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Hot Dining: Food Blogger Lindsay Anderson Talks Richmond’s Food Scene

Richmond's official food blogger Lindsay Anderson

Richmond’s official food blogger Lindsay Anderson

The number 365 is a meaningful one for Lindsay Anderson. It’s the number of days, and eateries, the epicurean explorer signed on for when she won the coveted position of Richmond’s official food blogger. She eats her last meal for her “365 Days of Dining” blog this month and, after spending a year tasting her way around the city, she is bursting at the seams with praise for its dining scene: “I’ve had some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had in Richmond.” The slim brunette fairly sparkles as she talks about the sweet and the sour of eating for a living.

What downside could there possibly be for a food blogger, you ask?  For one, turning up your nose at the unfamiliar just isn’t an option. Some of the more challenging tidbits Anderson’s had to sink her teeth into include durian—“I wasn’t excited to try durian and I wasn’t excited while eating it and I wasn’t excited after”—and squid guts—“Pretty funky looking and pretty funky tasting.” Interestingly enough, her writer side relishes such forays into the culinary unknown: “My goal is to have good content. So if I see something I know I’m not going to like, I’m almost pleased because I know this is something I can write about.”

A few less-than-tantalizing tastes are a small price to pay when a cornucopia of crave-able comestibles await, of which Asian options are Richmond’s bread and butter. Anderson recommends first-timers to the city try Alexandra Road, which has been dubbed “Food Street” because of its seemingly endless eateries: “You can just show up and have your pick of Chinese, Japanese, Korean.” Foodies seeking hidden gems can find them in the unlikeliest of places, such as under Real Canadian Superstore, which has HK BBQ Master tucked away in the parking lot. Mom-and-pop-owned food-court stalls can also hold culinary treasure. One of Anderson’s faves is R&H Chinese in Landsdowne Centre, where they hand-make dumplings to order. “They’re super good, some of the best dumplings in Richmond.”

Richmond’s menu has more than just East Asian cuisine, though. Craving Indian? Tandoori Kona comes highly recommended by Anderson: “It totally blew me away. It was so delicious.” Tramonto and Gudrun also top her list for palate pleasers.

If people haven’t come down here to have dinner, they definitely should,” says Anderson, who sees Richmond’s food scene as a way to taste the world without having to go abroad. “You can go on trips to everywhere in one city.” Put that way, it sounds like one year isn’t enough to discover all of Richmond’s gastronomic goodies.—Rachel Dunlop

Hot Entertainment: Enter the Past in Nearby Steveston

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston. Photo by Caroline Toth

You don’t need a DeLorean or a phone booth for this time-travel adventure, just a pair of comfortable shoes. Take a self-guided tour of Steveston, Richmond’s quaint fishing village that was established in the 1890s, and visit historical sites such as the Gulf of Georgia Cannery (pictured), Town Square and Japanese Buddhist Temple. Download the Treading Through Time walking map from www.richmond.ca/stevestonmuseum, and look for fun facts scattered throughout, such as this gem: “In 1895, local police allegedly requested that a new Steveston jail be built, because too many people had keys to the old one.” And don’t be surprised if Steveston looks familiar, since it fills in for the fairy-tale town of Storybrooke, Maine, in the popular TV series Once Upon a Time.—Sheri Radford

Hot Entertainment: Chinese New Year Celebrations in Vancouver

Chinese New Year at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Photo by Maurice Li

Out with the old and in with the new: say good-bye to the year of the dragon and welcome the year of the snake, which begins Feb. 10 and continues until Jan. 30, 2014. Celebrate the lunar new year with lucky red packets, tea ceremonies, special events and colourful performances in Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and in Richmond, a quick SkyTrain ride away. Gung hay fat choy!—Sheri Radford

Hot Entertainment: Spiritual Stops on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven

Thrangu Monastery in Richmond. Photo by Sheri Radford

John Lennon sang about “people living life in peace,” and it’s easy to imagine in nearby Richmond, which exemplifies peaceful diversity. You can find more than 60 temples, mosques and churches there, many on No. 5 Road, nicknamed the Highway to Heaven. Take a labyrinth tour at St. Alban’s Anglican Church, stroll the International Buddhist Temple’s grounds or meet the monks at Thrangu Monastery (pictured). For more info, contact Tourism Richmond.—Sheri Radford

