The rumours are true: Vancouver is a tantalizing culinary hub whose globally influenced, locally sourced fare pairs perfectly with innovative cocktails, B.C. wine and craft beer brewed in our own backyard. The good news is, you don’t have to burn through your wallet to enjoy the best of the city’s bounty – and, just as importantly, you don’t need to venture far from your downtown conference venue. Read on for our recommendations of easy-to-find affordable eats that will power you through seminars, presentations, networking and everything in-between.
Credit Aura McKay
Many delegates attending conferences in Vancouver are headquartered in central downtown, close to the city’s flagship meeting space, the harbourside Vancouver Convention Centre (and with 13,000 hotel rooms nearby, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a home-away-from-home in the heart of the city!). Meeting planners who prefer to offer delegates casual and inexpensive nourishment onsite can hire one of Vancouver’s street food trucks, which run the gamut from plant-based Mediterranean fare and authentic Indigenous cuisine to intoxicating French crêpes and Mom-approved gourmet grilled cheese. Simply specify your budget per person, and you can narrow down your truck and menu options from there.
Courtesy The Gyoza Bar/Cody Chan
Should delegates opt to wander Vancouver’s extremely walkable downtown in search of midday grub, they’ll come across a colourful parade of affordable treats. Heritage Asian Eatery’s comfort food boasts generous portions, including sizeable baos (buns) for $5 – we like the pork belly option with kimchi daikon, crispy onion and hoisin sauce (1108 East Pender Street). For tasty ramen and gyoza, meeting attendees can hop to The Gyoza Bar to nosh on hefty bowls of ramen accompanied by veggie gyoza for $17.50 each; leave your lunch ‘til 3pm and you can take advantage of happy hour pairings of beer and gyoza for $10 (622 West Pender Street).
Credit Nelson Mouellic
A leisurely stroll into Gastown will bring delegates to Tacofino, one of the city’s most-loved taco and burrito joints. Here, indulge in a hearty eggplant tortilla with sweet and spicy kale slaw, lime crema, cilantro and peanuts for $6; or tuck into Tacofino’s famed fish tacos featuring Pacific cod, cabbage, chipotle mayo and salsa fresco for $6.50 (15 West Cordova Street). Fancy freshly baked fare? Purebread Bakery features farmhouse baguette sandwiches, roasted veggie tarts, spicy chili cheddar cornbread and other house-made goodies straight from the oven; groups can order lunch boxes in advance, each containing savoury pies, vegan curry pies, spinach feta brioche and other delights, priced at $55 for up to 10 people (159 West Hastings Street).
Craving casual bites with a view? Harbour Centre Food Court is situated in the same building as the Vancouver Lookout, whose 360˚views of the cityscape are a perfect complement to lunchtime sojourns. Here you’ll find sushi, Russian baked goods, bubble tea and waffles, Vietnamese goodies and more (555 West Hastings Street). Jam-packed conference schedule? There’s no need to leave the building: an underground pathway connects the Vancouver Convention Centre with Waterfront Centre food court, where there’s something for everyone: juices and smoothies, healthy soups and sandwiches, Thai food, tacos and poke, for starters (900 Canada Place).
Though Vancouver is rife with high-end, indulgent culinary experiences, there are plenty of low-budget alternatives that will satisfy delegates’ appetites without sacrificing their per diems (read more about Vancouver’s food scene here). Hungry to book your Vancouver conference? Contact Tourism Vancouver’s Meetings team.