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So Long Honkouver, and Thanks for the Five Pounds(kg)

July 1, 2007

I don’t even think I am through with Portland culinary exploits, but before too much time passes, I must write about Vancouver. 

Wow.  I am full.  Like, eternally full.  I won’t need to eat for the next week or so after I return.  This is difficult to admit since I am well aware of the hunger crisis across the globe, but I’ve done plenty of good deeds along the way too.  I’m just not going to write about them here. 

Spending four days and nights in Vancouver sent me into a veritable food frenzy.  This is a condition that involves scouring food guides, travel guides, quizzing everyone from the wino on the corner to the ex-pat friend from high school to the B and B owner, until finally I had The List.  The List, quite simply, is the list of restaurants that will ensure my full and complete culinary mission has been accomplished by the time the trip is over.  The List must straddle lunch through dessert, food stand to swanky star chef restaurant, and must certainly fulfill one and only one condition.  It must be something I cannot find in my hometown.  Which isn’t hard.  The first thing that struck me about Vancouver was the sense that I was in a truly international city.  Everyone here speaks at least three languages, and their English is flawless.  I was immediately impressed and overwhelmed with the cultural diversity of Vancouver.  The second thing I discovered when reaching the huge city via one two-lane street which is not a freeway (there are no freeways running through Vancouver) was  that I did not care for the skyline.  One would think that with a city of six million (a total guess), huge mountains, and an ocean that the skyline would be varied, architecturally stimulating and picturesque.  Actually, there are few skyscrapers and the ones that do exist are all apartment buildings that are oddly spaced around the city.   I still do not understand where people work.  Due to both these factors, locals have deemed the city “Honkouver.”  Much of the diversity is due to scores of Honk Kongers who now call Vancouver home, and have developed the skyline into one that looks a lot like their own city of origin.  Oops, I’ve just gotten started and I already have to run.  More later, now that I finally have reasonably priced internet access.  Also, we took a ton of food pictures of our Vancouver food adventures, so I’ll have those up when I get back.

Update:  Here is a photo of a fantastically endless dim sum brunch. The best part of using food as the central guiding motivation for a vacation is you end up seeing the most interesting parts of town to get to the restaurant destinations on your list.  We had to drive through the dingy, controversial side of Vancouver in order to reach The Pink Pearl on East Hastings.  Prostitutes, winos, and people actually shooting drugs in broad daylight lined the streets of Eastern Vancouver.  The Olympics should be fun.  Anyway The Pink Pearl was filled with Asian-Canadians on business lunches.  I think we were put in the tourist section, where we had to help fellow diners navigate the confusing dim sum menu.  One of the travesties of living in Asheville is the devastating lack of dim sum.  The restaurant now known as C.F. Chan’s attemped Dim Sum when they first opened, and I thought they did a decent job with it, but according to them, it did not sell well enough so now they are just serving regular Chinese with a Thai spin.  Ah, the American South. 

Dim sum is a marvelous brunch of dumplings, rice balls, sesame cakes and other gelatinous items rolling by on carts again and again.  Simply sit, point, and feast.  The tea was honestly mindblowing, pungent and sweet and earthy without a hint of bitterness.   The seafood inside various shrimp cakes and other dumplings was irresistably fresh and perfect.  I loved the sticky rice, which has been known to go wrong in past experiences.  The taro pork dumplings were flaky and crispy with multiple layers: first crunch, then sweet, and finally the savory meat within.  I was in heaven.  Pink Pearl Heaven.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2009 12:13 pm

    Variety of very delicious dessert and food

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