Even locals who know Oyama's stand inside Vancouver's beloved Granville Island Public Market is the place to go for cured meats can find the line-up intimidating.
The loaded cases, packed with Oyama's signature array of sausages, pates, cheese - really, any and everything needed for the perfect charcuterie board - beckon, offering a look at things like elk sausage with juniper, spicy capicollo, or bison pepperoni. Passersby will pause, and crane their necks for a closer look, or join the queue to order up a favourite selection or try something new.
But if you're with the high-energy woman wearing a bright red shirt with the Vancouver Foodie Tours logo on it, you're about to have the kind of experience no regular customer can have at this or several other Granville Island market stalls. While you make your way past Oyama's stand to post up just outside the market doors, she's being handed a tray loaded with samples of seven different Oyama products, and you're about to taste each one of them.
Seriously, this is like having a backstage pass to the world-famous market and its acclaimed vendors.
Your bites of Rosette de Lyon (a red wine and peppercorn air-dried salami) and schinkenspeck (a German-style prosciutto), which you'll be able to enjoy with pieces of fresh-baked bread from an earlier stop at A Bread Affair just across from the main market hall, and perhaps some pieces of cheese from your visit to Benton Brothers, are part of the "grazing-style" roving picnic you get when you take Vancouver Foodie Tours' Granville Island Public Market tour.
Back from its pandemic pause, the market tours have recently resumed under the direction of Vancouver Foodie Tours founder Michelle Ng, a passionate local food lover who has been spreading the gospel of getting to know Vancouver bite by bite since the business began back in 2010.
In addition to the bread, meat, and cheese, the Granville Island Public Market tasting tour finds guests alighting at all sorts of stalls to nibble on iconic Vancouver eats like smoked salmon and Lee's classic honey dip doughnut (made more famous decades after its debut by Seth Rogen, David Chang, and Netflix). Try a steaming plate of noodles from Sen Pad Thai and choose your own artisanal truffle at the ChocolaTas stand.
Thanks to over a decade of building relationships with vendors, the "Foodie" tour offers incredible insight into the venue - even pulling back the curtain on some local insider intel (like where a famous chain gets the crucial component to one of its most beloved dishes) and offering the chance to see the bustling market through new eyes.
Case in point: How many times have you waked the market and looked up towards the ceiling? If you hadn't noticed the massive pulleys, you'll not only get a good look at them but also learn why they are there. And do you know what's above many of the stalls?
The two-hour Foodie tour is packed with tasty morsels of food - enough to serve as either a full late breakfast or early lunch - and bits of information about Granville Island, the market, and its foods, making it both delicious and informative.
Ng is a firm believer that food unites people, and while it's often tourists who sign up for a food tour while visiting Vancouver, locals may also want to experience what it's like to have VIP access to some of the market's top eats and get a taste of their own city.
Vancouver Foodie Tours' Granville Island Market tours are offered several times a week, typically starting at 10:30 a.m. Tickets range from $79.99-99.99 depending on age and day of tour.
@vancouverisawesome The ultimate way to eat your way through the market: Vancouver Foodie Tours! #forkingawesome #vancouverbc #foodtour #granvilleisland ♬ Taste It - Ikson