Richmond, British Columbia, is a top-tier food destination within an easy distance of Seattle — about two and a half hours by car. Some of the best Chinese food in the world is here, with options ranging from high-end imports from China to hidden holes-in-the-wall, sometimes in nooks and crannies of strip malls or in food courts inside inconspicuous buildings. This guide to eating around the clock in Richmond focuses primarily on Chinese food, though the city certainly has more to discover if you can stay longer.
10 a.m. — Jade Seafood Restaurant for discounted dim sum
Jade Seafood Restaurant is great for dinner, but it’s better known as one of the finest dim sum destinations in Richmond. Get classic har gow (steamed shrimp dumplings) done right, with a crunchy snap to the shrimp. Additional favorites include the pickled ginger with century egg and prawn roll, as well as the steamed mushroom dumplings, which feature a trio of mushrooms with a strong scent of truffle. Bonus: there’s a 20 percent discount for ordering before 11 a.m.
Alternative: Empire Seafood Restaurant for dim sum (also discounted before 11 a.m.) that includes wu gok taro dumplings (prepared here with duck) and baked tapioca pudding.
12 p.m. — G-men Ramen for ramen and gyoza
G-men Ramen serves some of the best ramen in the area. Tokyo-style shoyu ramen, difficult to find in Seattle, is done to perfection. The broth is strong with chicken and soy sauce flavor, and comes with thin, fatty pork slices and a perfectly cooked, brilliantly yellow-orange egg. (There’s also RCMP ramen: red chili miso pepper.) The gyoza are a great side option. Walk off your meal by exploring Steveston, a quaint fishing village within Richmond.
Alternative: Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle for its famous beef noodle soup from Taiwan in the Aberdeen Centre with its high-end stores. (Also check out the fabulous food court on the top level.)
2 p.m. — Hei Hei Rice Roll for cheung fun
The somewhat ragtag Richmond Public Market has a curious collection of stores on the first floor, but you want to head to the second floor for the food court. Here you’ll find folks lining up at the Hei Hei Rice Roll stall, where the business stone-grinds rice to make its own rice flour for the cheung fun (rice rolls). Often found during dim sum service at restaurants, the rice rolls at Hei Hei are delicate and silky smooth with corn and bean sprouts among the free toppings for texture. Choose from a wide variety of fillings and make it a combo by getting a side of congee. Bonus: Nearby find the Xi’an Cuisine stall, serving up hand-stretched biang biang noodles, open-ended crispy dumplings, and spicy wontons with a nice pop of vinegar, as well as Richmond’s oldest (and likely cheapest) bubble tea at Peanut’s Bubble Tea.
Alternative: Harmony Bakery for rice rolls.
3 p.m. — R&H Chinese Food for xiao long bao and more
This Chinese restaurant at Lansdowne Centre serves high quality xiao long bao (juicy soup dumplings), sheng jian bao (a pan-fried version), beef rolls, and many more freshly made delights. There might be better places for each of these individual items, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any other restaurant in Richmond offering this quality, consistency, and value across the board — in a mall food court, of all places. Wash down your dumplings with brown sugar pearl milk tea from Xing Fu Tang, inside the T&T Supermarket in the same mall.
Alternative: Shanghai River for baskets of xiao long bao in a more upscale setting.
4 p.m. — HK BBQ Master for a myriad of meats
HK BBQ Master is masterful indeed in its preparation of barbecued meats. The barbecue duck is delicious and tends to sell out early. The barbecue pork is seductively sweet, while the soy sauce chicken is incredibly moist. The roast pork, however, is the most irresistible, boasting three delicious layers: the meat close to the bone, a layer of succulent fat, and a crackly fried skin. There’s room to dine in, though many get the goods to go.
Alternative: Parker Place Meat & BBQ for a similar assortment of meats.
