Best Food Delivery Service in Vancouver, BC

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There was a time where food delivery options were limited to stale pizza or greasy Chinese food… with the wonders of modern innovation, we now can savour the best restaurants in Vancouver without changing out of your pajamas or leaving the office.

That said, there are still a fair share of downsides with food delivery services…

  • for example some food delivery services may have you paying upwards of 50% more than your bill with excessive fees so which food delivery app provides the BEST value? Your time is valuable but who wants to pay $30 for a $15 Wendy’s meal?
  • or perhaps unfriendly couriers which may mar the food experience or cause spillage and food safety concerns?
  • worst still, some food delivery apps may have horrible customer service that take more time to resolve issue than time saved.

Nevertheless, a good food delivery service can provide you invaluable time and valued convenience; it can even let you cater your entire office party or home gathering with a push of a button with the exact costs already quoted accurately.

In this article we’re going to discover (in our opinion) the BEST food delivery apps and services in Vancouver, BC.

 

Here are the five best food delivery service in Vancouver, BC:

1) UberEats: The BEST food delivery service in Vancouver, BC.

Hands down, UberEats is the best food delivery service in Metro Vancouver where it concerns with (1) value (2) ease of use, UX, technology (3) consistency (4) delivery/courier and (5) customer service.

Firstly, UberEats provides the BEST value for food delivery service in Metro Vancouver.

The Uber EatsPass costs a mere $9.99 (plus taxes) and provides you with FREE delivery on hundreds of restaurants in Metro Vancouver (actually most of the restaurants on UberEats that you see are participants of the EatsPass program, so you get plenty free delivery) on others over $15.

Effectively, with the EatsPass (a) you get free delivery over $15 with restaurants participating in EatsPass program (b) you get 50% off fees which means all you pay is a 5% fee for any delivery orders (excluding tips) on the EatsPass program BUT on top of that, many restaurants frequently offer promotions exclusively through UberEats (often times co-promoted with UberEats for BOGO offers – which means UberEats will still pay the restaurants 50% of the free menu item, so you get it free and the restaurant doesn’t lose out the cost of goods. Win-win) such as Buy One Get One or free products/items over a certain spend.

As such, all-in-all, you actually often end up getting FREE delivery, or at times even better value with delivery on UberEats than even ordering directly from the restaurant – such as when there are BOGO promotions through UberEats. (I can personally attest that often times I’ve saved more money ordering delivery through UberEats than even going to the restaurant for pick-up, especially during the frequent BOGO promotions that UberEats runs with restaurants in Metro Vancouver.)

Secondly UberEats has the Best user-friendly food delivery app in Metro Vancouver IMHO

UberEats is a multi-national company with operations globally. With the Uber & UberEats app, you can open the app basically anywhere in the world, and have access to convenient transportation & food delivery, to save time and hassle, effortlessly all on one app.

With their large user base and integration, any marginal improvement in their technology, user interface, or app – is amplified to benefit millions of users; economically, this is very efficient both for the enterprise, users, and society.

It is also one of the original food delivery apps and the original ride-sharing app.

Putting together the age/length of operation, and the economics of scale – you get a very advanced and user friendly food delivery app… Uber has the engineers and resources to improve their app and user experience, they also derive sufficient value in doing so with the volume of users. The same can’t necessarily be said of other food delivery apps such as Fantuan (although having access to more Asian restaurants, and good couriers – where your food arrives in Tesla, BMW, or Mercedes LOL).

Despite being now a publicly listed company, in many respects, Uber still operates as a start-up with the motto of move fast and break things. If you find a glitch or error in the app, they are generally very quick and responsive in fixing things – also for this reason, as they try to introduce new features and functions from time to time (for example, one of the features they tried testing for a period was letting you get free delivery from a gas station with your UberEats order; this was delivered by the same courier picking up your food who would swing by a gas station to pick up anything else you needed, free) – there can still be glitches but they generally get resolved quickly.

Thirdly, UberEats is consistently the BEST food delivery service in Vancouver.

Consistency is very important with anything in life including your food delivery service. 😂 Consistently, UberEats delivers your food promptly, warm, and without any spillage.

The nice thing about UberEats is you can expect that your food will arrive on time and with care. Should any problem arise, such as spillage or a missing item, it is resolved very promptly. (Often times, if you’re a regular customer – you don’t even need to wait for a customer service representative in chat; the system will automatically guide you through resolving the problem with a refund.)

What I especially like about UberEats is the consistency and the customer service. It’s almost like an added insurance that you will get your food properly. If you order through a restaurant’s delivery service, your customer experience may vary and often times they’ll deflect any problems – however for the small 5% fee on UberEats EatsPass, you get an added assurance that if there is any problem with your order (such as the restaurant missing or forgetting something) or the delivery (such as spillage or the courier leaving the food at the wrong location) that you can effortlessly resolve the problem with a refund and reorder or get something else.

On the basis of consistency – UberEats is bar none the most consistent food delivery service in our opinion mostly because of (1) their technological advantage (2) their customer service.

[You can say I’m quite the fan of UberEats in Vancouver by a first hand experience both of their delivery service and problem resolution, and especially great value. ]

Fourth, UberEats has consistently one of the BEST delivery and courier service. Here’s why.

Besides, the great value you get with UberEats especially with EatsPass, the user-friendly app interface and ordering process, the consistency with problem resolution and delivery, is the courier and delivery service itself.

Uber likely has one of the most contact workers for the gig-economy lending to its brand recognition, popularity, and first movers advantage. You can almost always assure that your food will be delivered on time and properly – because they have more couriers than most other food delivery apps.

