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Old 01-26-2010, 07:29 PM   #1
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Vancouver's Chinese food world's 'best'

Visitors to a Chinese restaurant that's gaining a word-of-mouth fan base in Vancouver hardly notice the orangey-peach walls and black ceiling as they stand in line for a meal.
Instead, their eyes are fixed on the food being devoured by diners in the packed "hole-in-the-wall" eatery where decor has taken a back seat to good taste and value.
The dish that tops several tables is chef Ru Lin Zhang's pork dumplings, which won him a critic's choice award this year at the city's inaugural Chinese Restaurant Awards.
Zhang, who opened the Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House near a bustling west-side intersection two years ago, demonstrated two of his dishes – Green and White Fish Soup and Crunchy Golden Prawns – at the Vancouver Home and Interior Design Show's food stage last week.
"The prawns are to die for," said diner Cori Ruhnau, who works in the neighbourhood and is a regular at Lin's, which specializes in northern Chinese cuisine.
Lin's is among several hot Chinese restaurants in Vancouver, a city being touted by diners and critics alike as having the best Chinese cuisine in the world.
Six weeks of online voting for the diners' choice category of the Chinese Restaurant Awards is currently underway, until Nov. 15, and the winning eateries will be announced next January, along with the critics' choice of chefs' signature dishes.
Zhang said through translator and restaurant manager Yu Miao that he trained under a master chef in his native Shanghai and cooked in Tokyo before settling in Canada 15 years ago.
Stephanie Yuen, a former food writer for a Chinese newspaper and founder of the Chinese Restaurant Awards, said Zhang's dumplings stand out because of their thin, light pastry that surrounds a moist stuffing of ground pork, chicken stock and various flavours.
Vancouver's Chinese restaurants are influenced by a wide array of cooking styles from Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan, Yuen said.
"I personally believe that Vancouver offers the best Chinese cuisine in North America, if not in the world," she said. "And I've been back to Hong Kong and China and even Taiwan, places like that, and I still believe the whole Chinese culinary system is much better in Vancouver."
Yuen said fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean is a huge plus for Vancouver's Chinese restaurants when it comes to the availability of Dungeness crab, spot prawns and large geoduck clams, among other delicacies.
As a gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is also closer to fresh ingredients straight from China, including Szechuan peppercorns and bamboo shoots, she said.
Tung Chan, CEO of the Chinese social services agency Success, said he just returned from a world cruise, eating his way through stops in Asia, including Shanghai and Hong Kong.
He said the Chinese food in Vancouver and the municipality of Richmond, B.C. – home to Canada's largest number of Chinese residents – is "the best in the world."
"I ate at (a restaurant) in Hong Kong, right by the pier where our cruise ship docked, and the Peking duck I had there, we make better here," Chan said.
While Shanghai boasts the best dumplings in China, "a Richmond restaurant can do a better job," said Chan, who moved to Vancouver in 1974.
For him, other North American cities with large Chinese populations, including Toronto, New York and San Francisco, don't rate.
He said top chefs were among the professionals who left Hong Kong before 1997, when the city was handed over to China, taking their culinary skills to Vancouver.
"So it really raised the professionalism here."
Chan said some of Vancouver's older Chinese restaurants were forced to shut down because they couldn't compete with the quality food cooked up by chefs whose meals far eclipsed the olden days of chop suey and chicken chow mein.
A more recent influx of people from northern China has influenced Vancouver's Chinese cuisine yet again so there's now a greater emphasis on spicier food and noodles instead of rice.


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Old 01-26-2010, 08:27 PM   #2
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the rating isn't very good on, but will prob have to give it a try to see if it is good or not.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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more or less true, you'll get better individual restaurant in certain locations, but i find general overall food in Vancouver is just better.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:41 PM   #4
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the rating isn't very good on, but will prob have to give it a try to see if it is good or not.
dinehere ratings mean really little. the reviewer could either have terrible taste, or have based his review on one or two select things. case in point: people who give richmond sushi 5 stars, or consider stephos the best greek food in vancouver. if i use that website, im careful to sift through the reviews to make sure i read the reviews that seem to count!
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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another article saying the same thing
Vancouver may be hosting the WInter Olympics, but it also seems to triumph in dumpling devouring. Over 38 meals in 12 restaurants, our indefatigable writer beholds the thrill of noodle pulling. (Warning: Don't read this on an empty stomach)

Forget about dumpling hunting in San Francisco. Cancel that pilgrimage to Flushing, Queens, for fish ball soup. If it's Chinese food you're after, pack your chopsticks for Vancouver—and say a silent thanks to geopolitics as your plane lands. It was 1997's repatriation of Hong Kong that began the mass influx of Chinese to British Columbia's lower mainland, a migration which continues to this day, fueled in part by Canada's immigrant-friendly policies. Today, almost one in five of Vancouver's two million residents is ethnically Chinese.

Combine those demographics with the city's legendary seafood and you have the recipe for an outsize number of extremely good Cantonese, Shanghainese, and Szechuan restaurants. According to local Chinese food critic and writer Stephanie Yuen—who was born in Hong Kong and has eaten extensively there, in mainland China, and in Taiwan—Vancouver is home to the best Chinese food in the world. Period. Perhaps that explains why visitors from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have started showing up in Vancouver just to eat the food they so love. Maybe it's time you did likewise.

