On the southwestern most tip of Richmond is Steveston, a historic village most notably known for its fishing and cannery culture. In recent years, Steveston has kept its charm as a seaside village and also serves as backdrop to the many film productions that roll through.
As fishing and canning were Steveston’s mainstays, it was only natural for seafood restaurants to open. Steveston has since become synonymous with fresh seafood from the docks and the spot to get some delicious fish and chips. But as tastes became more refined, the dining scene has changed to incorporate more international tastes. With this influx of change comes a variety of restaurants that are spearheading this change, including Osum! Kitchen + Lab (125 – 3531 Bayview Street).
Lucy Wang, Osum! Kitchen + Lab ’s owner, fell in love with the space when she was searching for a place to open up shop. With a beautiful view of the Steveston harbour in front and the foot traffic from visitors, Osum! has seen many lineups in its first month of opening.
Osum! Kitchen + Lab uses a pop-up shop model, with the menu changing every month. This keeps items fresh and always innovative. The food reflects a filling meal that feels like a guilty pleasure, but Lucy made the soul-warming bowls with health-conscious ingredients. In fact, all oils and sauces made at Osum! are cold pressed, helping them keep their nutritional value, original flavour and aroma.
While the restaurant itself has sparse seating (there are only three high top tables that seat 3-4 people), most of the menu items are takeout friendly so you can enjoy it on the pier on a sunny day. Lucy has plans to expand her restaurant space to meet the demand for seating, though.
The menu is simple – baogers and noodles. In each category, there are at least 3-4 dishes available. Baogers are a fusion of the Chinese gua bao (steam bun) and a variety of cuisines that include Korean and Thai.
One of their most popular baogers is the Osum! Pork ($7.50, pictured above) made with lean pork, sweet and sour, garlic ginger sauce and topped with pickled greens, cucumbers, crushed peanuts and fried cilantro. The bao is covered in pork fluff, giving the bao a different texture without being too off putting. The bao itself is dense but spongy and soft. As a handheld meal, it’s surprisingly filling. The flavours complement each other and the crunchiness from the peanuts and pickled vegetables help cut the heavier sauce.
The most popular noodle dish is the Osum Hot Dry ($11.50). It’s made up of Chinese sausage, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, pickled greens, cucumber and carrot with their garlic-sesame-chilli sauce topping their handmade thick noodles. The sauce and noodles were satisfying without being overly greasy. The sweet notes like the cranberries and a hint of sweetness from the Chinese sausage helped cut the heartier meaty and chilli taste. The seeds also gave a nice crunch and texture to this dish over all.
Another dish worth noting is the XO Clam ($13.50, pictured above). This bright dish includes pineapple, carrots, clams, roe and cucumber in a cream-styled dish. The XO Clam has a nice kick of heat to it and the pineapple sweetened the dish, cleaning the palate from it’s creaminess. This dish is very hearty.
Finally, we have the Mo’Noodle. It’s a handmade, one-metre long noodle that has to be pre-ordered two days in advance and includes toppings such as assorted seafood ($20, with mussels, shrimp, clams, seasonal veggies) or a truffle mushroom option ($22). It would be quite an interesting dish to experience!
The drink selection includes hot drinks made with almond milk as well as carefully selected cold bottled beverages from Brooklyn, New York. I was drawn to the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale with Jasmine Tea. The drink is an interesting mix of the bright ginger flavour and a subtle hint of the jasmine tea flavour. Lucy plans to expand her beverage menu with juices and smoothies in the near future that are cold pressed as well.
Finally, the Nutella Baoger for dessert. The baoger itself is topped with crispy coconut shavings and inside is an indulgent amount of nutella, marshmallows and raw almond slices. This is definitely more indulgent than healthy, but it’s an interesting mix of crunchy, chewy and nutty, and a great finisher to this meal.
Osum! Kitchen + Lab is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am – 3pm.