Importantly, besides the free delivery with EatsPass, Uber rarely groups too many orders together. In fact, they were relatively slow to adopt this process likely to ensure customers get their food quickly and warm. However, it’s now a necessity for cost efficiency especially with free delivery through EatsPass. This process of grouping food delivery was first pushed by Fantuan who uses it extensively. (Fantuan will give you a delivery window about 45-1.5 hours after your order. They will group about 2-5+ orders together for one courier to deliver. Eventually, this became a necessity to attract couriers because it increases their earning potential with tips and efficiency. At times however, your food may arrive less than warm. In contrast, UberEats rarely group more than 5 orders together and many times your food arrives directly even with free delivery. More commonly, they will group two orders together especially if the restaurant is running a promotion requiring more couriers to service the restaurant.) So in essence, you can expect that your food will arrive quicker with UberEats because they deliver the food directly to you more frequently than other food delivery apps.

Furthermore, with their AI and statistics, they can very accurately predict arrival times and best of all – going back to point two about good user interface and app, you can track your courier all along the way and know exactly when they’re nearby by seeing their (very accurate – I know, because the building I lived in had two entrance and I can always see the couriers mistakenly going to the wrong entrance and have to tell them the right entrance. LOL.) GPS tracker.

As for the customer service of their contract workers, the couriers, it varies admittedly but it’s mostly good. By experience, Skip The Dishes have the most unkempt, haphazard couriers, while DoorDash seem to attract better couriers (perhaps better pay) and formerly Foodora. However, UberEats is fairly good. There are some couriers who are very courteous and attentive. For the most part, you just need to have your food delivered and dropped off from point A to point B. So that’s not too much a concern; you just want a courier who is contentious to avoid spillage and also hygiene (most important during COVID19 and was also the primary reason I started using Fantuan more during that period).

UberEats also has a rating system for their courier so you can see how your courier is rated. Most couriers are 90%+ positive ratings. If you give your courier a bad rating, the app will automatically prompt you if you need assistance with your order. (That’s a thoughtful process and once again alludes to the quality of the user experience; as far as food delivery app goes from the customer side, UberEats is likely the best in Metro Vancouver. As far as earning goes, you probably earn more with Fantuan which is why you have Tesla and BMW delivering your food, lol. That’s largely because they group orders together and institutes a mandatory 10% tip minimum. Tipping on UberEats is completely optional but I generally give 10-20%; UberEats also has a function that allows couriers to say thank you for the tip which I think seems nice for both the couriers and customer… actually, I kind of want to ask an option to increase my tip to the courier if they say thank you. I digress.)

Fifth and Finally, UberEats is the BEST food delivery service in Metro Vancouver because of their consistent customer service.

The key value proposition of apps like UberEats is convenience and time savings – which can be very valuable.

The last thing you want is to have a problem with your order and spend 30 minutes to an hour trying to resolve the matter, in the process leaving a sour taste in your mouth and making you frustrated with your day.

Thankfully, UberEats (by experience) have always been a hassle-free experience dealing with any customer support inquiries. Most of their level 1 customer support seems to be outsourced to third-world country which makes sense for cost efficiency however they are respectful (with scripted response) and still reasonably efficient.

That said, there are two ways which you may contact UberEats – first is a live chat (the resolution for most of your order problems) which I find mostly goes to South America like Mexico or Brazil. Those are usually very helpful and useful. The second which are messages you leave which will be responded in 24 hours mostly go to India. (My experience with that is often they are unable to solve the matter and have to redirect it back to North America. So that adds another 48 hours to the resolution – however this is not the common customer service experience, it was about a discrepancy in billing with their subsidiary Cornershop, which has excellent customer service and customer experience as well.)

More often than that you’ll use the live chat which resolves your problem very quickly and effectively. However, a new thing they seem to be piloting with regular customers is an automated customer service (saves you time, and saves them labour cost). Effectively, if you have a problem with your order like a spillage, a missing item, your courier didn’t put the food at the right place and you can’t find it…. then the app will guide you through the problem and resolution in under a minute and automatically refund your missing item or order. (Which will then be verified later by a human.)

Overall, you likely have the best customer service experience with UberEats over any other food delivery app due to their prompt response, scripted professional responses, and also their automated customer support saving you significant hassle and time.

All in all, UberEats is the BEST food delivery service in Metro Vancouver.

In consideration of (1) value (2) app/user experience (3) consistency (4) delivery/couriers and (5) customer service, UberEats is definitely the leader as far as food delivery service goes – at present.

The thing about start-ups and tech companies is, they can change fairly rapidly compared to traditional companies. (It goes with the culture of the fast-pace industry; they’re willing to make changes and try new things then implement it if it works and revert if it doesn’t.) The thing is, UberEats is not really making money for their share holders. (Many of your rides and UberEats order are actually being subsidized by their share holders lol… so you can thank Mr. Masa Yoshi Son for your cheap delivery order.) This may result in some changes to eventually reach profitability, which may result as well in your customer service experience. It shouldn’t be too much a difference – logically the app, customer service, and consistency should still be there – the value may be less poignant perhaps. (At present, their goal seems to be more orientated towards market share but it’s a question how long they can continue the cash burn – especially as food delivery apps have relatively lower barrier to entry and new players entering periodically making it hard to achieve a monopoly to raise prices, and economic efficiency. It’s a fairly price sensitive industry because of the alternatives so value shouldn’t diminish so much – likely just fewer BOGO promotions. So, sign up and take advantage of the BOGO offers and promotions while they last! AS the saying goes, nothing lasts forever and all good things must come to an end.)

<Admittedly, I ate too much – it was also an UberEats pickup order haha –  and was just rambling on towards the end.>

 

2) FanTuan: The BEST Chinese Food Delivery Service in Vancouver

FanTuan is an Asian-centric food delivery service. They are known especially for Chinese restaurants. It’s the best food delivery service for Asian-oriented restaurants in Metro Vancouver because they have access to the most Chinese restaurants in Metro Vancouver for delivery. It’s also an excellent app for takeout.

This is the go-to app if you want your food delivered in style with a BMW, Tesla, Mercedes – all being popular options, I’ve yet to see my food arrive in a Maserati though.

In all seriousness, Fantuan is the go-to for Chinese food delivery. With their niche-specialty, they are able to work directly with merchants who may not be familiar with the modern technology. This means, you have access to merchants who would not otherwise have their food delivered.

The service itself is good. The app isn’t very user-friendly. They group orders together in as many orders as they can at one go – to make it more economical for the courier. You’re also required to tip 10% minimum on your order. There is no membership program that would give you free delivery but many restaurants offer exclusive delivery promotions such as $10 off $20 or 50% off. Delivery fee ranges from $2.99 to $10 and you also pay a 10% service fee separately.

Overall, it’s great if you’re using a restaurant promotion – other than that, you’re better off with UberEats (EatsPass) or DoorDash (DashPass). Their competitive advantage is being the Asian-centric food delivery app in Vancouver.

 

3) DoorDash: The BEST IKEA Food Delivery Service

DoorDash is the option you go for after UberEats and Fantuan… I mean, if you have better deals on UberEats, or more restaurants (specifically Asian) available on Fantuan (with great deals too!) – why in the world would you use DoorDash or a DashPass?

Well, unless you want IKEA food delivered; those meatballs are pretty darn good.

In all seriousness, DoorDash is an identical service as UberEats but you often end up paying more (DashPass also offers free delivery for orders over $15 BUT there are fewer restuarant promotions on DoorDash than UberEats, by experience.) The benefit with DoorDash however is they do have some exclusive restaurant deals with merchants such as 711, Tim Hortons, Cactus Club, and IKEA who all operate their own food delivery service using DoorDash services. (However, those are ordered through their respective apps – you get exclusive promotions but you don’t get to use your DashPass if you have one.)

 

4) FaceDrive Foods: The Best Eco-Friendly Food Delivery Service in Vancouver.

FaceDrive Foods is a Toronto-based start up that focuses on ride-sharing and food delivery. They are sort of a local, eco-friendly competitor to Uber and Lyft services. Most of their current operations are in Toronto, Ontario – and their website doesn’t seem to be completed so not too sure how committed they are to expanding to British Columbia. However, the next alternative – Skip The Dishes – is such a bad option in our opinion for food delivery services that it’s better to give the benefit of the doubt that FaceDrive Foods would be better at #4 best food delivery app.

They are not yet launched in Vancouver, BC but have purchased the assets from Foodora Canada. (Foodora Canada unfortunately closed down during the midst of the COVID19 pandemic and was easily the #2 Best Food Delivery service in Vancouver with their focus on local, sustainable, and community based business operations. Unfortunately, they likely didn’t control their cash burn when competing with UberEats and ascribed to the growth at all costs model – which was only sustainable if economically times were good and funding was readily available…. for that matter, growth at all costs is rarely effective when your competitor such as Uber has a limitless war chest. For that reason, I’m not too optimistic about the outlook of FaceDrive company either, with their direct competition to Uber BUT we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt that at least on the basis of customer service, environments, and community – FaceDrive Foods would be better than Skip The Dishes. If you want to lose your money, or your investor’s money then start a food delivery business and compete with Uber…. heck it’s probably a worse investment than the traditionally loss-making airline industry. For one, the margins on food delivery business is low enough even with a 30% cut of the bill, add to that the need for managing customer relationships, merchant relationships, and regulatory plus investor relationships. Then you add to the fact that it’s a crowded space with little to no barrier to entry. It becomes a commodity and commodity is . The only way to win in that industry is to gain a technical competitive advantage followed by a brand loyalty through excellent and efficient customer service consistently and then finally wipe out your competitors through deep discounts if you can sustain it…. then once you’re a monopoly or oligopoly to adjust prices accordingly to profitable levels – which is basically what Uber is doing and no one has as big a war chest or technological advantage as UberEats. Fantuan is the exception because they target a micro-niche market which is within the Asian food/restaurant industry of which traditional mindsets generally require some coaxing to adopt new technology and hence they gain the slight competitive advantage through cultural understanding. So basically, we don’t have much hope for FaceDrive Foods but at least they claim to be environmentally-friendly, and locally focused much as Foodora was before they shut down…. for that, we’re giving the benefit of the doubt that – as likely – they are better than Skip the Dishes.)

 

5) Skip The Dishes: Yeah, Just cook something yourself.

Honestly, in our opinion, this is quite possibly the WORST food delivery service you can use.

Skip the Dishes is only mentioned here because there are literally only five (English) food delivery services in Vancouver, BC. (And the #4 best food delivery service in Vancouver is not even being launched in Vancouver yet as of this article writing on December 27, 2021. FaceDrive Foods is a Toronto based start-up who bought over Foodora’s Assets with plans on expansion to Vancouver, BC. Foodora Canada regrettably shut down during the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. They claim to value sustainability and local community so we’re giving it the benefit of the doubt that it’s better than Skip The Dishes.)

 

Happy Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year/Spring Festival) – CNY celebrations in Metro Vancouver

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When is Chinese New Year in Metro Vancouver for 2021?

Little New Year (CNY Preparations) – February 4, 2021 – February 11, 2021

Start – February 12, 2021

Lantern Festival – February 23, 2021 – February 26, 2021

End – February 26, 2021

 

When was Chinese New Year in Metro Vancouver for 2020?

Little New Year (CNY Preparations) – January 17, 2020 – January 24, 2020

Start – January 25, 2020

Lantern Festival – February 5, 2020 – February 8, 2020

End – February 8, 2020

 

Much like the Hebrew New Year, the Chinese New Year (often referred to as Spring Festival in China) follows the lunar calendar (times and festivals are based on the moon – Psalms 104:19, Genesis 1:14) than the Georgian calendar.

The Jewish ethnicity recently celebrated their new year (Rosh Hashanah – ‘Head of the Year’) on September 29, 2019 to October 1st for year 5780. The Chinese ethnicity will have their new year celebration from January 25, 2020 to February 8th for the year 4718.

 

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year as its name implies is the celebration of the beginning of a New Year by Chinese tradition; it follows the lunar calendar (timing of festivals/seasons by the moon – as such the days of Spring Festival in the Georgian Calendar varies yearly, but generally around January 21st to February 21st) and is also known as the lunar new year.

When China adopted the the Georgian Calendar in 1911,  Chinese New Year in China is now often referred to as the Spring Festival. The celebratory practices and culture remains the same however; Chinese New Year is also the most significant holiday in China.

 

How is Chinese New Year Celebrated?

There are many regular customs and traditions to celebrating Chinese New Year. Many of these follow wishes, hope, and projecting for a prosperous, healthy, and good year.

Among them include:

(1) Reunion dinners – Dinner with the entire family including extended family is fairly common celebration for Chinese New Year. In China, migrant workers often return home for reunion dinner while it is common in various countries with ethnic-Chinese families with families who may have migrated abroad to return to said country from which they migrated for a reunion dinner with family.

One part of Chinese New Year is reunion dinners and gathering with family. It’s customary practice to visit the husband’s family first and then the wife’s family the next day during Chinese New Year. Meeting your distant uncle or aunt during Chinese New Year is sure to come some uncomfortable conversations, much like Thanksgiving for Americans and Canadians.

(2) Fireworks/Fire crackers & Lion Dance – Fireworks and firecrackers are common sight in Chinese New Year celebrations (less so with legal restrictions in modern times) along with the Lion dance.

(3) Hongbao (red packets) & Colour Red – Giving red envelops are common practice among Chinese New Year celebrations. They carry a symbolic purpose of giving wealth or luck to others; commonly done by the elders or married to the young or unmarried individuals in the family. The colour red is also highly favoured as a lucky colour that wards away bad things. This comes in part with oriental religious mythology but also symbolic practice. The money inside should be a ‘lucky number’. (Think of it like a Bar Mitzvah where the elders given the child money – except this happens every year and not quite the same substantial amount as a Bar Mitzvah, but it would generally accumulate over years of receiving. The smart children will put the Hong Bao money – which can be quite substantial, especially those from rich relatives and grandparents – to investment or savings to start their future as many do with Bar Mitzvah money of turning an adult. The thing is, once you become married or aged – it’s your turn to give money to children and unmarried. Haha.)

(4) Avoiding Taboos – There are several taboos to avoid such as wearing black or white cloths, broken clothes, or talking words with negative connotations (like death, sickness, crying, or arguments) during Chinese New Year. These are often for the same reasons Chinese have auspicious practices – symbolism or homonyms.

(5) Following Auspicious Practices – Children are allow to stay up as late as they can on Chinese New Year Eve because it is symbolic of a long life for their parents. Many other such symbolic practices are observed that pertain to wish for a sweet, prosperous, healthy, successful, unity, peaceful year.

 

What you need to know about Chinese New Year?

  • Many Chinese New Year Customs for a Good Year Ahead: There are many customary superstitious dos and don’ts during Chinese New Year if you want a good year ahead of you. (While many Chinese today don’t believe or observe some of these quasi-religious/culture practices – one of them is you’re not allow to wash your hair for the first day. Yikes! Haha – many are still observed casually & culturally popular customs like reunion dinners with specific foods <Long noodles for length of days. Dumplings for prosperity.> Further, some of these customs are found with oriental religious background – like not washing clothes the first two days of CNY because of the ‘water god’ birthday being the first two days of CNY… while some others with symbolic rationale – such as, not washing your hair during the first day of CNY. This is because hair is pronounced ‘fa’ in Chinese, which is homonyms with ‘rich’; so washing your hair is seen as washing away wealth.)
  • Chinese apply symbolism in many Chinese New Year practices: Much like how the Jews celebrate their New Year, Chinese attach a lot of symbolism and enactment (for a lack of a better word) to celebrating their New Year. These include practices such as speaking a blessing and giving red packets with (lucky number of) money inside, or eating foods that are homonyms or symbolism of prosperity & unity (such as dumplings or rice balls). As such it’s common to wish each other blessings such as good health, prosperity, a high year, and fertility (HAHA) in Chinese greetings. (Practically speaking these practices are beneficial for focusing on the right things and creating hope, leading to the potential for faith.)
  • The start of the New Year determines your year ahead: Also similar to the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), Chinese believe that the start of the year – and what you do then – will determine how the rest of your year will be. Much like sealing your year ahead with goodness. Therefore, extra care is given to how you start the year; starting the year on a right foot, as westerners may put it. <In a sense, just as the Jews believe that their fate for the year is sealed during the start of the year – so do the Chinese in various practices. “From noon on Rosh Hashanah, when our fates are already written, until Yom Kippur, when our fates for the coming year are to be sealed, we wish each other “Gemar chatimah tovah” (גמר חתימה טובה), “A good final sealing.” (Note that it is not standard to wish someone a “happy Yom Kippur,” but it is perfectly acceptable to wish them a meaningful one.)” – Chabad>
  • Times have changed and so does cultural observance: Many Chinese today do not take the superstitious or traditions of Chinese New Year as seriously as ancient days but they still follow many customs and traditions such as reunion dinners and importantly the red packets known as ‘hongbao’ – perhaps more so for the fun and family/friends than superstitions. Chinese New Year is a big holiday for Chinese. (It is also very tiring and quite an anticipated time with a lot of intentional preparation before hand.) China adopted the Georgian Calendar in 1911 and celebrate the New Year on January 1st as do most countries in the world today. While Chinese New Year is still a significant holiday with the lunar calendar, the observance has changed from one that is filled with traditions, taboos, and traits to a more casual observance.
  • Chinese New Year Changes Annually: Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days (11 days + 4 Lantern Festival), with 8 days of the Little Year preceding for a total of 23 days celebration; this 15 days celebration falls between January 21st to February 21st – depending on when the new moon is. Another similarity to the Jewish New Year is that CNY doesn’t actually start on the 1st day of the 1st month of the Chinese Calendar as you might expect. The Jewish New Year begins on the 7th month of the Hebrew calendar; Chinese New Year falls on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese Calendar. (Yeah seems our cultures like to make things confusing.) With the popular culture of Chinese astrology and zodiacs, it is probably no surprise to many Canadians today that each year represents a different zodiac animal for Chinese New Year celebrations. There are 12 zodiac animals (which previously were just 12 zodiac, the animals were applied later to make it more memorable). 2019 was the Boar, 2020 is the Rat, 2021 will be the Ox, 2022 will be the Tiger, 2023 will be the Rabbit, 2024 will be the Dragon, 2025 will be the Snake, 2026 will be the Horse, 2027 will be the Ram/Sheep, 2028 will be the Monkey, 2029 will be the Rooster, 2030 will be the Dog – and then it repeats. Chinese tradition has it that every time it is your year, is often a year you need to be careful as it is a pivotal year. <Another fun fact is that ancient Chinese don’t just rely on the moon for times, festivals, seasons, and holidays but the sun’s longitude as well.>

(Side Tangent: I don’t personally believe in zodiacs but it’s interesting to learn its cultural significance and history; if zodiacs and astrologies are true then it stands to reason that everyone born in a certain year or in a certain time of year will be behave relatively the same with similar behavioral traits – which is not clearly always the case (with some exceptions). I think zodiacs and astrology comes from human desire to understand and categorize people into box for processing/simplifying our understanding. There are some truths to astrology/zodiac but it requires careful consideration. It seems to be confirmation bias when people say “I’m an Aries so I am…” or “I am X so I am stubborn” while also self-fulfilling, for as a man thinks in his heart so is he. Anecdotally, I personally find my characteristic match various zodiac animals than just one. Sorry, I also don’t believe in fortune telling but acknowledge there are some mystic truths to it; but I believe you can create your own fortune by your decisions, so choose wisely. You’re more in control of your future than what others tell you it will be. There is a destiny/purpose in some things however, like where or when you were born. Ecclesiastes 3. Life is complex.)

 

You can enjoy in the fun festivities and excitement of celebrating Chinese New Year even if you’re not Chinese! It’s always fun to learn about other cultures and be involved in their celebrations and festivals (especially those with meaning and lessons behind them).

Everyone can enjoy the excitement, energy, and enhanced colours of Chinese New Year! It’s a very interesting time and culture (especially celebrated in Vancouver). Cultural exploration and learning is always good to breed understanding and harmony among various ethnicity.

 

Chinese New Year Cultural Customs –  Dos & Don’ts:

There are countless taboos and encouraged practices during the Chinese New Year period… some relatively outdated (and ignored) like not washing your hair for the first week. (Not to was away good luck 😅) Here are five popular customs observed during Chinese New Year to bring good, and five popular things to avoid during Chinese New Year.

Good things you should do during Chinese New Year:

(1) Eating Auspicious Foods – The practice of eating auspicious foods that either symbolize or are homonyms for prosperity, unity or something desirable. The most common is dumplings because they are shaped like gold ingots. Rice balls are also common for homonym with unity. Long wheat noodles for length of life. ‘Nian Gao’ which is a sweet rice cake for it’s homonym of meaning a ‘high year’ or a elevated year. Common also is ‘Fa Gao’ which is a sponge cake; ‘fa’ means to be rich. In preparation for CNY, make sure your rice bowl is full for symbolic purposes as well.

In Singapore and many places of South East Asia, a dish call Yu Sheng is common place in Chinese New Year gathering. A variety of auspicious and colourful vegetables topped with a sweet & savoury sauce and raw fish (like salmon). It is then tossed and mixed together with the family/group while speaking auspicious words and blessings

(2) Giving Auspicious Foods – When you visit relatives/elders homes you often bring with you oranges or tangerines as they are homonyms to auspicious words such as gold or wealth; so it is good symbolism giving them when visiting someone’s home.

Often the children will give grandparents these tangerines or oranges with Chinese New Year wishes like ‘xin nian kuai le’ or ‘gong xi fa cai’

(3) Giving or Receiving Red Packets – So the custom to this is elders giving children red packets filled with money (auspicious number) as a means of transferring wealth to the younger generation and luck. This is also done for those who are married to unmarried individuals.

(4) The Colour Red – You see a common theme with Chinese New Year decorations is many are coloured red. It’s a lucky colour and supposedly ward off ‘evil’ (which funnily, as a Christian I think it in relation to the blood of Jesus that was shed for the forgiveness of sins for men, and also supposedly ‘scares off evil’)

(5) Speaking/Writing Good Words & Blessings – Chinese believe in the importance of words and often speaking good words and blessings during the start of the year in their New Year wishes such as good health or riches. This is also written on red banners that are hung (because red is a lucky colour). As mentioned, the start of the year is believed to be important in determining the rest of your year so extra attention is provided to avoiding speaking or talking about bad things and instead speaking good things/blessings. This practice is especially true with eating Yu Sheng which is a cultural practice specifically in Singaporean Chinese (and South East Asian Chinese – but not in China) with throwing the raw fish salad high in the air while speaking various well wishes and blessings.

