As a classically trained chef and the co-owner and chef at Heritage Asian Eatery in Vancouver, Felix Zhou knows a thing or two about using his creativity and background in order to take a dish to the next level. It’s something he’s been doing since he was a kid when he won a scholarship for a cooking class and realized what he was destined to do.

At his eatery, Felix is all about offering a new perspective on Asian fast food and snacks, something he hones while eating out as some of the city’s other delicious, Asian-inspired restaurants. When it comes to a delicious night out on the town, here are Felix’s top picks.

Related: Read Felix Zhou’s full bio here.

PiDGiN

A restaurant in historic Gastown, PiDGiN refuses to sway towards either casual or fine dining. Instead, it attempts to redefine the language of dining altogether with a menu that encompasses multiple cuisines and cultures all at once.

“My favorite dish at PiDGiN is Korean rice cake, gochujang Bolognese and spiced hazelnut,” Felix raves.

korean rice cake, gochujang bolognese, hondashi, hazelnut // #pidginfood

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Maenam

If it’s traditional Thai food you’re seeking, look no further than Chef Angus An’s fresh and seasonal menu, which boasts everything from family-style dining to his own riffs on popular Thai street food. This one gets bonus points for a Chef’s tasting menu that can also accommodate the vegetarians out there.

“My favorite dish at Maenam is pad Thai,” Felix says.

Phnom Penh

You won’t have trouble spotting this family-run restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. It’s  traditional Cambodian or Vietnamese fare draws lines at the door, making it a must-visit spot.

“My favorite dish at Phnom Penh are the chicken wings,” says Felix.

The Pear Tree

Owners Scott and Stephanie Jaeger run a relaxed and comfortable dining room that’s perfect for special occasions, catch-ups, or a fancier weeknight meal. Their seasonal and sustainable menu of Canadian fare has been impressing diners since 1998; in fact, in 2005 the duo had to shut down for 40 days in order to double the size of their dining room in order to accommodate all of the guests.

“My favorite dish is the lobster cappuccino,” says Felix, referring to the lobster bisque foam with dashi custard and poached lobster.

Santouka

The Vancouver location of this worldwide franchise imports big and bold Japanese flavours into small, signature bowls of heaven. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is renowned for his delicate shio ramen, which to this day remains handcrafted with minimal salt or artificial seasonings.

“It’s comforting to walk into a ramen house; the warmth and smell reminds me of being back home [in China],” Felix says. “Noodles have a very dear place in my heart. My favourite dish is the santouka ramen, spicy miso extra char siu. You can have it all in one bowl of ramen. [It’s] delicious, warm [and] a little spicy.”

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