If you love to eat, cook, and talk about all things food, then Eat! Vancouver is surely the place for you to be this May 24, 25, and 26th. Now in it's 11th year, with everything from hundreds of exhibitors, wineries and breweries, Food Network chefs, competitions, cooking classes, restaurants and more, there are loads of things to see, do, and taste.
This year marks our third trip to Eat! Vancouver, and it's become something Kevin and I look forward to all year long. We love to wander the floor looking through the booths and sampling new products, and dropping in at the Bites Of Vancouver area to sample tiny plates from local restaurants. We often catch our breath by watching a show at the Food Network celebrity stage, always looking forward to see the chefs that we watch live on Food Network cook and chat with the audience. At any rate, it's THE place to get your inner foodie on whether you just love to eat, or want to cook.
Before you go, there's some things you should keep in mind:
1. If you can, take transit. Parking can get expensive in Vancouver and for events, you may pay about $20 to park for the day. The skytrain station is across the street from BC Place so you should have no problem getting there. We always drive part way, park the car, then catch the skytrain. It's just so much easier. Get a day pass if you're going to go a few different places, it's worth the money.
2. Buying your admission tickets online not only saves you some cash, you get to bypass the big lineup at the entrance. Once you are inside go straight to a booth and buy your tasting tickets, which are the food currency at Eat! Vancouver. We buy a $10 sheet of 20 tickets each, and that's usually more than enough for us. As you can see from the photo, Kevin is really excited about those tasting tickets. Many exhibitors offer free samples, but if you want a larger portion then it costs a few tasting tickets.
3. Arrive early so you can look through the booths easily. By around 11:30 am, the place is packed and it's hard to see much.
4. Wear comfy shoes and be prepared to walk a lot. Also, take a re-useable shopping bag to put your samples and purchases in because you will become loaded down with stuff. Or, at least I do. There are so many great products to try or buy, you want to make sure to have some cash on you to spend as well.
5. Check out the stage schedules if you want to catch a celebrity show or a cheese seminar. We saw David Rocco last year and he was really great. If you have a book that you would like them to sign, make sure to bring it as you'll probably have a chance to meet them and do that after the show. Kevin was so excited to meet David Rocco that we stood in line forever just to say hello! This year the chefs are Anna Olson, Rob Feenie, Chuck Hughes, and Bal Arneson.
6. Be prepared to eat because it's the whole point of the festival! The dish pictured above was a warm naan bread, and curried chicken skewer from Ebo restaurant in Burnaby. One of Kevin's favourite dishes at Eat! Vancouver was raw oysters, much to my surprise. We never go home hungry—in fact, by the end we're usually completely stuffed.
Most of all, have fun! Eat! Vancouver is a great time to explore and whether you choose to dive on in or stick to more familiar favourites, there really is something for everyone.
Even if you aren't into slurping down raw oysters.
Completely, utterly, exhausted.