10th annual Chinese Restaurant Awards celebrate a decade of dining

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The 10th annual Chinese Restaurant Awards have just revealed the winners of the best places to eat and dishes to enjoy in Metro Vancouver as selected by local food critics.

The Chinese Restaurant Awards critics’ choices follow on the heels of the already-announced Diners’ Choice Awards. For this year’s exciting milestone event, the Chinese Restaurant Awards added a special component, the Elite 10–a list of stand-out restaurants that have had an impact on the last decade of dining in Vancouver.

Honey Glazed BBQ Iberico Pork Steamed Rice Roll at Mott 32 (Photo by Rae Kung/Courtesy Chinese Restaurant Awards)

Vancouver is often singled out for its incredible Chinese restaurant scene, in local, national, and international media coverage. That’s no surprise to Lee Man, one of the esteemed critics who has judged the Chinese Restaurant Awards for each of its ten years.

Man tells Vancouver Is Awesome that this year the competition has really upped itself. Vancouver’s diverse population, bolstered by an influx of new immigrants, means our Chinese restaurants are getting more regionally specific, and are cooking for native palates.

But what makes Vancouver unique is our Chinese restaurants and their chefs making use of our incredible local ingredients. From seasonal produce to our signature Dungeness Crab (which is known often in China as “Vancouver Crab”), local Chinese restaurants are building their traditional flavours and skilled techniques on stellar product. We’re talking Fraser Valley-grown veggies, local chickens, fresh spot prawns.

Chinese Sauerkraut Fish at Too Two restaurant (Photo by Rae Kung/Courtesy Chinese Restaurant Awards)

Over the last couple of years, Man notes, Vancouver has seen an explosion of Sichuan-style restaurants, as well as Bejing-style Peking Duck restaurants, and creative uses of local seafood. And with a cuisine like Sichuan, which can easily get muddied, Man says he’s enjoyed meals where the flavours truly come alive and the spice doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

That’s pretty exciting stuff, as is the enduring legacy of what the Chinese Restaurant Awards are calling the “Elite 10” to mark the awards’ decade, and a decade of MVPs here in Vancouver. These are true “unsung heroes,” of the industry, featuring spots the judges go back to over and over. Places like HK BBQ Master, an enduring crowd favourite, are among the 10 honourees.

While you may already be a loyal fan of places like HK BBQ Master, and other winners on this year’s list, Man hopes that Vancouver diners ditch their fears about trying new Chinese restaurants and dishes. Man says most Chinese restaurants in Vancouver are delighted to welcome non-Chinese customers, and they let those customers take the lead in ordering, so it’s okay to just point to items on the menu, ask for a fresh sheet, or request a picture menu.

hk bbq master
HK BBQ Master (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome)

Plus, we can also stop worrying that an order like Sweet & Sour Pork will make us sound too basic. Man says that’s actually a dish that takes great skill, is “not the refuge of bad cooking. Sweet & Sour Pork “should be fresh and crisp, and the sauce just clings,” describes Man. Besides, a good restaurant doesn’t want to tarnish its rep by serving bad dishes, period.

“Order what you want to eat. Don’t feel like you have to apologize,” urges Man. After all–the Chinese Restaurant Awards are designed to inspire us to go out and eat more local Chinese food.

Above all, what Vancouver has is quality Chinese food, and it’s food that deserves to be enjoyed and honoured.

“Good cooking is recognizable across borders,” adds Man.
And so we do. Here are all the winners!

2018 Chinese Restaurant Awards – Metro Vancouver: Winners List

Hennessy the Elite 10 Awards, exclusive for the 10th annual (10 winners; in alphabetic order)

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant
#101–4600 No. 3 Road, Richmond  (604) 279-0083

Congee Noodle House
141 E Broadway, Vancouver (604) 879-8821

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
#108–777 West Broadway, Vancouver  (604) 876-8388

Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant
8071 Park Road, Richmond  (604) 278-0873

HK BBQ Master
#145-4651 No. 3 Road, Richmond (604) 272-6568

Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood Restaurant
8191 Westminster Hwy, Richmond (604) 276-9229

Kalvin’s Szechuan Restaurant
5225 Victoria Drive, Vancouver (604) 321-2888

Landmark Hotpot House
4023 Cambie Street, Vancouver  (604) 872-2868

Long’s Noodle House
4853 Main St., Vancouver (604) 879-7879

The Jade Seafood Restaurant
8511 Alexandra Road, Richmond (604) 249-0082 (Close at mid of April; Moving to new location in June/July)

Long’s Noodle House (Photo by Rae Kung/courtesy Chinese Restaurant Awards)

The Elite – Wine Program Excellence Award, exclusive for the 10th annual

Bamboo Grove Restaurant

6920 No 3 Rd, Richmond, BC  (604) 278-9585

Special Awards of the Year

HENNESSY’S TOP SERVICE AND SALES AWARD

Bandao Pearl Seafood Restaurant
#308 – 470 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver (604) 620-8808

OCEAN WISE SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD AWARD

Heritage Asian Eatery
1108 West Pender Street Vancouver (778) 737-1108

Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Awards, presented by Alberta Canola Growers

10 award-winning dishes in total (*first time winners of the award component)

Beef Brisket Curry at Chinatown BBQ (Photo by Rae Kung/courtesy Chinese Restaurant Awards)

Minced Prawn Steamed with Fish Maw @ Kirin Restaurant (Richmond branch)
7900 Westminister Hwy, Richmond (604) 303-8833

STEAMED BUN FILLED WITH SALTY EGG YOLK LAVA @ Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant
#101–4600 No. 3 Road, Richmond (604) 279-0083

HONEY GLAZED BBQ IBERICO PORK, STEAMED RICE ROLL @Mott32*
1161 West Georgia Street, Vancouver (604) 979-8886

PAN SEARED OYSTERS IN SUPREME SOY SAUCE @ Red Star Seafood Restaurant
8298 Granville Street, Vancouver (604) 261-8389
#2200-8181 Cambie Road, Richmond (604) 270-3003

CHINESE SAUERKRAUT FISH @ Too Two Chinese Sauerkraut Fish Restaurant*
#101-4940 No.3 Road, Richmond (604) 303-0490

CLAYPOT CHICKEN WITH TROTTERS @ Geng Shi Ji*
#1211-8388 Capstan Way, Richmond (604) 370-6899

SQUID PASTE-STUFFED CHINESE DOUGHNUT WITH MOUNTAIN YAM IN GOLDEN SAUCE @ The Jade Seafood Restaurant
8511 Alexandra Road, Richmond (604) 249-0082 (Close at mid of April; Moving to new location in June/July)

SZECHUAN STYLE BRAISED B.C. STURGEON IN SPICY CHILI, CLAY POT @1886*
39 Smithe Street, Vancouver (778) 370-8500

TOFU WITH CRAB CREAM SAUCE @Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
#108–777 West Broadway, Vancouver (604) 876-8388

BEEF BRISKET CURRY @Chinatown BBQ*
130 East Pender Street, Vancouver

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of LAist.com, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancouverisawesome.com // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom