Block Party: International treats and vintage treasures to find on Commercial Drive

Where to hunt on the Drive, between Napier and Parker streets

1. Lunchlady

There’s no shortage of great Vietnamese street food on the Drive, but for our money, Lunch Lady does it best—maybe because it serves up cocktails like a pho-spiced old fashioned alongside elevated twists on Southeast Asian comfort-food classics (think wagyu beef noodle soup).

Our cover star is right at home alongside the plentiful specialty grocers in this vibrant ’hood. Stock up on authentic Latin American ingredients (Dona Maria mole), treats (El Salvadorian yellow cherries) and snacks (De La Rosa mazapan).

3. Bombay Kitchen and Bar

Whatever you choose from the inventive Indian-fusion menu here—like the Bengal fish curry (made with salmon for a West Coast twist) or crispy chaat papri—you’ll have it served with a side of people-watching, thanks to the garage-style doors that open up right onto the street.

4. Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour

Finally: a place where licorice lovers can embrace their passion in peace. The hyper specific candy shop specializes in you-know-what, offering 100-plus types of imported licorice, alongside chocolates, waffles and (in true Commercial Drive fashion) hula hoops.

5. Miscellany Finds

Miscellany isn’t just a spot for treasure-hunting second-hand gems—it’s also a social enterprise, run by social justice coordinator Portia Sam, that offers gainful employment for marginalized women and youth who are facing barriers to finding work.

6. Mogu Fried Chicken

We’re not knocking Downlow Chicken, but just down the street, Mogu Fried Chicken has quietly been honing its own special take on poultry. Here, you’ll find a Japanese twist on the globally beloved dish: boneless, umami-rich and accompanied by izakaya style sides.

7. Choices Market

Choices is the locavore’s alternative to Whole Foods, and has been since the ’90s; on the Drive, where it’s been since 2015, the Vancouver-founded grocer continues to thrive as a hub of produce sourced from the Lower Mainland, with organic, non-GMO and vegan products galore.

8. Turnabout

For a more upscale thrifting experience, there’s Turnabout, a Vancouver-based fashion consignment shop (sorry, “luxury resale boutique”) that label-hounds love to explore.