2009 Winners Announced

Metro Vancouver and Lower Mainland Celebrate                            
1st Awards for Excellence in Chinese Cuisine
2009 Winners Announced
The announcements for
excellence in Chinese cuisine were made at an afternoon awards ceremony
at the Edgewater Casino, Vancouver’s premier downtown casino located on
the north shore of False Creek.

Highlights were broadcast in both Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese –
Omni Media) and English (CBC) as the event drew more than 300 members
of the hospitality, tourism and media communities, both Western and



For high resolution "Signature Dish" & Judges’ photos, please contact Cate Simpson  – 604-730-9626 simpsoncpr@telus.net

Hosted by CBC Living Vancouver’s Jaeny Baik and former City Councillor
and community leader B.C. Lee, the one and a half hour ceremony
highlighted 25 categories of cuisine presenting the “Signature Dish
Award” to 23 restaurants and the CRA Diner’s Choice Awards to 10
restaurants. Restaurants ranged from the highest end fine dining to
“hole in the walls” and from Coquitlam to Burnaby, Richmond to West
Vancouver, Chinese restaurants showed their popularity in diverse
cultures and locations. 
Restaurant critics from around the globe have recognized Vancouver as the best city in the world, outside of China, to eat Chinese food. Publications from the New York Times to Gourmet Magazine, in their acknowledgment of the Asian dining scene, are quoted as saying Vancouver rivals even New York and San Francisco. With the Chinese Restaurant Awards for the first time we can acknowledge and rate the cuisine of Lower Mainland Chinese restaurants in a way that recognizes that.

The first awards ceremony of its kind in Canada, these awards recognize the Chinese restaurant industry and that the 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 and 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 visitors as where to find the best Chinese cuisine in the region.   

Judging and criteria
Selected by an esteemed panel of judges comprised of food journalists, chefs, culinary instructors and business leaders in the Chinese and Western community, an esteemed panel of acknowledged experts in the cuisine of China were brought together to look at how best to judge the cuisine. 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 – This would be called the “Signature Dish” as unlike other dining awards restaurants were rated on their cuisine, rather than décor and service and more specifically a particular dish, or signature dish.

Judging process
The judges selected over 500 dishes and over 350 restaurants among them sharing their knowledge and expertise at panel discussions throughout 2008. From there it was shortened down to just 25 of the top dishes.
Once the 25 “Signature Dishes” had been chosen, the judges, over 16 weeks, averaging 5 dishes per week, anonomoulsy sampled the dishes at each restaurant returning to their panel discussions weekly to compare notes. Said Judge Stephanie Yuen “when the ballots were finally sent in what a huge relief! I didn’t eat out for weeks! But having said that, my spirit did enjoy tasting so many devine dishes – squab, prawns, crabs, chicken every week and in such a short time!” Judge Stephen Wong remarked “I had the luxury of tasting more fresh crab in a month than I normally do in 2-3 years, my poor family was almost on bread rations as I spent the week’s food budget it seemed every time I dined out he said with a smile.” In regards to the award for Most Innovative dish Judge Iris Yim stated “this dish was a consensus among us, the golden colour Guoba was very eye-pleasing. How they manage to combine the intense flavour of the salty egg yoke and the crispy texture is miraculous. This is a divine marriage of two peasant foods.”

A few restaurants won in more than one category such as Chinatown’s Jade Dynasty; Sun Sui Wah, a venerable Vancouver favourite with Asians and non-Asians and Sea Harbour, a Richmond institution. But it was two small restaurants that made a real impression on the judges for overall quality in their food, Long’s Noodle House on Main and the recently relocated Lin Chinese Cuisine & Tea House at Broadway and Granville. 

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.

The prizes were awarded by representatives of the Asian community; Edgewater Casino; MCL Motor Cars – Bentley & MCL Motor Cars– Porsche; Chivas Regal;  Tiger Beer; Camilla Tea Oil; Aroma Tea House; BC Seafood Alliance; Island Scallops Ltd.; Pagoda Brand Xiaoxing Rice Wine; Stile Wines and Guo Jiao 1573.

Images of the winners and further details of their dish can be downloaded from the Chinese Restaurants Awards web site as well as contact information for each restaurant. Complete bio’s on each judge as well as further comments on the judging and tasting experience at www.ChineseRestaurantAwards.com   

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 – Former Vancouver Councillor; Community Leader
Conrad Leung – Department Head, Asian Culinary Program, Vancouver Community College
Bensan Li – CBC Radio Asian program host; Vice Chairman, Vancouver Film & Television
Lee Man – Food journalist, Vancouver Magazine
Iris Yim – Food Editor, Ming Pao Daily
Stephanie Yuen – Food & Travel Journalist

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, Westca.com, HynetTV
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