Foodology Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour, but wasn’t pressured to write about it. I thought it would be informative for tourists and locals to try these food tours for a change.
Vancouver Foodie Tours was founded by Michelle Ng three years ago. They are currently offering a new tour called “Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour”. Where foodies embark on a 3 hour journey through 5 courses, 12 tastings, and 8 unique stories. As a local, I really was not sure what new experiences I would get from the tour, but I did learn to appreciate Vancouver a bit more. Since I was born in Vancouver and eat out quite often, I tend to forget how amazing our city truly is.
Our meeting place and our first location was at Kirin Restaurant on Alberni Street. The decor is very beautiful and the service was really good. We were seated at a table and shared a few items. We tasted:
- Steamed Prawn and Pork Dumpling (Sui Mai)
- Sticky Rice with Pork and Dried Scallop wrapped in lotus leaf (lo mai fan)
- Jasmine Tea
The sui mai tasted alright, but I liked the lo mai fan because it was packed with so much filling, thus making it nice and savory.
Our second location is the Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard Street. We were given a tasting of:
- Domaine de Chamberton Bacchus
It was paired with some crackers and spicy jam. The white wine paired quite well with the jam and completely changed the flavour of the wine when they were eaten together. I am glad it was white wine since I really dislike red. The wine was sweet and very enjoyable. I may actually go back to purchase that bottle of wine too since it was good.
Our third location is Ensemble Tap, which is owned by Top Chef Canada Winner- Dale MacKay. They have some good ol’ comfort food with a large variety of beer. As we arrived, everything was already laid out for us. We sat at the bar and began snacking way on:
- BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Red Truck Ale
If you never watched Top Chef Canada, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich made Dale MacKay win one of the challenges in the show. The pairing of the beer was good as well. I wasn’t a fan of the pulled pork sandwich, perhaps it was because of all the hype I kept hearing about it. What made this portion of the tour super cool is that they showed us around to the kitchen! Unfortunately, Dale wasn’t there but it’s still awesome seeing where all the magic happens.
We then went to Shuraku Sake Bar and Bistro, which was only a few minutes walk. I’ve only been here for lunch, but it’s always nice to try other items on their menu that I would not usually order. We were given tastings of:
- Artisan Sake Maker’s Osake Junmai Nama
- Agedashi Tofu
- Spicy Wild Salmon Tartar
The cup of sake was quite large, I had a hard time drinking it because I just never liked sake. If you love sake, you’ll love this portion of the tour since they pour a lot of it! I was in love with the tofu and the tartar because of their great tastes! Out of all the restaurants on this tour, it was my favorite. What can I say, I just love Japanese food!
Our last stop was Bella Gelateria on Hastings Street. We were given a few samples of different gelato and then James gave us a rundown on their processes and a bit about what they do. It was so informative that even a little boy was “adopted” into our tour. He clearly had as much fun as we did. We also got a tour of their “laboratory”, where they create the gelato. After that tour, we were given a cup of:
- Salted caramel gelato
- Meyer Lemon Sorbetto
I’ve never had these flavours before and after this experience. I can never stop having lemon or hazelnut flavoured gelato. True story, sometimes I wake up and start thinking about it. It sounds super weird, but i’m not kidding. I wasn’t a fan of the salted caramel since I found it too sweet. The other people on the tour loved it, so it really comes down to personal preferences.
Overall, it’s a pretty good tour if you are new in town and want a taste of a few cool places with a bunch of other strangers. They keep the numbers low to keep a nice intimate vibe. We even got to see a few hidden sites on the tour too. Food tours aren’t for everyone and can get expensive depending on which ones you do. $69 for the tour is a bit steep and I would rather use that all up for one awesome meal. I did learn a lot from the tour, but as I have lived in Vancouver all my life, I would not normally think about doing a food tour. These types of tours are good if you love food, but have limited time to eat at all the amazing places in Vancouver…and are probably from out of town.
Michelle was a fantastic tour guide and made sure everyone was happy and enjoying themselves. She is very knowledgable about Vancouver food and has been running these tours for the past three years.
Check out Vancouver Foodie Tours here for more information– http://foodietours.ca/