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2011 Chinese Restaurant Awards name Best of the Best in Vancouver

In 2010, Conde Nast Traveler confirmed what Vancouverites had long suspected: their city boasts the best Chinese food in the world. But with 500 Chinese restaurants to choose from, where do you start sampling?

In Vancouver, where a fifth of the population is ethnically Chinese, the question is not whether to eat Chinese food but where. And that’s where the annual HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards come in handy.

The 2011 awards wrapped up tonight in Vancouver with the announcement of the “critics’ picks”–25 signature dishes from local restaurants exemplifying the best of the best in Chinese cuisine.

Critics' pick: pan-fried prawns with soy, Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it: every year for several months beginning in the summer, a panel of foodie sophisticates noshes its way around Metro Vancouver’s Chinese restaurants to find the gold-medal fare.

You’ll find this year’s winners here–a list that runs the gamut from Best Fish and Food Court Dish to Best Duck and Dim Sum.

Besides the outstanding signature dishes, the awards committee also recognized Jade Seafood Restaurant‘s Tony Luk as Chef of the Year, and presented Diners’ Choice Awards to the restaurants that won the hearts–and stomachs–of Joe Public during an online voting competition last fall.

This year, the awards also recognized Cathay Pacific Airways for “Best Signature Dishes in the Sky.”

I’ve written before about how much I love this particular airline (which is one of the cheapest and most comfortable ways to fly between Vancouver and New York) and I second this special honour. The Asian food served by Cathay is consistently outstanding (given the constraints that come with trying to serve any meal at 30,000 feet).