Vancouver has a lot to boast about - besides being one of the most livable and beautiful cities in the world, it also has a reputation for being among the most diverse; roughly half of all Vancouverites identify strongly with a second culture outside of North America . Fortunately, what that means for you is that some of the best traditional cuisine outside of several continents can be found in every corner of this town. From pop-up Lebanese diners to Chinese apothecary cocktails, let us break down Vancouver's love affair with fusion cuisine for you with this guide to the top eateries.
Local independent chef Abdallah El Chami - or simply Dallah - is a well-known figure in Vancouver's foodie scene. Having started to learn the art of Lebanese cooking from his mother since childhood, his expertise eventually extended to Spanish and Asian flavours as well. Today, tickets to his pop up events at hip, intimate local eateries are a coveted item. Previous dinners have seen him serve shawarma tacos as well as cream-and-walnut stuffed pancakes - all traditional Lebanese concepts updated with the modern flavours of BC. The artistry with which he builds these dishes from his canon of childhood recipes is very impressive and so delicious. Oh, and https://www.instagram.com/thedallah/">his Instagram account is #foodporn heaven too.
Can't get enough alcoholic goodness? Check out the expert mixology of The Keefer Bar - it has set the bar pretty high for Asian-inspired cocktails in Vancouver. The Chinese apothecary theme is extremely well played out, both in terms of the decor and the menu. Every detail shows careful consideration and selection: from the slightly creepy acupuncture charts and IV drips along the walls, right down to the traditional medicinal herbs in your drink (all bought from apothecaries in surrounding Chinatown). Pick a spot amongst the well-dressed clientele on the cozy patio, or scoot your way into the dimly lit and swanky interior for a drink… or four. Trust me, you won’t be able to stop at only a couple. Flip through their large menu of drink options, or go straight for the tried-and-trues like the Rosemary Gimlet or the gingery Dragon Fly.
A recipient of numerous foodie awards from both critics and diners, Bao Bei is definitely not your grandma's Chinese restaurant. Situated two doors down from The Keefer Bar, the 1900s-era building is bedecked with neon signage and staffed with impressively skilled mixologists - perfect for enjoying a smooth sake cocktail or a plate of 5-spice duck salad while seated on antique Chinese bar stools. The King Pea Tips, Crispy Pork Belly and Shao Bing come highly recommended. Also popular: challenging a friend to a game of Street Fighter on the vintage arcade machine while tipsy on Hearty Palomas and Chino Margaritas.
A recent project by some of the best restauranteurs in Vancity (including Bao Bei’s own Tannis Ling), Kissa Tanto is already a media darling and local favourite despite being just several months old. If Japanese-Italian fusion fare sounds questionable to you at first glance, your doubts are guaranteed to be dispelled once you take a bite into their deliciously creative fare. Working off of a combination of the "delicate flavours of Japan and the warmth of Italian cooking", their Shiso Albacore Crudo and Yuzu Eggplant Fritters will make you wonder why no one's thought of marrying these two cuisines together sooner.L'Abattoir
is a top entry on every Vancouver foodie's list, and a can't-miss for every visitor. Seated in the heart of Gastown, the award-winning industrial-chic establishment offers a fusion of many things: West Coast dishes with a French twist, upscale dining with an approachable ambiance, and a colourful history (it used to be the site of a 19th century jail as well as a slaughterhouse) with contemporary aesthetics. Culinary delights such as the Foie Gras Torchon, Baked Pacific Oysters, and Steak Diane never fail to disappoint, as does their famous fresh-baked starter bread. If you're thirsty, the bartender can whip you up any drink that your heart desires, on the menu or off.
It's likely that you will never find a more hip and innovative bratwurst eatery than at Bestie . Here you can taste German-inspired sausages that are so simple yet so flawlessly meaty and hearty that they bring tears of joy to diners' eyes. The Canadian twist to their recipes means that you can expect some unconventional proteins - turkey chorizo and bison are popular - in addition to the slightly more traditional beef stout wursts and pretzel boards. Everything is made locally with local ingredients whenever possible, including the daily mustard and all the craft beers on tap.
Like the historical Silk Road of centuries past, East is East connects the cultures of South and Central Asia with the Middle East - but it does so through irresistibly delicious food. Brothers Mustafa and Razaviah Reza travelled extensively through Afghanistan and India before bringing their culinary experiences to the West Coast, and it shows; rich spices abound in every dish, from the chai tea served at reception to the curries and rosewater-pistachio pudding. The decor and live entertainment are also hybrid mixes of the best of several worlds, with dancers and musicians from India, Iran, Romania, Spain, and China performing amongst the Moroccan lanterns and cozy imported Persian rugs.
We know, we know... there are already three other East Asian fusion spots on this list - but we really can't leave this last one out. Sai Woo is another local restaurant doing fusion right: culinary masterpieces that are easy on the eyes and the palate, top notch service, and tasteful references to the neighbourhood's historic Chinese heritage. Claiming themselves to be "Canadian-born Chinese cuisine made with local ingredients," Chef Keev Mah really delivers with the Sea Bream Ceviche, Chinatown Chicken, and - for the more adventurous eaters - grilled chicken hearts. The interiors also boast an intimate lounge setting that is perfect for date nights or a casual evening out, while the building exteriors reflect the original Sai Woo Chop Suey restaurant from 1925.delicious dim sum spots and these fab sushi restos .