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Best Chinese Restaurants in Metro Vancouver

From Hong Kong dining palaces to neighbourhood hangouts, these are the best rooms to experience the diversity of Chinese cuisine in Greater Vancouver.
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Top 10 Chinese Restaurants in Greater Vancouver
Spot Prawns at Richmond's Sea Harbour Restaurant Shannon Mendes
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From Hong Kong dining palaces to neighbourhood hangouts, these are the best rooms to experience the diversity of Chinese cuisine in Greater Vancouver.

Alvin Garden 4850 Imperial St., Burnaby, 604-437-0828

Many Chinese restaurants promise hot and spicy; Alvin Garden delivers with a vengeance. This is real rustic Hunan cooking, where chilies are used in all their untempered glory. (Locals like to claim that they fuelled the fiery exploits of China’s most famous son, Mao Tse Tung.) There is a greater use of braising and smoking in Hunan cuisine, and the dishes are deeper and stronger in flavour and colour. Ask for big heat (da la), and you’ll get it. Start with a plate of sliced pig heart, charcuterie on spice overdrive, or a salad of celery and tofu skin glistening with chili oil. Beef stir-fried with pickled pepper has fantastic wok heat while the Hunan bacon with smoked bamboo shoots hums with warmth. Though more of a Sichuan dish, the filets of tilapia, poached in a spicy broth, is a treat here. Though not all dishes feature Fear Factor heat, it’s best to have a big bowl of rice and icy beers on hand. 

 

Bamboo Grove 6920 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-278-9585

Surprise! This traditional chop suey house features some of the finest and most expensive food and wine in the city. The flavours are reminiscent of old Chinatown, but with a good dose of sophistication. It’s perhaps how Vancouver Chinese food would have evolved without all the Hong Kong influence—a less dogmatic approach to dishes with a freer use of sauces and vinegars. Wok-flashed tiger prawns with sweet, spicy eggplant are a must-order, as are the caramelized black vinegar pork spareribs. Don’t shy away from the delicious pork stomach soup with ginkgo nuts—white pepper heat underlines the sweet broth. Owner David Jue’s wine list features trophy Bordeaux from stellar vintages, with prices to match. Service is built on friendliness and discretion—private rooms with quiet sliding doors have been set aside for the heavyweight clientele.

 

Bao Bei 163 Keefer St., 604-688-0876. Bao-bei.ca

With its nostalgic feminine décor, youthful wait staff, and smart cocktail list, you may worry the food at Bao Bei is an afterthought. But sit down and you’ll hear the iron clanging of good wok technique coming from the kitchen, a harbinger of delicious things to come. Flavours are brightly balanced with clean clarity: crispy sesame shao bing is the perfect slider of lamb sirloin and cilantro; rich pork belly is smartly tamed with pickled onions and tomato star anise sauce; black vinegar gives wok-charred Brussels sprouts just the right notes of Asian tartness; and the daily “Kick-Ass Fried Rice” is flavourful yet feather light on the tongue—the mark of expert stir-frying. And for dessert, a floral Sichuan peppercorn mandarin sorbet is as artful as it is delicious. Bao Bei is a true reflection of how Chinese food has matured in Vancouver.

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