Bring Your Appetite to Richmond’s Food Street

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Where to start, with the bingsoo or the bibimpap, the crêpes or the xiao long bao? Whatever you decide, one thing is certain: You certainly won’t be leaving Richmond’s Alexandra Road hungry.

These three blocks just east of No. 3 Road, between Leslie Road and Alderbridge Way, are chock-full of restaurants—some 200 of them. The strip is known locally as “Wai Sek Kai,” or Food Street. Here you’ll find everything from Cantonese restaurants to hot pot cafés, izakayas, tea rooms, noodle joints, sushi bars, dessert cafés, and strip-mall hole-in-the-wall eateries.

Here are 15 of our favourite hot spots (and hot pot spots, for that matter) along Food Street. Start your foodie adventure right here.

Note: A word to the wise—during peak hours, traffic can be gridlocked on Food Street, with nary a parking spot to be seen. Savvy diners take the Canada Line, disembark at either Aberdeen or Lansdowne station, and walk the couple of blocks to Alexandra Road. Also note that many Richmond restaurants only accept cash and some don’t serve alcohol, so prepare accordingly.

BC Map 200 km 124 mi Richmond Richmond
The tiramisu at Leisure Tea & Coffee | Lesley Chang/Tourism Richmond

The TRUE’STEA

This might just be the most fun you can have with your food. This 6,000-square-foot modern Taiwan-style restaurant not only serves a vast selection of teas, tea mousses, tea slushies, and desserts, but also offers online darts machines, private party rooms, auto-mah-jong tables, huge screens showing concerts and sporting events, and live music on weekends.

 

Leisure Tea & Coffee

Speaking of fun: Who doesn’t love Taiwanese bubble tea with its toothsome tapioca pearls? This friendly bubble tea café offers a wide range of teas—green, red, black, herbal—and flavours, as well as Asian desserts like Japanese cheesecake and baobing, a Taiwanese shaved-ice sweet that’s covered in fruit, jelly, taro pearls, and other toppings.

 

Chatime

Chatime is one of the world’s fastest-growing bubble tea-franchises, with more than 1,000 locations from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia to right here on Alexandra Road. “Cha” means “tea” in Chinese, and this popular tea room brews theirs fresh using tea leaves (never powders or mixes) and other high-quality ingredients. They’re also always coming up with exciting new flavour fusions, making this one spot to come back to again and again.

Stewed beef brisket with rice roll in hot pot at Yue Delicacy in Richmond | Lesley Chang/Tourism Richmond

Me + Crêpe

The Taiwanese dan bing is perhaps the best breakfast food you’ve never tried: an omelet married with a crêpe and filled with a Chinese donut. It’s just one of the savoury Asian crêpes on offer at this tiny Taiwanese spot. Others are filed with delicacies such as foie gras, BBQ pork, and sliced duck. A new concept for Greater Vancouver, and one that’s already earning loads of fans.

 

Yue Restaurant

For those days when nothing will do but classic dim sum, there’s Yue Restaurant. Expect white tablecloths, elegant décor, posh clientele, attentive table service, and, of course, an impressive selection of dumplings and other small bites. Also known as “yum cha,” which translates to “taking tea,” dim sum is a grand Cantonese tradition. All the favourites are here, the shrimp dumplings known as har gow and the pork ones called siu mai, as well as congee, pork buns, rice noodles, spring rolls, and more exotic fare, such as steamed scallop dumplings with truffle oil.

 

Haroo Korean Restaurant

Seek out this small, family-run restaurant up on the second floor of Venezia Place and you’ll discover a homey little spot where the food is as delicious as the atmosphere is welcoming. The husband-wife owners (she’s also the chef) serve up classic favourites such as bibimbap (rice bowl), buchimgae (fried seafood pancakes), and kimchi fried rice, along with a delightful selection of the complimentary side dishes known as banchan.

Claypot Hot Pot & BBQ in Richmond | Lesley Chang/Tourism Richmond

Silver Tower Café

Hong Kong fusion restaurants—sometimes called cha chaan teng—are affordable eateries that combine culinary traditions from across Asia and Europe (especially Great Britain) for a cuisine unlike any other. Silver Tower is one of the longest-standing and best places to enjoy this eclectic style of cuisine. Located in Connaught Plaza, it’s open past midnight, serving up mixed grills, baked spaghetti (try the bolognaise with ox tongue), congee, and sandwiches.

