LPLE #14: A Weekend Getaway and Good Restaurants in Vancouver BC, Canada

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse talks about taking his wife to Vancouver BC, Canada for the Night Market. Andrew gives Jesse recommendations on two good restaurants: Japadog and Banana Leaf.

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TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hey, Andrew.

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: My wife and I are going to be taking a weekend vacation to Canada...

Andrew: Excellent.

Jesse: We call it a "weekend getaway." Now, this is because it was her birthday this week, and we were thinking about how we can celebrate. We also recognize that we haven't been to Canada in a while. We live in Seattle, so if we get in our car and drive, it really only takes us--assuming no traffic...

Andrew: ...About two to two-and-a-half hours.

Jesse: That's right. So, one of the things that my wife and I like to do when we travel is eat good food, and, as I understand it, in Canada--in Vancouver and in Richmond--there are all sorts of places for good food.

Andrew: That is totally right. Vancouver is actually very well known for its food in large part because there are a lot of different cultures and communities living within different parts of Vancouver; and, that means that you can get different styles of food from all different parts of the world in a very small space and try all kinds of things that you might not have access to if you are in a different city that doesn't have as many options.

As you said, Vancouver is very close to Seattle and the United States, so it shares a lot of cultures and customs and it is easy to travel to, but that also means that it has a lot of the same common foods that you would find here. You can get good hamburgers, you can get good steak, you can get a lot of traditional American dishes, but you also can get a lot of the ethnic dishes that you might not be able to find elsewhere. There is a very, very large Asian population in Vancouver and specifically in the suburb of Richmond, which is just to the south of the city, and that means that you can find all kinds of Vietnamese neighborhoods, and Chinese neighborhoods, and Japanese neighborhoods, and Thai neighborhoods, and almost every single kind of food you might find in Asia and Southeast Asia, in large parts of Africa, most of Europe, all of it is available in one place, and that makes for a really great food tourism trip.

Jesse: During this 3-day, 2-night weekend getaway, we've rented a house in Richmond. Now, luckily Richmond and Vancouver are right next to each other, right?

Andrew: Very close.

Jesse: We're going up to Richmond primarily for this thing called a "Night Market." This happens every year during the late-spring to mid-summer, I believe...

Andrew: Usually during the fair-weather months--the part of the year where it's not going to be too rainy, it's going to stay light longer, and it's easier to have a nightly event.

Jesse: Right. This is outdoors.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: So, it stands to reason that they want to have this night market during the times when the weather is going to be very nice. At this night market, there are lots of great Taiwanese, Mainland Chinese, and Hong Kong foods. So, we've rented a place nearby the night market, but we're also going to spend a lot of time in Vancouver. Now, before we get into what we're going to eat or where we should go, as I understand it, the exchange rate is pretty favorable for us.

Andrew: For Americans.

Jesse: For Americans.

Andrew: The Canadian dollar is not worth the same amount as the American dollar, even though we are living right next to each other. And, it actually moves, so relative to the American dollar, the Canadian Dollar might be worth more or less. And, a few years ago we were actually at parity, which means that the Canadian dollar is equal to the American dollar, so you could use one or the other and they were worth the same.

In each country, the prices don't change very much year over year. So, if you are making money in Canada and spending money in Canada, you don't notice this exchange rate. But, many people living in Vancouver might come to the United States to shop and vice-versa--Americans going to Canada to shop--depending on what that exchange rate is like. And, right now, fortunately for American tourists going to Canada, the Canadian dollar is cheap, which means they can use the same number of American dollars and buy more things in Canada.

Jesse: Now, you go up to Vancouver a lot--multiple times in one year.

Andrew: Yes. I have friends up there, so I have a place to go to stay, and I get to visit with my friends, and get to enjoy the good food, besides.

Jesse: So, not just for me, but also for the listening audience, if they go up to Vancouver, what are the, let's say, one or two, maybe at most three places that you would absolutely recommend that we go.

Andrew: So, one of the popular food cart style places that got its start in Vancouver--and Canada in general--that is worth going to see is called Japadog. And, this is a hot dog food cart that serves Japanese-style hot dogs, which means that instead of the more traditional toppings like onions, and mustard, and ketchup, there are a lot of different varieties of Japanese-inspired flavors that they put on these hot dogs. So, you can get different varieties of sauces like fish sauce, plum sauce, some tempura vegetables, and a lot of the same types of ingredients that might go into a teriyaki or sushi dish, mixed up with the hot dog, and it makes for a very interesting flavor. And, you can try different varieties between you and your wife, or you and your friends when you go.

My favorite place, though, is a more formal restaurant--not fancy just a place to go in, and sit down, and have a meal--and it serves Malaysian and Singaporean style food. That place is called Banana Leaf, and there are multiple locations around Vancouver, so it's easy to find one that is nearby. They make very, very good family style meals that you can put together. And, the set meal that I try to get when I go up is a combination of Rendang, which is Malaysian or Indonesian beef stew, and that comes as a side, I get Roti, which is the fried bread, up front with butter and peanut sauce to snack on. They bring coconut rice wrapped up in a steamed banana leaf to go with the Rendang, and they also have a white fish in black oyster sauce, I believe, that is cooked up beautifully. Oh, and, finally, as a vegetable side, they make Sambal Green Beans, which are crunchy, fried green beans in shrimp paste. And, for some reason, those combinations of flavors together in one meal are just about the best meal that I can find up there. And, I can't get it in Seattle, so I look forward to it every time I go up.

Jesse: That sounds fantastic. Andrew, if I could, I would buy that and bring it down for you when I come back to Seattle. But, I don't think I can.

Andrew: Sadly, I don't think there's going to be any left when you're done.

Jesse: One of the things I really enjoy eating when I'm in Vancouver is Chinese food, specifically soup dumplings. Soup dumplings are very popular here in Seattle. We have Din Tai Fung--now has two or three restaurants in the-... in the area. In Vancouver, there are many other places to get soup dumplings, and every time we go up, we always go to a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We usually have to wait in line for an hour because, again, it's a small restaurant...

Andrew: And it's so popular.

Jesse: ...And it is so popular, and we always order soup dumplings, and we always leave very satisfied. This is going to be a vacation; this is going to be three days of us gaining weight.

Andrew: Hahaha. I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope you have a good trip.

Jesse: Thank you.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.