Social Media Choice Awards 2017
The world of social media is inundated with enthusiasts keen to share their everyday experiences. Some are recognized as influencers, but the Chinese Restaurant Awards have gone the extra mile since 2015 to select the key opinion leaders to be the judges of the Social Media Choice Awards.
For the 2017 Awards, the judging panel has been assigned a brand new mission: to search for Chinese or Taiwanese trending gastronomic places that provide excellent food or drink experiences, regardless of their year and decoration of establishment. The goal is to compile a guide on the coolest hidden gems that key opinion leaders are excited about and highly recommend.
The judges started their search in early November 2016, and they decided their recommended by the end of January 2017. The 2017 results have been revealed. Please read their comments on their recommendations. Discover, explore, rediscover!
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Read the below comments from the judges on their recommendations.
The Judging Panel 2017 and the Awards Result: Five places they recommend for you to discover and rediscover
Born in Hong Kong with a Taiwanese mother, and raised in Vancouver, Leila came from a food loving family. Since a young age, she would travel extensively with her family exploring cuisines from different cultures. Now having a family of her own, it is her goal to carry on her passion and family tradition. She believes food brings people together and documenting food, especially behind the scene shots allows her to capture moments that are easily overlooked. Her ultimate comfort food? A good bowl of Taiwanese beef noodles. Instagram
Her 2017 pick: Shanghai Goodies, Parker Place
Parker Place, #136-4231 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond (604) 232-1227
The journey of searching for the restaurants/food stalls of my choice for Chinese Restaurant Awards has been a bit of a soul searching experience. Not only it is about recommending my best overall restaurant, but about going back to my roots and bringing back memories of the times spent in Asia.
And as we all know, there is no shortage of Chinese food to try in Vancouver, especially Richmond. So this was definitely a perfect opportunity for me try new places and to revisit those I have not been for awhile.
I love Shanghainese food – xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), shengjianbao (fried pork dumplings), water boiled fish in chili, drunken crab, Shanghai smoked fish, green onion pancakes, and the list goes on. And as much as I love enjoying my Shanghainese food in restaurants, I also love exploring them in food courts.
A food stall I recently revisited is Shanghai Goodies, located inside Parker Place’s food court, one of the oldest food courts in Richmond since 1993. The current owners of Shanghai Goodies, a lovely Shanghainese couple, took over the stall roughly 10 years ago and added many of their specialty items include their house made dumplings and popular sticky rice dumplings.
One of my favourite items at Shanghai Goodies is their Shanghai dumplings served in broth. The wrapping and fatty meat/vegetable proportions are just right for me. All dumplings are made in house, and quite often, you will find the boss lady making their dumplings behind the counter in between helping customers. When asked whether she keeps track of the amount she makes, she proudly replied, “I lost count of the total amount, but my hands never stop making them.”
What surprised me was their zongzi (sticky rice dumpling). Different Asian countries have their own variations. Growing up in a Chinese household, we often enjoy our zongzi during the annual Dragon Boat Festival. It is made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in large bamboo leaves. They are usually cooked by steaming or boiling. At Shanghai Goodies, they make theirs in-house and are often sold out before the day ends. The ones they offer are traditional flavours, ones with pork belly and egg yolk, with red bean, and a sweet version made with red bean paste.
For those with a sweet tooth, you must try their tangyuan (glutinous rice dumplings), filled with black sesame and served in sweet wine broth. They are also made in-house, with added egg in their broth. I loved the added texture and flavours.
Note: All their house made dumplings, zongzi, and tang yuan can be purchased frozen. It is perfect for those midnight cravings 😉
Originally from Taiwan, now living in Vancouver, Jesse is a dad of two teenagers. Being passionate about food, writing and photography, he started his blog with an unique blogger name, Seahorse Dad, to recommend Vancouver gourmet experience, coffee and beautiful scenery. Jesse is also a columnist of Global View Magazine in Taiwan that he shares Canada’s latest trend weekly with readers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Website: Myvanlife.com ｜ Facebook | Instagram
His 2017 pick : G8 Taiwan Kitchen
8335 Oak St., Vancouver (604) 266-8718
Greater Vancouver has an abundance of Taiwanese restaurants, specializing in Salt and Pepper Popcorn Chicken and Beef Noodle Soup, which suit the popular taste. Some Taiwanese restaurants also offer northern Chinese dishes, such as the Smoked Tea Duck and the Sichuan Poached Sliced Fish. Though with more dishes to offer, the authentic taste of Taiwanese cuisine is somewhat marginalized.
