Noted B.C. food journalist Don Genova shops, slurps and noshs his way around Vancouver.
Don Genova is a food journalist and educator who splits his time between Vancouver and an acreage in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. His work is heard regularly on CBC Radio and seen in Aqua magazine with a column called Pacific Palate. Don teaches food and travel writing at UBC with in-person and online courses and offers sustainable eating courses at the University of Victoria. You may also catch him teaching cooking classes at Thrifty Foods or the French Mint cooking school in Victoria. You can follow Don’s adventures in eating on his blog, blog.dongenova.com, and get information on his classes on his website, www.dongenova.com. He also tweets @dongenova.
Don Genova’s 5 free, cheap or worth it things to see, do or buy in Vancouver
SHOP—Ming Wo Cookware, Chinatown location: This shop on East Pender Street is the original Ming Wo, where I find almost everything I need for my kitchen, all the way from simple gadgets like vegetable peelers to high-end knives and the latest kitchen counter appliances. Prices are consistently lower than suggested manufacturers’ retail.
Ming Wo Cookware, 3 East Pender St., Vancouver, 604-683-7268, www.mingwo.com
SLURP—Legendary Noodle, Main Street: Where else can you get dinner and a show for seven bucks? While you slurp down homemade noodles, you watch them being stretched by hand behind a glass window in the kitchen. My personal favourite? The noodles with a spicy peanut sauce, but I also order inexpensive side dishes like pea sprouts sauteed with garlic and crispy green onion cakes.
Legendary Noodle, 4191 Main St., Vancouver, 604-879-8758
BE ITALIAN—Cioffi’s, Vancouver Heights, East Hastings Street, Burnaby: This Italian deli is another show to attend every Saturday morning as Italian mammas jockey for position to order fresh sausages and salumi at the long, shiny glass counter. The rest of the shop is jammed with cheeses, breads and canned goods representing the best Italy has to offer at reasonable prices.
Choffi’s Meat Market & Deli, 4156 Hastings St., Burnaby, 604-291-9373
CONCOCT—Jasmine Halal Meats and Deli, Main Street: If concocting Middle Eastern dishes is your fancy, you will get lost in the aisles of this shop run by Lebanese immigrants. Aside from the halal-certified meat counter, there are many deals to be found in the spice aisles, not to mention briny Middle Eastern pickles, beans and pulses of all sorts and a hard-to-resist array of fresh, sticky filo-based pastries at the cash counter.
Jasmine Halal Meats, 4413 Main St., Vancouver, 604-787-8999
NOSH—Go Fish: Atmosphere abounds at this tiny trailer and deck now firmly affixed to Fisherman’s Wharf just off Granville Island. Stellar fish and chips, but I always seem to order the salmon tacos or the oyster ‘po boy’ sandwich. Go off hours or be prepared for a lengthy wait as this place is very popular. But on a nice day the view of Granville Island, False Creek and its busy harbour can’t be beat.
Go Fish, 1505 First Avenue West, Vancouver, 604-730-5040
Photo: Chef Fei and Don Genova at Legendary Noodle, C. Phaisalakani