 

Claypot Hot Pot & BBQ

Hot pot is the very best sort of communal dining. Simply pick a broth—mild or eye-wateringly spicy—then select all the things you’d like to cook in it, which can include sliced meat, fish, veggies, noodles, dumplings, assorted mushrooms, and delicacies like beef tripe and pork stomach. Everything arrives at the table on a big tray, and you just keep adding bits to the broth and nibbling away until you’re full. Claypot also offers a tower with broth on the bottom, a grill above that, and a steaming basket on the top, providing an even wider range of ways to cook your meal.

 

G-Men @ Nan Chuu Ramen Izakaya

Like travelling to Tokyo without the 10-hour flight. This trendy—and busy—izakaya serves up some of Richmond’s best bowls of tonkotsu (pork bone broth) and torigara (chicken broth) loaded with noodles, meat, eggs, and an impressive selection of other toppings. Prefer a rice bowl to ramen? They have that, too, with a range of donburi topped with everything from spicy cod roe to BBQ pork. A perfect spot for a rainy day or just about any time.

The spicy tuna rolls at Seto | Lesley Chang/Tourism Richmond

Shanghai Morning

All the traditional Shanghainese favourites are on the menu here—crispy smoked duck, drunken chicken, fried noodles, pan-fried pork buns—but the best reason to visit is the xiao long bao, or pork soup dumplings. These tender soup dumplings create their own broth inside delicate dough wrappers as they steam. They have a cult-like following in Richmond, with diners obsessively seeking the city’s best. Increasingly, they’ve been finding them right here.

 

CoCoRu Beer & Chicken

Korean fried chicken continues its takeover of Greater Vancouver. Who can resist the crispy batter and tender meat, the spicy sauces or the Snowfall Chicken, which comes smothered in béchamel sauce and a drift of fluffy grated Grana Padano cheese? As the name suggests, CoCoRu serves craft beer, but it also offers an intriguing selection of Korean alcoholic beverages such as flavoured Makgeolli (sparkling rice wine) and soju (a low-alcohol spirit similar to vodka).

 

Seto

Serious about sushi? So is Seto. Their list of nigiri, sashimi, and maki is massive, with all the usual rolls and cones as well as the square-pressed sushi called battera, all of it fresh and clean and beautifully prepared. The best way to enjoy: Grab a seat in one of their self-contained booths, order the omakase, and let the chef prepare a feast of the best that’s just arrived fresh from the market.

The bingsoo at Snowy Village Dessert Café | Lesley Chang/Tourism Richmond

Beijiang Restaurant

Beijiang recently moved from its busy Alexandra Road spot to quieter (and flashier) digs around the corner on Leslie Road. But it’s worth following along for the Chinese halal menu, which features gourmet meat dishes cooked in traditional Uyghur style, such as the special cumin lamb and roasted lamb ribs. You will also find other regional Chinese dishes here, as well as fusion fare like haggis hotpot, but lamb is the speciality. And despite its Muslim origins, the restaurant also serves beer, wine, and baijiu.

 

iTofu

When iTofu first opened at the Richmond Night Market, it was an instant success, with hungry guests lining up for its iTofu pudding, drink, and “iTofucotta.” Now that it’s opened its first storefront, crowds are still clamouring for the addictive tofu desserts.

 

Snowy Village Dessert Café

Think: A mountain of snowy shaved ice milk, creamy-cold and fabulously flaky, topped with fruit, condensed milk, and fruit syrup. The Korean treat known as “bingsoo” is meant to be shared, though it’s so good you might not want to. This dessert café was the first Canadian location for a much-loved Asian chain; several have opened since, and given their popularity, we can expect to see lots more bingsoo around BC.

Header image: Dining at the Golden Village district in Richmond | Grant Harder

POSTED BY: Joanne Sasvari

From: North Vancouver
Joanne Sasvari has travelled to many places around the globe, writing about food, drink and culture, but her favourite destination is right here at home in British Columbia. Based in North Vancouver, she writes about BC for a variety of print and online publications, and is also the author of Frommer’s EasyGuide to Vancouver & Victoria. When not exploring the most delicious corners of the province, she edits Westcoast Homes & Design magazine and uses her Wine and Spirits Education Trust training to savour the best local libations.

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