When you want to spend a couple of bucks and take something to go, take a number and get ready for a mouth-watering treat! New Town Bakery has been around for years and is an institution in Vancouver's Chinatown. The speedy service and freshly baked goods keep locals coming back for more. There are both sweet and savory options to choose from. Start with a steamed chicken bun that's light and flavorful. With room to spare, make sure to sink your teeth into a coconut bun. The fluffy bread is filled with a delicious coconut filling that will leave you wanting more. If it's fresh out of the oven, it's even better. Their baked goods are incredibly affordable, making it a great option when you're trying to stay on budget. This Chinese bakery is not to be missed!
Recommended for Asian because: When you want something quick to grab and go, New Town Bakery is the place to go. The steamed buns are a must order.
Natasha's expert tip: New Town Bakery is cash only!
Dining around Vancouver can add up if you're eating out all the time and it's nice to find hidden gems that offer good eats at very affordable prices. Ba Le Sandwich Shop calls Chinatown home and is a favorite amongst Vancouverites looking for a cheap and flavorful banh mi, a Vietnamese sub. The sandwiches are served in a freshly baked crusty bun and filled with meat, pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, butter and chili peppers. This whole in the wall has been a staple in Chinatown for many years and though the decor won't wow you, the tasty bang for your buck will. There are about seven different banh mi to choose from, with a tofu option for vegetarians. There are a few other Vietnamese specialties on the menu, but most come for the subs.
Recommended for Asian because: Ba Le Sandwich Shop serves up tasty banh mi (Vietnamese subs) and for under $5, you can't go wrong.
Natasha's expert tip: Grab your order to go and enjoy while strolling through Chinatown.
We're not going to lie, sometimes it rains in Vancouver and the best way to stay warm on a wet and grey day is to dig in to a big bowl of hot ramen. Erase any memories you have of ramen from your college years, this is the real deal. The West End's Denman Street is known as downtown Vancouver's ramen hub and there are a handful of different restaurants to choose from. Motomachi Shokudo offers unique broths and toppings that are a change from the more traditional (yet so delicious) options you may be more familiar with. Start off with their pan-fried gyoza before digging into your big bowl of ramen. The choice of broth for your ramen is up to you, but the miso charcoal broth is a popular choice. The portions are quite large so come with an appetite.
Recommended for Asian because: There are a number of excellent ramen places in Vancouver, but Motomachi Shokudo scores major points for having a variety of broth choices.
Natasha's expert tip: The restaurant only seats about 20 people at a time, so going with a small group is best.
Kirin Restaurant's been around since 1987 and over the years they've opened up four locations across the Vancouver area. Known for their Chinese cuisine, the menu offers an abundant amount of choice. This award-winning restaurant uses incredibly fresh ingredients and diners can even pick some of their seafood from a live tank. You'll find more of a formal dining room here at Kirin - think white table cloths and large rooms. Open throughout the week, Sunday is incredibly popular for dim sum. Because there are so many dishes to choose from, it's best to go with a larger group so you can try more of the menu.
Recommended for Asian because: Dim sum on Sunday is worth going to. Just don't be surprised if there's a bit of a wait; it's a popular spot.
Natasha's expert tip: If you're new to dim sum, don't be afraid to ask the servers for a little help.
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie offers a Western twist on Chinese classics. The atmosphere is lively and comfortable, and dishes are made to be shared. Their "schnacks" section has a number of small bites that are great to snack on while you enjoy a cocktail or two. Start your meal off with the Sichuan cucumbers; they're refreshing and light. The petit cadeaux and petits plats chinois are larger than the schnacks and ordering a couple per person is the way to go. From the petits plats chinois, you've go to order the shao bing. This sesame flatbread with cumin lamb sirloin, pickled red onion, green pepper, cilantro and salted chilies is to die for. The cocktail, wine and beer list are an added bonus to this delightful spot. The bar area is a great place to grab a drink and snack before heading out for the night.
Recommended for Asian because: Along with the cocktails, Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie's shao bing is a must order.
Natasha's expert tip: It can get pretty busy here so going early is a safer bed to avoid a wait.
