This is our fourth annual Made in Vancouver award, and our great city’s food and beverage makers have once again proven that Vancouver is a truly delicious place to live. We’re crowning 2022 the year of the chili peppers (spicy veggies were the subject of many submissions, and three chili products earned either a win or an honorable mention this year). Vegan dishes continue to be on the rise (honey without bees? Yes, please!), but local butchers remain strong (see: cheddar and jalapeno bratwursts). Read on to discover the best sauces, spreads, grills and drinks made right in your backyard.
There’s a lot to love about Anh and Chi restaurant, and just about everything is wrapped in that nước chấm sauce. It’s the “we put that shit on everything” of Vietnamese cuisine: an age-old classic. The main street restaurant that makes it is equally centuries old: the business started as a specialty shop pho Phở Hoàng in 1985 by owners Lý and Hoàng Nguyễn. The sauce is deeply rooted in the family, a mother’s favorite recipe, just like the restaurant, now taken over by the Nguyễn children, Amélie and Vincent. And, of course, it’s damn tasty.
A confession: Anh and Chi entered three micro-batch, hand-bottled sauces into our 2022 awards, and when it came to deciding gold, they were fighting themselves. The sweet soy sauce and homemade peanut sauce are spectacular, but, in the end, it was the chili fish sauce that really stole our judges’ hearts. The spicy/sweet mix has the perfect blend of tartness, sugar and fire – instead of a late seasoning condiment, you’ll find yourself building entire meals around it. The restaurant began producing nước chấm in 2020 as a COVID necessity to keep cash flow and the four-decade-old establishment afloat as restaurants were forced to close. Every once in a while we find a little silver lining in these trying times, and that sauce is everything. To salad rolls, and beyond.
$9 (8 ounces) and $15 (16 ounces), anhandchi.com
It won gold in that category, but these preserves dance the line between salty and sweet for our judges: its careful blend of lemons, nori and sugar almost defies categorization. No matter how you identify it, it’s delicious. Salted Lemon and Nori Jams are a more elegant, gourmet and complex substitute for lemon: in vinaigrettes, fish, tea and cocktails.
Some see canned food as a back-up plan for bad fruit, but that’s not how The Preservatory works. Working with traditional copper kettles, the team brews fruit at its peak. (“If we didn’t eat it, we wouldn’t use it for jam” is their philosophy.) And it shows. A little bit of this super versatile product goes a long way, and it makes everything you add to it that little bit more special. In addition, the lemon zest used in the preserves comes from leftover juice from homemade lemons – it’s a step towards zero waste. The Conservatoire celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and we raise a glass to them (of salted lemon and nori martini, perhaps?).
The mocktail business is growing, but in a game-changing move, this one actually tastes like the mojito it’s supposed to be. Rather than pure sparkling water, Edna’s Mojito is made with apple cider bush (a tangy vinegar-based drink), which offers a ton of complexity right off the bat. It tastes freshly blended thanks to very well-balanced Cuban mint, and a dash of lime transports you straight to summer. A surprising yet subtle rum note seals the deal on authenticity and drinkability, complementing any citrus sharpness. It’s the perfect porch sipper for those looking for something a little less indulgent but still heavy in flavor (and it’s also a great mix if you’re looking to do the real thing). Our judges also got addicted to the citrus paloma.
2022 Made in Vancouver Awards Honorable Mentions in Food and Beverage
BC Apple PSA: Ditch your puff pastry pie dreams – this honey is the ultimate sweet sacrifice. No bees are harmed in the making of this sticky goodness (the only ingredients are apple juice, apple cider vinegar and vegan sugar) and the end product is even better than the original: it’s deliciously fresh and subtly fruity.
This chili oil hits you in the face (in a good way) with umami richness thanks to shoyu-marinated shiitake mushrooms. Chilli, garlic, ginger, makrut lime leaves and lemongrass provide intense aromas, and the burnt miso of the same name creates an almost nutty flavor. It’s a topping that goes on everything from pasta to poke.
It’s hard not to instantly fall in love with Holy Duck’s cheeky name and adorable logo, but inside the jar you’ll find a family recipe perfected by three generations. This awesome oil to use in everything is made from local chilies and melted duck fat. It therefore has a higher smoke point than other cooking oils. It’s spicy, crunchy, sweet and just plain awesome.
You’ve heard of the song of the summer. In presentation: the sausage of the summer. So gooey cheese and a tangy, peppery kick squirts out of these ‘wursts’, and they’re amazingly good for BBQ and beer. Additionally, the company sources 75% of its ingredients within 100 miles of its Mount Pleasant store.
It’s no secret that Nuba’s Lebanese-style hummus is a Vancouver favourite. As always, the classic is incredibly sweet and soaking, but new flavors elevate the spread: pomegranate molasses and sumac make for a tangy yet savory bite, and jalapeño spread rounds out the trio with lingering heat and herbaceous freshness.
The Alimentaria Zing! the seasoning has all the flavor and heat of the ever-popular Tajín that inspired it, but with added depth thanks to an array of native Mexican chilies. Made locally with lime and salt, this shaker makes a punchy garnish on a fruit salad or a killer cocktail edge when you’re looking to up the Scoville bar on something to sip.
READ MORE: Meet the winners of Vanmag2022 Made in Vancouver Award