The tour experience we took is a hybrid of the typical food tour combined with a local shopping experience—complete with store discounts, free gifts, tons of lovely conversations, and a whopping nine stops.
A few weeks ago, after the launch of our new website, the TLW team met for a celebratory dinner—and celebratory drinks afterwards.
We’re a group of travellers and foodies, so naturally, once we covered everyone’s upcoming dream vacations (real or fictional), the conversation turned to food. While discussing Vancouver’s latest and greatest food scene developments, the team mentioned a Langley food tour that they thought I’d like.
After a bit of a booking fiasco (which tour operator Lise graciously supported me in fixing), my lovely friend Laura and I were set—but not completely sure what to expect.
Two weeks later, armed with umbrellas and waterproof boots, we arrived in a misty Langley. We were booked for a self-led walking tour of Langley’s historic (and Instagram-popular) downtown with Chew On This Tasty Tours. Typically, the Tasty Tours are just that—tasty. But the tour experience we took is a hybrid of the typical food tour combined with a local shopping experience—complete with store discounts, free gifts, tons of lovely conversations, and a whopping NINE stops.
Our tour kicked off at Kooben Cafe for a caffeine and sugar jolt. Life begins after coffee, according to their website—and so does the Tasting and Shopping Tour.
We were greeted by friendly faces and provided with coffee, tea, and two flights of mini cupcakes. Our host emphasized the authenticity of the flavours, mentioning that when they took over the former Frosting Cupcakery, they reworked recipes to include fresh flavours.
They were not wrong—the strawberry icing (made with real strawberries!) was a favourite for both of us. Plus, while we drank our coffees, we got to meet Lise, the owner of the tour company!
The Local Space
From there, we headed out for some shopping. First stop was The Local Space, a quickly-growing chain of gift shops featuring the best local brands for gifts, cards, beauty, health and jewelry. We giggled through the pop culture-inspired greeting cards and I picked up my favourite Garlic Jalapeno hot sauce from Roasters.
Basically next door is Phoenix Rising—a metaphysical emporium offering everything from crystals to incense to tarot cards. They also had an impressive book collection—chakras, astrolog, essential oils, and modern witchery were just a few of the topics. I was about to convince Laura to pose with the wizard outside the shop when we realized we were running late for our next tasting—so we headed out!
Health. Your Life. Our Passion. / Fluid Juice Bar
Nestled inside a health store called Health. Your Life. Our Passion. is Fluid Juice Bar—serving up cold-pressed, organic, fresh juices, in addition to smoothies, smoothie bowls, and healthy food options. We started with a quick browse of the store (where I found Blume’s Matcha blend I’ve been wanting to try!) and then settled into a flight of juices.
We had Sweet Beet, which was beet, celery, orange, and apple—my personal favourite—then a seasonal blend that was very grapefruit forward, and finished with Refresh, a mix of apple, spinach, lemon, and mint.
Revived from our very-healthy flight, we headed out for some more shopping!
Hayloft Vintage Mall
As a former Edmontonian, I’m very familiar with vintage malls. This one felt like you were literally scouring your (very chic) grandma’s attic. But the most notable were the prices! Gorgeous vintage mirrors, Pyrex bowls in perfect condition, and old apple crates for steal prices.
Hayloft is a mall, so each little cubby is a different independent retailer with their own style and offering. Shop local, taken to the next level! We browsed through and I resisted a few baskets and decorative pieces… at least for now.
Friendz Ladies Fashion & Gifts
The next stop was Friendz. Not only did the proprietor chat with us all about how she pivoted during COVID and how she supports local makers, she also had a sweet little gift bag for us!
This Is It!
This Is It is basically my dream shopping experience. It was like a miniature, locally-owned HomeSense—this is the highest compliment I can give! Home decor and kitchen accessories, plus a tiny little year-round Christmas corner.
I came home with a wool felt hot dish mat and some seriously cool Marimekko dinner napkins.
The Passionate Home
Our second-to-last stop was The Passionate Home—a store and experience centre where you can work on your own chalkboard paint project, hire design consults, or just shop for decor, fashion, and beauty products.
We loved the upstairs section where rooms were styled to a truly inspiring farmhouse-chic aesthetic—and loved our little gift bags.
Food by Fanta
Then we bolted through the rain to Fanta. All day, the shopowners were hyping it up and it did not disappoint. Fanta is the latest room from the team behind Ban Chok Dee Fine Thai Cuisine which is just down the street. It’s this narrow, bright and buzzing space, and the team kindly altered the tasting menu to accommodate my veggie pal Laura.
Our tasting plate was seriously divine. We had the Chor Muang Flower Dumplings (which were incredible!), the Bechamel Taro Nachos (cheesy and perfectly crunchy), and a simple salad roll. To drink, the Siam Mojito and the red sangria.
Dinner plans back in Vancouver prevented us from ordering more food—and the drive itself prevented me from finishing my cocktail!
All in all, visiting downtown Langley was an absolute treat. Maybe it’s because we’ve been largely stuck in our homes for the last 18 months, but chatting with the friendly shop owners warmed my extroverted heart. Plus, every establishment was extremely COVID-friendly.
Lise at Chew On This shifted her business during COVID to focus on self-guided tours—and in doing so, she created a social but independent experience that highlights the community and supports small businesses. The value packed into this tour is significant. $50 for four hours of entertainment, ~$15 in savings, $20 in free gifts, and easily $40 worth of food and beverages.
As we wandered, we saw other establishments we’d like to visit—Studio Sashiko, which is known as the place for eyebrows for influencers, the pastel PINKAVO Cafe, and Ban Chok Dee, of course. Plus, as you shop, you get to spot murals throughout the downtown core.
My plan—and it should be yours too!—is to head to Langley to shop for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. And in the spirit of shopping locally and gifting experiences over things, we should all book a few Chew On This Tasty Tours for our loved ones, too.