The Best Asian Food in Richmond, B.C., is in Parking Garages and Car Washes

First appeared as “All That and Dim Sum” in the April 2018 issue of Air Canada enRoute.

April 29, 2020


Steaming noodles for a ramen bowl at Shibuyatei in Richmond
Full steam ahead: Even though it’s a two–man operation, orders get to the table in minutes at Shibuyatei.
From Tokyo with love: Chef Takeo Sato spends six hours on each batch of his delicate ramen broth.
  • What’s Cooking Self–taught chef (and trained architect) Takeo Sato dishes out his Tokyo–style ramen from a 14–seat eatery in the corner suite of the Richmond Auto Wash, in an MSG–free chicken–leg broth made from scratch each morning.

  • Look For The sign advertising “larmen,” a common transliteration of ramen. Sato uses it to distinguish his from others served around town.

  • Order Shoyu charsyumen, wheat noodles with sliced barbecued pork shoulder on top, and ask for the house hot sauce. Slurp them up with a side of crispy gyoza filled with scallops imported from Hokkaido, Japan.

  • Ramen Empire Sato serves just 20 bowls at lunch and 20 bowls at supper, so no noodling around.

  • Go to Shibuyatei During the week, as soon as it opens for lunch (11:30 a.m.) or dinner (5 p.m.), to make sure you get one of the few bowls of broth. Closed on Wednesdays.

Xi’an Cuisine

A bowl of fried pork with noodles and chili and pork buns served at Xi’an Cuisine in Richmond
Pig out! Fried pork with noodles and chili.
Bun times in Richmond, B.C.
  • What’s Cooking Owner–chef Robert Duan spent six months perfecting his hand–pulling technique before opening this temple to the noodles of northern China in the second–floor food court of the Richmond Public Market.

  • Look For The perennially blinking Christmas lights of the jewellery shop next door.

  • Order Biangbiang noodles, the thick, wide variety characteristic of China’s Shaanxi Province. They’re pulled fresh for each order, and come topped with fried pork, red pepper flakes and a generous splash of chili oil. The not–so–noodle–inclined should try the lamb paomo, with crumbled pieces of steamed bun soaking in a rich lamb broth.

  • Eat Like a Xi’anese For Duan, the tell that a customer is from Xi’an is an order of roujiamo, a sliced–beef sandwich served in a grilled Chinese flatbread.

  • Go to Xi’an Cuisine For a weekday dinner to avoid long lunch lines. Closed on Mondays.

Szechuan Delicious Restaurant

Chili peppers in a strainer spoon and Szechuan stir-fry and noodles
No strain, no gain.
Spice, spice, baby: fish in chili oil, four–season beans, dan dan noodles and la zi ji (Szechuan stir–fry with deep–fried chicken).
  • What’s Cooking Head to the Time Square strip mall for some of Richmond’s spiciest food: The liberal use of Szechuan peppercorns gives most dishes a mouth–numbing heat, dubbed ma la in Mandarin.

  • Look For Prestige Jewellery’s big blue revolving sign.

  • Order Sliced fish poached with chili oil, dried chilies and pepper; it comes to the table still bubbling. The courageous (read: foolhardy) should try the dan dan noodles, but beware – the dish goes from mild to wild when you mix the noodles into the spicy broth. Have a glass of soy milk at the ready.

  • Dumpling Development This space serves as an incubator for many of Richmond’s budding Chinese restaurants, hence the dumpling station by the front windows, where chefs test the brothy waters and find their footing in the local culinary community.

  • Go to Szechuan Delicious Restaurant Any time except from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., when the place regroups between services. Arrive early for dinner: A line starts forming as soon as they reopen. Closed on Tuesdays.

HK B.B.Q. Master

Plates of duck and vegetables served at HK B.B.Q. Master in Richmond
Get to HK B.B.Q. Master early before their signature dish sells out.
  • What’s Cooking For almost two decades, Eric Leung – the master himself – has been serving up siu mei (Cantonese–style barbecued meats) in the Real Canadian Superstore’s parking garage.

  • Look For The whole roasted ducks in the window display – if any are left.

  • Order A meat–lover’s trio: Leung’s award–winning barbecued pork marinated in preserved red–bean curd and glazed with malt sugar (ummmami!), roasted duck and extra–crispy roast pork belly.

  • Duck In Sharing one cutting board – as in many Cantonese chop shops – Leung, his wife and his son prepare nearly 100 ducks a day for their customers, many of whom come straight from the Vancouver International Airport (10 minutes away by car).

  • Take a Seat at HK B.B.Q. Master If there’s a line for takeout, ask for one of the 20 spots inside, since dine–in orders jump the queue. Closed on Wednesdays.