So you’re in Vancouver and wondering where the heck to go for dinner. Well, if you’re an actor guesting on our show, all you have to do is swing by my office and I’ll provide you with a rundown of my favorite local restaurants. From the Japanese hotdog stand serving up Oroshi hotdogs to the latest celebrity chef venture in the heart of downtown, I’ve got you covered. Don’t bother with that list you received from the production office and, for Godsake, don’t ask your hotel for suggestions. When I first came to Vancouver, I made the mistake of asking the concierge at The Sutton Place Hotel to recommend a really good sushi restaurant. He directed to me to one of those places where the sushi selections float by on little boats, endlessly circling the bar like weary Bangkok prostitutes working the floor.
What’s that? You say you’re NOT a visiting actor but nevertheless plan on eating while in Vancouver? And you’d rather not do conveyer belt sushi? Oooh, look at you, all hoity-toity! Well, okay. Here’s a peek at my list of favorites. Just do me a favor. If you check out any of them, report back. Oh, and while you’re in town, DO ask your concierge for a good recommendation and report back on that too. I’d love to hear what they come up with.
Check out the list, then check out the mini mailbag.  Today’s entry is dedicated to a hopefully-on-the-mend-soon Sessy.





Japa Dog: A hot dog stand with a Japanese twist.  Located on the corner of Burrard and Haro, steps away from The Sutton Place Hotel, it offers – in addition to the more typical Bavarian smokies and bratwurst – turkey smokies with miso sauce, Kaiware, and Japanese mayo, and okonomiyaki-flavor kurobuta dogs.

Memphis Blues Barbecue House: 1465 West Broadway (604-738-6806)
For a taste of almost everything on the menu, try the Memphis Feast.  Finish with the pecan pie a la mode.


Long’s Noodle House: 4853 Main Street (604-879-7879)
Tiny, hole-in-the-wall, family-run restaurant.  Try the wine chicken (best in the city) steamed dumplings, pig pot (pork shank served on a bed of spinach), or the house meatballs (with egg-yolk centers).  *Cash only.  They don’t take credit cards.

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant: 3711 No. 3 Road, Richmond, Vancouver (604-232-0816)
A little out of the way and pricey, but you won’t find a better top quality Chinese restaurant.  The house chicken is to die for. 

Sha-lin Noodle House: 548 West Broadway (604-873-1816)
Casual and inexpensive handmade noodles (you can actually watch them being made).  Try: the curried dragging noodles with barbecue pork, and the spicy cumin lamb.

Sun Sui Wah: 3888 Main  (604-872-8822)
Great dim sum.  Excellent: Lobster with Ginger and Green Onions, Peking Duck, Braised Abalone.


Rekados Grill: 4063 Main Street, Tel: 604-873-3133
Filipino food at its rib-sticking best. Check out the crispy pata (pork hocks) or the sizzling sisig (crispy pig ear).  And, for dessert, the cheddar corn ice cream that tastes a lot better than it sounds.   


Bistrot Bistro: 1961 West 4th Avenue, Tel: 604-732-0004
Rustic French country fare.  If it’s on the menu, try the duck confit mac and cheese.

DB Bistro:  2551 West Broadway (604) 739-7115
The Bistro is Daniel Boulud’s recent entry into the Vancouver restaurant scene.  Nice, warm atmosphere.  Try the handmade orechiette pasta.

La Regalade: West Van (604-921-2228)
Rustic French cuisine served in earthenware pots.  Huge portions.  Excellent.  Try the pear/goat cheese tart appetizer.

Le Crocodile: 100 – 909 Burrard (604) 669-4298
This restaurant has been serving upscale traditional French cuisine for over 20 years.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try the oven-roasted beef bone marrow or the pan-seared sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms.

Lumiere:  2551 West Broadway (604) 739-7115
Boulud’s team now runs the kitchen in Vancouver’s celebrated high-end Lumiere.  I haven’t been since the changeover but I’ve heard the food is excellent.  Choose from three set menus: prix fixe, chef’s, or vegetarian.


