One of the best things about exploring different countries and cultures is getting to try their cuisines. If you live in Vancouver, then you should know that our city offers exactly what a travelling gourmand searches for: diverse food and drink options.
Summertime is peak season for far-off getaways, but if you’re planning to stay in town, your taste buds won’t be disappointed. Seasonal food markets and daylong festivals will be serving up everything from Latin American bites to Asian street eats to classic Greek flavours.
Here are five food events to check out around Metro Vancouver this summer.
Carnaval del Sol (88 Pacific Boulevard)
Self-proclaimed to be the biggest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest, Carnaval del Sol returns to the city to celebrate its 10th anniversary on July 7 and 8 (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.) at Concord Pacific Place. The weekend extravaganza will feature several designated plazas, each showcasing art, beer, health and wellness, and kid-friendly activities. But our eyes are set on the food zone—more than 25 vendors will be serving up delicious Latin American and Caribbean bites, and culinary lessons will be taught by local and international chefs. You’ll find authentic tacos, choripans (an Argentine sandwich made with chorizo and crusty bread), and plenty of plantains (cooking bananas) at the event. The best way to prepare for Carnaval del Sol is to arrive hungry, because you’ll need the stomach space to indulge in all the good food.
For more information, visit the Carnaval del Sol website.
Richmond Night Market (8351 River Road, Richmond)
The New York Times recently gave this summertime market some coveted press love, highlighting its prominence as the go-to destination for delicious Asian street food in Metro Vancouver. Locals have long known Richmond Night Market’s not-so-hidden secret as a foodie hot spot—only tourists and out-of-towners would make a beeline for the gimmicky gadget booths. Every weekend until October, there are more than 500 kinds of food items on offer, which can be overwhelming for those who visit for the first time. Some of the most popular food choices here are pan-fried squid, hurricane potatoes, bubble tea, Taiwanese-style fried chicken, ice-cream buns, and shaved ice, among many others. Just let the scent of the food guide you—you’ll know which direction to head toward once you sniff the spices of grilled lamb skewers or the sweetness of bubble waffles in the near distance.
For more information, visit the Richmond Night Market website.
Vancouver Farmers Markets (various locations)
Vancouver’s seven seasonal farmers markets are in full swing (running through October), which means we are getting access to the freshest local produce, meats, and seafood in town. Besides letting you grab your fruits, veggies, and artisanal cheeses for the week, the markets are also known for their array of ready-to-eat culinary offerings. From food trucks to specialty food vendors, you’ll find gourmet creations like savoury pies, handcrafted ice cream, cold-pressed juices, Chinese-style street food, grilled cheese sandwiches, apple ciders, and more. Sweet tooths will be happy to know that confections and baked goods are almost always available—think bean-to-bar chocolates and salted-caramel-and-hazelnut brownies.
For more information, visit the Eat Local website.
Greek Day on Broadway (between MacDonald and Blenheim)
Thousands of people are expected to attend Vancouver’s annual Greek Day festival on June 24 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) along a five-block stretch of Broadway, and for good reason. The family-friendly celebration has an exciting lineup, including market vendors, entertainment, live music, and a kids’ zone with games and crafts. However, the most enticing aspect of this summer event is probably the Greek food and drink that will be showcased throughout the day. The 3 Greek Sisters, award-winning cookbook authors, will conduct live cooking demos and prepare dishes like soutzoukakia (Grandma’s meatballs), lamb burgers, and lemon loaf. Other Greek bites that will be featured include loukoumades (Greek honey doughnuts), calamari, souvlaki, and gyro (a dish made of rotisserie meat wrapped in a flatbread with tzatziki sauce). Pro tip: wear stretchy pants.
For more information, visit the Greek Day website.
Shipyards Night Market (138 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver)
If there is anything besides beautiful hiking trails that will attract people to the North Shore, it’s the Shipyards Night Market. The weekly event kicked off in May and runs every Friday night (5 to 10 p.m.) until the end of September, offering an abundance of craft goods, arts and entertainment, and live music. In terms of food offerings, attendees will find more than 35 food trucks in the “hot food alley”, serving paella platters, rice bowls, cannoli, mac and cheese, wood-fired pizza, artisan frozen pops, and more. If you feel like you need to quench your thirst after all the indulging, check out the (adults only) beer garden that pours local craft beer, ciders, and handcrafted vodka and gin. Hop on a SeaBus and make your way to this outdoor market if you’re looking for a fun- and food-filled way to start your next weekend.
For more information, visit the North Shore Green Markets website.More