VancityTastes hosted a media tasting at a locally owned and operated restaurant in New Westminster, Wild Rice . They work with local family farms to bring fabulous natural ingredients from farm to table. $1 from select dishes goes to Growing Chefs Society this month. Refer to the menu to see which dishes qualify. You can also get up to $10 off when you pay with Glance Pay & earn rewards!
The serve food family style for the full sharing experience. Dishes come out one at a time to ensure they are eaten hot and fresh. For the media event, it was requested all the food be delivered all at once so we could take a shot of the spread. Wild Rice has been doing things from scratch since 2001. The owner and chef Andrew learnt how to cook from his grandma which sparked his culinary adventure! The restaurant use to be in the Gastown location till rent got too expensive.
Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media event. All food in this review was complimentary.
restaurant exterior and dining room
It is pretty far for us to get here from downtown but the skytrain makes it convenient. The restaurant is located foot steps by the New Westminster skytrain station at the River Market and faces the water. The restaurant and the washrooms are kept clean! They have a pretty sweet selection of beers on tap too!
HOUSE SALAD | $10
Mixed greens, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, and pecans, mirin soy vinaigrette. You can add chicken for $6 or prawns for $8. $1 from this dish will go to growing chefs society.
SUI MAI DUMPLINGS | $12
Local pork and shrimp in juicy steamed open faced dumpling topped with scallion verde. This was my favourite dish at the tasting. They take the classic dim sum sui mai and take it to a whole new world. It's kind of hard to describe but when we go eat dim sum, a sui mai always just tastes like how it should. It's never wow or bad. Wild Rice's twist to this classic dish was unique and delicous. I would recommend giving this a try!
spicy chicken kung po | $20
Free run chicken, broccoli, twice cooked peanuts with rice noodles in rich coconut sauce. They also have a fun size for $14 and you can substitute the chicken with tofu. The noodles were a bit too soft but this was of no fault of the cooks. We ate this after everyone was done taking photos so the noodles steamed for too long in it's own heat causing the noodles to over cook. I would like to try this again and have the normal dining experience! Just a heads up these bowls of noodles are massive, I would recommend getting the "fun size" if you want to try other items on the menu!
Crispy chicken skins | $8
Crispy fried, pickled veg, ponzu, and verde. $1 from this dish will go to growing chefs society. Each sauce was good in it's own way. I preferred the Ponzu as it has a salty taste which goes perfect with beer. Eat these while they're hot!
peking duck tacos | $11
The tacos are topped with Yarrow Meadows duck confit, house pickles, wonton ribbons, scallions, creamy hoisin. This was an interesting use of duck confit and the crispy wonton ribbons to add some crunch. The only thing strange for me is calling this a Peking Duck Taco. The duck wasn't very present nor was the crispy skin I was expecting. When I think about Peking Duck, it's sliced cucumbers, green onions and hoisin sauce. I felt the creamy hoisin sauce really muted the hoisin flavours. I would have liked to see a bit more classic flavour comes through!
Sticky Toffee Pudding | $7
Sticky toffee pudding served traditionally with butterscotch sauce and tre galli vanilla ice cream. The pudding is baked and steamed giving it a moist and juicy texture. Having the contrast of temperatures of hot and cold with the pudding and ice cream was a treat. I was so full but there is always some room for dessert!
They have an open concept where you can see the kitchen from the bar and there are windows to view it from the inside of the river market. They have nothing to hide! Overall a very clean and organized kitchen. The food from the kitchen is hormone free, heat lamp free, and microwave free!
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF Wild Rice:
Wild Rice is a spot I would eat at again if I was in the New West area but not an exclusive destination spot to commute far for a meal. I still think it is a great addition to the neighbourhood if you're looking for modern Chinese cuisine. That being said there are tons of gems in the area that we love visiting. We often bring friends & family from out of town to tour the New West neighbourhood and will have Wild Rice on the list of places to eat at! If there is anything you love at Wild Rice and think we should try it next time, feel free to contact us!
A bit far for people who don't live in the area (but there are other things to do in the area to plan an afternoon trip!)
Water front view in front of the restaurant
Clean restaurant, kitchen, and washrooms!
Supports local farmers and chef programs
Hormone, heatlamp and microwave free!