Top Dishes to Try in Richmond, BC
They’re Richmond’s top dishes for good reason.
If Richmond is a foodie’s treasure chest, consider this list its holy grail. We’ve scoured restaurants and food stalls across the city to bring you what we feel is a list of the most delicious dishes in Richmond. So grab your fork (or chopsticks), a few napkins, and let’s eat!
Richmond is spoiled for choice when it comes to top-quality seafood freshly caught from the Pacific. From seasonal spot prawns to year-round Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna and of course, sockeye salmon, astonishingly good seafood is perhaps Richmond’s most notorious food item (aside from its Chinese food, of course). To truly get your fill, try the seafood share platters at Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, served with a range of garnishes and condiments. Don’t leave Richmond without trying its famous fish n’ chips, often the subject of fierce debate between locals about who makes it best—Pajo’s tempura-battered fish & chips, or Dave’s traditional British-style fish & chips. Both are Steveston fixtures (and close neighbours), so you can try both and join the debate yourself.
Richmond’s barbecue restaurants are both numerous and delicious, spanning a wide range of regional and national styles. There’s the Hog Shack, which serves fall-off-the-bone Kansas City-style BBQ ribs and other succulent grilled meat. HK BBQ Master is a local favourite, dishing out Cantonese BBQ favourites like char siu (BBQ pork), siu yuk (roast pork), see yao gai (soy sauce chicken), and shao ya (crispy duck). For a Korean take on barbecue, head to SURA, where in addition to a la carte Korean dishes, you are free to barbecue your own meat right on your table.
Sichuan Water-Boiled Fish
Two notable styles of this dish can be found in Richmond. The most famous is shui zhu yu, fish served in an oversized soup bowl filled with broth containing chili bean sauce, ground chili peppers, and Sichuan pepper. Don’t let that scare you off though: it isn’t a soup. You’re supposed to eat the fish in the broth. You’d have to be pretty bold to sip it, though! Try it at New Spicy Chili. Suan cai yu, the other variety, is spicy, tart, oily, salty, and just the right thing to share with your friends on a cold day thanks to its tangy house-made pickled mustard greens. Try it at Too Two Chinese Sauerkraut Fish, a recent arrival from China. Their name plays off Mandarin slang for ‘silly boss’ due to the owner’s steadfast preoccupation with quality ingredients. The media has taken notice, with the Globe and Mail singing their praises in a recent write-up.
This refreshing Taiwanese drink is sometimes creamy, sometimes fruity, always chewy, and a perfect way to cool down on hot days. Often based off real fruit juice or milk powder, tapioca ‘pearls’ line the bottom of the cup (that can be swapped for coconut jelly, grass jelly pudding, etc.) You can go with a classic like milk tea, or try something different like oolong, plum vinegar, or ginger milk at Richmond’s bubble tea stalwarts: The Bubble Tea Shop, Peanuts, and Shiny Tea.
Imagine a bubbling pot full of delicious broth in the middle of your table, surrounded by a bounty of meat and vegetables waiting to be cooked. You cook it up, and once on your plate, you add condiments and seasoning as you please. Dip it into your chosen dipping sauce, and before you know it, your mouth takes you to the far East. That’s hot pot, and you can try it at places like Dolar Shop or Boiling Point, where you get your own personalized hot pot instead of a large shared one in the middle of the table.
Chinese noodle soup is complex, delicious, and comes in a range of regional preparations. While you can find the dish at many of the city’s Chinese restaurants, there are three places in particular you should try. Xi’an Cuisine in the Richmond Public Market specializes in hand-pulled noodles made right in front of you, then added to a savoury soup. Newton Beef Noodle Soup, as its name suggests, serves up a beefy, rich version of the dish that’s popular in Taiwan (where some consider it a national dish). If you’d prefer a fish-based noodle soup, head to Deer Garden Signatures, where you can customize your bowl by picking the broth, noodles, and toppings.
Baked Goods & Pastries
Just like Richmond’s BBQ restaurants, its bakeries reflect the city’s diversity. Try the fresh macarons at L’Opera Patisserie, a French-style bakery that also offers high tea with a fixed menu of delectable pastries and cakes. Diplomat Bakery Cakes & Pastries in Steveston is known throughout Richmond for its cakes, with their Diplomat Cake, Cappuccino Cake, and Baileys Chocolate Cake among their most popular. And with Richmond’s Chinese population, it makes sense that there are a number of Asian bakeries, a notable one being Kam Do. Here you’ll find a range of buns filled with everything from rich BBQ pork to sweet coconut paste. They also serve delicious pastries (try the Winter Melon), cakes, and cookies along with more adventurous creations like their century egg and lotus seed pastry.
Ask any local what the city’s most well-known and well-loved dish is, and many will say dumplings. It isn’t just because they come in a range of wrappings and fillings. They’re also what makes the Dumpling Trail so awesome. This 20-restaurant stretch was listed among CNN Travel’s list of 12 of the world’s most enticing food and drink trails. Favourites include Xiao Long Bao, stuffed with pork and a tantalizing soup; Har Gow, shrimp dumplings wrapped in a tapioca starch pastry; Siu Mai, stuffed with pork, shrimp, and topped with salmon roe or sometimes a whole prawn; and Wontons, stuffed with shrimp and/or pork and equally delicious boiled, deep fried, served in soup, with noodles, or in spicy sauce.
After a long walk or bike ride through the city on a hot day, there are a number of tasty ways to cool off. Try a Screamer, a Richmond classic where slushie is mixed with soft-serve ice cream. Screamer’s Soft Serve & Treats (open seasonally) is your best bet for trying one. Those who love good frozen yogurt and gelato should check out Timothy’s in Steveston, where fresh and fruity creations are served up on house-made waffle cones, the smell of which permeates the café and area around it. For an Asian take on frozen dessert, try bingsoo, a Korean shaved ice dessert made from frozen milk and decorated with your choice of toppings like fruit, jelly, condensed milk, and many others. Try this Asian delicacy at Snowy Village on Food Street.
Only In Richmond
Seeing as Richmond’s culinary scene is a hotbed for the new and unexpected, there are plenty of chefs and restaurants serving delicious creations on a daily basis. Like Taste of Zen, a vegetarian lunch restaurant on the ground floor of the picturesque International Buddhist Temple. On the opposite side of the culinary spectrum is Steveston Pizza Co.’s Castle pizza menu, featuring pies topped with exquisite ingredients. The $850 Seenay pizza, for example, is described as a “Medley of tiger prawns, lobster ratatouille, smoked steelhead, Russian Osetra caviar, snowed with Italian white truffles.” Coffee lovers should check out Faebrew, where a cup of coffee starts at $12.50 and is made exactly to order. There’s no menu, no fixed closing time, and no limit to what you can get in your cup. Owner Vincent Wong has made fruity coffees, coffee with raw eggs, coffees that represent joy or the seasons, all served in a mug to fit your mood.