I love to take them for cuisines that the city does really well but are hard to find elsewhere. In Vancouver, I would take them to Fortune Terrace for dim sum and a bitter-melon dish seautéed with preserved-duck-egg yolk, and the Admiralty plaza’s food court for some hole-in-the-wall congee at Joyful Congee and Kam Ho for wontons. For dessert, La Glace’s French-style ice cream by chef Mark Tagulao. His ice creams are as good as those from MOFs [Meilleurs Ouvrieis de France] in Paris, and his cookies and canelés are also the best in the city.
In Paris, it’s all about classic French cuisine and pastries. I would take friends to La Poule au Pot, where chef Jean-François Piège adroitly showcases his love for very traditional French fare. You’ll find classics such as frogs’ legs, escargots and clafoutis, each with an appropriately excessive amount of butter. For pastries, it would be Boulangerie Utopie, which creates no-nonsense, confident flavours in inspired combinations, which respect classic techniques.
In Vancouver, I would not opt for a coffee, but the tea lattes at Paragon are so incredible — smooth, rich, nuanced, flavourful — that even a coffee snob would find themselves drinking a jasmine or hojicha latte every single day. Paris is strangely known for having the worst coffee, considering more than half the city sprawls with cafés. However, places — like Dreamin Man — with their passionate precision, laid back boho vibe and fashion-week crowds, are a true snapshot of young, vibrant Paris.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO FOR QUIET CONTEMPLATION?
We are so lucky in Vancouver, surrounded by the most breathtaking [of] nature. It is a city made for quiet contemplation. Pick a spot near the water, at the edge of a forest, on a pretty street lined with cherry blossoms in spring — any of those will do. Paris is generous. It spoon-feeds us inspiration — the architecture, the charming lacquer-green fountains, little parks with retired men playing bocce with glasses of pastis. Walk, get lost, find yourself in a cute corner around the bend, stop drink a glass of Chablis, listen to the sounds of gossip and motorists swearing in French. Contemplation sometimes is just the state of listening — and Paris has a lot to say.