When Tigers Fly

I don’t know why it’s taken so much time for me to discover The Flying Tiger, but last night was a great chance to take advice offered where else, but here by Mark and Andrea. As the end of Dine Out Vancouver fast approaches, it seemed necessary to follow suit and sit down to enjoy the offerings of a three course prix fixe menu at only $25. What I didn’t expect was an evening of that caliber and with only 2 days remaining, I’ll find it very difficult to choose from the over 150 participants, in an effort to top the food I enjoyed last night.

As it was a spur of the moment idea, reservations were not available, there were no free tables; however, there were a few open seats at the bar, taking what we could get, Steph and I found ourselves standing in front of two seats an arms reach from the kitchen staff (sound familiar). Settling into my seat I couldn’t help but ponder whether our location would compromise or accent the dining experience (servers coming and going, meals shooting out just left of us), but the notion was quickly swept away with anticipation of a delicious meal as I looked down and began to open the tri-fold menu that lay in front of me.

I’ll spare myself the trouble of typing out the whole Dine Out menu in respect of saving words to describe what I saw at that moment, my jaw dropped and I read on. After a tough decision, I found myself settling on the Flying Tiger Samosas & Pakoras for starters, the Pulled Duck Confit Crepe Entree, and the Coconut Cassava Cake to finish. I have to admit, my choices were influenced by the fact that I would more than likely steal a few bites of the dynamite combo Steph went with; Toro Tuna Sushi Tempura, Vietnamese ‘Nuoc Cham’ Smoked Sablefish, and Deep-fried Chocolate Bananas.

Now would be a great time to mention the Executive Chef Tina Fineza; where our seating came in handy was the chance to hear her describe the execution of these dishes and why she made the choices she had. About the time the starters came our way, we were feeling pretty good about the fact that we never had reservations. Standalone the Samosas & Pakoras were great, but coupled with a subtle coconut & tamarind chutney it became certain I had made the right choice. Looking over at Steph unable to contain my excitement I blurted, “You have to try this!” Stopping me mid sentence, she whispers “No, you have to try this!” The Tuna Belly tempura rolls, accompanied by bonito aioli, seaweed caviar, and the most unforgettable grilled oyster mushrooms were breathtakingly delicious, she was right.

The mains showed up and digging right in, I almost cried a little, words can’t describe the taste in my mouth at that moment, I can only say that you should stop what you are doing right now and go try the Pulled Duck Confit Crepes! Again, sitting back with a gargantuan smile, I couldn’t help but notice Steph doing the same. Before I knew it she was slicing off a piece of Sablefish and pushing it in my direction, so again we swapped; at that moment time stopped, my mind went back to my parents farm where Dad was pulling freshly cooked fish out of the smoker in our backyard, the most incredibly clean taste enveloped my tastebuds, it was good.

So there we sat, relishing the memory of the meal we had just consumed, had it ended right then and there, it would have hands down been in the top three meals I’ve eaten in this city, but in that very same moment Tina slid our final courses out and time stopped again. Listening to the mouthwatering words that described the preparation of the lovely dish levitating in front of me, I wanted nothing more than to jump up and high five the hands that created that piece of art, I contained myself and shortly thereafter took my first bite. I went through the roof, honestly, I was done. One bite topped off an evening of great food, one bite wrapped it up poetically, in an unbelievable, unimaginable way. As again I offered Steph a bite, I couldn’t help but notice the ear-to-ear grin she had dawned, I guess I wasn’t done yet. We again reached over, swapping in what had become a familiar fashion; as I broke through the banana and it Warm Callebaut chocolate leaked out, I heard the word, “Orgasmic” whispered beside me, Steph quietly says, “Try mine, then yours,” again, she was right.

An afternoon later, I’m still reeling from the tastes I had the pleasure of enjoying last night. Absolutely everything went right, from service, ambiance, presentation, and taste; it all worked extraordinarily well, everyone went out of their way to create a great experience and I will definitely return for an encore, with a friend… and intentions of trying their meal.

Flying Tiger is located 2958 W 4th Avenue in Vancouver, BC; (604) 737-7529,

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