Richmond is an Asian-American restaurant hub just south of Vancouver. The city is easy to reach by The Canada Line from the city or airport, with several train stops accessing the sea of food-filled strip malls. Richmond houses 210,000 people, 65% Asian, with a whopping 800 restaurants, meaning you can eat really well if you know where to look. Learn about seven of my favorite places to eat in Richmond, based on a trip from May 27-30, 2016.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. Chen’s Shanghai Restaurant
Shanghai style restaurants are prevalent in Richmond, and Chen’s is one of the best, located in a strip mall called Park Village past the end of Canada Line. The space features white art-lined walls, floral tablecloths protected with glass, and a Dungeness crab tank, in case you’re feeling luxurious. Chen’s Shanghai Restaurant debuted in 2010 and has remained vital thanks to their dough-centric dishes. Signature Shanghai style soup dumplings are some of Richmond’s best xiao long bao. Six dumplings are steamed in bamboo and tout juicy, pink centers. Cradle each dumpling with a soup spoon to capture flavorful runoff. Shanghai style pan-fried thick noodles are chewy, tossed with pork squiggles and vegetables like spinach, cabbage, and scallions. Add chile sauce with dry flakes for lingering heat.
MUST ORDER: TBD Signature Shanghai Style Soup Dumplings, Shanghai Style Pan Fried Thick Noodles
Fisherman’s Terrace is a deluxe dim sum restaurant that debuted nearby in 1996 and relocated to Aberdeen Centre’s third floor in 2004, but still looks new. The space features wood panel walls, red paper lanterns, and big round tables with white clothes and lazy Susans. Menu items cost $3.95 (S) to $6.55 (SP). I particularly enjoyed Baked BBQ Pork Pastry, flaky rectangular baked pork buns lined with sesame seeds; Fresh Shrimp Dumplings, aka har gow, with translucent skins, plump shrimp and ginger; pork spare ribs with black beans; Pork Dumplings w/Tobiko, aka siu mai topped with roe; Mini Sticky Rice in Bamboo Leaves containing shrimp, chicken, pork and mushrooms; and Baked Egg Tarts served warm, with flaky, buttery layers and melt-in-your-mouth custard. “Kitchen Gourmet” menu items are served after 10:30am, but those weren’t our focus. Sadly, shark fin soup was on the menu.
MUST ORDER: TBD Baked BBQ Pork Pastry, Pork Dumplings w/Tobiko, Fresh Shrimp Dumplings, Mini Sticky Rice, Baked Egg Tarts
3. Hong Kong BBQ Master
Chef Eric Leung presides over this tiny restaurant with wood tables and LED menu, which specializes in Hong Kong style roast meats. Roast pork has crisp skin, firm, meaty centers, and melting layers of fat. BBQ pork is red rimmed and tender from the marinade and masterful roasting. Request a bottle of dark sauce made with pan-drippings to boost matters. Invest an extra buck if you prefer to eat a certain part. Green vegetables like gai lan help with balance, as does “cold drink,” aka lemon tea.
MUST ORDER: BBQ Pork, Roasted Pork, Cold Drink
4. Lido Restaurant
Look for the red sign in Central Square strip mall to find Lido Restaurant, which features a glass front lined with event posters. A dining room touts white walls lined with menu listings and dull green booths. I understand that Lido Restaurant has a full menu of Kong Kong-style comfort food, but they’re certainly most famous for their bolo bao, pineapple buns. These fluffy buns are exceptional, topped with a toasty crust crafted with sugar and eggs that supposedly resembles a pineapple’s skin. In this case, the bun’s served warm, sliced, and crammed with pats of butter, which quickly melt into the delectable dough.
MUST ORDER: Pineapple Bun with Butter