Torafuku’s Clement Chan shares his favorite dishes, food trucks, and bars in Vancouver

Chef Clement Chan of Le Tigre and Torafuku
Chef Clement Chan of Le Tigre and Torafuku

Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
Occupation: Co-Owner and Chef, Le Tigre and Torafuku
Years worked as a chef: 12
Accolades: Second place in Food Cart category in Best of the City Dining Awards, WE Vancouver (2013)
Top 16, Top Chef Canada (2013)
Member of Team Canada in Salon Culinaire Mondial, winning gold and silver medals (2013)
First place in National Chefs Challenge, Canadian Culinary Federation and World Association of Chefs’ Societies (2010)

Go to Chef Chan’s shortlist

What do you love best about Vancouver’s food scene?

Vancouver’s food scene is definitely one of the best in North America. Tons of local fresh produce, lots of local sustainable seafood and meat. Vancouver is super diverse in Asian food: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese … you name it, we have it. Many of these restaurants try to utilize the great products we offer in Vancouver on their menus, and I think that’s why we stand out to the rest of the cities.

Name the top restaurants and dishes that you think every visitor to Vancouver should try. 

The Porker at Pig on the Street. Best breakfast wrap ever!

Congolaise mussels at Chambar, the one and only.

Meatloaf grilled cheese at Mom’s Grilled Cheese. Only on Mondays and expect a 45-minute wait.

Porchetta at Meat & Bread. Worth the line up.

Liang pi noodles at Sunny Spot Café. Delicious!

Laksa at Hawker’s Delight. Best in town.

Butter chicken at Papa Dave’s Pizza. I know it sounds weird, but if you try it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Chicken wings at Phnom Penh. It’s just chicken wings but everyone orders them.

Pad Thai at Bob Likes Thai Food.

What food places do you frequent the most? 

Nat Bailey’s Winter Farmers Market. Best market in the winter to get the best and freshest ingredients. Oyama, the best place for charcuterie. Hawker’s Delight for Malaysian food. Cheap and delicious. Sunny Spot Café, a taste of Xi’an. So good. Au Petit Café, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Spicy miso ramen with organic chicken from Motomachi Shokudo
Spicy miso ramen with organic chicken from Motomachi Shokudo

Describe your “perfect dining out day” in Vancouver.

For breakfast or brunch, I would go to Café Medina and order the fricassée. It’s eggs, braised short ribs, potatoes and caramelized onions. So good.

Lunch, I would pick Motomachi for the spicy miso ramen with organic chicken, or Kingyo for the pork cutlet (tonkatsu).

Dinner, I would go to The Pear Tree and order the orange caramelized scallops with bacon risotto.

Dessert, you gotta try the BETA5 cream puff (choux).

Drinks, either Parallel 49, a microbrewery, or The Keefer for cocktails.

What’s your favorite neighborhood to dine out in?

Mount Pleasant. I think it’s the best kept secret to dine now.

What’s your personal favorite dish at Le Tigre and why?

I would have to say the crack salad is my favorite dish. It’s vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and consists of hearty vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale. Healthy and addictive.

What are your absolute favorite Chinese dishes and where do you go to get them?

Crispy roasted pork at HK B.B.Q. Master; build your own noodles at Deer Garden; dim sum at Kirin; Wu Fung Dessert‘s chicken wings at Aberdeen Centre food court; and dumplings at Shaolin Noodle House.

What other cuisines do you enjoy eating most? 

I don’t particularly have a favorite type of cuisine to eat. I just like eating good food.

Name your favorite food trucks, budget restaurants, mid-range restaurants, and fine dining restaurants.

For food trucks, Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Pig on the Street, JJ’s Trucketeria, Soho Road.

For budget, Sunny Spot Café and Hawker’s Delight.

For mid-range, Guu, Zakkushi, Motomachi Shokudo, Suika.

For fine dining, L’Abattoir, Hawksworth, The Pear Tree, Boulevard.

Banana cream puff from BETA5 Photo credit: Stephen Tang
Banana cream puff from BETA5. Photo credit: Stephen Tang.

You mentioned Parallel 49 and and The Keefer Bar for drinks. Any other bars you like to frequent?

33 Acres, a microbrewery. Cascade has a great room and great drink list.

What food is your guilty pleasure, and where do you go to get it?

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. It’s light, fluffy, but still crispy, topped off with fresh berries and whipped cream. And cream puffs (choux) at BETA5. So fattening, but so good, airy and tasty with so much creamy filling.

Finally, what would you say every visitor must see or do before leaving Vancouver? 

Stanley Park, Granville Island, Capilano Suspension Bridge and Vancouver Aquarium.

Chef Chan’s Shortlist:

Le Tigre, locations and hours vary; modern Asian.

Torafuku, 958 Main Street (Strathcona); modern Asian, dinner only Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday.

Pig on the Street, locations and hours vary; sandwiches.

Chambar, 568 Beatty Street (Downtown); Belgian, dinner only daily.

Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck, Howe and Robson Streets (Downtown); sandwiches, lunch only daily.
Second location: By 884 West Cordova Street (Downtown); lunch only Monday-Friday, closed Saturday-Sunday.

