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Noodle Mania YVR/Bob Likes Thai Food

Vancouver Foodster’s Noodle Mania got underway yesterday with an afternoon/evening tour through 10 of Vancouver’s noodle restaurants and tea rooms.

Shaktea on Main
[Main Street’s Shaktea]

Unlike past Tasting Plates Vancouver events, this one covered a much wider portion of the city, taking in South Granville, East Van (and Little Vietnam), Kitsilano, Yaletown, The Drive, and Kerrisdale. Diners converged at Main Street’s Shaktea, an adorable little tea shop in the busy 21st Street stretch, for event registration.

Shaktea on Main Shaktea on Main

Three teas were set up in glass pots: Vanilla Black, Organic Cinnamon Swirl Rooibos, and Spiced Pear. It’s events such as this that give foodies a way to discover potential new gems not on their radar.

Living in Kitsilano, I’m spoiled with eateries (and two tea shops), not to mention countless caf├ęs. Noodle Mania was set up to allow its participants to create their own route. I already had a strategy in place for both amount of eateries I’d be visiting as well as transportation (a combination of driving and leaving my car at Canada Line to pop into Yaletown for two of the tour stops, Urban Thai Bistro and Yaletown L’Antipasto).

Noodle Mania YVR/Soho Tea Room
[Noodle Mania YVR/Soho Tea Room DIY fish soup/lobster bisque broth with rice noodles]

I also aimed to try as many restaurants that were new to me as possible, leaving a couple of places off my itinerary simply due to time, energy, and belly. After four stops, I was already feeling pretty full. Richard Wolak (aka Vancouver Foodster) warned those attending to arrive on an empty stomach, and he wasn’t kidding!

Noodle Mania YVR/At L'Antipasto
[Sean, Alvin, Sherman]

Having five hours to complete all 10 locations is also a way to allow digestion between the dishes as well as to socialize with friends along the way. I ran into three fellow foodie photographers at Yaletown L’Antipasto, a busy little eatery on Mainland Street where I discovered Pappardelle Rosse, a hearty thick-noodled pasta with meat and rich tomato sauce. The smells coming out of the kitchen were wonderful as I was seated at a table up against the long counter, watching the busy waitstaff try to accommodate all diners.

Noodle Mania YVR/L'Antipasto interior

The venues that worked best were ones that offered a lot of dining space and had heapfuls of hot food ready to go. My favourite restaurant in this respect was Urban Thai Bistro on Hamilton Street.

Noodle Mania YVR/Urban Thai Bistro
[Urban Thai Bistro: Pad Thai and Pad See-lw]

There was plenty of food, portions were good, and as a bonus, the Golden Globes were on their large screen tv (without sound), for those such as myself who were keen on keeping up with the awards.

Noodle Mania YVR/Urban Thai Bistro
[Urban Thai Bistro interior, Yaletown]

I also liked the mix of restaurants on offer, from Italian and Asian to Vietnamese and American mac ‘n’ cheese fare. Each of the five restaurants I visited were friendly, the volunteers all smiles, making this another great event to attend.

My favourite bites? Aside from the Pappardelle Rosse, I greatly enjoyed the Pad Thai and Pad See-lw at Urban Thai, and the Spiced Pear tea at Shaktea. I plan to return to Shaktea to try more of their herbal infusions, particularly after having discovered SalonTea on Granville and more recently, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Kits.

Vancouver Foodster has two upcoming events to check out:
Food Talks Volume 6 on February 12, Granville Island Hotel and the 2nd Annual Tasting Plates Downtown event, February 20. Tickets for both events are currently on sale. A big thank you to Richard for inviting me to experience Noodle Mania, as well as kudos to a finely organized event team!

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