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While we are working towards establishing some new normalcy, it is still important to remain vigilant and stay safe. Most restaurants are open for dine-in again now, but some of us may still prefer to eat in the comfort of their own home. Therefore, this Thanksgiving, some local restaurants continue to offer a to-go option so we can celebrate with friends and family safely at home. Here is my round-up. I will continue to update this list as restaurants continue to promote their offering.

And make sure to check the order details for each one to not miss out!

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Being Chinese, we celebrate Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節 every year. It is always on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, promising the roundest, fullest full moon of the year. Part of the tradition is to eat mooncakes月餅, a baked pastry with fillings. The most popular versions we used to get in HK are with lotus seed paste or mixed nuts filling, plus salted egg yolk(s). Over the years, mooncakes have evolved. Bakeries have introduced other flavours of fillings such as red bean and lava custard; and some places sell a version called “snow skin” where the exterior is not baked and is made with glutinous rice flour.

Origin of Mooncakes

Do you know the origin of mooncakes? The one version that is forever stuck in my head is that it was created by rebellions in the Yuan Dynasty, who hid secret messages inside baked pastries, and distributed them to plan a revolt to overthrow the ruling Mongols, leading to the fall of Yuan and the rise of Ming Dynasty.

Buying Mooncakes in Vancouver

This year, Mid Autumn Festival lands on September 21, 2021. If you are interested in making your own mooncakes, check out Mama Lam’s recipe for Baked Chinese Mooncake with Salted Egg Yolk Custard Filling that I shared last year. Otherwise, if you are looking to support local businesses and buy some at a store, here are some ideas for you.

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I am excited to be a part of the NBRHD Restaurant Development Program, initiated by REEF Technology, to help Vancouver restaurants launch a delivery business. The restaurant industry has been hit hard this past year due to COVID, and many have turned to delivery and other innovative ways to keep their business afloat. This private grant money will provide some relief to a few restaurants, and perhaps help expand, preserve, or resurrect some beloved culinary concepts from going under and be lost forever.

The following is the official press release issued by REEF Technology:

REEF Launches Local Restaurant Development Program in Vancouver, Pledging $125K to Help Area Businesses Expand as Part of $1.25M Program

REEF, the largest operator of neighbourhood kitchens and urban logistics hubs in the United States and Canada, announces today the expansion to Vancouver of the recently launched NBRHD Restaurant Development Program, designed to help local restaurants scale their delivery business and provide marketing support through REEF’s Kitchens platform.

In total, REEF Technology has earmarked $1.25M CAD in grant money to support qualifying local restaurants across North America over the course of the next few weeks and months. Restaurants with fewer than three locations qualify to apply for the program, and REEF encourages applications from local women, minority and Indigenous-owned restaurants.

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At a time when the restaurants keep getting setbacks, let’s show them we care. The BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association (BCRFA), Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Save-On-Foods stores, and Town Hall Brands have partnered up in an initiative called #StandUpforService, where outstanding restaurant workers from across BC are recognized for their top-notch service at BCRFA.com.

Between March 1 to May 23, you can visit BCRFA.com and share stories of colleagues, servers, cooks, friends, or businesses who are providing a welcoming and unique dining experience while following best practices to combat COVID-19.

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Dine Out Vancouver is back and reimagined! Running from February 5 to March 7, 2021, 366 restaurants are offering prix fixe menus for dine-in or take-out priced between $15 and $54. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been tough for the restaurant industry. I was glad to see the return of the iconic food festival, while it’s made some adjustments to accommodate the current situation. For one, the festival has been extended to run for 31 days, to allow more opportunities for diners to participate while restaurants are offering lower capacity and limited seating. Also, there’s flexibility in how each restaurant prices their menu so it’s no longer just the 3-4 price points in the past.

Even though the festival is well underway, restaurants are still open for reservations and there’s always room to accept take-out orders. I took the time to review the menus and here are what caught my eyes, based on past experiences (Dine Out or not) as well as menu attractiveness (e.g. value for the money, choice of ingredients, creativity in the menu, enough options for two people, etc.). Also keep in mind that I curated the list based on my preference (as you know, I’m a meat lover and I’m biased against chicken and salmon), my way of thinking, so it may not all suit your taste. But hopefully this gives you a place to start.

Because the prices vary a lot this year, I can’t break them down by price point like previous years. Instead, I organized my list into Lunch, Dinner, Take Out, and Special Offer. And my recommendations are for that specific menu only, even though the restaurant may offer other menu options, after weighing in my preference and my perceived value of the menus. I’ve also included links to the menu to make it easier for you.

Lunch

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