Vancouver rises as a foodie capital: From Michelin restaurants to street ...
Posted on Tuesday 12 June 2012
in Shangri La, Holidays, Canada, Vancouver
By Rory MacTavish
Canada's West Coast has been attracting thousands of visitors in past years with innovative restaurants, budget-friendly food trucks and trendy cocktail bars, making it a breeze for Kiwis to spend their entire holiday sampling the region's culinary treasures. This summer, New Zealanders looking for some cultural immersion can take flights to Vancouver and experience the best of the True North, from the most luxurious places to stay to the oldest neighborhoods to visit.
Indulge in luxury at the Shangri-La
The Shangri-La Hotel is situated in the heart of the city, offering jaw-dropping views of Vancouver's skyline, as well as the Coast Mountain Range and Pacific Ocean. All of the rooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows, but Kiwis can request a room with an outdoor patio to truly savour the lit-up skyscraper view of downtown. A bit of lush forest even peeks into view from the balcony, as the fir trees of Stanley Park and its blue lake waters can be seen in the distance.
Just seconds away from travellers' hotel rooms is Market, the onsite three-star Michelin restaurant, headed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Kiwis can choose from a total of four distinct dining atmospheres within its quarters, each of which has menus that place an emphasis on fresh, local seafood. For a dramatic dining experience that will make Vancouver visitors feel like A-list celebrities, guests can spend an evening at Xi Shi Lounge. The two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows overlook an outdoor art exhibition, curated by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Live piano music often entertains diners as they sip premium cocktails or chat while enjoying afternoon tea.
A taste of Thai on West Fourth
While Vancouver's Chinatown boasts a multitude of ethnic eats, the residential West Fourth Avenue houses one of the best Thai food restaurants in the district. The minimalist lounge Maenam is a central hub for stylish young professionals and lovers of prawn cakes and unique cocktails. Chef Angus An creates dishes that blend hot, sour, sweet and salty styles based on traditional Thai recipes. While the permanent menu boasts an array of succulent dishes, the best option for travel companions is the chef's special dinner, which combines five or more savoury dishes chosen by An and served in the traditional Thai style. For those who are looking to expand their knowledge of quality cocktails, the Siam Sunray is spicy and refreshing, made with vodka, lime, ginger, roasted coconut and bird's-eye chilies.
"Eat Your Cart Out" on Vancouver streets
The best way to enjoy outdoor historic sites while on Vancouver holidays is with a hearty and delicious snack in hand. About 30 company owners have caught onto this idea, creating a food truck and cart nation in the heart of the city. Because of the rapid influx of these portable eateries, the walking guides of The Tour Guys company have designed an "Eat Your Cart Out" food tour, where visitors can sample a handful of various street vendors before gathering at a local pub and sharing with others which menu was their favourite of the bunch.
“We want to give locals and tourists alike a taste of Vancouver,” Tour Guys guide Jessica O’Neill said. “The food carts that we’ve selected are unbelievable – fresh, local and inventive. Combined with some fun food facts, interactive stories and quirky food history, this tour is going to be our best one yet!”
One of the prized mobile carts that walking groups may stop at is the Kaboom Box, which boasts a staff of experienced chefs with a history in the food truck business. The team uses only Oceanwise Certified seafood and fresh organic vegetables in their dishes, such as their famous hot smoked salmon "Salmwich." For an added bonus, guests can order the BC Poutine, topped with local mushroom gravy and real cheese curds.
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