747 is a DJ and producer born and raised Vancouver. Best known for his acidic contributions to Aquaregia, he has been constantly pushing himself to the forefront of the acid techno scene with an ever-evolving – yet consistently hypnotic – 303-driven sound. His entrancing use of lush pads and dreamy soundscapes in his productions has turned the ears and eyes of countless industry heavyweights, including Charlotte de Witte, Marco Bailey, Pan-Pot, Anja Schneider, and many more. He’s inspired by the sounds of Berlin, Detroit, and the acid legends, but his heart beats for his hometown Vancouver. In this 3 day travel and food guide to Vancouver he presents his favourite locations in the city. From the best food spots to the must see places and record shops.
After a one-year hiatus, 747’s latest offering comes from his “While My 303 Gently Weeps” EP on Aquaregia. The acidic four-tracker stands to be one of his most memorable releases in 2021. It is also the perfect soundtrack for reading this article while wallowing in anticipation for post-pandemic times.
I was born and raised in Vancouver and have had the privilege to live here most of my life. I spent a few years in Ontario for university and also had a one-year stint in Berlin. The thing about moving away is that it makes you appreciate home so much more, and the number one thing I missed while away was the food. Vancouver has an amazing and diverse food scene, but for me the Asian food is what stands out the most. For most people, the city is best known for its beautiful views of the ocean and coastal mountains. With that comes a slew of activities like hiking, skiing, camping, and a bunch of other nature related things that draw so many tourists to the area – but personally I’m not about that life and I always preferred the city over roughing it in the outdoors. So for anyone visiting the city who is trying to keep it more low key I’ll provide a more urban centric three-day weekend guide of the city without breaking the bank.
747’s Guide to Vancouver Day 1: Chinese Bakery, Sushi Delights & Broth-less Ramen
Alright so you’ve landed at the airport – first thing’s first you’re going to want to head into the city. If you’ve landed early enough you’re definitely going to want to hit up Michele Cake Shop in Kerrisdale. It’s a Chinese bakery that sells my favourite bolo baos (pineapple buns) and the best Chinese-style Portuguese egg tarts. That’ll tide you over while you check into wherever you’re staying (I’d recommend staying downtown).
Once you’ve checked in you’re going to want to head over to Tom Sushi on Davie Street. Being on the coast, Vancouver has an amazing sushi scene and Sushi Tom is probably my favourite new discovery. Their fish is extremely fresh and they have a really good selection for reasonable prices. My suggestion would be to get an assortment of nigiri sushi that includes at least a few pieces of tuna and toro. If you’re up for it they even have Bluefin, albeit quite expensive. The only thing I ask is please don’t come all the way to Vancouver to get California rolls, or really any rolls in general. You can get that anywhere else in the world, so don’t waste this opportunity to taste fresh raw fish at amazing prices.
From here, continue down Davie Street and head towards English Bay to sit by the beach and watch the sunset. Sushi’s a pretty light meal so you’ll probably want something a bit more filling for dinner. Vancouver has a lot of ramen spots, but one of the more unique ones is called Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba. They’re known for their broth-less ramen, and I’d highly suggest trying it out. It’s one of the few restaurants in the city that I get random cravings for. Because there’s no broth it makes for a decent take-out option too if you’d prefer eating back at the hotel. My personal favourite thing to order is the Spicy Mazesoba.
747’s Guide to Vancouver Day 2: Mediterranean Brunch, Record Shopping, Chicken Sandwiches, Tsukumen & Craft Beer
First meal of the day we’re going to hit a brunch spot called Café Medina. They always have crazy lines and they don’t take reservations so you’ll want to get up early to put your name down. Café Medina serves Mediterranean inspired brunch dishes. Their menu has some really unique dishes as well as more traditional brunch items. Furthermore they have some of the best Belgian waffles in town.
Medina is a surprisingly filling meal, so go ahead and walk it off in Gastown for some shopping. On the way there you’ll find Beat Street Records on Hastings Street, which has endless used record bins that will keep you busy for hours. I’ve managed to find some of my favourite records there including Slam – Lifetimes, which I picked up for $2. Once you’re in Gastown I’d recommend walking down Water Street, which is kind of the main street there. It’s a historic part of Vancouver with cobblestone roads and old buildings, but also one of the best spots to get a drink or go shopping. There’s something for everyone here with all their boutique stores – my favourite place to check out for menswear is Roden Gray.
If we go further east, we’ll end up at Commercial Drive which is kind of our version of Little Italy. But we’re not here for Italian food, instead we’re going to get chicken sandwiches at Downlow Chicken Shack. This isn’t some Popeye’s or Chick-fil-a fast food type spot either, this is probably the pinnacle of chicken sandwiches. These things are massive and the bun and sauces are so on point – you will not regret making the trip out here for it. After your meal you can walk up Commercial and grab a coffee at one of the many cafés and check out the shops – it’s a nice little neighbourhood to wander around in.
For dinner we’re going to head into Richmond to go to my favourite ramen spot, Afuri. It’s one of the most popular ramen shops in Tokyo, which is where I first discovered it. Luckily for me they opened their first Canadian location a few years ago here in Vancouver. They serve a really light and refreshing yuzu shio ramen with a chicken based broth. I’m usually not a huge fan of chicken broth, but the way they do it here is on another level. They also have the best tsukumen, which is a dipping style ramen. So if you can handle a double bowl I would go for both. If you’ve ever visited one of their locations in Japan, you already know you’re not going to want to skip this.
For the last stop of the day we’re going to head back downtown and visit Yaletown Brewing Company (YBC) for a beer. It’s one of the longest standing restaurants and brewpubs in the city, and my friend Josh happens to be the brew master there. He makes some of the best craft beer in the city and there’s always a handful of his special brews on rotation – just ask him for a recommendation.
747’s Guide to Vancouver Day 3: Donuts, Cheesecake, Poke, Stanley Park & Hand Pulled Chinese Noodles
We’ll skip brunch today and opt for a light snack for breakfast. Cartems is a really nice donut chain in Vancouver that sells gourmet donuts and coffee. My favourites are the earl grey and apple fritter donuts. If Cartems isn’t something that interests you, I’d also suggest getting a Japanese cheese tart at Castella Cheesecake on Robson Street.
For lunch we’ll get The Poke Guy, which is one of the many places to get poke bowls in the city. This one’s easily my favourite though because they have the best and freshest selection of toppings and fish. Get an ahi tuna bowl with whatever toppings you want. For the sauce stick with ponzu so you don’t overpower the flavour of the fish.
Everything is walkable downtown so from here it’s pretty open ended. You can take a relaxing and scenic walk along the Coal Harbour seawall. If you’re more adventurous you can rent a bike and take it around Stanley Park.
For dinner we’re going to head back to the east side and visit one of my secret gems of the city, Joojak. It’s a family owned Xian Chinese Restaurant with about 4 or 5 tables so make sure to book ahead. If you don’t usually like Chinese food, but have never tried food from Xian it’s definitely worth a try. The flavours are way different than the more mainstream Cantonese food. The hand pulled noodles are some of the best I’ve ever had. Get the pork ‘burger’, cold chilli chicken, biang biang noodles, and cold noodles with gluten.
And that’s it – a three-day food itinerary with a few activities sprinkled in for a quick visit to Vancouver. Hope you enjoy!
Artist pictures by Emily Nicoll