Though patrons only visit three restaurants during the Around the World Food Tour, their taste buds travel on a global expedition. Each jaunt begins at Caribbean eatery The Reef, where participants sample plantain chips, a curried chickpea dish, coco prawns, and jerk wings that are surprisingly kind to hunger pangs. Diners can pair offerings with housemade ginger beer, a pineapple shake, or house wine before moving on to Bua Thai Cuisine. Once inside the welcoming, multihued confines, they can dig into classic dishes such as pad thai and chicken satay while sipping Thai–style iced tea and young coconut juice. The final stop, Siddhartha's Indian Kitchen, rewards bellies with potato cakes, vegetable and chicken pakora, chai tea, and house wine or beer.
There’s a comforting vibe at Divine Indulgence Café. Even though there's no family currently residing inside, the warm, repurposed house keeps its homelike atmosphere. The dining areas evoke the feeling of a well-worn abode with dark-wood furnishings and shelved knickknacks. The coziness extends to the menu as well, surfacing in comfort food dishes such as fish tacos or guacamole burgers made with house-made beef patties, Havarti cheese, bacon, guacamole salsa, and fresh baguettes. Decadent slices of cake and more than 20 different flavors of tea also add to the cafe's homeyness, as does the the baristas' constant reminders not to play ball inside.
U & I Thai owner Ui Ratsomjit began her restaurant career running her own food truck in Bangkok. At U & I Thai, her knowledge of the culinary traditions of northeast Thailand blend with chef Maitee Yangsuwan's southern style, forming a diverse menu of Thai dishes rich with spices and herbs, true to their origins.
Cut from the same restauranteur-cloth that created Thai House Restaurant Group, Charm Modern Thai infuses the culture's classic fare with modern twists to give Vancouver diners an authentic Thai eating experience without having to hitchhike to Bangkok again. Dig into dinner with the duck spring rolls ($9), acclaimed by Vancouver magazine as one of the "Best Things to Eat" in 2009, or opt for the mildly spicy lemongrass mussels ($11). Super-soupers can slide spoons into the tom kha lobster bisque ($9), while the larb organic gai salad ($12) tumbles organic chicken in a mix of herbs, spices, chilies, and fish sauce. Entreewise, Charm sticks to staples such as the pad thai ($14, available with chicken or prawns), the tamarind duck ($20), and the pineapple-braised short ribs ($17), which bring together meat and fruit in harmonious fashion.
Sang Thai Restaurant has garnered local praise for its pan-Asian cuisine; diners even crowned it Favourite Thai Restaurant on the 2012 Tri-City News A LIst. Inside, bright red walls and hanging lamps surround guests as they dine on Thai and Asian specialties, including curry, fried rice, and clay-pot dishes. Wooden pillars divide the sleek, minimalist dining room into two sections. A bar decorated with martini glasses and figurines stands next to a wall of illuminated bamboo that frequently attracts botanists eager to nibble on it.
Chada Thai Fine Cuisine—named after the traditional headpiece in a Thai classical dance—prepares platefuls of pan-seared tiger prawns, chicken blanketed in curry sauce, and pad thai noodles. Around the dining room, elaborate headpieces adorn walls, and sculptures sit near the entrance, high-fiving patrons as they walk in.