 

Things you should avoid during Chinese New Year:

(1) Cutting your hair during Chinese New Year – During Chinese New Year, those observant to these superstitious or symbolic practices will avoid cutting their hair for the new year period. (It’s customary not to cut your hair until the next lunar month – and why I recently went to my hair dresser to have my hair cut shorter than usual. Haha.) Many salons in China are often closed during Chinese New Year for this reason (many people won’t get their haircut during Chinese New Year but do so in preparation for Chinese New Year)

It is also bad luck to touch any sharp object or break any ceramics during Chinese New Year period for similar reasons to those above.

(2) No Sweeping/Cleaning Your House or Throwing Garbage – It is thought that sweeping your house during the new year will sweep away good luck. As such, many families often conduct a full and throughout spring cleaning before Chinese New Year as you cannot do any cleaning or sweeping during the Chinese New Year period (and it’s long – 15 days!). You can only throw garbage after the 5th day of Chinese New Year.

Please do not leave your home a mess to observe this.

(3) Talking about death, or going to the hospital – As mentioned above, Chinese believe the start of your year will determine how your year ahead will be. As such, celebration of Chinese New Year generally involves careful attention to avoiding anything of negative connotation; this includes saying ‘unlucky’ words like death or sickness as well as argument or strife. Even children crying is not ideal. Likewise, it’s good to avoid going to the doctor if possible – the believe any of these practices mean there’ll be crying, sickness, or death throughout the year.

Of course, if you’re sick you should seek a medical professional than obeying superstitious.

(4) Wearing Wrong Clothes – During Chinese New Year, your apparel can matter. You want to avoid wearing white or black as these are often colours associated with funerals. Red is a good lucky colour to wear! It is also unlucky to wear clothes with tears or damage (so those new ripped jeans fashion clothes are a no-no. Haha)

As you will notice, preparation is taken before Chinese New Year to ensure these auspicious practices are observed and taboos avoided; it is common for people to buy new clothes before Chinese New Year. Now if you really want to shock your relatives and come across as a really ‘gungho’ and ‘lucky’ person, you may as well visit your relatives wearing a red Cheongsam/Qibao or Tang Suit with red shoes and red socks! (nobody does that – if you do so, you may be able to shift some of the awkward/uncomfortable questions from uncles and aunts to your clothing instead!) …but all the normal people will be wearing modern clothes with auspicious colours as they do today!

(5) Washing clothes or hair during the first two days of Chinese New Year – Perhaps one uncomfortable taboo (which is seldom observed today and has oriental religious roots) is the practice not to wash your hair, take a shower, or wash your clothes for the first two days of Chinese New Year. The rationale to this as alluded earlier is the believe that the first two years of Chinese New Year is the “water god”.

The other reason for it is symbolic also, as washing your hair or showering is thought to wash away good luck so this is avoided for the first day of Chinese New Year – please observe good personal hygiene.

 

Chinese New Year Activities in Metro Vancouver for year 2020:

City of Vancouver – Chinatown: The premier Chinese New Year event in Metro Vancouver, the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade is an annual event and a sight to truly be appreciated with a marching. Besides the many CNY shopping opportunities, the parade is extravagant with many local organizations marching and politicians all giving out ‘red packets’ with candy. There is of course an extravagant lion dance in the parade with fire crackers (at least in 2019). One of the best part is the Vancouver Police Department float/contingent, this year with the motorcycle drill team. There are also parade float/contingent with the Canadian Forces military and their equipment. (Quite a sight to see.)

Where – Vancouver Chinatown (You can’t miss it! There’ll be rows and rows of crowds along the road of the parade path)

When – January 26th @ 11 AM

More Informationhttps://www.cbavancouver.ca/

City of Richmond – Aberdeen Centre: If you can’t make it to City of Vancouver’s Chinatown celebrations on Chinese New Year, the next best alternative is Aberdeen Mall. Besides a lion dance and various cultural performances in the mall, there are also special Chinese New Year booths set up with various Chinese New Year trinkets, floral, and food unique to CNY to be purchased! If you’re looking for a Chinese New Year activity to appreciate and experience, the Aberdeen Centre is one you should consider. The celebration begins at 8:30 PM on January 24th as the countdown to CNY begins with a variety of performance and activities in the centre atrium with a stage; the mall is having extended hours and closes at 12:30 AM on the 25th of January. The Chinese New Year celebrations continue on the 25th; the lion dance occurs on January 25th at 11 AM followed by various Chinese cultural performances till 4:30 PM. It continues with more performance on the 26th. Further adding all this, the whole mall is decorated with Chinese New Year decor.

Where – Aberdeen Centre (Richmond)

When – January 25th @ 11 AM

More Informationhttps://www.aberdeencentre.com/en/events.php

City of Richmond – Yaohan Centre: Yaohan Centre is a popular Chinese-orientated shopping centre in Richmond, BC with plentiful Chinese food at the food court and an Osaka Market operated by T&T. Predictably, you an expect Yaohan Centre to be hosting some Chinese New Year festivities and they are. The pop-up booths for Chinese New Year has already been set up along the concourse with a flower market and festive red decorations of all sorts along with Chinese New Year specific sweets and pastries. They will be having a lion dance on January 25th, 2020 in front of Osaka Market, however their website does not provide the time for the event. It’s worth popping by Yaohan Centre if you’re visiting Aberdeen Centre, if anything for the food court. (good bubble tea & Chinese mix rice)

Where – Yaohan Centre (Richmond)

When – January 25th

More Informationhttps://www.yaohancentre.com/news.html

City of Richmond – Lansdowne Mall: Lansdowne Mall is a popular mall for Chinese in competition with Richmond Centre; the mall isn’t as crowded of festive as Aberdeen Centre or Richmond Centre but still holds a respectable Chinese New Year celebration hosted in part by the Richmond Chinese Community Society. Celebrations take place on the 26th from 11 AM to 5 PM with the lion dance at 12:30 PM.

