Rice Gone Wild


Wild Rice is a a contemporary restaurant serving modern Chinese cuisine in Vancouver’s historic chinatown. I discovered Wild Rice over five years ago when it was featured in Opening Soon, a Food TV show that shows entrepreneurs trying to start their own restaurants. I’ve always wanted to try Wild Rice but never got around to it until today.

Sarah and I normally go for lunch at Phnom Penh on Wednesday but they are closed until December 5th for renovations. Since both phnom Penh and Wild Rice are in Chinatown, it made sense to finally check the place out.

The Wild Rice Space


We showed up for Wild Rice shortly after 1PM and we were the only diners there. That gave me a chance to take some photos of the space. The space is based on the designer’s vision and innate understanding of the principles of the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui. Feng Shui literally means “wind and water” and is the custom of utilizing yin (female, dark, soft, fluid, organic, cool) and yang (male, bright, hard, geometric, inorganic, hot) energies to create harmony. where there is harmony, people feel comfortable and have a good time. Reflecting these yin-yang sensibilities, patrons at Wild Rice receive two sets of implements – metal knives and forks along with wooden chopsticks.


A visual artist by training, the designer of Wild Rice viewed the restaurant interior as starting an enormous painting, with each space or installation as a section of the overall canvas. Seating at wild rice is set on a variety of heights – from low-profile couches to high-backed banquettes and second-level mezzanines. We dined on the high-backed banquette.

Spicy Kung Po Chicken


This has to be the most unusual Kung Po chicken dish I’ve ever tried. It’s made from twice cooked peanuts, Mt. Lehman free range chicken and broccoli on brown rice. One thing is for sure. The “modern Chinese cuisine” label fits Wild Rice very well. You’ll never find a Kung Po chicken like this in a traditional Chinese restaurant. Sarah found it a bit on the salty side. I thought it wasn’t spicy enough. Overall, it was a very good dish.

Shredded BBQ Duck Flatbread


Shredded BBQ duck on flatbread with charred scallions and a nice hoisin blend. I like this dish more than the Kung Po chicken. it’s too bad we didn’t have more people with us. The menu at Wild Rice is meant for sharing. The more people you have, the more dishes you can sample. I may have to set up a Rice Gone Wild Dot Com outing.

Chocolate and Mango Torte


This dessert looked really sweet but really isn’t. It was presented with green tea jelly and condensed milk chantilly. While I could taste the chocolate and the green tea, the mango didn’t seem to be all there. It was a good dessert to finish off lunch.

The lunch bill came to $42 including tax and tips. As lunches go, that’s a bit more than what we normally spend but it’s not as crazy as a $60 burger. I think Wild Rice is best experienced during dinner time with a lot of people so I’ll be booking it for a future dinner engagement. Who wants to come?

Wild Rice on Urbanspoon

63 thoughts on “Rice Gone Wild”

  1. The chocolate and mango torte looks tasty. $42 for lunch is a bit steep though.

    1. If I try hard enough, I think I can actually taste that chocolaty goodness.

      1. alzack says:

        How the hell are you going to do that? Meditate!!! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

        1. Israel says:

          what up with all these stupid evil smiley faces popping up now. damn. im sick of copy cats.

    2. Will says:

      not steep for john though ๐Ÿ˜ˆ the restaurant looks fantastic and so does the food… im so hungry now ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    3. Neil Duckett says:

      Try living in Tokyo if you think that’s expensive!

    4. 09369 says:

      decilious food, u makes me feel really hungry, though a bit expensive, chow!

      1. PinoyTech says:

        yeah, $42 is indeed too steep. That’s half a person’s salary here where I am from.

    5. Mike says:

      mmm looks very avante garde!!

  2. Rock says:

    You just put me in the mood for Chinese food. All that looks pretty damn tasty.

    1. Hahaha yea! Tomorrow me = Chinese food for lunch. :mrgreen:

  3. Al Young says:

    It looks good, especially the desserts, but as a Chinese person, I’m not spending $42 for Chinese food in Chinatown.

    This is for people who think PF Changs is “real” Chinese food.

  4. I wouldn’t expect a post like this from anyone else besides Mr. Chow himself. :mrgreen:

    1. alzack says:

      Yes, you’re right. If other people blogs about their food, it would not be as brilliant or as interesting as when John blogs about it. The restaurant gets a free publicity ๐Ÿ˜ˆ …

  5. Vik Dulat says:

    I want to come to a future event ! I will let you know when I’m in the neighborhood ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Stephen says:

    You didn’t order their signature “AAA grilled beef tenderloin”. This was featured in Food TV’s Opening Soon. They also make a really good Creme Brule.

    The Lotus Hotel next door belongs to one of the owner’s father I believe. They do wicked Martinis.