Best Seafood
The Golden Dungeness Crab at Ken's Chinese Restaurant gets top honors here. The sweetness of the crab's delicate flesh comes through loud and clear, thanks to a lightly spiced egg-white sauce that takes hours to make. You'll find Golden Dungeness Crab prepared this way in other restaurants, but it was invented right here by Ken himself, and no one does it better (1097 Kingsway; 604-873-6338; $11 per pound).

Best Dumpling
The award goes to the Xiao Long Bao at Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House (see Best Noodle Dish), where diners can watch as the dough for Shanghai-style soup dumplings is rolled out and packed with ground pork. The secret to Lin's win is the inclusion of tiny cubes of jellied pork stock—they melt in the steamer and give each bite a mouth-bursting pop of savory juiciness ($5$7). For a genteel, high-end dim sum feast, head to Sun Sui Wah (3888 Main St.; 604-872-8822; dumplings, $3$6) or Kirin Restaurant (201 City Square Mall, 555 W. 12th Ave.; 604-879-8038; dumplings, $4$6).

Best Only in Vancouver
We have a tie—both dishes from Yan's Garden Chinese Restaurant (see Best Chinese Dessert): the Sautéed Geoduck with Stir-Fried Mushrooms—a sweet giant burrowing clam paired with king oyster mushrooms and asparagus ($20)—and the 3 Red Chili Pepper Steamed Eel, a European and Asian delicacy that's at its briny best right here ($17).

Best Noodle Dish
The Preserved Vegetable and Pork Soup at Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House wins this category. The supple noodles are made in-house and arrive floating in a homemade chicken broth adulterated with pork bone for extra umami. Pair it with a light green tea called sau mei (1537 W. Broadway; 604-733-9696; $6). Need a fried noodle fix? Skip the chow mein and get the 5 Vermicelli with Pork, Chicken, and Shrimp at Ken's Chinese Restaurant (see Best Seafood). According to Stephanie Yuen, this dish has serious wok energy—you'll understand once you try it ($9).Best Breakfast
For a savory start to the day, visit the Congee Noodle House (see Best Soup) and order the Congee with Shredded Pork and Preserved Egg. Congee is a hearty rice gruel, and the serving is mammoth, so if you plan on having an appetite at lunch, put down the spoon when you're halfway through the bowl ($5).

Best Chinese Dessert
The Chinese are not known for their desserts, but the stir-fried 2 Golden Pumpkin with Honeyed Walnut at Yan's Garden Chinese Restaurant will make you wonder whether they've been getting a bum rap all these years. As with many Asian sweets, the dish will initially strike you as simplistic, but by the third bite you'll be in love with its crispy exterior, which hides a nutty, gently spicy interior that verges on nougat (9948 Lougheed Hwy., Burnaby; 604-421-8823; $11).

Best soup
We beg you, resist the urge to order wonton again and instead head to Loon's Noodle House for an edifying bowl of 4 Salted and Fresh Pork in a Hot Pot. This is sturdy northern peasant fare at its best, featuring big, soft hunks of Chinese ham in chicken broth, and pasta-like knots of tofu skin (4853 Main St.; 604-879-7879; $13). If you absolutely must have wonton soup, Congee Noodle House has the best in town (141 Broadway E.; 604-879-8221; $6).

Single best culinary reason to fly to Vancouver
The Guizhou-style Tilapia with Cilantro and Chili Sauce at S&W Pepper House. This locals-only Szechuan spot is the birthplace of a dish that is as mouth-numbingly hot as it is awesome (6820 No. 3 Rd., Richmond; 604-304-0118; $17).

Best Asian Mall
In nearby Richmond is the Yaohan Centre—think of it as a suburban reinterpretation of Hong Kong (without the jet lag!). Every evening, watch as throngs of Chinese mothers who can't be bothered to break out the wok pick up takeout for the whole fam. Do as they do and order the Curried Beef Brisket at Curry House ($8) and the Mini Hot Pot at Z's ($5), and finish with a $2 bowl of Bean Sprout Chow Mein at Wah Yuen Noodle House (3700 No. 3 Rd.; 604-231-0601).
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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interesting ratings
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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Lin's is definitely good. their service is somewhat inconsistent though because they're really busy and they have many many repeat customers, so their focus is generally on them. their dumplings.
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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I''l believe it when I try it. I don't really weigh in articles, reviews since they really don't mean shiet.

I mean the beef noodle place at Aberdeen, he's won awards for having the best beef noodle there is yet I think it's avg at best. Either way I'll check this place out when I can.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:07 PM   #9
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aberdeen foodcourt > yaohan foodcourt (except that curry place near the side entrance--love it!)
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:08 AM   #10
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I really dunno how Lin gets such high ratings year after year. Their food is good but not as good as everyone seem to claim. I know they do catering for Chinese tourists. And generally places that do catering aren't that heat. But I can see where it comes from if the review is White. Just like how all the tourist sites rave about Kirin on Alberni.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:25 AM   #11
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When they said Yaohan was the best asian mall, the article completely lost credit.

And I agree with TomBox N.
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peking duck is way better in Beijing, imo
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:13 AM   #13
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depends where you go. if u go to all the places reconmended for tourists, then its crap.

if you go to the few reconmended by locals, then very possibly the best.

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peking duck is way better in Beijing, imo
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:41 AM   #14
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The evaluation of tastes really depends on the person, just look at the thread about the beef noodles. Different people have different criteria and not everybody likes the same taste.
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