We stood on the sidewalk around a small yellow window staring at a vat of oil with eager anticipation. Inside, the baker used chopsticks to gently flip the rings of dough. A moment later he removed them and doused them in a stream of creamy, sugary goodness.
Then, just seconds out of the fryer, he handed me a freshly fried and glazed donut. The melted sugar glistened in the sunlight and begged to be gobbled down immediately. I took one bite of the warm, pillowy soft donut and my taste buds came alive. I’ve eaten many a donut in my day, but there’s nothing like a fresh donut made with love and care.
I can tell you sincerely, not much can beat a day of eating at Granville Market in Vancouver, BC. You’re surrounded by artisans, cooks and craftsmen creating mini delicacies, like the above donuts from Lee’s Donuts. But to get that kind of special treatment, you need a guide with the inside scoop. That’s where Vancouver Foodie Tours comes in.
Foodie Tours offers culinary experiences in four of Vancouver’s must-eat neighborhoods. I joined Nadia, a local chef and guide, for the Granville Island Market Tour.
A highlight of the tour was Edible Canada, a bistro that specializes in local and seasonal items paired with unique and interesting Canadian ingredients. From the rotating assortment of root vegetables to the local wines and novelty salts, I loved it all.
Of course no visit to Canada is complete without maple syrup. We tasted the Noble Tonic 01 maple syrup. The syrup is matured in Tuthilltown bourbon barrels, giving it a distinct charred and oaky taste. After tasting it, we immediately ran inside to buy a bottle. It’s upgraded my waffles and pancakes to a true culinary affair.
My other favorite was the frothy chai samples from South China Sea Trading Company. With each sip I inhaled notes of cardamom, cinnamon and allspice. They offered a hearty portion size that warmed my bones on the chilly March morning. You could spend a whole afternoon at their shop alone. After perusing their extensive array of exotic teas and spices, we went home with a rooibos tea and some of that delicious chai mix.
For the coffee fans (aka not me) we stopped at JJ Bean Coffee Roasters. The coffees are hand selected for their drinkability and roasted in small batches daily. All of the coffee’s are prepared in a French press. I don’t drink coffee, but my husband, a prolific coffee drinker, tells me this method is much better.
“It gives you a better taste. It’s a more full flavor because the coffee is touching the water the whole time instead of trapped behind a filter and stacked on top of each other.”
“Okay,” was my response.
We rounded out the day with a sampling of breads from Terra Breads, a charcuterie platter from Oyama Sausage Company and cheeses from Benton Brother’s Cheeses. We weren’t at a loss for food during the tour, but the amount of food wasn’t overwhelming enough to send you into a food coma.
Nadia was an incredible tour guide offering insights into each corner of the market as well as an informative exploration of Pacific Northwest cuisine. I highly recommend adding this to any Vancouver itinerary. Make sure to ask for Nadia, and tell them I sent you!
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I'm Natasha Ho, a trained chef and avid traveler. I've studied culinary traditions from cuisines around the world, and I help food lovers learn how to cook a wide variety of meals that are consistently delicious so they can have more fun, ease and joy in their kitchen.