Vancouver is a diverse city, home to people from all over the world. Due to lots of immigration from around the world, Vancouver has a great international food scene. Many already know that our Chinese food is top tier, but there are lots of other cultures to explore through food. Here are some spots to take you around the world in the comfort of your own city!
1. Indigenous Food
First and foremost, we have to know that Vancouver sits on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. This means that this land was traditionally occupied by the Coast Salish peoples, it has been handed down from generation to generation and that it was never turned over to the Crown by any agreement. We are so lucky to get to live and work on this land, and must remember that when thinking of Canadian food – Indigenous food is the true Canadian food. Here are some spots to try:
- Salmon n’ Bannock
- Found just a few blocks away from campus, this is a sit down restaurant focused on traditional ingredients and authentic flavors of Indigenous cooking.
- Mr. Bannock Food Truck
- If you ever see Mr. Bannock around town, make sure to give them a try! Focused on Indigenous-fusion cuisine, you can try items such as bannock tacos, burgers and more!
2. Pacific Northwest Style
This genre of food is what many associate “Vancouver food” with. The incredible climate here has created a strong food identity emphasizing local products and farm to table eating. An emphasis on seafood, game meats, berries, mushrooms and local vegetables makes up the heart of this style and some restaurants elevate it incredibly. Examples include:
- Definitely a treat yourself meal, but an incredible one nonetheless. With a constantly changing menu and incredible decor, this is a place to go if you want to see the best of what Vancouver food has to offer.
- Burdock & Co.
- Another celebration of the incredible ingredients in our city! With only a 70$/person tasting menu, this is another one to throw on the special occasion list.
3. Food From the USA
You can find burgers and hot dogs anywhere, but there are a couple special locations doing specific regional style food from the USA. These include:
- Downlow Chicken
- The only place in town exclusively serving up Nashville-Style Hot Chicken, Downlow has been super popular ever since they opened. The origins of Nashville Hot Chicken came from a woman whose partner was cheating on her. She put a ton of spice on his fried chicken, hoping for revenge but turns out it was delicious and the rest is history. If you’re a spice fan, this is the place to go.
- Memphis Blues BBQ
- Vancouver doesn’t have too much American style barbeque, but if you’re ever craving some, Memphis Blues is a great place to go. With options for groups and classic sides, it’s a great time!
- Straight Outta Brooklyn NYC Pizzeria
- If you’ve always dreamed of a New York slice, you gotta check out Straight Outta Brooklyn. Based in New York style thin crust pizza, these huge slices are a great affordable way to visit New York!
Tacos are in no short supply in Vancouver, especially with our love for the Cali-style Tacofino. However, there is a lot more to the food from Latin America than tacos (though, we still include tacos because they’re great). Here are some spots that are a little bit more authentic to the variety in Latin America:
- The Mexican Antojitos y Cantina
- With many touting this as the most authentic Mexican food in Vancouver, you’ve got to try their daily specials. If you’re not sold – go for happy hour between 3-6!
- Sal y Limon
- One of Vancouver’s favorite spots for tacos, Sal y Limon served amazing 4″ tacos from $3.00-$3.25. Or if you want to have a feast at home, you can buy a Taco Feast Kit which comes with 2 taco fillings, rice, beans, salsa, cilantro, onions and tortillas.
- A brilliant take on Latin American food, with a tapas forward menu, Cuchillo serves up an absolutely delicious meal.
- Home Cocina Colombiana
- For a taste of authentic Colombian empanadas and arepas, try ordering online from Home. They deliver on Wednesdays and Saturdays for $5.00, you can order through Facebook. Truly authentic, delicious food coming straight from home.
African cuisine is a little harder to find in Vancouver, but check out these for some delicious authentic eats
- Simba’s Grill
- An East African restaurant in Burnaby, this spot is known for its BBQ meats, kebabs, curries and more. Though it’s a little far, it’s worth it to try something entirely new!
- Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant
- Authentic Ethiopian in a vibrant space, this is a cool spot to check out on Commercial Drive. The Awaze Tibs are a must have!
European food goes so far beyond this list, there are Belgian spots, Ukrainian, Greek, food from the UK and more! But to start you off with some of the strongest restaurants in Vancouver, try these spots:
1. Italian Eats
- Osteria Savio Volpe
- A hip place on the list, it’s based on rustic fare based in regionality. Letting the chef just cook for you is definitely the way to go at $65 per person, but they also have an a la carte menu.