First began as a food stall in the Richmond Night Market, G8 Taiwan Kitchen has recently been opened on Oak Street, Vancouver. The restaurant’s humble storefront may not be easy to spot, but it will be difficult to get a table at dinner time. Their signature dishes, such as the Braised Pork Rice and Salt and Pepper Popcorn Chicken are tastefully authentic, even when compared to those in Taiwan. Besides the usual suspects in Taiwanese cuisine, G8 Taiwan Kitchen also offers a variety of Taiwanese savoury snacks, such as Pork Jelly, Southern Taiwanese Rice Cake, Wine Chicken Stew with Chinese Herbs and Sesame Oil, and Pickled Duck. These are all authentic Taiwanese dishes that are hard to find in Vancouver. The Taiwanese Sausage Hotdog can also be called a sausage inside a sausage. It uses a sticky rice sausage as a bun to hold a smaller meat sausage inside, along with crushed peanuts and cilantro as condiments. It is, indeed, one of the most popular savoury snacks in Taiwanese night markets, while G8 Taiwan Kitchen should be the one and only place that serves such a classic in Greater Vancouver.
His 2017 pick : Flower & Horse in Spring
1741 Robson St., Vancouver (778) 379-6198
When a boiling hot bowl of rice noodle soup is served on the table, the diner will place the meats and vegetable step by step into the bowl, completing with a simple stir; then, the perfect bowl of Yunnan Bridge Noodle Soup in a rich chicken broth will be ready for enjoyment.
In most Greater Vancouver restaurants that provide Yunnan Bridge Noodle Soup, the above process would have already been done in the kitchen, but at Flower & Horse in Spring, which is recently opened in the West End, diners will be able to experience the process themselves. The owner of this authentic Yunnan Bridge Noodle place is indeed from the Yunnan province of China. Besides the folk art decorations in the restaurant, the spices and rice noodles are all directly imported from Yunnan. Interestingly, the soup noodles at this restaurant are named after the imperial Chinese examination system, which recalls the origin of this dish.
Yunnan Bridge Noodle Soup at Flower & Horse in Spring tastes rather light, while the broth is prepared with chicken, pork bones, and without any MSG. For those who prefers an exotic taste, there are a variety of specialty spicy sauce available, which combines spices with a unique aroma. Slurping on velvety rice noodles in a lively environment with vibrant colours is truly the way to get a taste of Yunnan culture.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Melly is a young mother of two children. After spending several years in a corporate career, she stepped away to focus on baking as a profession and then went on to co-found a popular juice bar. Ever since she started posting food photography on Instagram, her passion to share amazing, culturally diverse food to her many followers have become part of her everyday lifestyle. As an advocate who frequently tries new restaurants to unearth hidden gems in the city, Melly has become a popular social influencer to recommend the best Vancouver has to offer. Mellywoo.com ｜ Instagram
Her 2017 pick : Memory Corner
6900 No.3 Road, Richmond (604) 284-5434
Memory Corner is one of those restaurants you’d visit over and over again. Just steps from Richmond Brighouse skytrain station, this restaurant is a convenient place you’d take your friends and family, including young children.
With a reasonable price point, the food quality and overall taste is excellent. Their ingredients taste the freshest compared to its competitors while portioning and service has been consistent. It is worthy to note the use of oil and salt is relatively low in comparison to many Chinese restaurants. Fine details such as the side dishes included in their meal sets are clean and portioned generously, which usually consists of fresh vegetables.
The menu has a good variety and is now updated with photos of their food items for those who need a visual. Notable dishes includes three cups squid, which has squid legs/rings coated in thick flavourful sauce and braised pork rice, which has rich fatty pork and egg on top of piping hot rice. If you haven’t been to Memory Corner it is worth a visit !
Originally from Shenzhen China, Chloe Wang is the founder of the top-ranking influential Chinese language social media platform Vandiary.com. Chloe started Vandiary with her passion to explore dining experiences. With the family background from Xinjiang, Shanghai and Hakka regions, she is knowledgeable of regional Chinese cuisines. Sharing her dining reviews to the point, Vandiary.com has attracted over 120k followers on Weibo and over 40k followers on WeChat. Vandiary.com ｜ Weibo | Instagram
Her 2017 Pick : Chao Shou Wang
#2113-4500 Kingsway, Burnaby (778) 371-5033
Sichuan food is one of the most popular cuisines in Greater Vancouver. Most Sichuan restaurants in in town offer typical dishes, such as the Poached Sliced Fish and Spicy Hotpot, while less attention is paid to traditional Sichuan snacks and appetizers.
Chao Shou Wang is located inside the Crystal Mall food court at the heart of Burnaby. Instead of providing too many choices on the menu, they keep it straightforward by specializing in Sichuan spicy wontons and noodle dishes. With just a handful of menu items, each and every one of their authentic dishes resembles those in Chongqing, Sichuan, China. I would like to recommend their Dried Spicy Wontons, House Hot Noodles, and Spicy Noodles.
Unlike other Sichuan restaurants in Greater Vancouver that adjust the taste of Sichuan dishes to local diners, Chao Shou Wang does not compromise on the level of spiciness. In a simple yet tasteful manner, they present an authentic flavour of traditional Sichuan cuisine.