One Day in Vancouver: author and YouTuber Pailin Chongchitnant

Great suggestions for under-the-radar spots to dine at in Vancouver

With 1.73 million subscribers to her popular YouTube channel Pailin's Kitchen and nearly 140,000 Instagram followers, one could argue that Pailin Chongchitnant is one of the most popular Vancouverites around.

Beyond her social media prowess, instructional video extraordinaire, being a Cordon-Bleu-trained chef and co-host of the 2010s television series One World Kitchen, Chongchitnant has also authored two Thai cookbooks. The first, Hot Thai Kitchen, was released back in 2016 to much fanfare, and now her brand-new release Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes For Any Day of the Week is getting plenty of deserved buzz.

The cookbooks boasts plenty of approachable, delicious recipes like a wonderful tomato coconut salsa (which we highly suggest you try out!) or garlic pepper chicken, all of which remind a reader just how approachable and rewarding cooking Thai food can be.

Seeing as she creates impeccable and reliable recipes, we knew that Pailin Chongchitnant would have some great ideas for where to eat in her home base of Vancouver. From an unassuming diner that serves Indian street food to delicious Afghan dishes for dinner, her picks do not disappoint!


Only U Cafe is a diner on UBC campus that, on the surface, looks like a nothing-special-mom-and-pop diner, but they have two menus: [standard] diner fare, and Indian street food. Yes, Indian street food, and that’s the hidden gem.

The owners are Chinese-Indian, and they make super unique and tasty Indian street food you will not find anywhere else. It’s bizarre because you go in and one table will be eating pancakes and sandwiches, and another is eating pav bhaji. I discovered samosa chaat here and it blew my mind.

I used to work here when I was a student at UBC and the owners are wonderful people.



A post shared by Unchai (@unchai_restaurant)

I rarely go out for lunch, but if I had to go somewhere for lunch every day, it would be Unchai.

This mom-and-pop Thai restaurant that makes great Thai food that actually tastes like something you would get in Thailand. They are uncompromising with their flavours and make their own curry pastes from scratch which is not at all common for Thai restaurants here.



A post shared by Zarak (@zarakvancouver)

Zarak is an Afghan restaurant near my studio that has delicious food, and probably the best service I’ve ever experienced anywhere.

The place is beautifully decorated and the portion sizes are generous, which is something that's becoming harder to find these days.


I don’t drink much anymore, but back when I did, Pourhouse always had reliable cocktails.