Where – Lansdowne Mall (Richmond)

When – January 26th @ 11 AM to 5 PM

More Informationhttps://lansdowne-centre.com/lunar-new-year-celebration/

City of Vancouver – Lunar Fest: The Tourism Vancouver and Tourism Richmond organizations are putting together several locations of Lunar New Year celebratory activites including laterns at Jack Poole Plaza by Vancouver Convention Centre as well as a presentation at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Some venues are active throughout the Lunar New Year period while other activities and events happen at various days during the Lunar New Year. Learn more about it at the link bellow.

Where – Various Locations

When – January 15th to February 10

More Informationhttps://lunarfest.org/bc/

 

Evidently most of the BEST Chinese New Year activities you ought to attend are occurring either in Vancouver Chinatown or City of Richmond. There are still many Chinese New Year celebrations for 2020 across Metro Vancouver commonly hosted by neighborhood/community associations, business improvement associations, or shopping centres.

 

City of Vancouver – Marpole Village (BIA): Hosted by the Marpole Village business improvement association is a Chinese New Year celebration on January 30th at 11 AM with a lion dance along Granville Street.

More Informationhttp://marpolevillage.ca/event/celebrate-the-2020-chinese-new-year-of-the-rat-in-marpole/

City of Vancouver – River District: Chinese New Year event is being hosted at River District on January 25th from 11 AM with a lion dance and Chinese New Year themed wine tasting at Everything Wine along with a variety of complementary refreshments. River District is a new community in City of Vancouver that is still developing; according to the website, they may be using images taken at the event for Wesgroup promotional materials.

More Informationhttps://riverdistrict.ca/events/

City of Vancouver – UBC/Wesbrook Village: Wesbrook Village Community Centre in the UNA (University Neighbourhood Assication) will be having Chinese New Year celebration and events from 2 PM to 4 PM if you happen to be at UBC on Chinese New Year. The Chinese Language Program will also be hosting Chinese New Year celebration at the Student Union Building (NEST) on January 28th from 11 AM to 3 PM.

More Informationhttps://www.myuna.ca/event/lunar-new-year-celebration/

City of Burnaby – Burnaby Heights: The Burnaby Heights community will be hosting a Chinese New Year Celebration on February 1st, 2020 from 12 PM to 3 PM including a lion dance and giveaways.

More Informationhttp://www.burnabyheights.com/news/lunar-new-year/

City of Vancouver – International Village Shopping Centre: International Village is at the cusp of Vancouver Chinatown and will be abuzz with activity on January 26th for the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade; however, besides this celebration on the 26th – the mall will also be hosting a variety of events from January 24th to January 26th if you want to get a taste of the festive feeling celebrating the year of the rat for Chinese New Year. A mall with predominantly Chinese retailers, the shopping centre is decorated for Chinese New Year with a performance stage in the centre for many culture performances in celebration of Chinese New Year. Be sure to pop by for a look if you’re in the area and wish to experience Chinese New Year at International Village Shopping Centre. Last year’s Chinese New Year celebration saw a large variety of performances and giveaways, unfortunately, this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations at International Village is more sparse with information available.

More Informationhttps://www.facebook.com/events/489729755151067/

City of North Vancouver – Lonsdale Quay: The Lonsdale Quay has a whole host of events planned for Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year events will take place on February 1, 2020 from 1:30 PM to 3:45 PM with the lion dance taking place at 3:45 PM. It’s sure to be an exciting and family-friendly day at Lonsdale Quay overlooking to downtown Vancouver from across the Burrard Inlet.

More Informationhttps://lonsdalequay.com/event/chinese-new-year-at-the-market/

City of Richmond – Richmond Centre: Richmond Centre is having a Chinese New Year lion dance on January 26th at 11 AM to 6 PM.

More Informationhttps://www.facebook.com/events/541979309743044/ 

City of Vancouver – Pacific Centre: Pacific Centre is having a modest Chinese New Year celebration with a lion dance on January 31st at 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. May as well mention it is sponsored by Purdy’s chocolates (Haha).

More Informationhttps://www.cfshops.com/pacific-centre/news-events/events/lunar-new-year-2020.html

City of Burnaby – Metropolis at Metrotown: Metrotown Mall will be having a host of events from January 24th to February 9th in celebration of Chinese New Year. A traditional lion dance will take place on January 29th at 10 AM.

More informationhttps://metropolisatmetrotown.com/en/events/lunar-new-year-celebrations-2020/

City of Burnaby – Crystal Mall: Crystal Mall which proclaims itself as the “Best Oriental Shopping Centre in Metro Vancouver” would reasonably be expected to host a Chinese New Year celebration despite being a mall with relatively fewer shoppers (comes with being a mall mainly hosting boutique retailers than anchor brands) to Metrotown. That they are however! Crystal Mall is hosting a CNY celebration on January 26th from 12 PM to 4 PM that includes a lion dance.

More informationhttp://www.thecrystalmall.ca/en/events.htm

City of Vancouver – Granville Island: Granville Island will be having a lion dance in the Public Market along with red envelops being given out on January 26th at 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM. It is sure to be a lively experience with the lion dance making its way through the market.

