Look Westward, Locavore: An Edible Guide to Vancouver

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Farmer’s Apprentice Restaurant
1535 West 6th
The name of this restaurant tells a lot but not all. The predictably farm-to-table establishment has a refreshingly imaginative menu with highlights including five-spice braised beef carpaccio with pickled cucumber, shallots and cilantro alongside the gem oysters with celeriac, an oyster emulsion and horseradish “snow.” Serving size tends to be small, so unless you’re ordering the Angus rib eye, consider ordering two plates. And for SCOBY enthusiasts, you can order kombucha either straight up or in cocktail form with gin, aperol, grapefruit and Angostura bitters.

Jade Dynasty
137 East Pender Street
The neighborhood radiating out from East Pender Street has been home to Vancouver’s Chinatown since the turn of the 20th century. Compact and diverse, the community seems both cosmopolitan and insular (if only enough to maintain its distinctiveness). Dim sum might be trending, but at Jade Dynasty, it’s tradition. Ingredients — including translucent rice noodles and taut shrimp dumplings — are prepared “in the old way,” as the management says.

When you go: A little can go a long way with dim sum, but however much you order, end with the jin deui: a spherical fried rice flour pastry rolled in sesame seeds and plumped with an ink-like black bean paste.

New Town Bakery
148 E Pender Street
Cross the Cambie Street from Jade Dynasty and you’re at New Town: a traditional Chinese bakery with goods that are so coveted that Seattleites have been known to regularly drive the two and a half hours north across the border solely for the establishment’s apple tarts. Fact or fiction, the tarts are undoubtedly swoon worthy; served piping hot, the filling is more savory than it is sweet.

When you go: Order the apple tart with a cup of coffee, and consider the egg tart or mooncake if interested in dabbling.

Hitoe Sushi
3347 West 4th Avenue
My favorite hole-in-the wall sushi spot. In Kitsilano but off the beaten track: funky decorations, a great collection of manga comics. Authentic sushi with a few nods to Vancouver’s obsession with all things healthy: organic and brown rice options, plus decorative twists (banana leaves and fresh fruit) that keep me coming back for more.
Karen le Billon

Salmon and Bannock
1128 West Broadway
The only First Nations restaurant in town, with delicacies that can be found nowhere else: Oolichan fish (a Pacific Northwest local species that grills to perfection); bannock (traditional pan-fried bread); “bush meat” (bison and elk); and salmon prepared in many different delicious ways. You can’t leave town without trying their “Indian candy!”
Karen le Billon

Additional recommendations: Earnest Ice Cream, Oyster Express

Photo credit: Farmer’s Apprentice Restaurant, Eric Meeker 

Basics • Where to drink • Where to stay • What to do • Digging deeper

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