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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hello Vancouver!

When I recently visited Vancouver for a dragon boat race, I had two goals. The first was to race hard and bring home a medal with my team, which we did, thanks to all of my teammates' hard work. I feel especially indebted to Henry, known here as Sharkie Fin Soup, who steered us to an amazing gold medal victory in our division. From the back of the boat he guided us with skill, unflappable precision and an impressive amount of heart. I’m proud to call him my teammate, and even prouder to call him my friend.

My second goal was to try the much-hyped Japadog, which is basically a hot dog cart (a standing restaurant location was recently added) in the popular Robson Street shopping area.

Numerous friends, relatives, and even Anthony Bourdain, Ice Cube and Steven Segal are fans of these unique hot dogs with Japanese flavors. During the recent winter Olympics, waits for this popular snack were in upwards of two hours.

Luckily it was only a short wait for me and two teammates (who will be known as Ms. Chew Your Food and Lima Bean). Since it was our first and only visit (squeezed in en route to the airport heading home) we decided to split three different hot dogs (over 12 to choose from) so we could sample the variety. First up was the Terimayo ($4.75) – an all beef hot dog with sauteed onions and nori slivers, and drizzled with a delicious savory/sweet teriyaki-mayo sauce.

Next up was the Okonomi dog ($6.25), which had the flavors of the popular Japanese “pancake” okonomiyaki – which boasted Kurobota pork, sautéed cabbage, onions, bonito flakes and worchestershire-like okonomiyaki sauce. And lastly, my favorite of the three – the Oroshi dog ($4.75). Which was a mild, but perfectly seasoned bratwurst with grated daikon radish, sliced green onions and a splash of special soy sauce. The flavorful bratwurst, coupled with the freshness of the daikon and chewiness of the bread was a winning combination. One that I'm still dreaming about weeks after.

It's not often that I can check off two of my goals in the very same weekend, and this was one where I was truly grateful for all the little things. Each and every stroke on the water, bite of delicious food, moment laughing with my teammates - they all added up to one big unforgettable weekend. Thank you, Vancouver!

*Special Mention: I was also lucky enough to visit the Richmond Night Market, which is open only during the Summer (see the last three rows of pictures above). Open till midnight, this open-air flea market has shopping, live entertainment and above all - some of the best street food I've ever tasted. Asian steak tacos, pork belly buns, hurricane fries, rice cake burgers, takoyaki (octopus balls), spicy squid, bubble drinks - even Canadian treat poutin - it was all here! Highly recommended if you visit Vancouver in the summertime!



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