1st Annual Awards for Excellence in Chinese Cuisine

Critics’ Choice Awards – Best Signature Dish
Diners’ Choice Awards – Best Restaurants

Presented on Thursday, January 15th, 2009
Edgewater Casino, Plaza of Nations, Vancouver, BC

download english press release in word format












Director of Chinese Restaurant Awards & the Judging Panel at press conference on Oct 21, 2008

From the left: Stephen Wong(Chair of Judging Panel), Stephanie Yuen(Judge), Craig Stowe(Director of CRA), Conrad Leung(Judge), Lee Man(Judge) & Bensan Bo On Li(Judge).

For more high resolution photos, please contact Cate Simpson  – 604-730-9626 simpsoncpr@telus.net


An esteemed panel of acknowledged experts in the cuisine of China were brought together to look at how best to acknowledge and rate the cuisine of Lower Mainland Chinese restaurants and it was decided that the awards would be given in the same way the Chinese community chooses a restaurant, by what to eat, rather than where to eat. The “Signature Dish”

Unlike other dining experiences, Chinese restaurants are rated on their cuisine, rather than décor and service. Whilst important, it is the cuisine of a restaurant that drives their popularity, more specifically a particular dish, or signature dish. Asian diners choose a certain restaurant for their fresh King Crab, their noodles, method of preparing fish, or in a wider category, the Dim Sum.

In a break from traditional restaurant awards, it was a list of the restaurants top dishes that was chosen as the starting off point, rather than a list of restaurants. Even this was a difficult choice. From the hundreds of famous dishes in the cuisine of China, 25 dishes were chosen and the search for a restaurant that best prepared this dish began. 

On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, winning Chinese restaurants will be invited to attend the first annual Chinese Restaurants Awards at Stadium Club in Edgewater Casino, fittingly located at the Plaza of Nations, in Vancouver. There, in an afternoon ceremony, the Critics’ Choice for the best of 25 dishes, “Signature Dish” will be handed out to the winning restaurants from throughout the Lower Mainland.

Also included in the awards will be the Diners’ Choice Awards, a category open to the general public. In recognition of the knowledgeable dining habits of all Vancouverites, this category, offered in both Chinese and English, will allow the dining public to share their valued opinion on the best locations for Chinese cuisine. With many non-Chinese growing up in Vancouver on Dim Sum lunches, family dinners in Chinese restaurants and favourite dishes, it was important to hear from all those who call Vancouver home. Starting October 21, the dining public will be invited to vote on line by registering at www.VoteDinersChoice.com . Ten members of the general public will also have a chance to win dinner for six at any one of the winning Diner’s Choice restaurants as well as 2 tickets to the awards ceremony in January.   Winners will be announced on the website in mid December.

The Chinese restaurant industry and high quality of Chinese dining is a driving force in the BC tourism business. Vancouver’s success as a top destination of choice by Chinese travelers is greatly enhanced by its wide selection of high quality restaurants. By publishing a list of both critics’ choice and diners’ choice winners, the Chinese Restaurant Awards will also serve as a guide to locals and all visitors as where to find the best Chinese cuisine in the region.   

The Judging Panel
We thank our esteemed panel of acknowledged experts in the cuisine of China that chose the categories. From there a smaller group was sent out to judge the specific dishes. They were:

Stephen Wong (Chairman of Judging Panel) – Cookbook author; Food journalist; Food and Beverage consultant
B.C. Lee – Vancouver Councilor
Conrad Leung – Department Head, Asian Culinary Program, Vancouver Community College
Bensan Li – CBC Radio Canada International’s Chinese Program Host; Vice Chairman of Vancouver Film & Television
Lee Man – Food journalist, Vancouver Magazine
Iris Yim – Food Editor, Ming Pao Daily
Stephanie Yuen – Food Journalist; Chief Editor, Best Choice Food Magazine

The Criteria
Nominations were based on taste, presentation and creative use of key ingredients as well as the use of local and in season, ingredients. Restaurants were nominated in each of the 25 categories. One winner will be awarded in each category to receive “The Critics’ Choice Award – Signature Dish”

Signature Dishes

1.    Crab
2.    King Crab
3.    Shrimp 
4.    Lobster  
5.    Cantonese/Hong Kong-style Dim Sum
6.    Northern/Shanghai-style Dim Sum 
7.    Congee
8.    Noodles & Rice
9.    Chinese Dessert
10.    Innovative Dish
11.    Chinese Pastry
12.    Barbecue
13.    Soup  
14.    Fish
15.    Geoduck
16.    Scallops
17.    Clam
18.    Cold Appetizers
19.    Pork
20.    Beef
21.    Lamb/goat/mutton
22.    Chicken
23.    Duck
24.    Squab
25.    Vegetarian

Diner’s Choice Awards
From October 21st to November 30, the dining public will be invited to vote on line at www.VoteDinersChoice.com for their favourite restaurants under the following categories:

1.    Best Dim Sum Restaurant 
2.    Best Cantonese Restaurant 
3.    Best Northern Chinese Restaurant 
4.    Best Hot Pot Restaurant
5.    Best Taiwanese Restaurant / Bubble Tea Café 
6.    Best HK Style Café
7.    Best Noodle Soup Restaurant 
8.    Best Congee Restaurant 
9.    Best Chinese Bakery Shop 
10.    Best BBQ Shop / Restaurant

Award presentation of the Diner’s Choice Awards will also take place on January 15, 2009.


Title Sponsor: Edgewater Casino
Premium Sponsors: MCL Motor Cars – Bentley & MCL Motor Cars– Porsche, Chivas Regal Scotch, Tiger Beer
Media Sponsors: CBC Television; CBC Radio One; Ming Pao Daily News
Trade Sponsors: AMR Distributors’ Camilla Tea Oil; Aroma Tea House; BC Seafood Alliance; Island Scallops Ltd.; Pagoda Brand Xiaoxing Rice Wine; Stile Wines; Guo Jiao 1573
OFFICIAL CRA 2009 “SIGNATURE DISH” MAGAZINE: MingPao Friday Gourmet Supplement

Chinese Restaurant Awards (CRA) is a not-for-profit organization made up of food & marketing professionals. The goals are to recognize and promote Chinese culinary arts and culture and acknowledge the skill of local Chinese restaurateurs and chefs.  Chinese Restaurant Awards highlights, rewards and celebrates the best of Chinese dining in the Lower Mainland.     

Press Contact:
Western Media: East West Communications – Cate Simpson – 604-730-9626 simpsoncpr@telus.net  
Chinese Media: A Mindfuse Marketing & Consulting Agency – Rae Kung – 778-829-6244 rae@justanotherreason.net 
CRA website: www.ChineseRestaurantAwards.com