East Meets West: Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre

Over the past 100 years, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Filipino and Laotian immigrants settled in Washington, Oregon and BC. Often, families move back and forth over the U.S.-Canadian borders, so there’s a nice multi-generational, multi-cultural intermingling at this point. Cascadia kids grow up eating sushi, pad Thai and dim sum; they attend cultural festivals with roots in Japan, China or Vietnam.

This cultural coalescence is obvious in Richmond, BC, where 60% of the city’s population is of Asian descent. You’ll find the Chinese-influnced Aberdeen Centre, the Taiwanese-style President Plaza, the pan-Asian Yaohan Centre (featuring a large Japanese supermarket) and the Hong Kong-style Parker Place.

Aberdeen Centre offers many kid-friendly shops and activities, along with Chinese herbal apothecaries, restaurants offering Malaysian meals and a store selling “Lotus Seats” — an electronic, remote-controlled toilet seat.

The Musical Water Fountain Shows shoot off in synchronized combinations of color, light and music.

Water fountains at Aberdeen Mall
Water fountains at Aberdeen Mall

On the third floor, we shopped Gacha Gacha Hobbies & Toys, a twirl of a store filled with dozens of toy vending machines and bins of character toys (Pokemon and the like)

Gacha Gacha

Then we checked out the gym-like climbing zone with monkey bars, coin-operated cars, a canyon room and bunch of slides at Fun 4 Kidz.

Riding a coin-operated car at Fun 4 Kidz

The Centre also features Science World’s Richmond Classroom (second floor), which has a drop-in preschool playtime on Saturdays.

Daiso, the double-decker Japanese-originated mega-store, offers inexpensive toys, household goods and Japanese candies. Most are under $1.


Of course, there are also stuffed animal shops, candy stores and children’s clothing boutiques.

And no mall would be a mall without a foodcourt. Aberdeen’s serves up Beard Papa cream puffs, Chinese specialties and the Japanese chain, Strawberry Cones Pizza & Pasta.CLOSED.

Strawberry Cones

Noted as a “kids favorite” on the menu is the Hokkaido Potato Tuna. Unfortunately, not a favorite for my kids. But I love Strawberry’s creative mix of Western and Eastern cultures — in the form of Japanese-style pizza.

And the whole adventure is just a short drive from my home.

This post is part of DeliciousBaby’s Photo Friday.

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.