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Richmond’s Chinatown has Asian restaurants that are equal to some of the best in the world, Lee Man says.

Vancouver's Chinatown has the history, but the suburb of Richmond is where you need to go. "Chinese food here is absolutely fantastic – genuinely some of the best you'll get anywhere in the world," says Lee Man, a local food writer and judge of the Chinese Restaurant Awards (chineserestaurantawards.com) who has lived in Shanghai and Hong Kong. "The competition is crazy. And Asian culture involves going out to eat. It's rare that you would invite someone to your house and cook a Chinese meal. My mom has dim sum every day and she's not unusual."

As we settle into the year of the sheep, Man shares five places to eat out in Richmond.

Hoitong Chinese Seafood Restaurant

"In Hong Kong, the classic ideal of dining is elevated home cooking. They call it private-style dining. Hoitong is a complete reflection of that. It's very refined, dinner only. They have an excellent sweet-and-sour pork, very clean and balanced. They use the neck and jowl meat, so it has a springy bite to it. They make a bitter-melon omelette that has a grassy freshness and little flecks of dried seafood and ham. It is so old-school they garnish it with a maraschino cherry – so seventies Hong Kong." 160-8191 Westminster Hwy.

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant

"It's a brash room lit up like a dentist office. You order off an iPad. They've got private rooms for VIPs. The food is Cantonese, but with a lot of northern Chinese inflections. So there's more pickled elements. Their roasted squab is lovely. They have lotus root with a cuttlefish paste that they stir fry with vegetables and white pepper, so you get that floral white-pepper note. For dessert, they do a steamed sponge cake that is so white and fluffy, a dim sum classic." 101-4600 No. 3 Rd., cheftonycanada.com

Top Shanghai

"This is what a good neighbourhood restaurant would be like in Shanghai: classic, big flavour, filling kind of Chinese food. They're open from morning to night. They do Shanghainese breakfast, including warm spicy soy milk served with deep-fried doughnuts. They do a soup that's got salt pork, tofu and bamboo shoots in it. Another big dish would be a whole poached chicken in a clay pot with wontons." 5880 No. 3 Rd., topshanghaicuisine.com

Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle

"It's located in the Aberdeen Centre, which is like a slice out of Hong Kong, full of Asian stores. Recently what's opened is a bunch of Korean restaurants including a place called Man Ri Sung. Chef Hung has won a ton of awards in Taiwan. They're famous for their beef noodles served in a really deep anise-flavoured broth. They have cold salted plum tea and you can get coconut shaved ice with red bean and black sesame for dessert." 2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way, chefhungnoodle.com

Kirin

"A classic Vancouver take on the dim sum palace is Kirin. It's big and crazy loud. If you ask the owners what kind of food they serve, they don't say Chinese, they say Richmond food. Their dim-sum menu changes monthly depending on what's in season. What's on their menu all the time are siu mai, a kind of pork-and-shrimp dumpling. But they don't use ground pork, they hand chop the pork so you get this super succulent, juicy meat texture in a lovely, crispy tofu skin. 200 Three West Centre-7900 Westminster Hwy., kirinrestaurants.com

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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