Staff Meal is a new column by Ken Tsui. The photo essays will detail the stories behind the family-style meals that some of Vancouver’s busiest restaurant crews get either before or after service.
by Ken Tsui | After a busy service on a Saturday night at Chinatown’s award-winning Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, executive chef Joel Watanabe cranks out one final meal. Tonight, it’s his take on tostadas, and it’s for his staff. Think crispy tortillas topped with a healthy dose of cumin seasoned black beans, tomato sauce, melted cheese, guacamole, and shredded lettuce all dressed with lime and a pico de gallo salsa. Tostadas were one of the family classics in the Watanabe household when Joel was a kid. He and his brother were hooked, both invariably asking for the treat to be a part of every birthday meal. In the spirit of sibling rivalry, they even devoured the fully loaded tostadas competitively, with Joel holding the household record of fourteen eaten in one sitting.
On March 22nd, Rain City Chronicles, Ken Tsui and Bestie join forces to celebrate all things German with DAS LEXIKON!
Through storytelling and supper, Das Lexikon is a fun-filled night of German appreciation infused with Krautrock, German beer, entertaining stories inspired by German vocabulary handpicked by Rain City Chronicles and a delicious bratwurst dinner by Bestie. And what better place to have it unfold than the Vancouver Alpen Club, an institution with a century’s worth of local German history.
After staging a memorable two night pop-up restaurant in a school cafeteria this past November for Rain City Chronicles’ “Tales from Public School” show series, edible pop-up producer Ken Tsui continues his partnership with Rain City Chronicles for Das Lexikon. In working with Lizzy Karp, the event transforms a culturally treasured space into a playful and energetic experience unlike any other in the city.
Rain City Chronicles, Vancouver’s premiere storytelling night, are pairing a diverse roster of Vancouverites with a collection of unique German words that spark captivating stories. From tales inspired by moments of “schadenfreude” (the pleasure derived from someone’s misfortune) to “waldeinsamkeit” (forest solitude), the evening revels in the idiosyncrasies of the German language.
With a casual, friendly and fun approach, the local German street food wunderkinds of Chinatown, Dane Brown, Clinton McDougall and chef Colin Johnson will serve up their take on the traditional German supper. Bestie’s dinner for Das Lexikon is a unique menu that celebrates the fundamentals of German comfort food, served one night only and created exclusively for the event. And yes, vegetarians are welcome.
Filling one of Vancouver’s most unique spaces with word nerds and bratwurst devotees, Das Lexikon will be a raucous, hilarious and delectable night out. Storytellers, musical guest and menu details to be announced the week of March 10, 2014. Get tickets and details after the jump… Read more
The local masters of the edible pop-up are up to something sweet. From the inbox: “As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, Winner Winner and Ken Tsui are teaming up to celebrate this day of romantic splendour with “Seafood is for Lovers”, an intimate dinner of seven courses from the sea. In the spirit of Valentines Day, “Seafood is for Lovers” is a menu of classics intended to be shared with a date. It’s during the wintry months when the bounty of the oceans are at their tastiest and we find warmth cuddling side-by-side with a partner. Winner Winner and Ken Tsui are transforming one of Vancouver’s most celebrated daytime coffee shops, Revolver’s Archive, into an underground pop-up dining experience where lovebirds can cozy up to a beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner that celebrates the supremely tasty treasures from the sea.” Get all the details after the jump… Read more
Rain City Chronicles continues its run with storytelling in unique venues around town this week with two evenings of school related tales. Pencils and Playgrounds (November 21) goes down in the gym at Lord Strathcona Elementary School and Chalk and Lockers (November 22) takes over the auditorium at Templeton Secondary. Rain City Chronicles believes that everyone has a great personal story to tell and they make it their business to create opportunities for our communities to share them. Grab a ticket now for some fantastic storytelling featuring a diverse roster of Vancouverites who will speak to the general theme of School. “Whether you were a teacher’s pet, shy wallflower, sweaty jock or smoke-pit regular, we’ve got a great line-up of storytellers to make you laugh, cry and ooze nostalgia.”
