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Exploring (and Tasting) Modern Chinatown with Vancouver Food Tour

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I’ve always called Vancouver a Neighbourhood of Neighbourhoods. No matter where I go, I discover unique places, and of course, unique food. So when I had the opportunity to join Vancouver Food Tour’s Modern Chinatown Tasting, I jumped at the chance.

First, a quick visit to The Modern Bartender, the only retail store in Vancouver catering to cocktail fans and professional bartenders alike. Not only do they sell every cocktail gadget anyone could ever want, they also carry 100 kinds of bitters and have a “Make Your Own Bitters” area. I loved the vibe, and the piano was a nice touch.

Photo by Cathy Browne

The Modern Bartender is a haven for lovers of cocktails.

Photo by Cathy Browne

More than 100 bitters are available.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Loved the vibe at The Modern Bartender!

Then it was time to sample some of the unexpected cuisines that Vancouver’s Modern Chinatown has to offer. We began our Vancouver Food Tour in earnest at Calabash Bistro for some down-home Carribbean food.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Calabash Bistro was first on our list of restaurants.

We started with a refreshing Dark and Stormy cocktail consisting of Goslings Black Seal rum, ginger beer, Angostura bitters and homemade ginger syrup. My first Dark and Stormy ever.

Photo by Cathy Browne

My very first Dark and Stormy cocktail.

We were served jerk chicken skewers and munched on plantain chips, and a variety of authentic Jamaican patties – beef, free-range chicken and vegetarian. I loved the combination of vegetables and the heat in my meatless pattie. I could easily have eaten several!

Photo by Cathy Browne

Our sample plate at Calabash included chicken skewers and spicy, authentic Jamaican patties.

Then it was on to stop #2 on the Vancouver Food Tour itinerary to Bestie, for house-made sustainable fare with a German twist. Who knew you could find traditional currywurst in Chinatown?

Photo by Cathy Browne

Bestie brings the taste of Germany to Chinatown.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Bestie features traditional currywurst.

Next up – a fresh-baked soft pretzel with a trio of mustards – Dijon, sweet Bavarian and Polish caviar.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Who doesn’t love a soft baked pretzel?

Of course, in keeping with the German tradition, we enjoyed a beer flight consisting of a Coal Harbour Helles Lager, a Driftwood Farmhand Saison, and a 33 Acres Swartz beer, also known as 33 Acres of Darkness! I’m not usually a beer drinker, but they were a perfect accompaniment to the hearty food.

Photo by Cathy Browne

The bestie beer flight – l to r: Driftwood Farmhand Saison, 33 Acres of Darkness, Coal Harbour Helles Lager.

The third leg of the Vancouver Food Tour took us to Mamie Taylor’s for a sample of modern American soul food – and a glass of house wine.

Photo by Cathy Browne

A glass of house wine greeted us at Mamie Taylor’s.

Our appetizer plate featured some favourites – fried olives with blue cheese and currents, a deviled egg with smoked trout, and just about the best biscuit I’ve ever had:-)

Photo by Cathy Browne

My favourite item on the appetizer platter at Mamie Taylor’s – the biscuit, by far!

Our last stop of the evening took us to the historic Emerald Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge deep in the heart of Chinatown for a gin nightcap and dessert sampling.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Our gin nightcap at The Emerald.

All in all, a great time was had by all. Thanks to VFT CEO Carlos Gomes and Culinary Food Guide Cassandra Anderton for inviting me!

My highlight of the night? Calabash, for sure! I’ll go back.

For more information on Vancouver Food Tour, schedules and prices, register here, or call 778-228-7932.

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About Author

My name is Cathy Browne. I'm a photographer who uses my unique perspective and camera to capture and share things I actually can’t see. I’m also a PR pro, community builder, food and wine lover, traveler, accessibility advocate and cat cuddler. Welcome to my world.

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