The Best Of Richmond In 24 Hours
Exploring Food Guy
Lido Restaurant 麗都餐廳
Good morning! Welcome to Richmond - one of the best Chinese eating destinations in the world! Before you do anything else, ask the concierge to get you a dimsum reservation at Sea Harbour - you will need it. Couldn't hurt to call L'Opera for a high tea reservation for the afternoon (3 PM is optimal) as well - also ask them to hold an almond croissant and a pain au chocolat for you (1 per person). Trust me on this one. Let's get your visit started off properly - with a traditional non-traditional Hong Kong style breakfast. Take the Canada Line to Aberdeen Station and walk 5 minutes to Li Do. Someone will direct you to a seat. If there's only 2 of you, you'll likely be placed at a communal round table. Don't worry - you won't have to make awkward conversation. Everyone's goal is to get a good feed-on to start the day and get out. Ask for the English menu if it isn't already on the table. Get one of the combos (why yes - that IS macaroni soup!), choose a drink, and order a pineapple bun. They are FAMOUS for these freshly baked treats with absolutely no pineapple inside. The crust has a passing resemblance to the fruit. You will get a slab of butter - try it without the butter first - it really is a personal preference sort of deal.
Iona Beach Regional Park
All full? Stomach properly confused? Excellent! Let's walk it off! Head back to the River Rock and transfer to the YVR line. Get off at Templeton and assuming it's not raining outside (we are a temperate rainforest after all) - walk towards Iona Beach Regional Park. Enjoy the view. Be prepared though - it could be absolutely gorgeously warm, but the ocean wind can pick up at any given instant. You're better off having layers to shed, than not having enough.
Properly stuffed again? Excellent. Hop a cab (or rent a bike if you're adventurous) and head south to Steveston Village. Take a stroll around this historic fishing village that still functions as a meeting place for fishermen. Don't miss the Britannia Shipyards, and the newly constructed boardwalk. If you're up to it and it's the right season (March to August) - sign up for a whale watching trip for tomorrow (not today - you're all booked up!). Several killer whale pods take residence in BC waters, no more than a 90 minute boat ride (or less!) away. Walking around the main strip, you may also recognize some landmarks if you're a Once Upon A Time fan.... that's right - you're in Storybrooke. Literally. In. It. Check out Any Given Sundae, and Granny's Diner. You might even luck out and catch some filming happening (usually from September to February). Don't go looking for the clock tower though - it's pure CG.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
Now that you've worked up an appetite, head back to the hotel - get showered, changed - whatever you feel like doing. Exit the hotel and walk across the street to Sea Harbour and prepare to experience Richmond-style dimsum. No carts here. We're far too proper for that. Order off the sheet they give you. Unsure what it is? Order it. 3 dishes per person will be absolutely plenty for a healthy eater. 2 dishes per person will give you room to nosh on the next stop. As they prepare your order fresh (hence the no-carts thing - we like food that's not sweating to the oldies... and looks like the oldies) - soak up the noise and atmosphere. The room is absolutely gorgeous - lots of intricate details. Standards are high in Vancouver, and everyone wants to meet and beat everyone else. Other alternatives are Fisherman's Terrace in Aberdeen Centre, Kirin Seafood on Westminster Highway and The Jade on Alderbridge Way.
Properly stuffed again? Excellent. Hop a cab (or rent a bike if you're adventurous) and head south to Steveston Village. Take a stroll around this historic fishing village that still functions as a meeting place for fishermen. Don't miss the Britannia Shipyards, and the newly constructed boardwalk. If you're up to it and it's the right season (March to August) - sign up for a whale watching trip for tomorrow (not today - you're all booked up!). Several killer whale pods take residence in BC waters, no more than a 90 minute boat ride (or less!) away.
Now I appreciate how difficult it must've been to not eat your way through Steveston, but trust me - your patience and willpower will be rewarded (and honestly? there's not much to recommend in terms of eating in Steveston... yup - I said it) Remember those croissants you pre-ordered? Yes? Good. Because they're better than half (maybe more?) the croissants in France. Believe me - I (and my cholesterol levels) know this as fact. This patisserie was opened early in 2013 due to the fact that the owner couldn't find the kind of pastries she had fallen in love with in Paris - so she set out to re-create them for all of us to discover.
Aberdeen Centre 時代坊
Why would I recommend a mall? Good question. Aberdeen Centre was the first "Chinese" mall to open in the early-90's, serving the rising tide of Hong Kong immigrants moving to Vancouver/Richmond. They tore down the entire building and rebuilt from scratch a few years back - and this modern marvel is the result. There are some quaint little shops in here - including the first Giordano in North America (one of the largest clothing retailers in Asia). The $2+ Daiso shop by itself, requires an hour of exploring. If you've been to their American locations, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Yaohan Centre 八佰伴中心
A hop skip away from Aberdeen is Yaohan Centre, home to Osaka Supermarket. Take this time to grab some provisions and breakfast for tomorrow. The prepared food section has a ridiculous amount of goodies that be easily chilled in your hotel fridge and eaten cold the next day (I love the create-your-own-rice rolls). The bakery, produce aisle and cold drinks section are a must-visit. It's also a tremendous experience to see an Asian grocery store of this magnitude. Don't miss the fresh seafood area with their array of tanks. On your way out, take a quick lap of the food court to see what an Asian food court looks (and smells!) like. Do be careful as you exit the mall - the parking lot is... scary beyond all comprehension (google "Richmond drivers")
MoMa Contemporary Bistro Restaurant
So now that you've been indulging in some pure Asian food sensory overload, how about something slightly different for dinner (you have room for dinner.... right?) You can take a quick cab down, or better yet - just stroll down Cambie to MoMA. Shouldn't take you more than 15 leisurely minutes to get there from Yaohan. This small bistro specializes in small plates bursting with flavour combinations taken from around the world, with an Asian touch. They have a small cocktail menu - leaning more towards the light and fruity, but not super sweet. Think more gin and tonic than Moscow mule. The menu changes with the seasons so go with your gut feeling (with a touch of adventure). You won't go wrong. I would skip dessert though - it's not their forte. Plus, you want to save room.
Richmond Night market
If it's summertime (May to mid-October) - take in the largest night market in North America. And it's right beside your hotel! There's a small admission fee, and possibly a line-up to get in - but it's well worth it. The food area will be jam-packed. Like a sardine can. Heck, you might even be able to find someone selling sardines! The food may be hit-or-miss (line-ups are not a sure bet of a good thing) - but if it looks interesting - go for it! Congratulations - you've eaten your way around Richmond! Now about tomorrow...
I would stay at: The Hotel at the River Rock
One of the finest hotels in Richmond, and located within throwing distance of the airport! Sure there's a casino located inside, but I assure you - you'll be sheltered from most of that hustle and bustle... unless you like it - then get down there and party the night away! Ask for a room with a northwest view - you're gonna want to see the sunset. It is supernaturally beautiful. Enjoy the spa and huge pool, and take in a show at the theatre - everything is within your reach. Plus, the Canada Line train stops outside the door!