Meat & Bread, 370 Cambie Street (Gastown); sandwiches, lunch only Monday-Saturday.
Second location: 1033 West Pender Street (Coal Harbour); lunch only Monday-Friday.

Sunny Spot Café, 2543 Main Street (Mount Pleasant); Chinese, lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday, closed Monday-Tuesday.

Hawker’s Delight, 4127 Main Street (Riley Park); Malaysian/Singaporean, lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

Papa Dave’s Pizza, 6483 Knight Street (Victoria-Fraserview); pizza and Indian, lunch Monday-Friday, dinner daily.

Phnom Penh, 244 E. Georgia Street (Chinatown); southeast Asian, lunch and dinner daily.

Bob Likes Thai Food, 3755 Main Street (Mount Pleasant); Thai, lunch and dinner daily.
Second location: 1521 West Broadway (Fairview); lunch and dinner daily.

Nat Bailey’s Winter Farmers Market, E. 30th Avenue and Ontario Street (Riley Park); open every Saturday November-April.

Oyama Sausage Co. at Granville Island Public Market, 1689 Johnston Street (Granville Island); charcuterie, open daily.

Au Petit Café, 4851 Main Street (Riley Park); Vietnamese; open for lunch and dinner Thursday-Tuesday, closed Wednesday.

Café Medina, 780 Richards Street (Downtown); Mediterranean, breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, brunch Saturday-Sunday.

Motomachi Shokudo, 740 Denman Street (West End); Japanese, lunch and dinner Thursday-Tuesday, closed Wednesday.

Kingyo, 871 Denman Street (West End); Japanese, lunch and dinner daily.

The Pear Tree Restaurant, 4120 East Hastings Street, Burnaby, B.C.; seasonal local, open for dinner only Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday-Monday.

BETA5, 413 Industrial Avenue (Mount Pleasant); patisserie, open Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday.

Parallel 49 Brewing Company, 1950 Triumph Street (Grandview-Woodland); microbrewery, tasting room open daily.

The Keefer Bar, 135 Keefer Street (Chinatown); open daily.

HK B.B.Q. Master, 4651 No. 3 Road, Suite 145, Richmond, B.C.; Chinese (Cantonese), open for lunch and dinner Thursday-Tuesday, closed Wednesday.

Deer Garden Signatures, 6270 Fraser Street (Sunset); Cantonese, open for lunch and dinner daily.

Kirin Restaurant, 1172 Alberni Street (West End); Chinese, lunch and dinner daily.
Second location at 555 W. 12th Avenue (Fairview); lunch and dinner daily.

Wu Fung Dessert at Aberdeen Centre food court, 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, B.C.; lunch and dinner daily.

Shaolin Noodle House, 656 West Broadway (Fairview); Chinese, lunch and dinner daily.

JJ’s Trucketeria, Fraser Street and East 43rd Avenue (Sunset); Filipino, lunch only Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

Soho Road, 700 West Georgia Street (Downtown); tandoori, lunch only Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday (hours subject to change).

Guu Original, 838 Thurlow Street (Downtown); Japanese, lunch Monday-Saturday, dinner daily.
Second location: 1698 Robson Street (West End); lunch Tuesday-Sunday, dinner daily.
Third location: 375 Water Street (Gastown); dinner only daily.

Zakkushi, 823 Denman Street (West End); Japanese, dinner only daily.
Second location: 4075 Main Street (Riley Park); lunch Wednesday-Sunday, dinner daily.

Suika Snack Bar, 1626 West Broadway (Fairview); Japanese, lunch and dinner daily.

L’Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street (Gastown); French, dinner only daily.

Hawksworth Restaurant, 801 West Georgia Street (Downtown); Canadian, breakfast and dinner daily, lunch Monday-Friday, brunch Saturday-Sunday.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, 845 Burrard Street (Downtown); seafood, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

33 Acres Brewing Company, 15 West 8th Avenue (Mount Pleasant); microbrewery, open daily.

The Cascade Room, 2616 Main Street (Mount Pleasant); bar; dinner only daily.

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar, 1703 Robson Street (West End); dessert waffles, open daily.

Stanley Park; open daily.

Granville Island, 1661 Duranleau Street; Public Market open daily.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Road (North Vancouver); open daily.

Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way (Stanley Park); open daily.


About the Chef: Born and raised in Vancouver, Clement Chan attended culinary school there and was recognized early on as a rising star, winning national and provincial awards and representing Canada in a world culinary competition. He worked at a number of restaurants in the city, including local favorites such as Chambar and Blue Water Cafe, before joining forces with Chef Steve Kuan and branching out into the food truck world with Le Tigre.

“THE COOKING APPROACH WE TAKE AT LE TIGRE IS TO MAKE OUR OWN INTERPRETATION OF ASIAN DISHES THAT WE GREW UP EATING.”

The food at Le Tigre is the perfect representation of Chef Chan’s cultural background, featuring cooking styles and ingredients of his hometown and the flavors of his heritage.

 

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