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Is There a Distinctly “Vancouver” Watch?
The food from chef Sam Leung's kitchen sets the standard for Chinese cuisine in North America.
Vancouver, renowned for having the best Chinese food outside of China, is still a city of two solitudes. For over a century and throughout successive waves of immigration, Chinese restaurants in the Lower Mainland have rarely reached out to non-Chinese diners or been fully embraced by them in return. Not until now, that is.
Dynasty Seafood has bridged that gap like no other by becoming an adventurous culinary innovator, a community collaborator, a favourite among oenophiles and a mainstream institution for everyone.
“I don’t know of any other authentically Chinese restaurant that is as accessible to Western palates and accommodating of Western diners, without one iota of compromise to the integrity of its traditional dishes,” says one of our judges.
A huge part of the restaurant’s success is due to executive chef Sam Leung, a curious culinary magpie who began his apprenticeship in Guangzhou and immigrated to Canada in 1985. “His classic Chiuchow cuisine has an attention to detail like no one else’s,” says one judge. His light and bright vegetarian dishes blew another judge “out of the water.”
When not presiding over Dynasty’s stately West Broadway dining room—with its sweeping view of the North Shore Mountains—Leung can often be found feasting at many of the city’s best French, farm-to-table and Italian restaurants (La Quercia is one of his favourites). “Sam is very ambitious about taking new influences and using them to reflect a West Coast sensibility in his cooking. He doesn’t just throw lemon into his BBQ pork cha siu bao because it’s a Western ingredient; he incorporates citrus to give the palate something vivacious.”
After winning numerous Critics’ Choice Signature Awards from the Chinese Restaurant Awards, Leung was named their Master Chef for 2017. Dynasty’s many unconventional collaborations over the last 12 months have included East Meets West, a fundraising dinner for the Chinese Restaurant Awards Scholarship at Vancouver Community College with chef Ned Bell from the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, the fifth annual Royal Sake Feast for That’s Life Gourmet Ltd., a dinner for the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and a feature spot on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations with host Andrew Zimmern.
In an era when big restaurants from Mainland China and Hong Kong are increasingly populating the city with high gloss and extravagant prices, Dynasty is doubling down on Vancouver. Thus, we are extremely proud to present the first Chinese restaurant to win Restaurant of the Year.