Like a Local: Mijune Pak's Vancouver
As the creator of popular Vancouver food blog Follow Me Foodie, Top Chef Canada judge Mijune Pak has been sharing her favourite city spots for nearly a decade. Here are her top places to hit.
I’m not a big hiker but anytime I’m at home and the weather is good, walking along the seawall is one of my favourite things to do. It’s a flat path along the waterfront. You don’t have to worry about hills so you can also rent a bike or rollerblades and have a leisurely ride around. It’s gorgeous. I take for granted having the mountains and the water so close, so it’s one of the things I look forward to the most when I come home .
H.K. Barbecue Master
This is a little hole-in-the wall underneath a Superstore parking lot. You wouldn’t know about it unless someone pointed it out to you. I go for their suckling pig and barbecue pork but they also do soy sauce chicken and roast duck. For under 12 bucks you can get three kinds of barbecue meats on rice. It rivals what you can get in Hong Kong. During the holidays there are people lined up outside, wrapped around the building waiting to buy their roasted suckling pig.
When I’m travelling, I’m eating out at so many restaurants, so it’s nice to be able to pick up whatever you want to eat and walk down to the beach for a picnic. The most popular beach would be English Bay. But to me, it’s very touristy so you’re going to get a very random crowd. I like Jericho Beach because it’s a little bit further out and not in the thick of downtown.
This restaurant in Burnaby flies under the radar because it’s not downtown. Scott Jaeger is the chef-owner and he’s there almost every single day. This guy is a culinary heavyweight in Canada, competing in global competitions, but nobody knows his name. Pear Tree is white tablecloth fine dining and when I say that people get turned off. But it’s not stuffy – it’s genuinely well-executed, elegant food. You could go here for a nice dinner but it’s so underpriced for what you’re getting, it’s ridiculous.
Granville Island is one of those places that’s really touristy but for good reason. A lot of locals come here as well and it’s a really beautiful spot. There are a lot of people starting their own small businesses in the market – it’s a really charming place for all ages. We’ll rent boats here in the summer and go out for a day with friends. If you go inside Edible Canada, there’s a retail section with great local products like shortbread cookies, maple syrup and vinegars. It’s great for grabbing small gifts and souvenirs that are chef-driven.