Chinese restaurant awards

By Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

I was a very spoiled teen growing up in Vancouver, especially the few years preceding 1997.

That's the period when uncertainty over the British handing sovereignty back to China prompted many Chinese people to immigrate to Vancouver.

Among the city's biggest gains were the professional chefs who combined their culinary skills with fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean to present ridiculously lip-smacking dishes.

Succulent spot prawns, saucy Dungeness crab, spicy black bean clams … that started being regular fare for dinner! Can you imagine?

Soft-shell crab with spicy rock salt from Hakkasan in Richmond, B.C. (Andree Lau/CBC)

The level and quality of Chinese food is so high in Vancouver that many people believe it's has the best Chinese cuisine in the world.

It would have been easy for incredible Chinese food to become common-place in Vancouver, if not for the changing influence of cooking styles as immigrants from different Chinese regions continue to move to the city.

So amid Cantonese, Sichuan, Taiwanese and northern Chinese styles, it's going to be a close race in Vancouver's second annual Chinese Restaurant Awards.

Diners can vote online in categories including best Cantonese dim sum, best hot pot restaurant and best Hong Kong style café.

Critics get the chore of handing out gold and silver medals to best signature dishes, picking out the city's best squab or geoduck.

Voting is open until Nov. 15, and winners are announced in January.