Read the rest of Ton-Ton's Journey: Vancouver 2007.
Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Remember remember the fifth of November...)
There are three places Cat simply must go to re-supply when she's in Vancouver; Murchie's Tea & Coffee, Purdy's Chocolates, and Safeway. Yes. Safeway. More on that later.
It's for this reason that we always make a point of stopping at Oakridge Centre. Vancouver's largest shopping mall, it has all three of the stores we need and then some.
The mall is quite similar to its counterparts here in the States. Most of the stores would be quite familiar to an American tourist. Others are delightfully surprising.
Established in 1894, Murchie's Tea & Coffee has existed for as long as the city of Vancouver has. It's an icon. Every Canadian worth her salt gets her tea from Murchie's.
The walls are lined with bins of English style teas, available loose leaf or in bags. There's a modest offering of Asian teas and an impressive selection of whole bean coffee. You can get the coffee ground in the store if you like the convenience. However, most people go for the tea.
Critical to a successful visit to Canada is Purdy's Chocolates, Canada's premier chocolatier. Slightly younger than Murchie's, Purdy's has still been in business for over 100 years. Their chocolate-making experience shows through in an excellent product that's well worth the trip. A different country means different tastes. I always discover surprising, yet delicious, new chocolate confections at Purdy's.
(Ton-Ton welcomes Steggy to the family. Cat wants me to mention that his full name is Stegosaur Stegosaurson.)
If you've seen one Safeway, you've seen them all, even in Canada. Instead, let's skip straight to a review of our haul from the trip. I'll show you why Cat needed to visit the Safeway.
What a haul, eh?
First, a tin of Orange Pekoe from Murchie's. We already had a tin of their Earl Grey and a tin of their CBC Blend from my last trip. The Earl Grey is amazing. If you've never had real Earl Grey, you need to try Murchie's. It has a strong floral bouquet from the bergamot that isn't overpowering.
We prefer our tea loose leaf when possible. It's the only way to ensure you're getting a quality product. Most manufactured tea bags are filled with bits of stem and leaves too small to be used for anything else. With loose leaf, it's all leaf.
The main focus of our supply trips is Purdy's Chocolates. We always get a few boxes as gifts and a few for ourselves.
The Milk & Dark Chocolate Assortments are our usual order, since they offer the most variety. Purdy's also has assortments with nuts, caramel, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate.
Cat also loves the Blueberry Almond Dark Chocolate Bars. They're chock-full of tasty antioxidants in bar form.
From the Safeway, we get a big box of Nabob Orange Pekoe, which isn't available in the States. This is the daily drinking tea of choice for Cat's family and ours. We save the Murchie's for special occasions.
We also pick up Peek Freans tea biscuits from Safeway. This brand is also not easily obtainable in the States. Their shortbread cookies are very light and crisp, not heavy like many of the other brands we've tried. For afternoon tea, Peek Freans are what we like to serve.
Last, but not least, are the packages of Bak Kwa (Singapore Style Dried Meats) that I picked up at Mei Jan Hong during our trip to Aberdeen Centre earlier in the day. One is spicy chicken, the other is spicy salmon.
The meat is finely minced, seasoned with sugar and spices, dried, and packaged. You can grill it before eating or just have it as is. This stuff kept me going through our adventures during the trip. I owe a lot to this Bak Kwa.
Murchie's Tea & Coffee
41st and Cambie,
Vancouver, BC V5Z 3X7
Murchies.com (Order online!)
Other locations: Click here
650 West 41st Avenue, #183
Vancouver, V5Z 2M9
Purdys.com (Order online!)
Other locations: Click here
650 West 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 2M9