Surrounded by water on three sides and a gateway to Asia, Vancouver, British Columbia, is a foodie destination that fuses culinary influences from Japan, China, and Southeast Asia with Canadian classics, including salmon and maple syrup. Vancouver is a melting pot of cultures and what's being dished up reflects the influences of the Canadian Pacific Northwest, European settlers, First Nation communities, and Asian immigrants. With cheap flights to Vancouver, travel to one of North America's most popular cities (and host of the 2010 Winter Olympic games), and see why eating in Vancouver is such a treat!
A bit off the tourist track is the Red Wagon Cafe, a neighborhood favorite on East Hastings Street. The pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels-spiked maple syrup at $13 is a Red Wagon classic, and certainly a robust way to start the day. If feeling ambitious that morning, there's the "Super Trucker" which adds two eggs to the pulled pork pancakes. Or, if looking for a lighter breakfast alternative, the cafe also makes a tofu scramble with tomatoes and mushrooms for $9. Walk off breakfast with a hike around Stanley Park's one thousand acres.
For eating on the go so you can enjoy more Vancouver sightseeing, the city serves up the perfect street meat in which East meets West: the Japa Dog. Like food trucks roaming the city, the Japa Dog vendor circles Vancouver's hot spots, including Granville Island, a popular farmers market and shopping area. The Japa Dog is an inexpensive lunch and a local interpretation of the classic New York-style frankfurter. Toppings include seaweed, shredded daikon, avocado (very American West Coast), Japanese noodles, okonomiyaki sauce, and you've got a Vancouver culinary institution. Japa Dog also sells a dessert dog called the "Ice Age," which is a deep-fried hot dog bun filled with vanilla, mango, strawberry, black sesame or macha ice cream
During my last trip to Vancouver, I was treated to Le Crocodile, and although this is a more expensive restaurant, think of all the money you saved eating a Japa Dog for just a few dollars. Le Crocodile is a three-star Michelin restaurant near Robson Street, a popular shopping area. Opened by French expatriate Michel Jacob, Le Crocodile's menu fuses the best of French and Western Canadian fare, like wild British Columbia salmon with saffron sauce or wild mushroom soup with truffles or grilled prawns or pasta or fresh Atlantic lobster…I could go on and on . And since the restaurant is owned by a French chef, the wine list doesn't disappoint either. Meals end with a plate of chocolate crocodiles.
Whether by the slice or by the box, True Confections satisfies any late-night sugar craving and is open until 1 a.m. on weekends, so no need to rush between dinner and dessert. There are two locations to choose from, and this dessert destination appeals to travelers of all ages, from families to singles to senior citizens. If in a chocoholic mood, order the Polar Bear Hot Chocolate to enjoy with a slice of Mud Cake. True Confections also offers a summer cocktail and ice cream bar menus.
For more information about visiting Vancouver, check out http://us.canada.travel/ or www.tourismvancouver.com/.
Photo credit: GoToVan