Established back in the 1890’s, Vancouver’s Chinatown is rich in history, architecture, and authentic eats. As the largest Chinatown in Canada, and third in North America, one can expect to find traditional and elevated dim sum and Asian fare, apothecaries and stores specializing in fine herbs and medicine, and a quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
This historic neighbourhood is home to some of the most iconic sites in Vancouver, including the Millennium Gate, a donation by the Peoples Republic of China for the Expo ’86 Worlds Fair. The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Garden was the first Chinese Garden built outside China and provides visitors a peaceful sanctuary amidst the surrounding urban environment. Names as the “shallowest commercial building in the world”, the Sam Kee Building stands at a ground floor depth of only 1.5 metres.
A walk around Chinatown will bring a sense of both traditional Chinese architecture and atmosphere, as well as a renewed vibrancy from up-and-coming chefs, bartenders and retailers.
Here’s our top picks for some Chinatown eats:
- Floata Seafood Restaurant – a place for a dim sum celebration, this 1000 seat restaurant has an army of chefs cooking feasts of fish and fowl.
- Jade Dynasty Restaurant – this quaint restaurant serves authentic Chinese dumplings, making visitors feel at home in their welcoming atmosphere.
- Chinatown BBQ – a glistening window display of lacquered roasted ducks and soy-steamed chickens will draw you in the 1960’s Hong Kong vibe restaurant.
- Bao Bei – meaning “precious” in Mandarin, this restaurant offers a playful spin on traditional Chinese dishes and an imaginative cocktail list to match.
- Phnom Penh – A Cambodian and Vietnamese landmark, expect to find a line at this restaurant offering signature dishes like their fried chicken wings and butter beef.
- Kissa Tanto – tucked away in an unassuming building, this elegant Japanese-Italian restaurant transports visitors to a moody 1960’s jazz café.
- New Town Bakery & Restaurant – this iconic restaurant serving Filipino and Chinese pastries has been filling the street with the sweet smell of baked goods since the 1980’s.