Where to dine on unusual Asian cuisine in Vancouver

While Vancouver is best known for its impressive selection of Chinese and Indian restaurants, Japanese izakayas and sushi spots, the city is also home to several restaurants serving lesser-known Asian cuisine. From Sri Lanka to Singapore, this list will introduce you to flavour fare from around in the world – and you won’t even have to get on a plane! [Photo credit: iStock.com/Ugurhan Betin]

Amay's House

1
5076 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC V5P 3T8

Amay’s is the type of place you bring someone who you want to impress with your knowledge of the city’s food scene. The menu at this Fraser Street haunt is focused primarily on Burmese cuisine – arguably one of the most underrated cuisines of Asia. From the restaurant’s exquisite fermented tea leaf salad – which gives a major buzz thanks to the high caffeine content of the leaves – to the traditional mohinga fish stew, you’ll be blown away by the unusual flavours that characterize Burma’s culinary traditions.

Mamalee

2
3144 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6K 2H3

Mamalee’s, a little Malaysian resto on West Broadway, serves up standout dishes that beautifully showcase the eclectic cuisine of this tiny nation. Must try delicacies include the curry beef brisket, super flaky roti canai, and one of their five varieties of laksa – Malaysia’s oh so tasty equivalent to chicken noodle soup. For a truly authentic dessert, I would recommend a bowl of the bubur chacha – made of sweet potatoes and taro soaked in coconut milk, this sweet treat sounds odd but tastes surprisingly delicious.

Sunny Spot Cafe

3
2543 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E5

With all of the must-visit restaurants lining both sides of Main Street, you’ve likely walked past the hole-in-the-wall that is Sunny Spot Café and not even noticed it. But it’s worth a visit for the chance to explore an entirely different type of Chinese food than what you’re used to eating in Vancouver: Xi’an cuisine, which comes from the Shaanxi province in central China. With a heavy emphasis on grains over rice, you can expect dishes like hand-pulled wheat noodles, hot and sour glass noodle soup, and an otherworldly flatbread “sandwich” stuffed with braised beef, cilantro and a drizzle of chili oil. Wow!

Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen

4
2-1141 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N2

Tucked away on the second floor of a low-rise building on Davie Street, Gurkha Himalayan will expand your culinary horizons with a menu of intriguing dishes from the Himalayan countries of Nepal and Tibet. The best way to explore this cuisine is to try a range of Gurkha’s small plates (especially the spice-sour chickpea and potato mix), along with an order of the mouth-watering goat curry and steamed momo dumplings. On rainy days, the cozy dining room is an ideal spot for a casual dinner with friends, while the secret patio is perfect for whiling away a sunny summer afternoon. At Gurkha, you get the best of both worlds!

Aling Mary's Filipino Store

5
2656 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E6

Ever tried Filipino food? If the answer is no, then Aling Mary’s in Mount Pleasant is the perfect entry point into this massively underrated cuisine. The shop’s hot food bar is filled with typical dishes found in the Philippines, including traditional stews, noodle dishes and addictive lumpia eggrolls. The dessert offerings are also very tempting, especially the mind-blowing cassava cake – a mix of sweet, chewy and gooey goodness; you might as well order two slices at the get go because you’ll most definitely want to eat both!

Co-Co Hut Singapore Restaurant

6
1118-8328 Capstan Way, Richmond, BC V6X 4B6

Located in central Richmond, the pint-sized Coco Hut is one of those out-of-sight, out-of-mind type of restaurants that many overlook. But once you know what you’re missing, you’ll be visiting on the regular for heaping plates of their Indonesian and Singaporean specialties. From curried fish balls and savoury green onion pancakes to satays and the quintessential Hainanese chicken rice, Coco Hut’s menu offers a whirlwind trip to Southeast Asia.

Even if you know the restaurant scene in Vancouver like the back of your hand, there are probably still a few hidden gems you have yet to discover. I’ve put together this hot list to help you in your quest to explore new and uncharted culinary territory! [Photo credit: iStock/g-stockstudio]
Whether you’re pulling an all-night study session or ending a night on the town with some grub, Vancouver has several 24-hour restaurants that serve really good food – if you know where to look. From doughnut shops to diners, cap your night off at one of these local 24/7 eateries.
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