Event: Richmond Foodie Tour
Date attended: July 17, 2010
Location: Alexandra Road, Richmond BC
Foodie tours seem like they’re definitely here to stay! Good thing too. I love seeing this “foodie craze” grow and I’m a strong believer that it’s much more than a temporary trend. As long as people keep eating then I don’t see it every slowing down. So Follow Me Foodie (well in this case Michelle, our host from the Foodie Tour) and let’s continue to eat!
The last foodie tour I attended was the Granville Foodie Tour on Granville Street in downtown, Vancouver. I had a wonderful experience on that tour and was excited when Michelle invited me for the Richmond foodie tour. Our host and founder of Foodie Tour, Michelle Ng, walked us down Alexandra Road as we visited previously selected restaurants to sample some of their specialties and features. Alexandra Street is popularly known to Chinese locals as “eating street” so it’s no surprise that this was the chosen street Foodie Tour decided to highlight. Being it Richmond (mini Hong Kong) it was no doubt, that the restaurants would be all Chinese, which is a good thing because that’s what Richmond is famous for – good authentic Chinese/Asian food.
The Chinese/Asian restaurants on this Richmond Foodie Tour wouldn’t be my personal choice for the best Chinese/Asian restaurants on Alexandra Road, however they did touch upon a few that I do really like. Overall I found the Granville Street Tour much better and it maybe perhaps because I am very familiar with Asian cuisine especially in Richmond. I had also already dined at 3/5 restaurants we visited and tried most of the stuff we had. It was still fun and Michelle was a great host, but I do think $40/person is overpriced for this foodie tour. For a 2.5 hour tour it was about the same price as a family of 4 to a movie. The value just wasn’t there for me, and I feel like $20 would be much more appropriate especially for sampling Asian cuisine. I couldn’t have ordered all the dishes we tried without breaking a $40 budget; but I could have also easily gotten really good Chinese food from 4-6 of my actual favourite Asian restaurants in Richmond with $40. Nonetheless the tour was fully booked with about 20 people; however it is a new launch so we’ll see if the prices will be adjusted to something more reasonable.
The Granville Street foodie tour was only $10/person and that included all food and alcoholic drinks at pretty nice restaurants too. I will highly recommend the Granville Street Foodie Tour to locals and tourists. I recommend the Richmond Foodie Tour to people unfamiliar with Richmond dining scene or for those who just want to be introduced to Asian cuisine. I liked that they do highlight a few Asian cuisines and not just Chinese.
Added note: Since I was invited to attend the Richmond Foodie Tour I won’t highlight the food too much.
Participating Richmond Foodie Tour restaurants: Leisure, Jade Seafood Restaurant, Jang Mo Jib, Michigan Noodle Shop, Soul Robata & Izakaya (4-6 restaurants/tour)
On the table:
Leisure Coffee Shop
Unit 1110 – 8391 Alexandra Road
Leisure Coffee Shop is one of the many bubble tea Taiwanese restaurants on Alexandra Road. It actually offers a selection of homemade waffles and desserts which came to my surprise. The atmosphere was for an older more traditional demographic compared to the other bubble tea restaurants on Alexandra Road that attract younger late night crowds.
To be honest, bubble tea isn’t that exciting for someone like me who has it at least once a month. However from a tourist perspective, it can’t be missed and I’m glad it was included in the Richmond Foodie Tour. It was cute because one of the participants in the tour had never tried bubble tea so hearing her excitement was more exciting for me.
A very popular Taiwanese snack or appetizer. I’m going to suggest Pearl Castle or Beefy Beef Noodle for Taiwanese Chicken. This wasn’t enough to showcase what Leisure Coffee Shop can do so I actually would go back to make a bigger dent in the menu, although I’m in no rush to do it.
The Jade Seafood Restaurant
8511 Alexandra Road
This actually would be a restaurant I would recommend for great authentic Chinese food on Alexandra Road in Richmond. I’ve come here several times for dim sum (see here) and for dinner (see here), so I was happy to see it included in the Richmond Foodie Tour.
I’ve been here for a dim sum a handful of times and we’ve never ordered this dish before, which is funny because it’s one of their house specialties. Luckily for this Richmond Foodie Tour I wouldn’t have known this fact so I am happy about that and I’m ordering this for dim sum next time.
This is another famous dish from Jade Seafood Restaurant that I have tried before. It was good for dinner and it was good on the Richmond Foodie Tour.
Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant
8320 Alexandra Road
I’ve been to Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant ages ago, but I haven’t been in a long time. It’s actually a family owned Korean restaurant with Korean owners and they specialize in Korean hot pot, BBQ and food. It’s one of the most popular mainstream Korean restaurants and they have 3 locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, and of course one in Richmond. Out of all the restaurants we visited, Jang Mo Job Korean Restaurant is the restaurant that really spoiled us, and they could afford to do so being as big as they are.
This is how it would be actually served if you ordered it and it would be $18.95. It’s a huge portion of noodles. I really like this dish and I think they did a good job with it here.
Another dish that is served as is if you were to go in and order it. It would be $19.95 and again it’s a massive pancake. The best Korean pancake I’ve had was sadly in Korea… see here. Being that Korea is very far from Vancouver/Richmond, I do like the pajeon from “the Kitchen” in Vancouver, but after coming back from Korea I may feel differently. Another good place for Korean pancake (pajeon) is from Book Kyung Ban Jeom on Robson Street in downtown, Vancouver.
I think this is also how it would be served if you were to order it. It’s $24.95 and of their most popular dishes.
Michigan Noodle Shop
Unit #1160 – 8580 Alexandra Road
I’ve been to Michigan Noodle Shop and I actually really do like this restaurant as well. It’s a smaller restaurant so I was glad it was on the list of the places on the Richmond Foodie Tour.
I actually did a search for Richmond best wonton and I compared 3 bowls of wontons side by side – the clear winner Neptune Wonton Noodle on #110-8171 Akroyd Road, Richmond.
I liked their shui gau better than their wonton. I actually really liked how our host Michelle told us the history behind the name of the food and a little about the restaurants themselves. I actually didn’t know that translated Shui Gau meant “water clouds” and I know the language… uh oh…
Soul Robata Izakaya
Unit #1015 – 8580 Alexandra Road
Soul Robata & Izakaya is a relatively newer restaurant on Alexandra Road that opened earlier this year I think. I noticed it a lot, but the last time I tried coming it was closed so I ended up at Red Fusion Chinese Cuisine also on Alexandra Road in Richmond.
There’s a few Japanese fusion and Izakaya restaurants on Alexandra Street in Richmond, but I also really like Guu Japanese Izakaya Restaurant and Gyo-O Kaisen Shokudo Japanese Restaurant that are not on Alexandra Road, but still in Richmond. The owners of Gyo-O also own Nan Chuu Japanese Izakaya restaurant that is on Alexandra Road.
There isn’t enough for one each so it was luck of the draw… or basically who’s bold enough to call dibs on which one they want when they’re sitting with a table of random strangers.
I really like Takoyaki and this one is decent, but I like the one at Gyo-O Kaisen Shokudo Japanese Restaurant. It’s been a while though so maybe I’ll do a side by side comparison.
I really didn’t like that there was chicken cartilage at the very tip of this croquette, but it tastes pretty good.
I actually wish we ended the Richmond Foodie Tour with something sweet – even ending at the bubble tea restaurant might have been nice. Chinese and Asian restaurants are not popular for their desserts (I don’t find them very good myself) but it would have been a nice way to end off the Richmond Foodie Tour even if it was with a fortune cookie… actually they should totally do that! That would have been a cute and fun idea.