More informationhttps://granvilleisland.com/events/lunar-new-year-year-rat

City of Vancouver – Oakridge Shopping Centre: The main event took place before the start of Chinese New Year on January 23, 2010 at 6 PM to 9 PM. However, they will be having a kids interactive activity on January 25th from 12 Pm to 3 PM. (Doesn’t count as a Chinese New Year celebration without a dragon dance)

More Informationhttps://www.oakridgecentre.com/blog/lunar-celebrations-calendar/

City of Richmond – Richmond Cultural Centre: No lion dance but a free Chinese New Year performance at the Richmond Cultural Centre besides Richmond City Hall which features cantonese opera singers.

More Informationhttps://www.visitrichmondbc.com/event/chinese-new-year-concert-at-the-richmond-cultural-centre/4809/

City of Langley – Christian Life Assembly: This is one of the few Chinese New Year celebrations taking place in Langley. It is sponsored by the Township of Langley and it is a one-day Chinese New Year festival from 12 PM to 3 PM on January 25th. They will be having Chinese calligraphy, dumpling making, Chinese chess, crafts, and painting; admission is free.

More Information – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/langley-2020-chinese-new-year-fair-tickets-90425275433

City of Vancouver – PARQ Vancouver: Parq Vancouver in downtown Vancouver is hosting a lion dance and various Chinese New Year themed promotions at their dining establishments such as Honey Salt or Lotus Tea/Whiskey Lounge.

More Informationhttps://www.parqvancouver.com/events/parq-casino-lion-dance-at-parq-casino/ & https://www.parqvancouver.com/lunar-new-year/

City of Richmond – Vancouver International Airport: Travelers arriving or departing from YVR on Friday morning will be treated to a Chinese New Year lion dance performance that begins at 10 AM by the jade canoe at the food court besides trans-border check-ins, and ends at 12 PM making its way through the expansive airport terminal on the 24th of January.

More Information – https://www.richmond-news.com/community/chinese-new-year-s-eve-in-richmond-1.24060015

City of Richmond – Aberdeen Square: Not to be confused with Aberdeen Centre, Aberdeen Square is like the less popular sibling (kidding, they’re both owned/managed separately) with a connecting bridge to Aberdeen Canada Line Station as well as Aberdeen Centre. The mall is frequently quiet and empty however (largely hosting many travel agencies, education centres, and boutique Asian retailers). The Chinese New Year celebrations here are also relatively different, taking place from January 11 to 18th hosted by Mooby Yoho as a Chinese New Year Festival with free prizes. The event takes place in the building concourse.

More Informationhttps://www.facebook.com/events/aberdeen-square/2020-vancouver-lunar-new-year-carnival/3492807340759998/ 

City of Surrey – City Central Shopping Centre: Central City Shopping Centre will be celebrating Chinese New Year with a lion dance from 1 PM to 3 PM on January 25th along with “lucky envelopes” given to shoppers who spend $100+ in City Central Shopping Centre on the same day.

More Informationhttps://centralcity.ca/event/lion-dance-central-city/

City of Vancouver – Vancouver Art Gallery Lunar Fest: Tourism Vancouver and Tourism Richmond along with Tourism Taiwan are hosting several Chinese New Year activities across several venues the City of Vancouver. One of the key events is happening at Vancouver Art Gallery on January 25th to 26th from 11 AM to 6 PM.

More Informationhttps://lunarfest.org/2020lf/vancouver/

 

Paid Chinese New Year Celebrations in Vancouver:

Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel: On January 26, 2020 from 11:30 AM to 2:45 PM, Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel will be serving a special Chinese New Year brunch for $20.20. There will be a lion dance and traditional red envelops handed out with prizes up to $400. Shameless content plug that Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel is one of the best Vancouver airport hotels.

More informationhttps://www.visitrichmondbc.com/event/lunar-new-year-brunch-and-lion-dance-at-the-vancouver-airport-marriott/4802/

City of Vancouver – Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden has an exciting line of activities planned for the celebration of Chinese New Year on January 26th. A lion dance is happening at 2:30 PM to 3:00 PM along with Erhu performance throughout the day with tea tastings and calligraphy demonstrations. Ticket to the garden is $13.33 for adults. You can also learn more about the history of Chinese New Year at the historical-orientated events at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

More Informationhttps://vancouverchinesegarden.com/temple-fair/

 

Chinese New Year in Vancouver:

Vancouver has a large population of Chinese ethnicity and permanent residents from China, as such, Chinese New Year is a fairly festive celebration in Vancouver. You’ll find many places decorated for Chinese New Year across Metro Vancouver but more so predominantly in Richmond, BC and Vancouver’s Chinatown!

It can be a fun cultural experience/exploration to stop by the many interesting shops in Chinatown or Richmond, BC to experience the excitement of Chinese New Year… even if you’re not Chinese.

Thanks for reading about Chinese New Year in Vancouver; we hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Chinese New Year as we have enjoyed learning & writing about it.

 

 

Note: We’ve created this article about Chinese New Year and Chinese New Year activities in Metro Vancouver for the year 2020; the activities section will be updated annually to reflect the current year’s celebrations. The information above is not time-sensitive so will maintain as is. The resource article on Chinese New Year in Vancouver will be updated annually to reflect the new events annually.

More Resources: We have summarized the interesting information about Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year/Spring Festival) here for you along with celebrations of Chinese New Year taking place in Metro Vancouver. If you wish to read more about Chinese New Year, you can do so at the websites bellow which was used for compiling this article about Chinese New Year in Vancouver:

https://chinesenewyear.net/

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/china/spring-festival

http://www.china.org.cn/living_in_china/spring-festival-2009/2009-01/07/content_17070623.htm

https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/chinese-new-year-taboos.htm

 

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