    1. John Chow says:

      The AAA tenderloin wasn’t on the lunch menu! That’s why we need to hit that place for dinner.

      1. Leo says:

        Spread the word for the next Dot Com meal, I’ve been wanting to try Wild Rice myself.

      2. Steven says:

        Did you say dinner?! I’m in =]

      3. Gregg says:

        Sounds like an interesting place. If you have it on a weekend, I’m sure I could convince the wife that we both need to go… she’d use it as an excuse to shop downtown first!

    2. Tyler Ingram says:

      lol I’ll go if I can have in invite! Then you can all make fun of how well I use chopsticks too ๐Ÿ˜‰ As Stephen might remember!

    3. Joshua says:

      They have some of the best spring rolls I’ve had yet!

      It’s in my hood, I’m in! :mrgreen:

  7. j. noronha says:

    And here I stand starving for some yakisoba (don’t know how you name it on Canada or elsewhere. It’s that thin pasta with meat and vegetables) ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  8. James Wilcox says:

    your food posts always make me hungry and this place looked better than some of the others you have been to.

  9. Tony says:

    Go to Chinatown but never seem such fancy restaurant before. Where is it near?

    1. John Chow says:

      It’s next to the Lotus Hotel, at 117 West Pender Street at Abbott.

  10. I should take more pictures of my lunch…

  11. bloggernoob says:

    You restaurant reviews are pretty good john. You really should start a restaurant review blog.



  13. Umm.. Mouth watering for sure. John you should go to Provincetoen, Cape Cod, MA. They have the best sea food there. You just reminded me.

  14. worknplay says:

    john do they deliver? ummm to US ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Amy says:

    Wow that looks amazing! I’m definitely adding it to my must try restaurants list!

  16. ahbeng says:

    That really reminds me of Chinese food back in those days in Canada (Winnipeg). A warm meal in cold weather is always a comfort. But I’ve been back in Borneo for 14 years now. The Chinese food here is of course more varied. Anyways, I’m planning a trip back to Canada in 2009!

  17. Dandruff says:

    Finally a lunch treat to your readers ! after a long time John hmmmm……
    The lunch looks mouth watering and I just can’t resist the dessert. I am such a chocolate person. I can eat about a big box of chocolate in 1 day.
    I want the dessert…………. Can anyone deliver at home for me.

  18. The ambiance of the place and the pics of the food is looking great, but how about the quality of food.

  19. Odd News says:

    All those food looks good. Price is little higher though. But hey all good things come with some prices…

    1. MoneyNing says:

      Maybe the price point is why there weren’t anyone after 1….

  20. johnCard says:

    dining with john chow would give bragging rights. nothing like dinning with a net celeb.

  21. MoneyNing says:

    It looks very good but does it taste authentic? It looks like it might be tailoring a little bit to western people?

    1. PinoyTech says:

      I like ’em all. I just love good food.

  22. vutha says:

    I felt surprised when i saw the word “Phnom Penh” on your blog. it is the capital’s name of Cambodia. the owner of restaurant is Cambodian nationality?

  23. Etienne Teo says:

    That place looks pretty cool.

  24. 09369 says:

    Ar, I remembered i ve been there, know that restaurant!

  25. Mastermind says:

    i cant eat chinese food..lolz..

    1. Why on earth not? It is safe, quite nourishing, and tasty. At the right restaurant, you will get fantastic service and recommendation too. You do not know what you are missing.

    2. Etienne Teo says:

      I love chinese food!

  26. Mike Huang says:

    WOW! Talk about feasting for a daily lunch ๐Ÿ™‚


  27. ONwebCHECK says:

    OH, I would like to come – but atm Iยดm so far away…. but it looks very delicious!

  28. Moulinneuf says:

    Is this there website ?



  29. As usual, fantastic photographs and write up. You are absolutely bang on. Eastern food should be eaten in a crowd so that a number of dishes can be shared and different tastes savoured.

  30. alzack says:

    The interior looks pretty cool. The meals are so mmmm yummyy…. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  31. Im hungry now, looks goood ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Mike says:

    I’m not really into chinese foods but i like the look of that chocolate cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Mike says:

    Looks yummy but 42 bucks for lunch is a little too rich for my blood!

  34. Jay says:

    Wild Rice is tasty! If you have enough people (10+ I think), they will give you the upper section of the restaurant which is nice for small groups as it’s a bit quieter.

  35. Marius Sescu says:

    Damn, that photos make me so hungry! ๐Ÿ˜

  36. I’m personally not too fond of Americanized Chinese food…prefer more authentic places..

  37. Ha…I just realized you are Canadian…Canadianized Chinese food then…

  38. Israel says:

    the place and food look delicious.

  39. Steve! says:

    I think you have some sort of problem with food John. For real.

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