Creamy crunchy, sweet and savoury — all at the same time. Yum! I was worried that going for authentic dim sum in Canada’s most Chinese city — 45 percent of Richmond residents are of Chinese ethnicity — might mean pig’s trotters and chicken feet. Indeed, those delicacies are on the menu at Jade Seafood Restaurant on Alexandra Road, a.k.a. Food Street, in Richmond’s Golden Village, four bustling blocks of stores and eateries. But the taste explosion in my mouth comes courtesy of a deep-fried roll of shrimp with tiny morsels of melon. Down the road, Spicy Stage Cafe has a Hong Kong flavour: pick a broth, add a noodle and a protein and voila — your own unique soup. The food courts in Richmond’s Asian malls (below) have Chinese cuisine too, and locals know that if you order to go, you’ll get a bigger serving. You’ll hear Mandarin and Cantonese spoken and signs with only Chinese characters are everywhere, but the Golden Village is easy to find: get off the Canada Line at Aberdeen Station and you’re there. Go to www.tourismrichmond.com for more info.
Remember reading about the boatloads of sockeye salmon that British Columbia fishermen hauled ashore in 2010? Roughly 30 million fish converged at the mouth of the Fraser River between June and September, the largest run in 50 years. Some of those fish didn’t travel very far from the dock. Steveston, a fishing village in the southwest corner of Richmond, is known for its seafood restaurants (bottom) — including the aptly named Sockeye City Grill. You won’t find better fish and chips than at Pajo’s floating outdoor restaurant at the wharf, or indoors at family-friendly Dave’s Fish & Chips. For more sophisticated palettes and more variety, head to Tapenade Bistro, where Chef Alex Tung won me over with his sardines. Pan-fried, they’re moist and meaty with no fishy flavour. After a day of biking along the dikes that keep sealevel Richmond dry and touring the Gulf of Georgia Cannery (top), a national historic site, grab a seat on the patio at Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant. Watch the sun set over one of Canada’s largest commercial fishing fleets while you scarf down a bowl of mussels and clams paired with a microbrewery beer.
You don't need to leave your hotel to find amazing food in Richmond. Explore cutting-edge cuisine at The Apron at the Westin Wall Centre with chef Hamid Salimian’s “molecular” dishes. Choose from a five-, seven- or nine-course tasting menu ($55, $75 and $95). A glass box appears first, with three squares of foie gras marshmallows setting a playful tone. (“I would have hanged myself,” Salimian jokes when asked if he had to get head-office approval for his creations). Over at The Globe at Fairmont Vancouver Airport, a new lifestyle cuisine menu offers raw, gluten-free, vegan and other dishes designed for particular palettes.