Vancouver benefits from continuous waves of newcomers who bring their culinary traditions and combine them with local ingredients to create a uniquely-Vancouver take on their cuisine that reflects their multi-cultural landscape. Classically trained, multi-award-winning Chef Alex Chen, is the co-founder of the acclaimed Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar that features fine dining with a seafood focus. Chef Chen prides himself on coaching the next generation of chefs and has become a respected mentor to many aspiring chefs.
Chef Chen shares below some of his favourite restaurants, places, and things to do in Vancouver.
Favourite Vancouver neighbourhood: My favourite neighbourhood is Steveston, in Richmond. I like going on Sundays for fish and chips and to buy fish direct from the fishermen. It’s such a gift to be able to hang out in Steveston and enjoy the afternoon with my family. You can plan your dinner at the dock and buy what’s fresh from the fishermen.
Favourite place to get your caffeine kick: Thomas Haas – not only do I get their coffee, but I definitely grab a ham and cheese croissant for breakfast. His version is amongst the best of the best!
An afternoon Vancouver adventure: My favourite secret spot is walking into the surrounding forest at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery in North Vancouver with my family and our dogs. It was always a fun spot for me growing up, always checking in at the hatchery to see the salmon in season. It’s only 15 minutes away from Downtown Vancouver, quick and fast. It transforms you into another setting, a place to connect with nature.
A well-loved dining spot in your neighbourhood: John 3:16 Malaysian Delights is a spot that connects me to my childhood memories of the Malaysian/Penang street food I grew up eating. Chicken satays, curry chicken puff, beef rendang, Hainanese chicken rice, bak kut the, nasi lemak, char koay teow, ipoh char fun are among the dishes I order most often.
Something about Vancouver few people might know: I love fruit and the fruit we have access to in Vancouver - from peaches, plums and cherries in the summer, to pears, apples and persimmons in the fall - are extremely abundant and affordable whereas people in Asia have to pay big money for them. If you are patient, you can start to enjoy beautiful exotic fruit from around the world, too. I have traveled and lived in many places and it’s safe to say that here in Vancouver we have some of the best fruit offering year-round!