- Via Tevere
- Serving authentic Neapolitan style pizza, it doesn’t get much better than this in Vancouver. With a lightly charred chewy crust, and a soft center with incredible fresh toppings, this pizza is absolutely delicious.
2. French Fare
- Au Comptoir
- No matter what meal you’re in the mood for, you’ll be getting real French fare. Au Comptoir is not super formal, so you don’t have to be intimidated on your journey to try French food!
- L’atelier Patisserie
- If you want to feel like you’ve been transported to a Patisserie in France, look no further than L’atelier. With fantastic classics like croissants, pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins and some unique takes, it’s a must visit.
3. Spanish Bites
- Como Taperia
- A hot spot serving up Spanish tapas, including authentic conservas, you’ve gotta cme for some bites. Get a drink and order some tapas and be transported to Spain.
- Another delicious Tapas restaurant, Espana is absolutely crushing it with their dishes. Of course the Daily Paella is a showstopper, but pro tip – get the anchovy stuffed olives, you won’t regret it.
Vancouver has some top tier food from many spots throughout Asia. Though there are quite a few more regions to highlight, here are some of the most prominent spots.
1. Korean Food
- This ones a bit of a cheat because Sura encompasses the Sura BBQ spot in Richmond and the spot in Robson, but try them both! A great introduction to Korean food, Sura’s lunch special is incredible if you want to try it all.
- Chung Chun
- Korean rice dogs are a hot trend that is just reaching Vancouver, and you can be among the first to try it at Chung Chun. Similar to corn dogs, but made with rice flour instead, these are crispy, cheesy and absolutely delicious – and cheap at only 5$!
- Korean fried chicken is all over, but one of the best spots has to be Zabu. The soy series is phenomenal, but if you love spice, try the hot wings. If you’re more in between, get the Yang Nyum!
2. Japanese Eats
There is so much amazing Japanese food in Vancouver that this could be a whole list on its own, but here are some basic spots for things that aren’t just sushi!
- Kingyo (and the rest of the members of this group including Suika and Raisu) is a great spot for Japanese style tapas. Each restaurant has its own style, but they’re all delicious – check them out.
- Marutama Ra-men
- One of the many, many ramen spots in Vancouver. Marutama specializes in a chicken base and is a favorite of many.
- Hello Nori
- Okay I guess this one is kind of sushi, but as a hand roll spot it feels a bit different. In fact it feels quite a bit different from what anyone’s doing in Vancouver. Sit at the bar and order your hand rolls, and watch as the chef prepares it for you fresh.
- HK BBQ Masters
- Hiding under the Superstore in Richmond, HK BBQ Masters has been featured by Chef David Chang as a spot to visit in Vancouver. Go and get some BBQ Pork, Duck and Soy Chicken!
- Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
- Often places as the best Chinese restaurant in Vancouver, Dynasty serves up delicious Dim Sum and amazing Chinese dinners. Reserve early!
- Fortune Terrace
- If you’ve ever seen pictures of little pig shaped BBQ Pork Buns or turtle shaped Pineapple Buns – this might be the place. With some of the most extra Dim Sum dishes, this restaurant is an IG worthy spot.
4. Southeast Asian Cuisine
This region including Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines has great representation in Vancouver. Some of the best include
- Potluck Hawker Eatery
- A new spot that has absolutely wowed the food scene in Vancouver, this hawker street food inspired spot should be on the top of everyone’s list. Classics like Laksa and Char Kway Teow are delicious, but the Salted Egg Yolk Fried Chicken Sando is really top tier.
- An authentic spot for Thai food, Unchai is doing dishes you don’t see at most Thai restaurants in Vancouver. The Pad Ki Mao is well loved, and the Boat Noodle Soup is a unique option!
- A staple in Vancouver for upscale Thai food, try Maenam if you want the very best Thai food in an atmospheric setting.
- Mr. Red Cafe
- You can’t get around Vancouver without seeing signs for Pho around, but Mr Red Cafe takes it to a different level. The spot itself is humble, but the flavors are authentic and stellar and offer much more than just pho.
There are so many more spots for incredible international food in Vancouver, the list doesn’t stop here! Go out and search for spots on your own, and create your own list. You can learn so much about different cultures through food, so get eating!