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Jeffy Boy

Under-represented cuisines

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Saw a thread in the Toronto section of eG talking about cuisines that are under-represented (or even absent).

What types of cuisine do you think are under-represented, or you would like to see a greater selection of, in Vancouver?

I haven't found much Moroccan here. I'd also like to see more Lebanese.


I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson

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Good question. I agree about the Moroccan and Lebanese food, the choices seem very slim in Vancouver.

I would add Ethiopian ( I can only think of Nyala), Caribbean( is there anything besides The Reef?), South American (Baru is great, but are there any more?), Tex-Mex, Portuguese or Brazilian,some good Mexican choices would be nice, and is there a single good Persian place in town?

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moroccan, definitely... i miss it a lot !

And what else does vancouver need ? A kick-ass, truly fine-dining restaurant, on par with The french laundry, Trotter or any michelin starred place in Europe.

Because i've come to the conclusion that Vancouver borrows a tremendous lot from foreign cuisines, but isnt quite looking towards defining its own style.

By that, i mean looking for everything that is good and fresh and local, and from there, experiment. I feel like the diversity of produce from the ocean tends to be overlooked, and what about wild flowers, venison, wild boar, elk, etc.

On Vancouver island, there seems to be more restaurants with this approach. A greater sense of being rooted in an incredibly bountiful environment, and a willingness to translate that into dishes.

In Vancouver, i cant help but feeling overwhelmed by too much attitude, too little lighting, too much artifice, rather than being conquered by the food and/or the service. There are a lot of places out there that just lack character, individuality, and where you dont feel any passion or generosity. And food is just about that...

To me, the best restaurants in town are just like really good but overpriced bistros.

It's simple : the places i most enjoy myself are japanese, vietnamese...

The food is the star, not the room, not the waiter's slim figure, not the menu's font.


Eddy M., Chef & Owner

Se.ed Artisan Foods, Vancouver BC

Follow Se.ed's growth at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/fromseedtofood/

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Mexican food here is somewhat underrepresented/underwhelming.

I live a block from Las Margaritas and have been once in ten years-it was enough.

Caribbean-well the Roti Bistro 1958 W 4th is Trinidadian but the cooking is more earnest that artful.I ate at The Reef once-food was marginal/waitress had serious attitude-I'll never go back.

Ethiopian-I walked by a new Ethiopian place down on South Granville near the all-day breakfast joint-can't think of the name right now-haven't been yet though.

Moroccan-I'd love to try Moroccan food someday.

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Good pizza/bagels. There are a few places that are pretty good, but nowhere incredible. Lombardo's is maybe the best so far, but I can do way better in my own oven. How about greek-style (crustly, kinda dense/med. thick crust) pizza? I have not found anything like that either. What's up with the breadstuffs in this city?

The El Salvadoran place on Commercial (En Rincinito or something like that, about 2 blocks south of the Skytrain on the east side) has pretty good pupusas. I've only been once however.

There are also a few Ethiopian places on Commercial and a few on Broadway near and east of Main. I've never been to any of them though.

Another thing missing is a sweet-sauced donair. I have yet to have seen anywhere with one that isn't buying it's meat from that ubiquitous supplier of meat and donair signs that most places seem to have. I think even then, I've only seen 2 or 3.

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A few thoughts:

Portugeuese - I really like Latin Quarter on Commercial. Their paella is terrific, and with a pitcher of sangria I'm done for the night.

Pizza - if you haven't been to Incendio (the one in Gastown is better than the one in the west end) you should try it.

Agree on Mexican - a little short on good places.

Still no Moroccan? I'm dying for a good, rich Tajine.

Best Lebanese I've been to is Habibi's on Broadway. Great food, and inexpensive.


I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson

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I've been complaining for years to anyone who will listen that Vancouver needed a good Brazilian restaurant (like Seattle's Tempero do Brasil). A friend recently told me that there is one in fact, just off Commercial on Charles, called Exotico, I think.

Anyone been there? If so, opinion/review please.

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If were talking under represented surely Thai is the most sorely lacking when considered against the numbers of other asian restaurants. Sure there's quite a few, but I'd like to see them on every street corner like sushi. I think the continued success of Thai House speaks volumes abou the lack of competition.

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If were talking under represented surely Thai is the most sorely lacking when considered against the numbers of other asian restaurants. Sure there's quite a few, but I'd like to see them on every street corner like sushi. I think the continued success of Thai House speaks volumes abou the lack of competition.

What about the fairly recently defunct Thai restaurant, Chili Club Thai? Was the Thai food there top notch?

-Steve

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That's kinda my point exactly, one Thai restaurant goes south and we all know about it. I'd like to see Thai on every street corner like the other popular asian cuisines.

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What types of cuisine do you think are under-represented, or you would like to see a greater selection of, in Vancouver?

Korean. According to Korean friends of ours, Vancouver is great place to buy authentic ingredients but dismal when it comes replicating authentic Korean food in a restaurant setting. They've tried every restaurant in town that claims to serve Korean meals and were disappointed every time. Bonus for us: when the weather warms up, they're going to fire up their BBQ and have us over for a proper Korean dinner, with homemade kim chee and bulgogi and bipbimbap..... yum.

Scandinavian. Don't scoff! And since Dovre stopped importing those big pails of plump whole herring fillets, we haven't been able to satisfy our cravings for a proper Swedish-style herring feast at home, either. There's more to Scandinavian cooking than open-faced sandwiches, fyi.

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Scandinavian. Don't scoff!

After spending hours drooling over the Aquavit cookbook in bookstores and online, I would never, ever scoff at Scandinavian food again. That being said, I have never been to a Scandinavian retaurant in Vancouver, and I would not even know where one is. Are there any good ones?

