Richmond is home to some of the best Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Szechuan food in North America.
Family-owned, local, and small businesses dominate the food market here, leaving little room (or taste) for chain restaurants. This means around nearly every corner is a new and delicious hidden gem to discover.
The plentiful options can also render folks overwhelmed with choice. Which dumpling place is the best? Where should you go for weekend dim sum? Who makes the best bubble waffles?
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This is partly why Michelle Ng of the Vancouver Foodie Tours established the Authentic Asian Eats Tour in Richmond.
Ng, who has spent most of her life in Richmond, knows where to go to get the goods. During her tour, she not only leads you around five delicious, must-try spots, but she also imparts her wisdom on the many styles and histories of Cantonese and other regional Chinese cuisines.
Recently we had the chance to take one of Ng’s tours, and let’s just say we left very, very full, with plans to return to Richmond again soon.
Here are all the fantastic spots we got to eat at in Richmond.
Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant
This popular Cantonese dim sum spot is located on the third floor of Aberdeen Centre, making it an easy one to get to via transit (just take the Canada Line and get off at Aberdeen Station).
Ng told us that it’s such a popular spot that it’s best to get there right when they open at 10 am, otherwise you’ll likely be waiting a while for a table. This is a testament to the incredible food and service you’ll get here, considering the fact that the restaurant is massive.
We tried the Har Gow (shrimp dumplings), Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai style), Buddha’s Feast (a mixture of vermicelli noodles, napa cabbage, and red bean curd), Cheung Fun (Cantonese rice noodle rolls) served with XO sauce, and deep-fried bitter melon mochi filled with black sesame and peanut paste.
Served alongside a pot of Jasmine tea, this was a great sampling of Fisherman’s Terrace’s incredible dim sum offerings, and a great start to the tour.
Kam Do Bakery
Just around the corner from Aberdeen Centre is a palatial bakery called Kam Do. This spot is a destination for not only locals, but folks driving up from out of province, too. Ng tells us that Kam Do is particularly well-known for its Wife Cake, a small pastry that is filled with winter melon and glutinous rice flour.
The Wife Cake is traditionally bought in large quantities by the groom’s family ahead of a wedding and is then packed up in ornate boxes and gifted to the bride’s family.
While you don’t need to be celebrating a wedding the enjoy these pastries, they are certainly worth making a fuss over. Ours were warm out of the oven and incredibly flaky with a delicate, jammy middle. Many other bakeries in the area offer the Wife Cake, but Kam Do is known for its superior quality.
Kam Do also offers an array of other Chinese pastries, like pineapple buns, cream buns, moon cakes, egg tarts, and mango cake rolls.
Joy’s Taiwanese Food (inside Parker Place)
Next stop on our tour was inside a food court – an off-the-beaten trail spot that most folks visiting from outside of Richmond wouldn’t know about. Joy’s Taiwanese food is tucked inside the Parker Place food court, a 1990s-era mall that also has a Chinese BBQ deli, a produce store, a seafood mart, and plenty of other shops that are frequented by the locals.
Ng has been eating at Joy’s since she was 18, she tells us, and the chile wontons we tried are her absolute favourite. With a bit of a tingly bite from the Szechuan peppercorns and a super flavourful yet delicate wonton, we can see why.
We also got the try the beef roll, which features thinly-sliced beef shank rolled into a flaky scallion pancake with hoisin and five-spice. These make for great street food and are easily worth a trip to Joy’s and Parker Place all on their own.
Rainbow Cafe (inside Parker Place)
If you’ve never tried a bubble waffle, go to this place for your first time. The owner of Rainbow Cafe has been running his kiosk here for the last 26 years and has perfected his bubble waffle recipe and technique.
This spot is situated just at the other end of the food court, so once you’ve had your lunch at Joy’s pop over here for a sweet treat. The recipe for the waffle batter is top secret, but Ng shares that the owner disclosed only one thing about it: there are a lot of eggs involved.
Each waffle takes about seven minutes to make and once it’s ready, he pops it off the griddle and places it directly in front of a small fan. The few seconds it sits here to cool off allows it to get that crispy exterior while still maintaining a super tender inside.
It’s perfect just as it is, and is best enjoyed while walking around (bubble waffles are popular street food in Hong Kong).
For our last stop on the tour, Ng took us to the Richmond location of Wushiland Boba, a bubble tea spot that is known for its two different sizes of tapioca pearls. Wushiland also has a new location in Metrotown Mall.
We tried a plum and kumquat green tea with ultimate chew toppings (boba, pearls, and coconut jelly. It was very refreshing and the perfect end to a delicious, educational, and inspiring tour.
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