Andrew Han, the owner and chef of Kouign Café, located in Vancouver’s Chinatown, balances sweet and savoury on his menu of creative treats, the latest being the Dancing Kouign, a kouign amann topped with coconut sticky rice cream, a chrysanthemum honey glaze, sesame and rainbow sprinkles. His picks for what to do in his city are just as creative.
Raise a flag at Vancouver Pride
“For me, being part of the community, Vancouver’s Pride Parade is such an important thing. It’s important to show up for and support in solidarity,” Han says. “And every year it gets bigger and bigger and more fun.” Kicking off at noon on July 31, the parade route stretches along Robson Street, Denman Street and Beach Avenue in the city’s west end for an epic party. “The city feels very alive.”
Take in the view at Sunset Beach
Close to the West End and downtown, Han recommends this spot for a picnic and to watch the sunset, describing it as one of the city’s “iconic experiences.” It’s on the Stanley Park Seawall system, so an easy place to access for walks. “Even if you’re just sitting or having a picnic or just hanging out with someone. Watching the sun set from this spot is so peaceful. It’s a beautiful thing to experience,” he says.
Sip and snack at Bar Gobo and Dosanko
“Coming out of the pandemic and restrictions, there are so many small, special places that have yet to be discovered or really appreciated,” Han says. “The ones that are starting from scratch and doing really creative, clever menus. You can see someone’s heart through the menu that they offer.” Two of these restaurants he recommends are Bar Gobo, a tiny 14-seat wine bar with an inventive menu of prix fixe and snack options, and Dosanko, a casual restaurant that specializes in Japanese comfort food.
Enjoy a Negroni (or your cocktail of choice) at Pidgin
Han is a self-confessed “Negroni guy.” “I like the experiences of having a cocktail and a little spread of really cool, inspired treats,” he says. His go to for a Negroni is Pidgin, in Gastown. The restaurant offers a cocktail flight on tap, a Negroni, white Negroni and Boulevardier, with a menu that’s a French take on Asian dishes, including a kombu kobucha squash salad, foie gras rice bowl and Szechuan pepper beignets.
Take in the energy of the Vancouver Chinatown Festival
“I’ve seen the neighbourhood wither and shrink a little bit over the years, especially through COVID. These festivals are important in Chinatown, and the neighbourhood feels very alive,” Han says. The festival, which takes place July 16-17, will feature local food vendors, performances, music and movie screenings, and kid-focused play activities as well. “It’s a great way to support and to be reminded of all the good things that Chinatown has to offer,” he says.
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