Hot Dates: Richmond’s Summer Night Market

The Summer Night Market in Richmond

May 11 to September 16

Barbecued squid and bubble waffles are just a couple of the exotic eats you’ll find at the Summer Night Market (pictured), deemed one of the world’s best by Travel + Leisure magazine. Foodies and bargain hunters hop on the SkyTrain to taste Asian street food, enjoy live entertainment and haggle with retail vendors over super-cute trinkets and jewellery. The nearby Richmond Night Market (May 18 to Oct. 8) is also worth a visit for snacks, shopping and carnival rides. —Kristina Urquhart

Hot Art: Reflections at Richmond Art Gallery

Artist Hua Jin exhibits her photography at Richmond Art Gallery

Explore the consequences of China’s one-child-per-family policy through photography and video by former Shanghai resident Hua Jin in her exhibit My Big Family. Jin, a first-generation “only” child, uses her own experiences to examine the repercussions of this rule on not only families, but the community and country, too. View her work at the Richmond Art Gallery (Apr. 20 to Jun. 10).—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Entertainment: Road to Richmond

Photo: Toyohara Kunichiki, 1879, Woodblock print, The Actor Kaharazaki Shasho in the role of General Yoshitsune Minamoto

Bursting with Asian eateries and quirky stores, nearby Richmond is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene. Check out Edo: Arts of Japan’s Last Shogun Age (pictured) at the Richmond Museum (to May 21), which examines Japanese society from 1603 to 1868. Also in Richmond this month: comedian Jay Mohr (Mar. 30) and psychic Sylvia Browne (Mar. 23), both at the River Rock Show Theatre.—Sheri Radford

Strait of Georgia Sunset—Richmond, British Columbia

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: BC has some of the most enviable sunsets in Canada, as evidenced here. It’s a beautiful silhouette—and the fiery sunset makes winter feel almost warm. But it’s the reflections in the puddles that makes it a truly remarkable shot. (more…)

When East Meets West: Chinese New Year in Vancouver

Ring in the year of the dragon and experience the best of Chinese culture

By Kristina Urquhart

The grounds at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Photo by KK Law

Think big. That’s our advice for the auspicious year of the dragon, which kicks off Jan. 23 and lasts until Feb. 9, 2013. Dragons are symbols of power, good fortune and lofty ideas—and the world could use some of each after being encouraged to pause and reflect during the peaceful year of the rabbit in 2011.

The Chinese New Year adheres to a lunar and solar calendar and usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice; what follows are days of decorating, exchanging gifts and passing lucky red money packets. The festivities culminate in the spectacular two-hour Chinese New Year Parade on Jan. 29, which starts at the ornate Millennium Gate, an imposing entrance to North America’s third-largest Chinatown. Expect to see colourful lion dances and martial arts demonstrations making their way through the red-lamppost-lined neighbourhood. (more…)

Hot Dining: Going for the Gold

Pan-fried prawns with soy, at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant. Photo copyright 2010 HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards

This year’s HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards (www.chineserestaurantawards.com) dished out six Gold Awards of Distinction. Looking to taste the best of the best? Grab a cab to Sun Sui Wah for Alaska king crab three ways, or hop on the Canada Line SkyTrain to Sea Harbour Seafood to sample pan-fried prawns with soy. Other Distinction winners: Richmond’s BBQ Master and Bamboo Grove, and Burnaby’s Alvin Garden.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Entertainment: Podium-Worthy

The eco-friendly Richmond Olympic Oval

The 2010 Winter Games athletes have since hung up their skates, but their home-away-from-home—the stylish and sustainable Richmond Olympic Oval—has become a must for workout enthusiasts. Find your inner Olympian with six hardwood gyms, two ice rinks, a running track and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.—Kristina Urquhart

Hot Dining: Asian Persuasion

Pan-fried prawns with soy, at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant. Photo copyright 2010 Edgewater Casino Chinese Restaurant Awards

If it’s Chinese fare you crave, there’s no need to hop a plane to Shanghai or Beijing. Just board the SkyTrain to Richmond, where you’ll find grilled eats at BBQ Master, succulent king crab at Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant and crispy prawns at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant (pictured). Your chopsticks will be poised for pleasure, because all won Critic’s Choice gold at the 2010 Edgewater Casino Chinese Restaurant Awards. For a full list of winners, visit www.chineserestaurantawards.com.—Kristina Urquhart