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grandmere Feb 3rd, 2010 09:42 PM

Suggestions for Vancouver-themed Food?
This post might be a bit tangential, but anyway here goes: I am having friends over to watch the opening ceremonies on 2/12 and want to serve snacks with a "Vancouver theme". Does anyone have suggestions for food that would be typical of the area?
Thank you!

laverendrye Feb 4th, 2010 04:57 AM

See the Richmond Dim Sum thread as a start. The NY Times article is a good overview of the Vancouver food scene.

BAK Feb 4th, 2010 05:26 AM

Vancouver's a strange place, food-wise.

It's at the forefront of trndy -- if you want sauteed goat's eyeballs drizzled with squid ink and saffron, that's the town.

And the Vancouver "food scene."

But for real Vancouver food, look to the ocean, and look to the Okanagon and the Fraser valley.

All kinds of salmon; fillets, smoked tidbits, steaks -- that's real vancouver.

Same goes for shrimps and for crab.

On several visits, I just went to The Cannery and told the waiter I wanted "lots of crab and shrimps." Worked well.

And Vancouver is a fruit heaven. At the Granville Island market, I'd see the fruit carefully arranged. STrawberries in pyramids, for instance, instead of just dumped into the box.

No lobster -- wrong coast.


immimi Feb 4th, 2010 08:35 AM

If you can get them - spot prawns are a local shellfish and
delicious. Indian candy - salmon strips smoked with a sweet
sour marinade are perfect for appetizers. Smoked scallops
are another treat.

Vancouver is sushi central - the perfect finger food and, of
course, anything dim sum is totally in keeping.

We also do a lot with goat's cheese in all its form.

Desserts? Nanaimo bars, natch!

Carmanah Feb 4th, 2010 08:36 AM

Think Japanese and Chinese-inspired cuisine with an emphasis on lightness, freshness and local seafood.

When I think of Vancouver food, I think salmon and sushi right off the bat. That epitomizes the local Vancouver culinary culture = fresh local seafood and our love of Asian cuisine. Sushi here is cheap, fresh, and everywhere.

What I'd do:

Have a platter of smoked samon lox with cream cheese, fresh dill, lemon slices, cracked pepper, capers, and red onion slices. Serve it on slices of fresh baugette or bagels. Emphasis on the salmon, less so on the bread.

Have a big bowl of fresh homemade sunomono salad (glass noodles in Japanese rice wine vinegar dressing with fresh cucumber slices, sesame seeds, lemon, and fresh hand-peeled shrimp)

Then buy an assorted sushi platter.

For dessert, have a bowl of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries with homemade whipped cream and fresh mint leaves.


You now have a Vancouver-themed dinner.

If you were even more ambitious, you could find yourself some BC spot prawns, Dungeness crab, or roast yourself some halibut steaks. Or you could start off with some gyozas/potstickers and some dim sum (shrimp or pork dumplings)

Hope that gives you some ideas!

Carmanah Feb 4th, 2010 08:37 AM

Oh, Salt Spring Island goat's cheese on Raincoast crisps (served with a side of ginger fig jam). :D

Carmanah Feb 4th, 2010 08:40 AM

Another idea - if you have access to a BBQ, BBQ a salmon (with or without a soy sauce/ginger marinade) and serve it with fresh squeezed lemon and fresh dill. Maybe with a side of homemade potato salad (using local BC new potatos) and local Chilliwack corn on the cob. Okay, maybe save that for the summer months! ;)

Hope that helps!

(Now I'm hungry!)

traveller69 Feb 4th, 2010 08:47 AM

Actually blueberries are a more local berry - used to pick them on Mt Seymour every year. I make a pate of smoked salmon with cream cheese, lemon zest etc and capers. It may be harder to serve but I also make smoked salmon chowder and my friends always expect that when they visit. We also have a large East Indian population so curries are always good too.

Carmanah Feb 4th, 2010 09:02 AM

That's true - good call. I grew up in Richmond where there are blueberry farms galore. U-pick blueberries, U-pick strawberries, U-pick raspberries and of course, endless blackberries along the dyke. :)

grandmere Feb 4th, 2010 11:27 AM

This is great; thank you all so much! I love all the ideas and will see what I can come up with here in land-locked Pittsburgh, very far away from Vancouver!

I also sent an email to food editor of our newspaper to see if they were thinking of doing a piece on Olympics as they are this week for the Super Bowl. Ed. wrote back with some sources and said he'd be interested in talking to me if I have this party. Yeek--this is taking on a life of its own; just planning to have two couples over and now it could be in Pgh. Post-Gazette--I think I will decline the offer. :-)

The smoked salmon chowder idea sounds like an especially good idea as well as ordering in some sushi. I had thought of doing smoked salmon with dill, capers, cream cheese, etc., but the chowder would be super on a cold night.

The food ed. mentioned nanaimo bars, too; never heard of them so must Google and find out!

