FILIPINO CUISINE SHINES IN MODERN FOOD FOR GLOBAL CANADIANS by Mel Tobias
Vancouver’s food scene has become a culinary beacon in the world. The city’s new restaurants embrace global flavors. Young and talented chefs are creating simple, accessible and fun items in casual places.
A good example can be found in the heart of Chinatown called Beastie for German sausages, Fat Mao for noodles, Hi-Five for grilled cheese. Another would be Chau Veggie Express for vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine.
Here are some more new arrivals in the food scene.
SAI WOO on East Pender
Today, it is a minimalist venue with gigantic floating buttons on the ceiling and a covered skylight. It looks very chic and the unique Chinese food has renegade dishes with Jamaican roots background. Many are Chinese comfort foods that’s been reconstructed for Caucasian tastes.
They have Cola chicken wings (a Hong Kong concoction) which mean chicken wings that’s been marinated in Coca Cola, soy and stock then roasted. Italian-Chinese fusion food is also featured. An elegant bar can be seen prominently serving elegant cocktails like Sai Woo Sour and Smoking Gun.
ANNA LENA – First Avenue
Canadiana cuisine with multi-cultural influences is the chef’s version of modern Canadian food. He likes the idea of a mixed-up of cuisines, Filipino and Chinese with more emphasis on the Mediterranean. The décor features vintage Lego sculptures. The fusion includes fresh oysters on top of a meringue cushion, compressed apple and shaved foie gras and jalopeno. Or try the cured tuna with papaya salad and lime coconut broth and lobster bisque with garlic confit lobster.
BAO DOWN on POWELL ST.
Momofuko started the Asian bun craze (commonly known as siopao) with a difference in New York and has now reached Vancouver via Bao Down steam bun.
Bao Down restaurant is the product of younger Asian immigrants in British Columbia or children of old timers. Owners are of Filipino backgrounds who grew up in Toronto and East Vancouver and they created foods from childhood blended with contemporary ideas.
There are two kinds of Bao Down sandwiches, one with the steam bun, and the other with wheat bun. The bestseller is called Bao Chicken Bao Bao (free-range chicken in garlic, buttermilk and lemon grass marinade). Also very popular is Bang! Bang!, a crusted prawn dish with shrimp paste.
Bao Down can be praised for its innovative cuisine, appreciation of Asian food and giving Filipino favorites new life and twists for the globally oriented clientele.
THE UNION on Union Street, Chinatown
A distinctly Canadian restaurant in the heart of Union Street serving dishes with global influences. The plating is modern and the menu is full of surprises, Hawker Thai Chicken Wings, Sweet and Sour Pork Crepes, Korean Fried Rice, Indonesian Nasi Goreng.
It is nice to see the Philippine connection in the menu selection; Pandesal French Toast (five spice brandy toffee sauce, caramelized Asian pears, whipped cream, toasted coconut in a Filipino Sweet Bun( our favorite Pandesal). A surprise entry is Filipino Pankaplog (two fried eggs, sinangag, pickled papaya, pandesal, curry spiced hashbrowns and pork sausages.
And for beverage, they have Lapu Lapu (cucumber juice, coconut water, ginger, calamansi, pandan syrup) or try Sang Bia with lager instead of red wine.
CHEF TONY – Empire Centre in Richmond
The Cantonese menu is on I-pad to save paper. Chef Tony is health conscious so the dim dum has less salt and oil, making use of local, sustainable products. For an international up-market appeal, the restaurant serves pork dumplings with truffles and marinated mandarin chicken trimmed with black truffle flakes. Food hipster will enjoy Cantonese cuisine with global ingredients.
More new restaurants are opening during the summer season and we are enthusiastic to know what’s next.
– “LIFE IN CANADA” Article reprinted with permission of author