If you're a virgin, and want to experience a natural orgasm for the first time in your life, look no further than the butter chicken pizza at Dunbar Pizza (or as I like to call it, DP). It's not just delivery, goddammit. It brings a tear to my eye- food porn in the purest sense. It conjures up some very not safe for work images in my mind when I take that first bite -- the warmth, the texture, the thickness, the curry sauce, and if that first little chomp blesses you with a piece of chicken, Christ. I feel a bit of what Adam felt when he first realized Eve was nakey.
It's delicious of course, but that's not the reason everyone loves DP. It's because DP is a combination of everything that Vancouverites hold dear. It's a fusion of different cultures that are genuinely representative of Vancouver as a whole.
And it's true of any food in the city, really. Somehow, Vancouver works those instant hit combos and cultural staples into almost every memorable dish I try.
There's Japadog. SPAGHeTEI spices up pasta with different Japanese sauces and toppings (please, please go there). The Eatery. Disco Cheetah, a place that puts a Korean twist on classic Mexican dishes. Belgian fries and their butter chicken poutine.
Some non-fusion honorable mentions: The Naam. Solly's Bagelry nails dough:cream cheese ratio to a T (plus the Yiddish music they play is all bangers). Even Cafe Crepe's Eiffel tower sign and wooden bench on Robson reminds me of the French friends I've made here in an embarrassingly superficial way.
You could be in Gastown or East Van or the West End, the food you're eating feels like one of the few unifying strands of culture we've got in Vancouver. It's not that Vancouver doesn't have a culture; we do, we swear! It's that we're yet to find one that puts us on the map.
Food might be one of the purest expressions of culture. The 'must-dos' of a new place you're exploring somehow always manage to have food on the list. When you go to California, you have to get In-n-Out. When you're in Montreal, you have to get poutine. When you visit New York, you have to try the pizza and bagels.
When I ventured to Vancouver for the very first time, before I decided to stick around, Sea Monster Sushi in Gastown split my skull in two. I'd had sushi before, but I'd never had sushi that was interesting or exciting in that way. I vividly remember the art on the menu of krakens snapping ships in half. The rolls had funny names. After my family finished eating, they gave us each a little fridge magnet. Mine had cookie monster looking fierce to obliterate some sushi. That magnet stayed in my locker senior year as a reminder of my time here, and it ended up being the only souvenir I kept.
I'd gush about Van to my friends, and it almost always started like this: it's such a beautiful place, and man, the food...
Unfortunately, a certain island has already perfected sushi. So we can't have that. What Vancouver has that's untouchable is its fusion, and the cultures that it invited here.
My first Canadian Thanksgiving involved me eating far too much at Mahoney's -- yes, the one on campus. I was sharing a meal with a couple other imported people from Jump Start. I still had an allowance, so I could totally spend whatever on a meal.