The tastes of Vancouver

With all the fresh mountain air and salty breezes, it's hard to keep your appetite on the back burner here.

Our advice is to save the calorie-pinching for another time and make every meal a feast. That won't be difficult, because Vancouver has a highly-competitive restaurant culture and an abundance of seasonal produce, including seafood plucked straight from the ocean.

Cold water delicacies

Shucking an oyster that has been pried from the rocks submerged beneath the crystal clear waters around Vancouver Island is an experience not to be missed. Take advantage of the many buck-a-shuck oyster happy hours across the city and decide on your favourite out of the Kumamoto, Kusshi and Fanny Bay varieties that are local to Vancouver.

For something different, consider tasting one of the creamy, briny sea urchins harvested straight off the boat at Fisherman's Wharf. These unusual ocean delicacies can also be found on menus at many of Vancouver's popular Japanese restaurants.

If you can see past their very strange appearance, gooseneck barnacles are another ocean oddity to try. Vancouver's barnacles are hand-harvested by First Nations fishermen on Clayoquot Sound, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Some say they taste like crab; others compare the flavour to scallops. Yum!

If you're dying to try some Canadian salmon you'll be delighted to discover a Vancouver specialty - salmon candy. Made from locally caught, hot-smoked salmon glazed with maple syrup, this twist on smoked salmon will certainly take you by surprise. Sweet, salty, chewy and slightly peppery, salmon candy can be found all across the city, including Granville Island Public Market.

Made from locally caught, hot-smoked salmon glazed with maple syrup, salmon candy can be found all across the city

Want to do your bit for the future? Vancouver Aquarium has set up the Ocean Wise conservation program to help restaurants make environmentally friendly choices and to ensure the seafood you eat is sustainable. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol on your menu.

Japanese influence

A stalwart of the Vancouver street food scene, JapaDog has become an institution equally enjoyed by locals and visitors. The menu centres on a selection of Japanese-inspired hotdogs (think seaweed flakes and miso mayonnaise) served quickly in efficient street-vendor style - no waiting for a table here. There are numerous carts across the city and when you find one we recommend trying their signature 'butter and shoyu' fries.

Vancouver's Japanese food is of such a high standard that some say it's the best outside of Japan. A signature sushi dish to try is the BC roll, British Columbia's signature sushi roll, featuring grilled local salmon skin. Or, for something to warm you up on a cold night, head to one of Vancouver's excellent ramen restaurants – the west end between Robson and Denman streets is a reliable ramen destination.

Latte art, Giovane Cafe, Vancouver, Canada.

Serious coffee culture

Vancouverites also love their small-batch locally roasted coffee, especially 'slow bar' styles such as Chemex, siphon flame-brewed and pour-overs. Take your coffee snob pretentions to Revolver in Gastown, Kahve or Moving Coffee in 1st Ave, Aubade in Pender Street or Timbertrain in Cordova Street. For great latte art, look to Caffe Artigiano in the financial district.


Vancouver food highlights

Bring your appetite for live to the city that chefs love to call home. Experience vibrant Vancouver with Air New Zealand flying direct from Auckland up to five times weekly.

Watch more: Vancouver Winter Wonderland, The Neighbourhoods of Vancouver

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