Rangoli: 1488 W. 11th Ave. (604-736-5711)
Vij’s more casual sister restaurant.  Try the Savory Chaat and the mutton kebabs.

Vij’s: 1480 W. 11th Ave. (604-736-6664)
Inventive Indian cuisine and one of the city‘s best.  Try the lamb Popsicles, short ribs, and the mutton kebabs.  Get there early though as the restaurant doesn’t take reservations.  Last time Harrison Ford was in town, even he had to wait.


Don Francesco Ristorante: 860 Burrard Street(604 685-7770)
Right across from the Sutton Hotel.  In addition to great standard Italian dishes, they have an excellent wild game selection that includes terrific grilled quail, venison, pheasant, and partridge.  THE dish to get, however, is the Squash Agnolotti with black truffle butter.  It’s listed as a main but you can ask them to serve it as an appetizer.  In fact, should you have any requests (ie. mixing and matching pasta and sauces) just ask them.  They’ll be happy to oblige.

Quattro: 2611 W. 4th  (604-734-4444)
Great beef carpaccio and an excellent antipasto platter.  Galetto (Cornish game hen), Spaghetti Quattro (black bean, garlic, and oil), and the House Tiramisu are excellent.

Villa del Lupo: 869 Hamilton St (604) 688-7436
Grand Italian.  If you want privacy, call ahead and book the wine cellar.


Aki: 745 Thurlow (604-682-4032)
Mix of modern and traditional.  Best Dynamite Rolls in town.  Also check out the Katsu Curry, Butter Beef, and Live Uni

Tojo’s Restaurant:   1133 W Broadway (604-872-8050)
Upscale sushi and Japanese dishes.  The place is expensive but offers the best sushi in town.  Excellent bluefin tuna and live uni in season.  Get: the dynamite hand cone, spider roll, tuna tataki nigiri, and Tojo’ tuna, and Canadian sablefish.

Yuji’s Japanese Tapas: 2059 W. Fourth Ave (604-734-4990)
More casual than Tojo’s and the emphasis here is less on the sushi and more on the creative small plates: meguro avocado crepes, isobe, spicy curry calamari, deep-fried spicy tuna rolls, and the green tea creme brulee.

Zakkushi: 1833 W. 4th (604-730-9844)
Don’t go expecting sushi.  This place serves some of the best robata in the city.  Tiny, but very authentic fare.  In addition to the great grill items, check out the homemade tofu. 


The Seoul House: 36 East Broadway (604-874-4131)
Barbecue your own meal on tabletop grills.  Try: the premium cut short ribs.


Cobre: 52 Powell Street604-669-2396
Actually, Nuevo Latino Cuisine.  Among the offerings: Patagonia battered Baja rockfish with chipotle ajo aioli, and Indian candied salmon tamale with green apple jalapeno jelly and platan. 


Banana Leaf: 820 W. Broadway (604-731-6333)
Great seafood.  Try the Black Pepper/Garlic Cracked Crab.


Boneta: 1 West Cordova (604) 684-1844
French-Italian fusion.  Located in the city’s Gastown area, it’s very popular.

Fuel Restaurant: 1944 West 4th Ave., 604-288 7905
Focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients.  Pacific Northwestern.  Rather than ordering from the menu, leave it up to the chef and go with a multi-course menu.  Request that they include the crispy duck (the restaurant’s specialty).  They’ll happily accommodate anyone with specific dietary restrictions.  They’ll take very good care of you.

Market: 1115 Alberni Street Tel: (604) 689-1120 
Just opened in the brand new Shangri-la Hotel, this is international super chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Vancouver venture.  And it’s fantastic.  Be sure to check out the Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna appetizer and Soy-Glazed Short Ribs for your main course.

2881 Granville (604-738-8939)
Very inventive, upscale regional cuisine.  Named one of the top ten restaurants in the world by the UK Sunday Independent.


Au Petite Café: 4861 Main St. (604-873-3328)
Inexpensive Vietnamese.  Closed Wednesdays and evenings after 7:00 p.m.  Try: the pho, and the Vietnamese sandwiches.  *Cash only.  They don’t take credit cards.

