Just across the Canadian border, Richmond, British Columbia is one of North America's best Chinatowns, and they've created a bite-size itinerary to help you get straight to the good stuff.
water boiled dumplings in richmond
Credit: Courtesy of Tourism Richmond

A quick, easy ride on the automated SkyTrain from both downtown Vancouver and the city's airport, the city of Richmond, British Columbia is one of the best places to eat in North America right now, with roughly 800 restaurants serving up pretty much every kind of Asian cooking you're looking for. To call it a Chinatown seems clunky, dated—this isn't just some miniature version of some other place, it is the place, albeit on our side of the Pacific.

Even though most of the restaurants you'd want to visit are within a short walk of the SkyTrain, Richmond can be difficult to get to know—as in any situation where you're utterly spoiled for choice, the problem becomes, where the heck do you start?

No fear, because the bright minds at Richmond's tourism office have stepped into help. They've created a well-curated Dumpling Trail, that will lead you directly to the very best of one of the genres Richmond tends to be the very best at. (Dumplings, obviously.) It even has its own hashtag, and you can probably guess what it is.

Not only is there a trail, they've split the thing in two. For budget travelers and people who like to keep it as real as possible, there's the "Hole in The Wall" itinerary, which includes a stop for some of Vancouver's best xiao long bao, made by hand in a stall at a mall food court, along with a visit to the city's public market for spicy wontons. Of course, another thing Richmond does exceedingly well is dim sum, high end dim sum, so you might want to make time (and budget) for the "Upscale" itinerary as well, which will take you to some of Richmond's best restaurants, including the rather glam Empire Seafood.

Ready to go? First, get cash—while cards are readily accepted at many of the fancier places, the really good and cheap stuff often comes from places that don't take plastic. Second, be aware that not all restaurants serve dim sum or dumplings all day, but if you go in the mornings, you're probably safe. Lastly, not that they've got dumplings, but if you've got room, go line up at HK BBQ Master, a tiny shop tucked into the lower-level parking area of a massive branch of the Real Canadian Superstore, over on No. 3 Road. A plate of their barbecued pork is the ultimate accompaniment to any Pacific Northwest winter day.

Learn more about Richmond's Dumpling Trail here.