Dear family, it's time to 'fess up. Whose bright idea was it to celebrate our nation's birthday... by leaving the dang country for the weekend?
Perhaps it was this dapper dude, who's lookin' suspiciously like he just returned home from a persuasive sales pitch:
Or his grump of a brother, in want of some peace and quiet?
(Also an FYI, these are likely the most misleading pictures ever of this pair. Prince Jerry up above is typically the master of the sideeye, whereas Sir Roger is generally quite chipper. I'm guessing the bowties had something to do with this behavior.)
But anyway, back to my investigation.
My sister made the executive decision back in April to have our next family meet-up be to visit her, my brother-in-law, and my kitty nephews in Seattle. Conveniently. Somewhere along the way, Vancouver was also tossed into the offer and at that point, it became one that none of us could refuse. Kitties, and an international jaunt?! Count us all in.
But first, Seattle. There's not too much to share.
My parents and I convened at the Seattle airport on a Wednesday evening, and we whiled away the rest of the weekdays in Seattle working remotely from Sarah's apartment, enjoying delicious summer meals cooked by literally every human other than me, taking walks through verdant parks and gusty beaches:
and treating our bellies (or is it torturing?!) with Boiling Point hotpot, which Sarah's been harping on about for ages. We followed it up with a towering display of mango shaved ice and multiple rounds of Head's Up. Gotta love the extraordinarily ordinary moments that I get to steal with my people.
To my sister's credit, I am now harping on about Boiling Point to everyone I know. Delightfully spicy and comforting, it's the type of meal that I'd be craving on a rainy day. So, any day in Seattle, AMIRITE.
On the contrary, the weather treated us oh so nicely all weekend long. Prettiest I've seen the Pacific Northwest yet!
Still, my brother-in-law and I were itching to go searching for poutine, so to Canada we trek! We kissed the furry boys farewell, packed the car, and then survived a three-hour roadtrip through the lush lands of Washington by taking Harry Potter sorting quizzes and catching up on our past couple of months, all with me being squeezed into the back middle seat–perks of being the youngest. And scheming on how to fit in the most Asian food in the least amount of time, of course!
Some of the tastiest Asian food in Vancouver is found in the twists and turns of... mall food courts! No, seriously. Sarah, our resident North American Asian food connoisseur, did ample research, and so soon after we crossed the Canadian border–waved over by the nicest border guards of all time might I add, and so the famous Canadian friendliness rang true from the beginning–she directed us over to the Richmond district.
The Aberdeen Centre food court is the place to be! I mean, it's literally where we spent the majority of our time in Vancouver.
After slurping down satisfyingly erm, slurpable noodles, this bunch made our way over to the Westin Bayshore, a gorgeous property on the edge of Stanley Park and with the most epic waterfront views of all time. Because we arrived too early to check-in, we spent the next bit of time simply strolling along the water, stopping obediently for a snapshot each and every
minute time my mom raised her iPad.
I don't blame her, the place was practically begging to be documented. Vancouver was 100% preening for us.
^ my favorite couple to third-wheel.
Whoa, what a view, right?! Taken from the balcony of our suite, it certainly was a sweet scene to wake up to.
But before waking up, there's sleeping to do.
And before any sleep could be had, we found ourselves in the midst of more adventures. First, while everyone else opted for a nap and some time to refresh, my sister and I decided instead to walk towards Robson Street, and to work up some hunger by indulging in a shopping spree! We gleefully brought piles and piles of clothes into the fitting rooms of Wilfred, Aritzia, and every other Canadian brand we could think of. The lack of import taxes + Canada Day sales, what a treat.
Then, we went back to the hotel with aching feet to fetch the rest of our family.
Next up on Sarah's Asian food hit list: the Richmond Night Market, a part time dinosaur park (?!) which at dusk transforms into a nighttime Asian food market.
With lines longer than those at Disneyland (pro tip: get the zoom pass), and your every sense getting bombarded–things to see! hear! smell! and TASTE!–it's quite a sight to behold. Packed with people, both visitors and food vendors, it's actually very overwhelming. But we brave chaos for food, yes we do.
Sidenote, I've never seen so many Asians on the North American continent, so this food's gotta be decent.
...and it is.
More than decent actually.
We started off with some crispy squid, drizzled with sweet chili sauce. I felt thrusted back into the streets of Hong Kong, sampling yummy bites at every corner and avenue.
Next, some green onion pancakes–one stuffed with kimchi beef, and one with fluffy pork floss and egg. One of my favorites!
Then, onto something sweet: a mango smoothie. Historically my preferred Asian sweet treat!
The one non-Asian food vendor stopped us in our tracks: German roasted pork hocks. Yes, please! Another crowd pleaser - crackling skin with tender, fall-of-the-bone meat, all to share.
Finally, some hot pot in a cup–skewers of tasty bites like tofu and meatballs or seaweed soaked in a mouth-numbingly spicy broth. The newlyweds' top pick.
You know, my sister's always been my idol and I've always put her on a pedestal in regards to most things. But in one aspect–that of being the most voracious eater–I've always tried to cling onto the crown. After this trip, I've surrendered. The night market had me stuffed silly, and Sarah too. But not twenty minutes later, she was asking for a companion to go get some ramen with her, and inhaled a whole bowl by herself. What a legend.
THEN, sleep. Remember?
Fast forward to the morning after. Okay, so Tim Horton's for a coffee obviously, and then some time to soak up the view.
But not too much time, because soon we set off back to the Richmond district to Aberdeen Centre actually, where we beelined for the Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant for dimsum. Hands down the favorite dimsum place for the Asian community in Vancouver–a few years ago when my dad and I had a long layover in the city, a family friend took us here for dimsum as well.
We came, we ate, we conquered.
All of it. Ordered too much, ate too much. Same old, same old around here.
Then, to work off some of that gluttony, we toured parts of scenic Stanley Park:
Crazy picturesque, right?!
Possibly moving here in November. You're all invited to come with me.
Finally, before driving back to Seattle, we of course had to stop at the food court one last time for some pan-fried noodles:
And then it was back to Seattle for this:
Even though we were mostly feeling like this after all that food: