For years, I have fervently followed the Tourism Vancouver’s event Dine Out Vancouver. I anticipate the release of their three-course menus, spend hours browsing, plan dates with family and friends, and rejoice when I am able to book restaurants with my favourite menus. This year is no different.
Dine Out Vancouver offers three-course menus at $18, $28 and $38, a great deal in the eyes of many. But when I showed my Chinese mother the Dine Out Vancouver menus this year, she exclaimed, “Too expensive!”
She had a point.
The event features similar restaurants every year. Priced at $38, West restaurant seems to be popular every year and this year is no different. Tourism Vancouver’s twitter page stated West was one of their most viewed menus. Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., the Sandbar, Stonegrill and many more are familiar names for the event. The event features some Asian restaurants such as Banana Leaf, Thai House, and Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant, but still very few in number in comparison to more mainstream Western restaurants.
The Szechuan Chongqing Seafood Restaurant’s menu was especially disappointing. The entire list of food composed of dim sum—tapa-sized Cantonese dishes served at lunch with tea. The restaurant’s $18 three-course menu is hardly a good deal since dim sum dishes usually range from $3 to $8.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the list of Dine Out Vancouver menus lacks ethnic restaurants is because they don’t require the event for self-promotion. They already offer delicious authentic dishes for very reasonable prices, and therefore, three-course meals for $18 a person can be ordered any day of the year. There is no incentive for customers who want Asian food to participate.
At a recent dinner for parent’s anniversary, the bill came to well under $60 for our party of four at Specialty Chicken and Wonton House in Richmond, BC.
We had four dishes: sweet and sour pork, soy sauce free range chicken, Buddha’s food (a medley of vegetables), and stir fried prawns with Chinese broccoli. The restaurant gave complimentary soup to start, rice to accompany the dishes, and dessert soup to finish. We came home very full and satisfied.
I can understand my mother’s hesitation in paying $18 a person for a meal.