If you’re looking for outstanding Chinese and Taiwanese food in the Lower Mainland, you’re in luck: winners in 24 categories have just been announced by the Chinese Restaurant Awards’ 2020 Diners’ Choice Awards.
The longest-running Chinese culinary awards event in the world drew nearly 25,000 public votes this year.
Quan Ju De was crowned 2020’s Best New Restaurant. It’s a Canadian outpost of the publicly traded establishment that was founded in 1864 in Beijing. Owned by the Quanjude Group, the largest group in the restaurant industry in China, it offers a Northern Chinese fine dining experience and specializes in Peking duck. Quan means perfection, ju means cohesion and de translates as virtue and morality.
Mott 32 won Best Fine Dining Restaurant title for the third year in a row and earned recognition as Best Northern Chinese Restaurant for the first time.
A long-standing locals’ favourite that got a recent boost from Seth Rogen and David Chang on the Netflix series Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is HK B.B.Q. Master, which won the title of Best B.B.Q. Shop for the 10th time. Standout dishes there include its barbecue char siu and roasted pork belly
In addition to categories such as Best Dim Sum, Best Vegetarian, Best Hunan, and Best Hot Pot, the event features New Dish nods every year. These are selected based on the popularity of a dish or its recognition as an iconic dish in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. There are four for 2020.
Best Steamed/Baked BBQ Pork Bun went to Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant, which is known for its outstanding dim sum. It beat out 18 other restaurants for its take on the iconic Cantonese dish.
Best Sichuan Spicy Grill Fish was awarded to Happy Tree House BBQ. The whole-fish dish exemplifies Sichuan Chongqing cuisine with vibrant flavours derived from a marinade of herbs and spices and a hot pot full of doubanjiang (a spicy, fermented broad bean paste), Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies, chili powder, and five-spice.
The Meat Up was voted tops for Best Lamb Skewer. With origins being traced back to the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, the skewer is an iconic street food in northern China.
The award for Best Brown Sugar Milk went to Xing Fu Tang. The popular drink, which is also known as brown sugar pearl milk, is made by mixing piping-hot brown-sugar syrup that contains tapioca pearls with cold, fresh milk. Xing Fu Tang considers this to be its flagship product and simmers syrup in a large wok. With locations in Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, and Vancouver, it quashed 18 other competitors in the categories.
Normally, winners of the Diners’ Choice Awards, presented by Airland Mattress Canada, are announced in mid-March, but COVID-19 pushed those plans back. Winners of the Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Awards presented by Canola Eat Well, wherein a small panel of judges selects must-eat dishes, will be announced later this summer.
Founded in 2008, the Chinese Restaurant Awards aims to raise the public’s awareness of the exceptional regional cuisine available in Greater Vancouver and to also to help develop a better understanding of these culinary influences.
That mission is especially important now, with the pandemic continuing to take a toll on Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants.
“Every restaurant that has been persevering through this tough time is, indeed, a winner,” Rae Kung, managing director of the Chinese Restaurant Awards, said in a statement. “Especially now, we encourage diners to continue to explore and support all restaurants. Their operations can bring satisfaction and hope, especially during the pandemic.”
The full list of winners and more information can be found at Chinese Restaurant Awards.