Written by: Charmaine Anne Li
What’s better than spending a Saturday afternoon walking through some of Vancouver’s most eclectic neighbourhoods, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying dozens of new flavours? This year, Food Society hits the rich, cultural, colourful food scene of Main Street.
The day I attended was a typical Vancouver Saturday – clouded in a torrential downpour. Our club’s enthusiastic members, execs, and foodies were incredibly excited nonetheless, and our crawl went successfully, with hordes of hungry umbrella-armies parading between each joint.
Caribbean food isn’t as easy to come by in Vancouver as other ethnic foods. The Reef was a treat that momentarily transported us from the rainy bowels of the Pacific Northwest to the sunny sands and jerk of the Caribbean.
At the Reef we were treated to a platter of a little bit of everything – plaintain chips, chana, Jamaican patties, and jerk chicken. Jerk is a rich Jamaican marinade and a conglomerate of many ingredients like soy, tomato, spice, garlic, ginger, and scotch bonnet peppers. The Reef marinates its food in jerk for about 24 hours.
Chana is a curry chickpea mixture served with flatbread, while Jamaican patties consist of meat or vegetable alternatives stuffed in little pastry pockets.
We also got morsels of Johnny cakes – which I can only describe as a banana bread and doughnut half-breed. Sweet treat.
The plaintain chips were a table favourite: fun, crispy, and, unlike chips of the potato variety, weren’t overly oily or salty.
To learn more about the Reef’s offerings, visit their website.
trilussa | pizza & pane
As students we’re well familiar with the phenomenon of pizza. While commercial joints like the campus Freshslice has its ooey-gooey-cheesy-oily (and affordable) good points, the student stomach must make room once in a while for authentic Italian pizza.
We were treated to a variety of pizza flavours in Trilussa: rosemary potato, pancetta, spicy pesto, pulled pork, proscuitto, parmesan eggplant, mozarella tomato, and anchovy. Worthy of note is the pulled pork, with its distinctive smokiness, and pancetta, because anything remotely bacon-related is awesome. The anchovy flavour got the least love from our group, as it was very concentrated and salty.
Trilussa’s pizzas were, in a word, restrained, and not at all overwhelming. Real Italian pizzas feature a thinner, lighter, fluffier crust, and never cheese overuse. Several of the flavours, like the pancetta one, had thicker, creamier cheese on it, while others like the spicy pesto relied more on the tomato and pesto sauces to deliver a one-two punch.
I love cheese, but somehow, when you cut the cheese obsession just a little and put just the right amount (not too much), the taste is more delicate and enjoyable.
Learn more about Trilussa here.
bob likes thai
Upon arriving, three things about Bob Likes Thai caught my eye: the hustle and bustle, the reception-area like waiting “nook,” and an aptly-located sink to wash hands right in the restaurant.
We had a variety of interesting Thai dishes at Bob’s. First off, Miang Kham – a traditional Thai appetizer. Other dishes included lychee wrapped with bacon and pineapple, battered and fried fish with “chips” made of rice, and beef masaman curry.
Miang Kham (blend of coconut, peanuts, ginger, and more) was delectable and amusing to eat. You had to grasp the entire bundle of ingredients in a chaphlu leaf and skilfully pop it in your mouth – an explosion of light, flavourful goodness. Of course, yours truly (this blogger) screwed this up and had peanut all over my face.
Bacon-wrapped lychee was a bit of a strange idea for me (I generally don’t prefer my salty and my sweets mixed together), but this neat little dish was a pleasant surprise. Bacon goes surprisingly well with lychee…
The fried fish was classic, light and crispy, pairing well with the crunchy rice. Somewhere in the refreshing mango salad on the side I fell victim to an eensy-weensy bit of chili and collapsed in a choking, searing, scathing, attack of spiciness (reminiscent of the infamous Wing’s Bobby Wing) that left half my face numb. (I think there should have been a warning about the chili!)
If you’re interested in Thai food, check out this longer, more informative post on Bob Likes Thai.
main street honey shoppe
Stomachs full, we ventured back up the street for a final, informative, and sweet stop at the Main Street Honey Shoppe.
The Honey Shoppe gives groups introductory tours and tastings of their products, and their honey is sourced from local Cloverdale farmers. We tasted an enormous variety of honey, from the original clover honey, to the rare fireweed honey (only available after fireweed grows after a wildfire), to varieties of infused honey (like cinnamon-infused honey). The wildflower honey, with its richer, fuller flavour, was a group favourite.
After the little lecture we were treated to…pastries! We got a choice between honey cakes, gluten-free cookies, and cute little cupcakes. Look how cute they are!
It was a definite educational treat to learn about the types of honey and how the honey was harvested. For example, the company could cultivate honey from a specific type of flower if they plant the flowers within a 1km-radius of the hive. Also, harvesting honey is responsible in the sense that the farmers always leave some honey left for the bees for their sustenance.
Overall, this was a Saturday well spent! I promptly skipped dinner and collapsed in a food coma when I got home. Until the next FoodSoc event, cheerio.