Look Westward, Locavore: An Edible Guide to Vancouver

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Granville Island Public Market
1661 Duranleau Street
Granville Island Public Market is the year-round hub for local food, drink and crafts. Think of it as your [7-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year] covered farmers market. Host to dozens of producers and vendors of everything ranging from B.C. oysters to house-cured guanciale, it’s best to visit with a healthy appetite and a flexible time frame. Go for lunch and allow some time either before or after to browse for dinner ingredients, try samples or shop for souvenirs. Taking time to wander is recommended, as are these vendors:

Benton Brothers Fine Cheese: This is the place that’s believed to have broken the mostly cheddar-serving cheese shop mold in Vancouver. Find your Époisses and Mont d’Or here, alongside a large and interesting Canadian cheese selection.

L’Épicerie Rotisserie & Gourmet Shop: This compact épicerie delivers the best of the French tradition. Find fancy pantry staples like infused oils and vinegars alongside specialty mustards and spices. Their B.C.-sourced meats are one of their obvious fortes.

When you go: Order the shaved lamb with caramelized onions, mushrooms, lamb jus and porcini aioli.

Oyama Sausage Co: The New York Times once said that charcutier Jan van der Lieck “may be the most gifted, and certainly the most diversely talented meat man in North America.” The multifarious sausage menu (which changes weekly) speaks for itself: red wine elk, venison with blueberries, pancetta lemongrass pork sausages and bison with arugula and roasted garlic are only a handful of options available this time of year.

South China Seas Trading Co: Vancouver’s immense diversity means that ingredients and foods that might otherwise be exotic rarities are accessible. This market stand encompasses specialty ingredients under at least nine major geographical categories including Mexican/Latin American, Far Eastern and African. Peruse their produce selection, which might include Australian finger limes, Brazilian caja-manga or Thai green eggplants depending on the time of year.

Day Vendors: The market is home to more than just its full-time vendors. Thanks to its day vendor program, some of the finest local artists and food and drink producers rotate through market booths on a weekly basis. These businesses are required to have juried approval before setting up shop and are mostly full-time professionals selling everything from flavored nuts to handmade tableware.

Additional recommendations: Armando’s Finest Quality Meats, Chocolatas, Duso’s Fresh Pasta & Sauces, Granville Island Tea Company, The Salmon Shop, Seafood City

Stanley Park + Seawall
One of the advantages of visiting Vancouver is that it’s a destination for both “beach people” and “mountain people.” Peaks that rim the city hug the coastline and allow for roughly 11 miles of beaches within city limits. At the same time, 11 percent of the city belongs to its 220 parks that blur the lines between the urban landscape and West Coast rainforest.

The largest is Stanley Park, which encompasses nearly 1,000 acres in Vancouver’s West End. The massive public space also includes over 15 miles of forest trails, multiple art installations, an aquarium, several gardens and other seasonal attractions. Surrounded by the Pacific, the roughly five-mile Seawall path borders the park and is open to both pedestrians and bikers. The near century-old wall follows the city’s coastline and has various entry points spanning from Kitsalano Park near Granville Island to the Convention Center in downtown (see map).

Wherever you start, find yourself here when you need a bite and a breather:

Go Fish Ocean Emporium
1505 West First Avenue
A fish shack that’s right on fisherman’s wharf near Granville Island. It’s a takeout fish and chips place with amazing tacos and a great Asian-style coleslaw. The fish is as fresh as it could possibly be. It ain’t fancy, there’s a small covered outdoor eating area, so most people take it to go and sit on the Seawall.
Bambi Edlund, Edible designer

Photo credit: Eric Meeker, Flickr/Sébastien Launay

Basics • Where to drink • Where to eat • Where to stay • Digging deeper

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