Lions and fro-yo and naan, oh my! Lunch was an adventure yesterday.
I went to the grand opening of the new Dining Terrace at Richmond Centre, which was unveiled after 15 months of solid construction. Not only did my lunch include naan bread and frozen yogurt, but during the opening ceremonies I saw my first Chinese lion dance. It was incredible! Eight lions (with two people operating each) performed a traditional “Choy Cheng” dance, which is intended to bring good luck to the new venture. They began on the main level, lead the crowd up the escalator…..
and officially opened the Dining Terrace for business. Here’s a bit of it on video:
The lion costumes – though the word ‘costume’ doesn’t do them justice – were shiny, colourful, and incredibly intricate – true pieces of art. The lions’ eyes, ears, and mouths could be individually manipulated, making them genuinely expressive beasts. It must take SO much skill to operate them, as well as move smoothly as a two-person team. And the energy involved! It looked exhausting, and made me glad my only job yesterday was to find lunch.
The new Dining Terrace is huge, bright, and sparklingly-new. There’s endless amounts of seating throughout, and some of the tables are even made from reclaimed BC maple.
Other ‘green’ elements include chairs made from PET recycled bottles, sorting stations where waste is divided up according to whether it’s organic material, recyclable or non-recyclable, and lighting features designed to allow as much natural light in as possible.
I especially appreciated the good light because it made for better food photos!
Speaking of food, I did about ten laps of the terrace (and that place ain’t small), trying to choose where to eat. There’s some old faves, including Good Ah, some new ones I’ve never seen like Vina Vietnamese and Bourbon St. Grill, and the big draw is Umi, a Japanese eatery that’s chosen Richmond Centre as its flagship location. I decided to try Umi another day when I have a friend with me, since the menu is pretty large and will require at least two appetites.
I decided on Curry Express, mainly because their naan looked good and I haven’t had curry in awhile. They’re locally owned, and have six other locations around Metro Vancouver.
I had their rice + two curries + drink combo and added a vegetarian samosa. With tax, it came to $11.20. I had the butter chicken, and asked my server for another recommendation. She suggested the yogurt curry, so I went with that, and had a chai to drink.
The curry was piping hot, and the naan was FRESH. The chai took awhile to come out, but I’ll blame that on inevitable first day wrinkles – no big deal. They have chutney on the side you can help yourself to, as well as ketchup. I’m not entirely sure what someone would want to put it on, but I’ve heard of stranger things.
The butter chicken was creamy and satisfying, and the yogurt curry – speckled with black mustard seeds – had serious heat to it. They grind their own spices, and are not afraid to use them! I found that impressive. The yogurt curry also had chunks of pakoras in it, which I liked. My favourite part of the meal, however, was the naan. It was soft, slightly charred, and perfect for scooping up chunks of the butter chicken. It gets 5 lion paws out of 5.
The vegetable samosa was filled with soft, spiced potato, and quite good. It would make an ideal snack if you’re looking for something quick, hand-held, and filling.
For dessert, I decided on the much-anticipated Pinkberry, a frozen yogurt chain with more than 170 stores around the world. This is their first store in Richmond, and here’s how it works:
You first select one of their non-fat frozen yogurt flavours, then choose as many toppings as will comfortably fit in your cup, pay, and eat. As a lover of sundaes, and someone who’s always disappointed when topping choices are limited to two, I must say I was quite excited with my options at Pinkberry.
There was a lot to choose from, including fresh fruit, toasted nuts, crumbled cookie, candies, sprinkles, brownie chunks, granola, and so on.
I opted for coconut yogurt topped with almond roca, brownie, toasted hazelnuts, strawberries, coconut, and a drizzle of caramel. A small came to $6.33 with tax, so I guess for that price they should allow unlimited toppings.
It was tasty! I kind of wished the frozen yogurt was actually full fat ice cream, but I guess the point of Pinkberry is that it’s tasty AND way healthier for you. All the toppings were really high quality, and I especially recommend the almond roca. Not fat free! Woooo!
If you’re in the area, I’d definitely recommend exploring the new Dining Terrace. It’s a different experience from the traditional, dimly-lit food courts found in so many other malls, and I’ll be back soon to try more of the vendors.
I must admit though, it will be slightly less entertaining without the lions there….
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available
Cash and cards accepted