6 p.m. — Car’s Dessert for mochi
It’s a little challenging to find this little sliver of a storefront in Pacific Plaza, but it’s worth it. Word is spreading quickly and resulting in sellouts of the soft and chewy mochi at Car’s Dessert. (Call ahead to reserve a box of four.) The mango mochi is studded with pieces of fruit, while the chestnut mochi has chunks amidst smooth chestnut paste. Hawaiian purple yam is a colorful option, while those who love intense smells should try the durian mochi. There are also various baked sago puddings and sago creams.
Alternative: Excellent Tofu & Snack for tofu pudding, hot or cold, sweet or savory, with a variety of toppings.
8 p.m. — The Fish Man for roasted fish
Locals know Alexandra Road as Eat Street (Wai Sek Kai) for its abundance of restaurants, and while The Fish Man is still relatively new, it’s already one of the most popular. Build your meal around roasted fish. You choose your type of fish (a firm flesh like catfish holds up best), flavor (the Sichuan numbing and spicy ma la works well) and choice of toppings like tofu skin, lotus root, and wood ear mushrooms. There are also excellent starter and side dishes such as oysters, grilled scallops, stir-fried spicy clams, and a variety of meat skewers (and other barbecue items), plus fresh-squeezed watermelon juice to counter the spiciness.
Alternative: Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant for a family-style Cantonese meal that might include pan-fried oysters, salt-baked chicken, and a surprisingly good sweet and sour pork.
11 p.m. — Tasty BBQ & Beer Bar for beer and meant on sticks
With plenty of neon lights for nostalgic flair, Tasty BBQ & Beer is winning fans as a place for late night festivities. You might be too full to gorge on the braised pig’s head with crepes or the pan-fried free-range chicken and oysters, but there’s always room for BBQ skewers, and Tasty’s got plenty of them, from Angus beef and chicken wings to lamb kidney and pig intestine. As the name indicates, there’s plenty of beer to sample, but the drink menu has much more, including Vita Cocktails of juice boxes (soy milk, lemon tea, etc.) paired with sample-size liquor bottles served bulldog margarita style. (Last call for food is 11:30pm, and the bar closes at 1:00am.)
Late Night — No.9 Restaurant for overnight cravings
Can’t sleep? Want to eat more? No.9 Restaurant on No.3 Road (in the Lansdowne Shopping Centre) is ready whenever you are, open 24 hours. Customers come to this Hong Kong-style cafe at all hours for congee, soup or dry noodles, BBQ meats, fried rice, curry dishes, hot pot, and more (and by more we mean everything from borscht to burgers). The expansive menu is seemingly endless, going all the way up to item number 895: cold tofu pudding.
8 a.m. — Lido Restaurant for pineapple buns
Diners flock to Hong-Kong-style cafe Lido at all hours (there’s often a wait right at opening time) for pineapple buns, with those in the know eschewing the ones in view in favor of those fresh-out-of-the-oven. They’re best with butter (or even a “double butter” order if you dare), its cold creaminess playing well with the warm (and, yes, already buttery) bun. The buns are fine on their own (with coffee that can be Western-style or Hong-Kong-style, meaning with milk), or as a prelude to something else from a menu that includes noodle soup with squid balls, a corned beef and egg sandwich, and oatmeal with turnip cake.
Alternative: Kam Do Bakery for four kinds of egg tarts, wife cakes, and more.
10 a.m. (or 10:30 on weekdays) — Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant for exquisite dim sum
Chef Tony is a jewel of Chinese dining in Richmond, where splashy white decor and chandeliers match chef Tony He’s exuberant Guangdong cuisine. Contemporary dim sum specialties include shrimp dumplings with matsutake mushrooms, black truffle siu mai (with pork and shrimp), and a deep-fried taro and abalone pastry, along with a wide variety of congee. Save room for steamed egg sponge cake and salty egg yolk lava buns for dessert. The restaurant is part of Empire Centre, where (if you’re still hungry) the food court delights with sizzling claypots at James Snacks and the aroma of stewed organ meats at Lai Leung Kee Delicatessen.
Alternative: Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant, where dim sum includes delicate crab dumplings, siu mai topped with fish roe, and stir-fried sticky rice with smoky notes.