Chinese Food (and more) on Main Street

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Sometimes you have too many meetings and things go late and you are gripped by strange food urges. In this case my urge was for seafood chow mein. Also, sometimes, you find yourself not in your usual neighbourhood and you have to take a risk.

Main Street from 13th to 16th in Vancouver is slowly gentrifying and certainly gives the rough-and-tumble neighbourhood feel but you see the creeping in of branded stores and eateries.

In this particular case, I found Kwong Chow Congee & Noodle House. I tend to test a Chinese restaurant’s authenticity by the number of anglo-looking faces in the restaurant. There were two, including me. A good sign.

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The green takeout sheet had 288 items. I didn’t count them; they are all numbered. I ordered 219. “Seafood & Chinese Mushroom Chow Mein”. I was told I had 15 minutes to wait, so I headed across the street to Hasty Mart. It was a strangely well-stocked mini market and was charging non-tourist prices for cans of Coke.

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Within view of the Hasty Mart is a cannabis shop. Someone told me that there are more of these “dispensaries” in Vancouver than Starbucks. The store front was clean, bright and staffed by young non pothead looking people.

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Apparently these shops are all illegal. When Canada eventually legalizes this stuff, do you think any of these will survive? To my thinking all true medical sales will go to a pharmacy and all recreational sales will go to boring government run stores. Will these funky looking dispensaries survive?

Heritage Hall is across the street with its clock tower. It’s a place with a hall that you can rent for events as well as offices for arts organizations. From the look of it, it used to be a church or an official building.

It’s certainly a scenic and lively corner.

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In the end, the Seafood Chow Mein met the craving head on with scallop, squid, bok choy, mushrooms and noodles.

As an added bonus, I took the time to ponder the nature of an evolving Vancouver neighbourhood.

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