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?