When I travel to a foodie destination, I get a little crazy beforehand with my online research. Grubstreet.com, Eater.com and the NewYorkTimes.com are a few examples of websites I frequent for research before a trip.
Despite looming Dishing deadlines, I took a quick trip to Vancouver recently.
I was first introduced to the amazing food scene in this great city years ago when I dated a Canadian man who knew I loved food (to know me is to love that I love food). He introduced me to Vij’s and Sophie’s; still two of the best meals I remember from my travels.
On this recent weekend, I was there to visit a friend, Thea, who lives in the city. It really is quite an amazing place. I see why people come here to make a new life for themselves. I’m half tempted myself! Those that are looking to move to Vancouver can look at Eddie Yan properties. I knew she would take me to the best spots. Still, I couldn’t help myself. I had to at least look …
This site and this one were two I found useful for planning. Both places listed Maenam. Thea had not been there and I was intrigued by a banana blossom dish on their menu (which we actually didn’t end up ordering), so we tried it. Other than the drinks, the food was disappointing. Just OK, which I hate when I am anticipating something outstanding.
I had also been hearing about Japadog for a while now. I think I first saw something about this unique hot dog stand on the Food Network. Then the name popped up again in my research and I knew we had to try them. I mean, an edamame dog? Miso-sauced turkey dog? Butter and shoyu fries? This ended up being our Easter brunch, and arguably the best street food I’ve ever had. I didn’t even miss the chocolate eggs.
Next up: Thea’s pick, Bao Bei. This Chinatown classic is hands-down the most interesting meal I have eaten in as long as I can remember. Slightly reminiscent of a David Chang restaurant, the menu is Chinese with an upscale twist. Simple. Well presented. Devine.
We started with assorted Chinese pickles. Then moved onto steamed prawn and chive dumplings. Nothing to out of the ordinary with either dish, but both quite delicious. I will offer this caveat — I am not the best dining companion all the time as I don’t eat red meat or pork (both widely used in Chinese food). As we perused the menu I was a little afraid that we wouldn’t get to try the best dishes Bao Bei has to offer (steamed buns with pork belly, sticky rice cake with pork and salted greens).
We decided on the steamed fish with steamed ginger, scallions, mushrooms and “topped with the crunchy biz.” A side of rice, king pea tips with garlic and Shaoxing and lotus root with chives, curry and black beans were ordered to go along. The meal was sensational. The flavors were simple, but unique. The dishes were cooked perfectly and accompanied each other beautifully. I couldn’t get over it. Really, my mouth is still watering. I would go back tomorrow and get the exact same meal and be happy to enjoy it twice.
All said, my research, along with Thea’s first-hand knowledge of Vancouver, provided us amazing dining experiences. I hope that Dishing offers travelers to Jackson some of the same tools I have found to research some of the best dishes and restaurants here. Stay tuned and check our website daily because even if you live here, you can always find out about something new!