Richmond, British Columbia is a city you may have heard of, but haven’t stopped in. The Vancouver Airport is here, and you’ll have to drive through it to get to Whistler. I personally drive through this city at least once or twice a year, but have never stopped. After getting the chance to explore the culinary aspect of this diverse city, I regret it.
It is a very diverse city, with Asians accounting for over 60% of the population. Located just 12 miles south of downtown Vancouver, it’s a beautiful city with mountains, the ocean, and so much culture. I saw very few chain restaurants here, and mainly family-run restaurants. On one street (known as “Food Street”), there’s over 200 Asian restaurants within three blocks. It’s an Asian-food lover’s dream! I went to so many delicious restaurants and met with different owners, so it was hard to narrow down my favorite. If you’re going to spend a few days or a week in Richmond, these are the top tastes of Richmond I recommend checking out.
Coffee Tasting at Rocanini
Being from Seattle means I love coffee, but it also self-admittedly means I’m a coffee snob. Local roasters typically have very good coffee though, and Rocanini did not disappoint. We tried a variety of different coffees, with my favorite being the Brazilian roast. Our barista prepared pour over samples for us, and we even got to see siphoned coffee. Another part I loved about Rocanini is the owner doesn’t just work behind the scenes, but visits each location and can even occasionally be found behind the bar making drinks. That’s true dedication to his craft in my opinion.
Macarons at L’Opera Patisserie
When I first walked in this cafe, it felt so out of place. This cute space is decorated with antique furniture and plays Parisian music in the background – you’ll feel like you’re at a cafe in France. They have a wide variety of teas to choose from, with croissants and other pastries to go with them. I was most impressed with their selection of macarons – they had at least 20 to choose from. It’s a quiet, quaint little place that’s perfect for when you need to get away from the busier parts of town.
Tea Tasting at Yuan Chen
After a busy day of running around, this small tea tasting shop was to relaxing to go to. Two sisters own this shop, and can give tea tastings upon request of the world-famous ancient tree Pu’Erh, which is sourced directly from Meng Ku, China. We went through a tea ceremony, where hot water is poured over and over again over the same leaves. It was so interesting how the tea would taste slightly different each time with a different color. The sisters are very informative and can answer any questions you have about their tea or the process. They also have the prettiest china available for purchase if you want to take a cup or pot home with you.
Catch of the Day at Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant
Located in the adorable village of Steveston, Blue Canoe is right on the water in Bayview Pier. Heated outdoor seating is available, providing views of the marina and waterfront stores. I wanted to try local seafood and got the catch of the day. It was cooked to perfection along with roasted vegetables and a potato cake. The ambience and view makes it the perfect place for a lunch date on a sunny day.
Sticky Toffee Pudding at Gudrun
Hidden behind two stores in Steveston, this is the happening place at night in an otherwise quiet village. The very humorous owner came over to introduce himself and make sure we were enjoying the food. Their toffee pudding is out of this world, with gooey toffee sauce covering the warm brownie. I paired it with a stout, but they’re known for their wide selection of wine.
Dim Sum at Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant
If you love dim sum, this is the place to go. Just for lunch on a weekday, the place was absolutely packed. Make a reservation in advance to make sure you get a spot. The three of us split seaweed salad, shrimp dumplings, and three other dishes, which was more than enough food. I loved how the restaurant was packed with businessmen on their lunch and large families catching up. I’ve never had dim sum before, but it seems like it isn’t just a meal, but an event.
Food Court at Aberdeen Centre
This mall is one of the largest Asian malls in North America, which makes sense why the food court was huge. With seating for 800 people, there are dozens of restaurants to choose from. It provides for a very personalized meal, as you can get dumplings for an appetizer in one place, pho for an appetizer at another place, and a bubble waffle (very popular) for desert at yet another. They had some very unique food options as well – tuna pizza crepe anyone?
Fruit Tea at Sugarholic Cafe
Also at the Abderdeen Centre is this European-styled cafe. This fusion-style tea house had very interesting flavors of tea, from Chinese Rose to Red Date Longan Tea. I had to open up a kettle to see how these teas worked. Dried fruit is put where loose leaf tea might go, and the natural flavors make delicious tea. Some of them had sweetener added to them, but I found mine was delicious without any added sugar. You can also do high tea to go with your tea if you wish.
Blueberry Ice Wine at LuLu Winery
I had never had an ice wine before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I got a tour of the winery first and was explained how they make wine (they quite literally wait until the grapes are frozen to pick them). The wine goes through a slow cool fermentation process, which really helps to bring the berry flavor out. The blueberry ice wine was sweet, but had an aftertaste of blueberries (I’m not the best at describing wine, but it was hands-down tasty!).
High Tea at Globe@YVR
The restaurant in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport is actually in the Vancouver Airport, which I found so convenient for anyone with a layover or just wanting to be at the airport early. They offer daily high tea, which is a must if you’re in the area. The attentive servers first start you with your choice of a variety of different teas (I chose a Rooibos). Next, they come out with a three-tiered plater stacked with mini sandwiches, fresh fruit with Devonshire cream, pastries, and scones. As Easter was coming up, they even had a chocolate egg and a Peep on top of the platter. They cater to those with food allergies and restrictions as well. It’s worth the price – you’ll feel like royalty, if only for an afternoon.
Craft Beer at BRB Brewing
I will never turn down a visit to a brewery, as you may know by now, so I was excited to visit BRB. I happened to be there on St. Patrick’s Day, so the bar and its waitstaff were fully dressed for the occasion. They brew their own beer right in the building, and the whole restaurant has a fun vibe to it. There’s plenty of TVs for sports (aka hockey) and a small area live music can be played, as they were setting up for later when I visited. I liked the Kolsch out of all my samples the best, but they all were good.
Next time you’re headed to Vancouver, make sure to stop by Richmond. There’s so much culture and diversity there that you couldn’t possibly start to cover it in a day, but it’ll open up your eyes to a city that’s unique in it’s own way. I can’t believe I’ve drove through this city so many times without stopping. I can’t wait to visit again!
I was a guest of Tourism Richmond for this tour, but all opinions are my own as always.