Cultural Crossroads: Richmond, British Columbia

by Nancy Mueller

Why hop a flight to the Far East when Richmond, B.C. offers the perfect escape for travelers seeking a coastal location, cultural explorations and authentic Asian cuisine? Located on Lulu Island across the U.S.-Canadian border from Blaine, WA, the popular Canadian community presents an irresistible call to enjoy all three, close to home. Whether road tripping for the 2.5-hour drive north of Seattle or taking the 20-minute ride via the Canada Line Transit (Skytrain) from Vancouver, Richmond is a travel lover’s delight with its unique blend of multicultural contrasts.

Food courts to restaurants, tours to tastings, even a designated Dumpling Trail, dot the town’s Golden Village culinary landscape. Alexandra Road, affectionately coined “Food Street” (Wai Set Kai) by locals, boasts over 200 restaurants alone ranging from no-frill eateries to upscale dining. Sample a variety of “Viet street foods” at Tang Vietnamese Restaurant and Bar featuring such delicacies as the Chef’s Special, Vietnamese Live Crab with Tamarind (Cua Rang Me). Or head to Prata Man on Capstan Way when you have a hankering for Hainanese chicken.

Not to be missed, Richmond’s Night Market extravaganza highlights over 500 international culinary flavors from sweet to savory featuring local produce from the region’s equally abundant farms. Musical, dance and martial arts performances, as well as traditional crafts and clothing, are all part of the scene. 

Learn more about the community’s cultural heritage and deep roots in the fishing industry with visits to the Britannia Shipyards and Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Sites and the historic Steveston Tram. New in 2022, Steveston’s Spot Prawn & Seafood Celebration connects the public with local fishers, chefs and restaurants in the historic working fishing village.

Beyond Richmond’s plentiful food discoveries, nearby cultural attractions include the Thrangu Monastery and International Buddhist Temple on No. 5 Road, also known as “Highway to Heaven” for its 20-plus peacefully co-existing diverse houses of worship that also include Sikh temples, mosques and evangelical churches.

With so much left to explore in Richmond, B.C., why not indulge in a stay at the new luxury boutique Versante Hotel, notable for its dazzling design and bountiful natural light? Amenities include rainforest showers, heated floors, and freestanding soaker tubs in most rooms. Led by Chef Will Lew, the hotel’s Oceanwise-certified Bruno Restaurant showcases sustainable practices in elevated dishes featuring ingredients from local farmers and artisans. Enjoy a delectable breakfast menu that includes Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie and Passion Fruit Coconut French Toast among its star-studded selections. End your day’s wanderings with a signature cocktail in the stylish Versante Bar. Complimentary shuttle service provides convenient, easy transportation to nearby attractions.