British Columbia: Best Asian Food in North America

Richmond Summer Night Market, Vancouver. Michael Kalus

If you've ever flown to Vancouver, you've been to Richmond, home of the Vancouver International Airport. But Richmond is much more than just a suburb of Vancouver and a transportation hub. This city of 200,000 residents, the fourth largest city in British Columbia, is arguably the Asian food capital of North America.

Here you'll find more than 400 Asian restaurants, plus two Asian night markets (including the Summer Night Market) teeming with food stalls, Hong Kong-style cafés, Taiwanese bubble tea and frappé shops, Shanghainese and hot pot restaurants, dim sum parlors, Korean restaurants, Vietnamese noodle and sandwich spots, Asian bakeries, delis, candy shops, supermarkets, and more. Photo Caption: Richmond Summer Night Market, Vancouver.
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Preparing Xiao Long Bao at Shanghai River Restaurant, Richmond. Amy Sherman
One of the most elegant Chinese restaurants in Richmond, Shanghai River features a self-contained, glass-cubed noodle and dumpling prep kitchen that is visible from the main dining room. The must order dish here is xiaolongbao (C$7.50 for an order of 8), also known as soup dumplings. Other outstanding dishes include the sliced pork with preserved vegetables and the appetizer of bean curd roll with green vegetables.Photo Caption: Preparing xiaolongbao at Shanghai River Restaurant, Richmond
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Bubble Tea at Zephyr Tea House Cafe, Richmond. Amy Sherman
You may have seen Taiwanese bubble tea before, but it's doubtful you've been faced with more than 100 varieties like you'll find at Zephyr Tea House. For around C$5 you'll get to choose the flavor, whether or not you want tapioca "bubbles" and various toppings like red beans, whipped cream, and fruity syrup. This clean and bright café is perfect for families and offers plenty of snack food like Taiwanese meat sauce on rice and popcorn chicken, a Taiwanese street food specialty.Photo Caption: Bubble Tea at Zephyr Tea House Cafe, Richmond
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Taiwanese frappé at Frappé Bliss, Richmond. Amy Sherman
Taiwanese frappé or "snowflake ice," is a delicious style of shaved ice milk, generally served in a sundae with various fruits and toppings. While the serving may look large, the delicate and fluffy shavings that melt in your mouth are etherial and light. You'll spend about $6 for a treat at Frappé Bliss in the Aberdeen Centre.Taiwanese frappé at Frappé Bliss, Richmond.
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Dim Sum at Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant, Richmond. Amy Sherman
Dim sum is a Cantonese breakfast treat. Large families gather to eat dumplings and all manner of small dishes like black bean riblets, steamed buns with barbecue pork, shrimp dumplings, and chicken feet for the adventurous. One of the best spots for dim sum is Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant, in the Aberdeen Centre, known for their high quality traditional and modern dishes. Expect to pay around C$6 for each plate.Dim Sum at Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant, Richmond.
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Pineapple Bun from Lido Restaurant, Richmond. Amy Sherman
For about C$2.50 you'll get a fresh-from-the-oven pineapple bun with a thick slab of butter and all the tea you can drink. This Hong Kong specialty, a mammoth soft sweet bun has no pineapple in it, just a crunchy sweet sugar crust on top that resembles the fruit. The best version is available at Lido Restaurant, a typical Hong Kong style coffee shop that's always crowded. Buns are all sold before they are even baked, so get your order in pronto.

Photo caption: Pineapple Bun from Lido Restaurant, Richmond.
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Dol Sot Bee Bahb at Jang Mo Jib, Richmond. Amy Sherman
Bi Bim Bahb is a Korean dish that means "mixed meal." A bowl of warm rice is topped with assorted vegetables, beef, and an egg. At Jang Mo Jib, they offer the Dol Sot Bee Bahb (C$12.95) a version where the rice forms a crunchy crust on the bottom of a stone bowl. Mix in as much spicy chili paste as you like. Jang Mo Jib is one of the restaurants on the famous Alexandra Road, known locally as "Food Street."Dol Sot Bee Bahb at Jang Mo Jib, Richmond.
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Clay Pot Hot Pot and BBQ, Richmond. Amy Sherman
It's easy to see why Clay Hot Pot and BBQ is popular with the throngs of diners who come to Alexandra Road also known as Food Street. For C$20, it's all you can eat and a particularly social way to enjoy dinner. Choose a soup base or two, vegetables, meats, seafood, tofu, and more. The server will fire up the stove set in your table and it's up to you to cook yourself a feast and dip into the pot until you've had your fill. Don't be afraid to try the scary-sounding pork blood curd; it's actually mild and delicious.Photo Caption: Clay Pot Hot Pot and BBQ, Richmond
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Hong Kong Style Curry Fish Balls from Ah Fei Kitchen, Richmond. Amy Sherman
The Summer Night Market, next to the Bridgeport Station Canada Line, has 88 Asian street food vendors, so there's no way you'll be able to try a bite of everything. There are noodle dishes, rice dishes, dumplings, skewers of meat, and icy fruit drinks and desserts. One specialty not to miss is the Curry Fish Balls (C$3 for 6) from Ah Fei Kitchen. A classic Hong Kong style street food, mild and soft fish meatballs are simmered in a spicy curry sauce and topped with a dollop of hot sauce. Photo Caption: Hong Kong Style Curry Fish Balls from Ah Fei Kitchen, Richmond.
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Dragon's Beard candy from the Richmond Summer Night Market. Amy Sherman
Similar to cotton candy, this treat is made from spun sugar. Peanut crumbles are inside the little pillows that resemble cotton balls. Unusual and hard to find, it makes a nice souvenir. Look for it in Asian markets and food malls, and see it being made at the Summer Night Market where the wispy strands seem to magically materialize from a pile of powdered sugar. A box costs around C$4.Dragon's Beard candy from the Richmond Summer Night Market.
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