If you haven’t already noticed, there’s more to Chinese food than just dim sum and fried rice.
For those who have always ordered the same bowl of wonton dumplings or plate of baby bok choy, a new food festival is coming to Greater Vancouver to enlighten your taste buds for Chinese cuisine.
Chopstick Fest 2016 will be launching its inaugural foodie celebration this fall, which will run from October 15 to 30 at participating restaurants around town.
“It’s a festival to bring more attention to Chinese cuisine and different types of Chinese restaurants in Metro Vancouver,” said Jennifer Hau, managing director of the Chopstick Fest, to the Straight in a phone interview.
Similar to the Dine Out Vancouver concept, consumers will be able to choose from prix-fixe menus that will cater to different group sizes. All dishes will be served as shared plates and family-style format (the usual dining style at Chinese restaurants), allowing food-lovers to try various items.
Nine Chinese culinary regions will be showcased at this festival, which will include restaurants that specialize in Szechuan to Shanghainese dishes, Cantonese to Northern Chinese flavours, Taiwanese creations, and more.
“During Dine Out Vancouver, we realized that there were not many Chinese restaurants involved at all,” said Hau. “We felt that Vancouver’s Chinese restaurant scene wasn’t represented well to people who weren’t regular Chinese food consumers, and we wanted to create something to change that.”
Around 30 to 50 restaurants are expected to take part in the first annual Chopstick Fest, including Ken’s Chinese Restaurant, Chuan Chu Ren Jia, Li’s China Grill, and 21 Nautical Miles Seafood Bar.
In addition to featuring the diversity of Greater Vancouver’s Chinese food options, Hau explains that the festival hopes to explore the cultural phenomenon of the development of Chinese cuisine in the city.
“We hope to educate the Vancouver food audience about the culinary culture of Chinese restaurants and the history of its dishes and its ingredients,” said Hau.
The team behind this food festival will also produce media content and videos that will include interviews with restaurant owners, asking questions like why they decided to immigrate to Canada, and the reasons for choosing to open a Chinese restaurant in Greater Vancouver.
Hau hopes that the Chopstick Fest will enable consumers to learn and appreciate the wide variety of Chinese flavours offered here, while simultaneously sharing knowledge about the history and culture of Vancouver's Chinese culinary sphere.
“It will be a unique chance to explore little known places in our city, and find those hidden culinary treasures with friends and families,” added Hau.