And if I am interviewed by P-G and it's printed, I will come back with link. And I will give credit to Fodor's folks!

Thanks, again.

traveller69 Feb 4th, 2010 11:34 AM

grandmere - glad we could help. When I make my smoked salmon chowder I actually puree the smoked salmon. I then just make chowder with some regular salmon and stir the pate into it. It gives it a really good flavour and is a little "smokier" than just using the pieces. I am sure you have it there as well but you can buy the sourdough or french bread in rounds (cobbs) and carve them out and serve the chowder in that. Nanaimo bar recipes are easily found by googling it on the internet but they are very very sweet so a little goes a long way. Sounds like you will put Vancouver on the map in Pittsburg (food wise anyway) Enjoy your party!!!

grandmere Feb 4th, 2010 12:25 PM

Traveller 69, in looking on I could only find one recipe for smoked salmon chowder, and it wasn't highly reviewed so thought I would just use a recipe for a regular salmon chowder and substitute, but your idea sounds good, too: question--let's say the recipe called for a pound of salmon-- so how much smoked salmon would I add in addition to that, using your method?

Yes, I looked up Nanaimo bars and see that they are very rich indeed, but sound very good, also!

Thank you.

traveller69 Feb 4th, 2010 01:56 PM

HI again. I have never used a recipe just thought it would be a good idea to try making it (many years ago). So perhaps if you puree about a 1/4 lb or so of smoked salmon and add it gradually to suit your taste. Then you could make a pate out of any that was left. It all depends on the salmon as well. We are very fortunate to get some quality salmon but I have seen it where the chunks are quite oily so you would use less in that case. Of course I am very bad and use half and half as well. I also use lemon pepper as a seasoning. I hope that helps. I will think of you while we watch the ceremonies as well.

laverendrye Feb 4th, 2010 02:00 PM

Grandmere--if you're interested in salmon chowder...

It's not in Vancouver, but the Fresh Tracks Café at the Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson BC makes a Whiskey Smoked Salmon Chowder as one of their signature dishes. It's quite delicious.

You can find the recipe in their first recipe book, "Whitewater Cooks",which is available through Amazon. It's a fantastic cookbook.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the whiskey smoked salmon chowder recipe on It's virtually the same as the Fresh Tracks one, with no credit given, of course. The only difference appears to be that the original uses fish stock while the epicurious copy uses clam juice. Otherwise, they're identical.

I've made it a number of times (as lately as 2 weeks ago) and it's outstanding. Bear in mind that the soup uses the chunky smoked salmon that is readily available in BC and much of the rest of Canada, not the more common thinly sliced cold-smoked lox (although it would do in a pinch).

grandmere Feb 4th, 2010 04:17 PM

Thanks again, Traveller 69 and Laverendrye! I will check out that recipe. And, no, have never seen chunky smoked salmon here; wonder if Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would have it? The thin slices that we get here are nice and not oily, though. I have a week to do some hunting around town for the right kind of salmon.

Everyone has been a great help!

NorthwestMale Feb 4th, 2010 05:13 PM

Wow, this thread is not painting an authentic picture.

First of all, nobody ever says: "where can I find a good Canadian restaurant?"

Has anybody ever even heard of "Canadian food"??

If you want "Northwest food", then yeah, go for the salmon, emphasize apples and potatoes maybe, but know in advance that you're stretching.

But Canada is known for Maple Syrup, French Fries and Gravy (and that cheesy stuff to make it "Poutine"), and it is the only place where I've ever seen a "fried Mars bar" advertised on the menu at an eatery (Commercial Drive).

PS - somebody should make an ice cream delight and call it the "Nanaimo Bar"

immimi Feb 4th, 2010 08:34 PM

The best, albeit richest, salmon chowder can be found at Sobu
in Tofino. I'm heading over on Monday and the resto opens that day after its winter hibernation. I'm going to try to
wheedle the recipe out of them. Perfect for a cold wet
Winter's day after a biathlon competition.

NWM - there's more than a few thousand kilometers between
Quebec and BC! Poutine and maple syrup are definately NOT
Vancouver specialties and fried Mars bars are an abomination
from Gt. Britain IIRC.

Apples and potatoes? More like PEI.

Sam_Salmon Feb 4th, 2010 08:39 PM

Vancouver means Sushi-although that might be a bit hard to come by in Pittsburgh PA.

Carmanah Feb 4th, 2010 09:05 PM

Come on NorthwestMale, you should know better than that. ;) Coming to Vancouver to seek poutine and maple syrup is like heading to Seattle to seek out that Texas BBQ and New York pastrami sandwiches. Cuisines that are parts of other regions within that country, but not a part of the local tradition.

grandmere Feb 4th, 2010 09:34 PM

S_S, we do have very nice sushi here in Pgh.! You probably think we are still a smoky steel town, also. :-)

And regarding NWM's post: I thought the dishes he mentioned were from eastern Canada, also, and am glad for the clarification.

