At the start of the year, in late January/early February, when the Dine Out Festival was on, Alex Wan, one of the co-founders of Chopstick Fest, was looking for authentic Chinese restaurant options in Richmond. When he didn’t find any, he and some friends started musing about the idea of creating their own festival — a Chinese cuisine-focused celebration. Before they knew it, Chopstick Fest was born.
Wan says Chopstick Fest’s goal is simple: to expose Metro Vancouver’s diners to a world of Chinese and related cuisines they may not know. All too often, he says, many of his non-Chinese friends have tended to think of Chinese cuisine as being about those all-too-familiar standbys, fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and chow mein. With Chopstick Fest, the focus is on featuring participating restaurants covering nine of China’s regional cuisines most diners may not already know — such as a region in western China where Uyghur (pronounced wee-ger) fare and Middle Eastern seasonings, cooking and language are the norm. During the festival, unique prix-fixe menus intended for four or more diners will provide offerings from all corners of China’s culinary regions. Chopstick Fest takes place at more than 30 participating restaurants across Metro Vancouver from October 15–30, 2016.