As much as I loathe Richmond traffic, I have to give the place thumbs up for being a foodie haven. Think of it, there are restaurants galore, particularly along #3 Road and the many cross-streets. Thus, it is only natural that Michelle Ng would host a Richmond version of her wildly successful Vancouver Foodie Tours. I was lucky enough to be invited to a complimentary Granville Street Foodie Tour a few weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting several restaurants and sampling their wares over a 2-hour period. For $10.00 (it's now $60.00), it's an absolute steal in my books. Once again, Michelle contacted me to try out the Richmond Foodie Tour.
Now, one thing that plagues Richmond is parking. Sure, there are many parking lots to choose from; however, you'd better be visiting one of the stores there or you'll be towed. Thus, I thought of getting street parking. No dice. 2-hour limit for a 2.5 hour food tour. That ain't gonna work. Admittedly, I had no other choice but to stash my car at Lansdowne Centre. After I parked my car, I hurried over to our meeting place, right in front of Leisure Tea & Coffee. There, I spotted 2 friendly faces - Mijune and Karra. After a bit of chit-chat, Michelle led us into Leisure for, you guessed it, bubble tea. We got to sample their Passion Fruit Green Tea and Taiwanese Fried Chicken. I liked how the tea was not sweet at all. I could taste the passion fruit and it was refreshing way to start the tour. The fried chicken was tender and slightly spicy.
After that, off we walked over to The Jade. We got to sample 2 items here starting with the Steamed Mushroom Dumplings. I found the delicate flavours to be very refreshing (not sure if that is the right word). The gelatinous sticky rice dumpling wrapper is a nice departure from the usual wheat or rice flour wrappers. Next up was Grandpa's Smoked Chicken. Without even eating it, I could smell the smoke. Not strong; but noticeable. I liked the tender and juicy meat (even the white meat) with a hint of smoke, salty and sweet. Moving on, we arrived at Jang Mo Jib. For our first food sample, we tried the Japchae or Stir Fried Sweet Potato Noodle. This was good, very similar to what I had last time here. Then a real treat, we got Tohng Gahl Bee or AAA Korean Short Ribs. These were cooked up perfectly being tender with some bite left. Lastly, we had the Hae Mool Pah Jun or Seafood Pancake. It was crisp and oily (as it always is); but I didn't notice much in the way of seafood though.
We then made the trek to our last 2 restaurants with the first being Michigan Noodle Shop. Their specialty are their dumplings and we got to sample both the Sui Gau and Shrimp Wonton. I've been here before and the dumplings are indeed very good. The main difference between the 2 dumplings is that the Sui Gau has pork, wood ear mushrooms and bamboo shoots in addition to the shrimp. Last on our stop was probably my favourite - Soul Izakaya (since I love Izakayas). Curiously, we started with a Sashimi Platter, which is not very Izakaya-like. No matter, it consisted of flounder, snapper, shimaaji, bora, hamachi, scallop and murugai. Very fresh and a few items I rarely see. Then my favourite, Takoyaki! These were pretty good, although probably a bit over-sauced due in part to the individual portions. Lastly, we got Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Wings. Not bad, although I am getting bored of the sweet chili sauce thing. The chili mayo was a much more appealing dip with the crispy wing.
Yet another fun time roaming around from restaurant to restaurant sampling food. This time, I had much more time to socialize with other people in our group. However, the Richmond tour is significantly more costly than the Granville tour. It's $40.00 vs. $10.00. With that being said, I think it is still a decent value for 2.5 hours of food, fun and meeting like-minded people.
*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*
- An interesting mix of different Asian cuisines
- Small area to walk, less transit time
- I found that there was less talking from the restaurant representatives in this tour
- Parking for 2.5 hours is an issue
- It costs more than the Granville Tour