Basho Cafe

By now, you’ve likely noticed that we have an embarrassment of riches in Metro Vancouver when it comes to great food. This is especially true when it comes to Asian food. We have terrific sushi and pho (on the cheap too) and I’ve been told by visitors that Vancouver has the best Chinese food outside of Hong Kong. Listed below are some highlights from my culinary adventures in the last month or so. If you’ve been following my #foodporn on Instagram, you might recognize a few of these.

Basho Cafe – East Village

Basho Cafe

Located on Hastings near Victoria, Basho Cafe is best known for its fresh baked sweets with a Japanese inspiration. Getting the little cookies and such individually will run you about a dollar, but you can get the afternoon set (shown at the top of this post) with a matcha latte for $5.

Heartier fare is a little more limited; you can get teri pulled pork (shown here, $8) or tuna tataki ($9.50) on your choice of rice or salad, completing the lunch set with soup, mini sweets and a cup of tea for $3 more. I’m not sure I’d necessarily go back for lunch, but those little baked goods offer a great “not too sweet” Japanese flavor.

Basho Cafe on Urbanspoon

Xu’s Wonton House – Crystal Mall

Xu's Wonton House

Asian food in Vancouver rides a lot of trends. Sushi was a big deal maybe 20 years ago. In the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of ramen shops. And now, the steamed soup dumpling of Shanghainese cuisine has become quite the thing to eat. As odd as it may sound, some of the best xiaolongbao in town happens to be in a food court. Go to the far end of the Crystal Mall food court to find this popular gem, selling you five dumplings for about $4.25.

The XLB served by Xu’s are far larger and soupier than the more delicate dumplings at Din Tai Fung in Taipei. The skin is still just the right thickness and the soup is fantastic. You will need to be pretty careful as the soup is very hot and it’s quite unfortunate when you spill it all over your food court tray. Their spicy wontons are pretty good too.

Xu's Wonton House ????? on Urbanspoon

Mambo Cafe – Aberdeen Centre

Mambo Cafe

As far as Asian food courts go, one of the larger ones is in Aberdeen Centre. So, when Ed Lau told me that Mambo Cafe was one of the better places for baked pork chop rice in Richmond, I suppose I wasn’t all that surprised. The meal, including a drink (extra 50 cents for cold) was about eight bucks. The pre-cut pork chop itself was both crispy and juicy, but despite what the photo above may lead you to believe, there wasn’t nearly enough sauce for the rice underneath. Still a winner in my books.

Mambo Cafe ???? on Urbanspoon