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And what else does vancouver need ? A kick-ass, truly fine-dining restaurant, on par with The french laundry, Trotter or any michelin starred place in Europe.

I've never been to the French Laundry or Trotter's, but Lumiere or C don't do it for you?


I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson

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My problem is less about under-represented cuisines and more about under-represented cuisine in certain areas. Why is it that Commercial Drive can't do a good French Bistro? I would sell off several non-essential body parts for a good steak/frites and a foie gras appy.Is your probability of sucess that much better if you are one of 30 places where someone can get a greasy slice of pizza or a cup of coffee? Just asking....I'm sure there are other nieghborhoods that would love a good noodle house or Malaysian or other ethnic style restaurants and just don't see them open because another Subway or Starbucks is about to open up. BTW my beef is not with the chains i just want the independants to give them a run for their money.


If it's slower than me.

Dumber than me.

And tastes good.

Pass the salt.

Anthony Bourdain

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Market forces decide these issues. I am sure a potential proprietor of a French Bistro will do their due dilligence and research on the best location to maximise returns. That they do not have a FB in Commerical drive is probably the same reason why one does not exist in South Burnaby. :raz: Any ways you are always welcome to come over when you are craving for some red meat. :biggrin:

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Here's another thread that deserves another look. In terms of underrepresented cuisines, the last go-round from 2004 listed:

- Moroccan

- Lebanese

- Ethiopian

- South American

- Caribbean

- Mexican

- Tex-Mex

- Persian

- Fine dining on par with French Laundry or Trotter

- Portuguese

- Thai

I'd say we're doing better now for Lebanese (Nuba), Mexican (Bandidas Taqueria, Don Guacamole's, Dona Cata, La Taqueria, Las Tortas, Cobre, Tacos Mexico Rico), Tex-Mex (Budgie's, La Casita, Red Burrito), Ethiopian (Nyala, Fassil, Harambe, Red Sea, Gojo Cafe), and Persian (Darya, Kashcool).

Metro Vancouver still has very few South American restaurants. All I can think of is El Inka Deli, Baru Latino, and Samba Steakhouse. Can that be it from a continent of 380 million people?


健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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Having been to Scandinavia a few times I think vancouver would be perfect for a scandinavian restaurant. The fish dishes, especially salmon and all the roe. I think it is really misrepresented and it can be very interesting indeed.

Also from what I can remember there was only 1 first nations restaurant that has long since closed down - is that still the case. First nations would be a great idea.

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My wishlist:

Portuguese (we have only a couple of family run places with limited menus)

Spanish (not just tapas)

Mexican and Regional Mexican (we can all dream, right? I hear good things about Hernandez in Victoria for Mexican-Mayan cuisine.)

Turkish (we have one good one with Anatolia's Gate)

Burmese

Isan (NE Thailand/Laos region)

Neapolitan Pizza

Chile

Southern US (& Soul) - even just for the novelty

A good Vegetarian place

More regional Indian

Uighur

I'd love to see more street food too.


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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Also from what I can remember there was only 1 first nations restaurant that has long since closed down - is that still the case. First nations would be a great idea.

Salmon n' Bannock opened up mid-February, located at 1128 W. Broadway (between Spruce & Alder), in the old Habibi's space. Small-ish menu, consisting of mostly very tasty bannock. I ate there just when it opened and I think they were still working out some kinks (my venison stew was underseasoned and dry) - I would go back in 6 months or so. First Nations cuisine is definately way under-represented, and sadly so, being that their culture is such an integral part of our local history.

I'd like to see a restaurant specializing in really great game meats, beyond the usual venison steak and bison burger.

I also think African cuisines other than Ethiopian are under-represented. South African, for instance.


Edited by Beebs (log)

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Also from what I can remember there was only 1 first nations restaurant that has long since closed down - is that still the case. First nations would be a great idea.

Salmon n' Bannock opened up mid-February, located at 1128 W. Broadway (between Spruce & Alder), in the old Habibi's space. Small-ish menu, consisting of mostly very tasty bannock. I ate there just when it opened and I think they were still working out some kinks (my venison stew was underseasoned and dry) - I would go back in 6 months or so.

It's not a full-season restaurant, but Wild Salmon, a training restaurant run by teh Vancouver Commulnity College's Aboriginal Culinary Arts program , serves modern aboriginal food during certain months of the year (May? to Aug?? - I'm not certain)


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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Is it mathematically accurate to say that Mexican food is under-represented in Vancouver? There's not a large Mexican population in Vancouver, is there? Or does under-represented just mean "We wish we had more of this kind of restaurant"? If you look at it as a question of representation per population, my guess is that you get Russian as one of the most under-represented cuisines.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Is it mathematically accurate to say that Mexican food is under-represented in Vancouver? There's not a large Mexican population in Vancouver, is there? Or does under-represented just mean "We wish we had more of this kind of restaurant"? If you look at it as a question of representation per population, my guess is that you get Russian as one of the most under-represented cuisines.

Perhaps the stats don't support it, but we can certainly use more Mexican restaurants that serve more than just tacos or Tex-Mex or some such facsimile. So yes..."we wish we had more of this kind of restaurant."

You are right about Russian food...we do have a couple of Russian places...one is a modern vodka bar with Russian "tapas".


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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For me, good Mexican is a cantina with dirt-cheap eats, pitchers, and burritos the size of your forearm. You just can't get that here, yet the second you cross the border into Washington it's plentiful and consistently delicious.

Pizza and burgers are also consistently depressing. Ah Beetz is great pizza (but all alone, and far away), and there are a couple serviceable burgers in town, but nothing freshly ground, hand-formed and cooked medium, like a burger should be.

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