And it gets even better…this time around, Rain City Chronicles has joined forces with the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner crew (you may remember these talented lads from the Chinatown Nightmarket) and super-food-and-event-enthusiast Ken Tsui to put on a special cafeteria-style dinner. Prior to the stories, guests grab a plastic tray, line-up and choose one of four distinctive re-interpretations of the classic lunch-time specials from your elementary or high school days. Think shepherd’s pie, sloppy joes, mac n’ cheese, and pizza. There will also be a mocktail (some sort of take on a “grape drink”?), a cafeteria bun, and a “pudding cup”. The menu is intended to be nostalgic and aims to inspire people to tell their school stories to table mates and friends while they dine.
PENCILS AND PLAYGROUNDS | Thu, Nov. 21 | The Cafeteria opens at 6pm, show 7:30 | Lord Strathcona Elementary School (592 E Pender)| $30 for dinner & show | DETAILS AND TICKETS HERE
CHALK AND LOCKERS | Friday, November 22 | The Cafeteria opens at 6pm, show 7:30 | Templeton Secondary (727 Templeton Dr.) | DETAILS AND TICKETS HERE
by Andrew Morrison | Ken Tsui is the next cool thing. Aside from being wicked smart, generous, funny as hell and charming to boot, Ken is a film-maker and lark-lover who works hard at whatever he tries. Whether he’s making a documentary on a model plane fanatic, directing a music video for Defektors, setting up a Twin Peaks pop-up coffee and pie shop called The Black Lodge (long before the Kingsway’s new Black Lodge), wrangling and serving folks at Eat Together suppers, transforming neighbourhood coffee shops into temporary street food stalls, or helping to re-invigorate the Chinatown Night Market, he’s always doing it full-on with a smile on his one of a kind face.
As we’ve noted before, the Vancouver Chinatown Night Market is bringing a heady mix of time-honoured tradition and new school flavour to the summer festivities on Keefer Street. Check out the teaser video (attaboy Ken, great job!) and read more after the jump… Read more
Tannis Ling, owner of Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, and Ken Tsui, a well known pop-up organizer responsible for popular events like Black Lodge Diner, Eat Together and The Hawker Stand, have joined with the Vancouver Chinatown Merchant’s Association (VCMA) to reinvent the 18 year tradition we know as the Chinatown Night Market.
It’s no secret that the Night Market has struggled in recent years, but with the neighbourhood in the midst of an exciting renewal period and an influx of new businesses wanting to participate, the VCMA, Ling and Tsui see the summer of 2013 as the perfect opportunity to update it. They aim to harness Chinatown’s resurgent spirit while helping to preserve its cultural DNA. The goal is to create a dynamic cultural hub and social space that will appeal to all ages and all cultures.
In such an effort, collaboration is everything. Local design firm Glasfurd & Walker is working with Bao Bei to rebrand the Night Market, and the Street Food Vancouver Society is on board to help diversify and complement the range of food already offered by bringing in a selection of trucks to the market’s western border on Columbia Street. There will be an area for dining set up with picnic tables and chairs, and there’s a rumour going around of new restaurant patios opening for the occasion.
New programming will include outdoor Chinese movie screenings, ping-pong tournaments, cooking competitions, storytelling nights and mahjong lessons. Workshops available for kids could include kite making, calligraphy, circus arts, and more.
Of course, one of the integral aspects of revitalizing the night market is the incorporation of inspired and original vendors. To this end, Ling and Tsui are – starting today – looking for artisans, craftspeople, and food makers with excellent products and accessible price points.
They are making a call out to vendors for expressions of interest. To be clear, this is not a request for commitment. Just acquiring vendor interest will help them move forward and into the next stages of planning.
Booth rate rentals start at $42/night and comes with a 10′ x 10′ tent and 6′ table. Vendor rentals are available for a full season (32 nights), half season (16 nights) or a quarter season (8 nights).
If you are interested in becoming a vendor or a sponsor, please contact Tannis Ling or Ken Tsui at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Morrison is the editor-in-chief of Scout and BC’s Senior Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and TV shows on local food, culture and travel. He live and works in the vibrant Strathcona neighbourhood, where he also collects inexpensive things and enjoys birds, skateboards, whisky, shoes, many songs, and the smell of wood fires.
Culinary enthusiasts Alex Dadzis and Ken Tsui took over Gene Cafe (2404 Main) last night and turned it into a hawker stand. They were flogging steamed Fei Bing pancakes stuffed with ethically-sourced ingredients like Paradise Valley pork belly with house-made apple jelly (also sesame shiitake & smoked tofu with hoisin and sriracha; five spice yam chips; and “ice queen sweethearts” – almond cookie ice cream sandwiches). Awesome grub guys. Keep up the good work!