By: Sara Wong, Arts & Culture Editor
When it’s pouring rain out, I usually want nothing more than to curl up with a blanket and a good book at home. But on one dreary night near the end of February, I found myself eagerly venturing out to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The garden was hosting a pop-up event called “Will Travel for Food: Vancouver–Hong Kong.” Local foodies Sam Shem (@thedessertclubca) and Melody Yip (@blackholetummy) promised an immersive culinary experience, and they delivered.
Featuring all local vendors, the garden’s food hall felt simultaneously comforting and electric. I was transported back to summers strolling through night markets. The giddy anticipation of devouring a bunch of street food was palpable throughout the crowd. It was lovely to see so many people come out to celebrate and uplift small businesses.
There was a lot to take in, so my friend and I went with the “divide and conquer” strategy when it came to grabbing food. Our haul included pork dumplings from Dicky’s Dumps, ya shi xiang tea from Teakan, a salted egg yolk, pork floss bubble waffle from Eggette House, and more.
The dumplings were as good, if not better, than the ones my family makes (sorry grandma!). They were plump, and the pork filling had just the right amount of seasoning. I also appreciated the bit of textural contrast the green onions and crispy shallots on top provided.
While the bubble waffle was being made fresh, I enjoyed sipping on Teakan’s fruity oolong tea. The strong brew helped distract me from the chilly weather outside. Soon after finishing my tea, the bubble waffle was ready. It was warm, fluffy, and packed with umami — well worth the wait.
At the next stall over, Simply Homayd was distributing samples of popcorn drizzled with their Chiu Chow style chili oil. Despite my mild spice tolerance, I decided to try some. It was a bit too hot for me, but thankfully Passione Gelato was nearby. I was delighted to discover they brought back a limited edition flavour — yuanyang — which was made in collaboration with Yip. Yuanyang is a popular Hong Kong drink that combines coffee and milk tea. The gelato version was just as smooth and creamy, with distinct black tea notes.
Taking our food outdoors, my friend and I walked past the busy courtyard, projecting a rotating series of Hong Kong street scenes, and found a quieter spot to sit and relax. The garden was adorned with red lanterns and fairy lights in celebration of Lunar New Year, and the view became even more mesmerizing as dusk fell.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening filled with good company. Shem and Yip created the kind of event that speaks to my soul — one that was community-driven and focused on bringing people together through food. “Will Travel for Food” brought me so much joy. I look forward to seeing where they take off next.