WillTravel Feb 5th, 2010 12:03 AM

I'd say that the dishes NWM mentions *are* from eastern Canada.

It's really hard to pin down "Vancouver cuisine" because there are immigrants from every corner of the globe here. However, I think Bishop's is a restaurant that's seen to serve fresh local Vancouver food, whatever that is, so you might like to look at the menus here:

traveller69 Feb 5th, 2010 07:32 AM

Grandmere - I have a very close friend who is the executive chef at one of "the" restaurants in Vancouver. I emailed him last night and asked what he thought was "Vancouver" food. He answered of course salmon is no. 1, spot prawns and sea asparagus. He realizes that in Pittsburgh it is hard to get good smoked salmon. Here is the rest of his reply which I thought was nice.

"Another idea might be a seafood clubhouse. Smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado +/or tomato, shrimp salad mix, arugula, toasted sour dough or rye, little lemon mayo/aioli. Our Fanny Bay oysters are great smoked also. I can go down to the local fish monger tomorrow and see what I can find. Let me know if you want me to find something and get it shipped out.
I'm getitng hungry. Talk to you later."

Thought that was sweet that he would take the time to go find something for you and have it shipped!!! He is serious though if you wanted something.

grandmere Feb 5th, 2010 03:10 PM

Traveller69, that is indeed very, very kind of both you and your friend to offer to do that, but I think I will just make do with what I can find here in the 'Burgh. Please thank him for me. This is one of those "random acts of kindness" that we hear about but don't often experience. You have been a real help, and I think I will come back to this Canada forum again! I can imagine getting "flamed" on some "other forums" for even asking a question like this that is not directly related to travel. :-)

That seafood clubhouse sounds delicious; I'm getting the best ideas from this post! I think I will serve mugs of the chowder for this do but will try the clubhouse very soon.

Again, thank you so much.

traveller69 Feb 5th, 2010 04:08 PM

grandmere - you are so welcome. I know your friends will enjoy whatever you serve. It is going to be a great night for those of us from Vancouver (I am actually going to watch from our winter home in Arizona and be very proud of the city I grew up in) Enjoy the ceremonies and the Olympics.

grandmere Feb 5th, 2010 04:57 PM

To host the Olympics in your home town is certainly something to be proud of; I am sure we will all have a better knowledge of Vancouver by the end of the two weeks.
Enjoy your stay in AZ!

ileen Feb 6th, 2010 10:54 AM

Hi Grandmere-This has been an interesting thread. I now live in the NW, but lived in Monroeville area for many, many years. So, finding your thoughts very interesting esp. that PG wants to maybe do a story on your Olympic food idea. Hoping they do the story as I read it online!
Have not been to Vancover as yet but plan to go in spring, so maybe will have more idea about the city. But it will be too late to help.
From my own research I have found that Vancover has a multi-cultural population and thus there are a lot of Chinese, Indian and other Asian country restaurants.
Thus, wondering if you would consider serving easy items as snacks such as spring rolls or even Samosas. There are several Chinese and Indian restaurants in the Pittsburgh area from where you can buy them so easily.
Of course you want to cook yourself, so enjoy the ideas of others and see what you can buy easily and then plan your menu.
Would love to see your final menu and maybe recipes.
PG is reporting everything is shut-down due to lots of snow today. Hope it is not too bad.
Good Luck.

grandmere Feb 6th, 2010 10:14 PM

Hi, lleen!
Yes, we here in Mt. Lebanon have over 21" of snow but do have power although my two grown children and their young families, who live nearby, do not! The city is truly shut down.

Good idea about samosas or spring rolls; I might add that to my menu.

Not sure P-G is interested in my little get-together since I told them that I am only having two couples in, not a big bash! We'll see.

I will report back.

NorthwestMale Feb 7th, 2010 12:21 PM

Thanks for your testimony!

Indeed there "are" foods from Canada. So what if you have to go to "eastern Canada" to find their origins. (that is to be expected when you consider that Canada's origin is also "eastern Canada")

The point is that there really is no significant "Canadian food", so any effort that way is a stretch. It is a cute idea for the Olympics-themed party though. I know... if only one could use CANDY BARS as the Canadian theme, then you'd have some substance.

Some dumb travel guides list "Canadian" under "cuisine", and there just is no such thing. I don't even think "Timbits" count.

As I stated: Nobody (anywhere on earth) comes up to you and asks "Where can I find a (good) Canadian restaurant?"

It doesn't happen in Belgium, it doesn't happen in Australia, and it doesn't happen in China. This doesn't mean that an American tourist can't be quite comfortable when dining in Canada, but that is mostly because of familiarity and continuity (***which beats the life out of some culinary concerns in other countries).

I love Canada, but my lack of gourmet taste never causes me to miss-out when there.

NorthwestMale Feb 11th, 2010 03:13 PM

Somebody sent me this story on the same topic:

(It basically underscores the void in terms of "Canadian food") (though I wish we'd have mentioned

"Canadian Bacon" here already)

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