Curry udon soup in Richmond, B.C.

Posted on February 3rd, 2009 by Laura Byrne Paquet in Food

I arrived in Richmond, B.C., this morning for a conference jet lagged and hungry. So after checking into the conference hotel, the River Rock Casino Resort, I asked the concierge in the casino where I could find some good Asian food within a short walk.

Even though the hotel lies on the edge of Richmond’s “Golden Village”–the modern Chinatown that’s a focal point for the 60 percent of Richmond’s residents who trace their roots back to Asia–the concierge pointed me to one of the casino’s restaurants. The last thing I wanted after five hours on an airplane was to sit in a windowless casino. I needed air, preferably with a side helping of local flavour.

No matter. As usual, Mapquest was a godsend. I found out that the Aberdeen Centre, a big Asian mall I’d glimpsed from my airplane window earlier that day, was just 1.6 kilometres away. I put on my walking shoes and headed out.

"Aberdeen Centre" Richmond "British Columbia"The main court of the Aberdeen Centre.

My route wasn’t particularly scenic–much of it led under the newly constructed Canada Line (an elevated train), past car rental agencies and a huge Canadian Tire outlet. But within 20 minutes I reached the Aberdeen Centre, a bright, airy outpost of Asia in the shadow of Vancouver International Airport.

It looked like any other upscale Canadian mall, with its splashing fountains and three-storey atria, but few of the stores were familiar. There was Daiso, a popular Japanese discount store stuffed with Hello Kitty thermoses, plastic laundry baskets and colourful finger puppets. There was a huge selection of exotic-looking rice steamers at Pacific Houseware. There were two dried food stores selling ingredients I couldn’t begin to identify.

But I was on a quest: to find a warm bowl of udon, the comforting Japanese soup filled with fat noodles. I’d had udon on the brain ever since I’d read a lovely article in The Globe and Mail last week about writer Laura Madokoro’s search, on a recent visit to Japan, to find udon like her father used to make.

I followed my nose to the third-floor food court and there, amid joints selling congee and lemongrass chicken submarines and bubble tea, I found the object of my affection at Ajijiman: a huge, fragrant bowl of curry udon, rich with carrots, potatoes and onions, for the princely sum of $4. I even managed to eat most of it with chopsticks–not a bad feat for someone who has barely slept in the last few days. Too bad the one thing I forgot was my camera.

Disclosure: My trip was partially subsidized by Tourism Richmond.

Photo credit: Creative Commons photo by Osunick (Nick Nguyen).

2 Comments on “Curry udon soup in Richmond, B.C.”

  1. Tess

    Welcome to BC! Glad to see you made it safe and sound and that you found somewhere yummy for dinner 🙂

  2. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Yep, I’m here, and I’m LOVING this warm weather! When I walked out of the airport and realized it was 7C, I almost did a happy dance right at the taxi stand. Looking forward to seeing you guys next week!

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