This family-run business serves vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese food. It's a local favorite because when it comes to taste, there's no shortage of delicious dishes to eat here. You may think that cooking Vietnamese food without fish sauce may be a challenge (and for many it is), but owner Maria and her mother have concocted an excellent substitute that doesn't substitute flavor. From fresh salad rolls to warm, comforting bowls of noodles and soup, the menu boasts plenty of healthful and satisfying options. Each dish speaks for itself, but the reasonable prices and large portions certainly sweeten the deal. Speaking of sweet, make sure to save room for their dessert!
Recommended for Asian because: CHAU Veggie Express' golden temple soup is not only delicious, it's loaded with good-for-you ingredients like turmeric and plenty of veggies.
Natasha's expert tip: They have gluten free, vegan, onion and garlic free options.
For years, locals have been loving Maenam for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the food is excellent. Secondly, the atmosphere lends itself well to everything from a date night to an evening with friends. Thirdly, the cocktail list is bang on and made up of distinctive flavors that have hints of spice, sweet and sour - depending on which one you choose. On the menu you will find familiar classics like the sweet and sour tom kaa soup, curries and pad Thai (a vegetarian option is available), and less familiar dishes like yum plah meuk mauang kwio - a beautiful banana blossom salad. When it comes to Thai food, Maenam is on the higher price point, but it's worth the splurge.
Small bites and beer? Sign us up! Back in 1993 the first izakaya opened up in Vancouver. That izakaya is what we now know as Guu. They offer tasty dishes that are affordable and ideal for sharing with friends. The Thurlow location is the original space that they opened up and due to their ever-growing success, they have four other locations in Vancouver and a couple in Toronto. Each location has something unique to offer, but the concept and idea remain the same. Dishes are all under $10, unless they're offering something special on their fresh sheet. The menu is made up of familiar favorites for those that are experienced with Japanese food; kabocha croquette, ebi mayo, yaki udon, tuna tataki, tako wasabi, oden, and other grilled, stewed, fried and sweet treats. Go grab a casual and affordable bite with friends and sip a cold beer.
Recommended for Asian because: Guu serves the very traditional izakaya dishes and those looking for more authentic cuisine will appreciate it here.
Natasha's expert tip: They have five locations in Vancouver so no matter where you are in the city, you're likely close to one of them.
Before we get into the details, we have to warn you that you may become seriously addicted to Phnom Penh. The secret is out in Vancouver and locals and visitors alike are lining up for Phnom Penh's Cambodian and Vietnamese goods. This restaurant calls the East Side of Vancouver home and it has a following that's obvious from the line-up on any given day. The deep fried chicken wings are a masterpiece. The light and crispy batter keeps the wings juicy and the sauteed garlic and green onions add extra flavor. Dip them in the lemon and pepper sauce and we dare you to stop at just one. The marinated butter beef is a dish of thinly sliced, medium rare beef topped with a blanet of cilantro, brown garlic and Phnom Pehn's special sauce. It's tender, tangy and awesome! Phnom Penh has plenty of other dishes you must try too!
Recommended for Asian because: Phnom Penh's menu is packed with delicious eats, but you've got to order the butter chicken and deep fried chicken wings.
Natasha's expert tip: Go during off peak hours and avoid a wait.
Miku restaurant has made a name for itself in Vancouver for serving some of the best fine dining Japanese food in the city. A visit to Miku isn't complete without an order of their aburi sushi. The ebi oshi or salmon oshi are excellent! The charcoal flame gives a hint of flavor without compromising the fresh fish. Miku has a creative list of rolls that use the best cuts of fish that are mouthwatering. While the sushi is excellent, there are so many other dishes on the menu you've got to try. Feeling adventurous? Order from the kaiseki menu and let chef prepare a special meal for you. The location of Miku only ads to the experience. Diners will enjoy the stunning dining room that overlooks Canada Place's white sails and the North Shore mountains.
Recommended for Asian because: For the ultimate experience, order Miku Restaurant's kaiseki and let chef prepare a meal to remember.
Natasha's expert tip: Miku is open for lunch and dinner so a fine dining meal is available throughout the day.