I love Chinese food. It is what I started eating as a child. I developed my taste buds on them. I think I really realized how much I loved it when I would go away on trips and come back craving to eat a bowl of rice with some bittermelon beef, soya sauce chicken wings or steamed fish. I would dream about the bowl of white gleaming rice grains so perfectly steamed in the rice cooker. Even as a student, I ensured I did not move away without some type of rice cooker. The 20$ ones you can get at bigger chain stores are not comparable to the heavy-duty ones you will find in every Chinese household. That’s right. I had a real Chinese rice cooker.
As a university student, I would always pre-order the food I wanted my mom to make me when I would go back on breaks. I loved the soya sauce marinated chicken wings and eggs, the Chinese beef stew, chicken broiled with walnuts and black fungus, bitter melon beef, fresh Chinese Choi Sum and a whole steamed fish, of course. I learned to make many of these dishes, but they never taste like hers. I am sure everyone can relate to some level. What’s your comfort food?
Well, Chinese food is not a stranger in Vancouver. Most everyone eats it. I have to say that I do crave eating at a round table with some Chinese delicacies, a giant bowl of soup and a bowl of rice in a hand while eating with a bunch of people. This to me is family. This is love. This is what I grew up on and it will never be replaced by a table with edges, eating with knife and fork, eating your own dish or not calling out all the elders to wish them a good meal before eating. It is our culture and part of my identity. I miss it. And now, I get to cook this food for my friends – my family in Vancouver.
A few honorable mentions in Vancouver include, not in any specific order:
I love their lamb noodles. The noodles are made on the spot, very fresh and absolutely delicious. The portions are large and price is amazing. I love this place. Definitely try their dumplings and if you have time, their hot-pot. You will crave it too.
I love how casual it is and yet they have fast and decent service. There are many choices. I love the build-your-own-noodle-soup feature plus a drink. Great deal and you can also order a bunch of other dishes if you’d like. Come before the rush or else you will be waiting for a while. Decent and quick fix with free parking everywhere.
One of my favorite, but unless you reserve ahead or come at lunch, you will not find a spot even if you are willing to share the round table with a bunch of strangers. I love their steamed Shanghai dumplings, pan fried dumplings, beef wrap, drunk chicken, plain buns, salty soy soup, cold soy drink, tan tan noodles and various soups. A must-try if you are in town. I would say it is the best in town.
Here you are transported to the old style Chinese restaurant that used to operate in the 90s with the full true spirit of the service then. I think if you want to get decent priced dimsum then come and try it there, but stick with the classics and nothing fried either. I think it has been around for a long time and so many families come here. I would recommend ordering their take out for their sheer large portion of noodles and fried rice. I loved their seafood fried noodles- what an amazing deal!
This is the real hidden gem on Main street. You will witness the little grandma beating the life out of the dough and transforming it to amazing noodles or dumplings. I am amazed. It is your mum-and-pop local neighborhood shop with less than 5 tables. It is inexpensive, an amazing deal, great service and the food is so delicious. They just close at 8-9pm so I never get there after work. I love it and dream about it on a monthly basis. Everything is good. Alas, half of it is spicy so beware. But it is worth it!
The same HK style service as seen in the 80s and 90s will exist here. Do not be alarmed. The food and portions are pretty good. Chinese food has gone up in price compared to what it was 10 years ago, but I am not sure if the quality has ascended in quite the same rate. However, most things are so yummy. I love the Chinese New Year specials, the roasted duck and crab at CNH and the night specials at KCN. The congee and HK style tea are amazing at both. I love almost everything I order there. They are my go-to place. I have been at both total more than 30 times in the past 4 years.
I used to frequent it more and their menu has changed, but everything else is the same. I would come here if you would like to sit a little bit more comfortably, but you will miss out on some real heavy-duty Chinese dishes. CG is a HK style cafe and the service is usually pretty quick as they are trying to pump in the flow. I love their baked dishes, bitter melon beef rice and roasted duck noodle soup.