There are more than 300 Chinese restaurants in the Vancouver area, but that doesn't mean you can just grab a stool or a table. The top restaurants have...

There are more than 300 Chinese restaurants in the Vancouver area, but that doesn’t mean you can just grab a stool or a table. The top restaurants have lines that often extend outside.

Some hints on how to avoid the crowds:

When to go

Dining on dim sum is a popular family event on weekends, so you might want to aim for times other than noon on weekends — especially Sundays — when you can expect a wait of up to an hour at popular places. Many dim-sum establishments take reservations, though that doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a long wait.

Go after 1 p.m. on weekends to avoid a wait, or even better, go before 11 a.m., when many restaurants offer discounts.

Sun Sui Wah

Seafood Restaurant

It’s sometimes difficult to get a table here on Friday and Saturday nights, since many companies and families book parties. Make reservations as soon as possible, or eat around 5 p.m. or after 9 when there is less competition for tables.

Sha-Lin

Noodle Restaurant

People are drawn to this Northern Chinese-style restaurant because it makes its noodle dough behind a glass window for public viewing. Eat lunch at 1:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 to avoid a madhouse.

Congee Noodle House

This is a popular weekend breakfast and brunch hangout for cheap food. You may have to wait 20 minutes to land a table. But tell the hostess you want to share a table, and chances are good you will be seated within 10 minutes. This noodle house has nearly 300 items and three menus, so save yourself time and scan the menu while you wait.

— Tan Vinh