafe Zen.  If there’s a line, persevere, you WILL be rewarded.  My favourite is their Spanish omelette.

View from Granville Island, a major foodie destination.

The prosciutto and burrata pizza at Trattoria, a casual restaurant chain that’s popular with several locations.  The creaminess of the burrata with the salty ham exemplifies what a great marriage should be – perfectly matched.

Cherry flower season.

Because there are no decent Greek restaurants in Hong Kong, I satisfy my cravings when in Vancouver.  I had this tender, roasted lamb shoulder with well flavoured potatoes at Kalamata on Broadway.

A very nice surprise this time back was the gourmet food trucks all over town, offering classic and innovative on-the-go food.  I also had a lot of fun tracking some of the favourites down – we visited 5 in one day.

House-smoked wild line-caught salmon (what a mouthful!) at the Kaboom Box food truck.

A blooming cherry tree outside of the Urban Tea Merchant – highly recommend a visit as they have a great selection of TWG tea.  My favourite – Paris Singapore, with a hint of cherry blossom infused in the tea. 

Best baguette sandwich thus far!  Finch’s blue cheese, prosciutto, walnut and pear sandwich finished off with a drizzle of sweet syrupy balsamic.  

Spotted – a community garden for the local residents, right in the middle of Downtown. 

Giant burger (with a lot of fried onions) at La Brasserie in Downtown.

Decadent poutine (we’re in Canada, eh!).  Fries smothered with gravy, sprinkled with huge cheese kurds, with a poached egg on top, drizzled with truffle oil.

Butter beef at Phnom Penh, we waited in line at 5pm for an hour for this!

The famous chicken wings fried in butter with a sprinkle of sugar and salt on top.

Chicken and waffles at 2 Chefs and a Table.

Roadtrip to Horseshoe Bay.

A must-have, the Whitespot Monty Mushroom burger.  Chunky meaty bits of mushroom smothered in melting cheese.  I know we have Triple O in HK, but it’s simply NOT the same burger!

There is only one place to pacify my Mexican craving – Les Margaritas!

You can’t be Canadian if you don’t know Tim Horton’s.

After my 10km race for the Sun Run, I balanced those calories burned with the famous JapaDog hot dogs.  And no, I didn’t finish all 3 by myself!  One had grated radish and scallions on top, another had melted cheese and bolognese sauce, and the 3rd had mayo and seaweed.  My favourite was the radish one!

Recently there’s been an influx of neapolitan pizza joints around town.  We tried one such newcomer (Nicli Antica) in Gastown.  I loved the anchovies and roasted garlic on this thin wafer of a pizza.

Gastown is just full of new, interesting foodie haunts.  Here is another one – Cartem’s doughnuts – selling (you guessed it) only doughnuts!  They had flavours such as earl grey, masala chai, to my favourite – Maker’s Bourbon Bacon.  The salty / sweetness ratio was just perfect over the fluffy dough.

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