They set out to make known classics new and interesting again.
Judging from the lunch rush followed by the tourist rush, Heritage Asian Eatery has created both a loyal local fanbase and intrigued visitors to the city.
Co-founder and Chef Felix Zhou is originally from southwest China, and has worked at top restaurants around the world, before he decided he wanted to strike out and do something that connects him to his roots. He has two co-founders, one hailing from Northern China and the other from Spain. Together, the trio set out to put together a menu with items cooked just the way they like it.
"We figured if we made food that we like to eat, other people would like to eat it too." Felix said.
The decor is simple, with a wooden long table in the centre of the room and seating along the walls. Greenery and plants hang casually from wooden shelves, and incandescent bulbs add a relaxing ambiance.
A look at the menu indicates many asian cuisine classics, such as the Pork Belly Bao, but with Chef Felix's rendition, the Pork Belly Bao is made with kimchi daikon, crispy onion, and hoisin sauce, adding a Korean spicy twist to the classic.
Other tasty classics such as the Duck Bowl incorporates signatures from a variety of cultures. There is duck leg in Peking sauce, roasted duck breast, crispy taro, cabbage slaw, watercress and slow-cooked marinated ramen egg in the dish. The duck leg is cured for 12 hours then separated from bone, and mixed in with onions and peking sauce. Within this one dish you see French, Chinese, and Japanese influences.
The Dan Dan Noodles is made with udon instead of egg noodles, and chef Felix explained that the choice to use udon is due to the kitchen setup, where using udon would allow for a more consistent flavour and quality. The soupy, noodle sauce is excellent, with refreshing cucumber slices providing extra texture. Dan Dan Noodles are usually expected to be spicy, but chef Felix's version is heavier in peanut sauce and isn't that spicy, a great opportunity for foodies who don't can't eat spicy food.
The final dish we tried was actually our favourite, especially on a warm summer day. The Salmon Bowl on Salad is a refreshing meal with yuzu dressing. The sous-vide Ora King salmon tastes absolutely amazing, with its tender, flakey texture. Each bite retains delicious salmon oil and the yuzu dressing adds a refreshing citrus-y taste to kickstart your appetite.
After sampling these delicious menu items, we can confidently say that chef Felix and his team have succeeded in creating an inventive menu, where they made asian classics are new again. Located in Vancouver's financial district, the restaurant's opening in 2016 was a welcomed addition for urban professionals in the area.
Whether it's a snack bao or a hearty noodle you are craving, Heritage Asian Eatery has got a surprise for you up their sleeve.
1108 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC
Photos: Florence Leung