Thai Son Vietnamese: 373 E. Broadway, Tel: 604-875-6436
It don’t get much more hole-the-wall than this place.  Serves up great pho, grilled lemongrass chicken, and, evenings, a seafood crepe that’s worth checking out.

Ytimyona writes: “Haha I was gonna say I was surprised that Window of Opportunity and Ripple Effect aren’t your favorites, but I see I’ve already been beaten to the punch!”Answer: They’re certainly in my top 5, along with Morpheus (loved Vala’s psychiatric evaluation).

FatherCrow writes: “Why do all these writer guys seem to have an absence of hair? Is that a prerequisite of being a writer Joe?”

Answer: Untrue. Check out fantasy author extraordinaire Joe Abercrombie’s ( full head of hair, the envy of every Nebula and Hugo nominee.  Also, while you’re there, weigh in with your thoughts on the cover art of his forthcoming book, Best Served Cold:

AMZ writes: “In response to your response to Michelle about why you pick actors, I have to ask: by picking “the best actor” do you mean their abilities, presence etc? And do looks have a lot, or not-so-much to do with the decision?”

Answer: Again, it really comes down to the performance. You can have to equally skilled actors but one may offer a different take on the character that a producer may more readily respond to. Also, as writers, we tend to have an image of what the character looks like in our heads so, yes, appearance does enter into it as well.

Toomi writes: “When there’s various writers creating characters how difficult is it to get a balance between what everyone wants? How much fun is it to come up with each characters quirks and idiosyncrasies? Not asking for specifics but has there been a disagreement over a character in SGA, SG-1 or SGU where two opinions from both ends of the spectrum and no one would budge?”

Answer: My approach is to roll the dice. Take chances with the characters (which is what I’m doing in my first SGU script). But don’t fall in love with anything. At the end of the day, Brad and Rob, the show’s creators, will have the final say.

47 thoughts on “February 6, 2009: The Secret Vancouver Restaurant List…and The Mailbag

  1. Joe, has there been any word on the ratings for ‘Vegas’ and ‘EATG’?


  2. 1. you list American and other ethnic/nationalities of food. why no Canadian? is there such a thing as Canadian food, distinct from America and the UK and France?

    2. what’s your take on White Spot? My mother was a dishwasher there in the 1940’s. When i visit, I always make sure to dine there at least once. I was in Van about 14 months ago and went to White Spot and was quite surprised at the change they have made to the look and style of the chain. Would you consider the White Spot a uniquely Canadian Restaurant based on its food?

  3. Thank you for the list.
    I have had an heart dropping, gut wrenching week and your daily blog, insight and humor has made me smile.


  4. I love Banana Leaf! The 1st time I ate there I got sick the next day and thought maybe I had food poisoning. But in the end it wasn’t from food at Banana Leaf. Pfew. Turns out my appendix hated me and it needed to be removed. So thumbs up for Banana Leaf!

  5. @ Bailey – 😆 Yeah…it had me doing a double-take, too. I wish I had asked a question that’s been on my mind, and who knows when the next mailbag will pop up, let alone twice. 😉

    @ Sessy – {{{hugs}}} Sorry to hear about your not-so-great news from the surgeon. I certainly don’t blame you for digging into the cake! But…ya know…after you do, look around here for some inspiration. Sometimes we lose one thing, and gain another…

    I know couple folks here who would agree.

    @ Joe – Are you familiar with Brian Michael Bendis’ comic Powers??

    Just heard Bendis confirmed at NYCC that a Powers pilot is in development for FX. Kinda cool. 🙂


  6. Okay, that casting question got me thinking again…

    How flexible are the ages you’re looking for when casting. For example, if you’ve got a character who’s supposed to be 20-25, would you look at actors in their 30’s if they had other qualities you were looking for? And if you did so, and cast one of them, would you then adjust certain elements of the character around them? If so, to what extent? If you had planned a future relationship between that character and another, and now the age difference between them was wider than originally planned, would you rethink that future plot development? I recall hearing something about how a couple of the Lost characters were changed quite a bit based on the actors they cast, and I was wondering how common that was.

  7. Joe you anwered their questions twice. You don’t answer my questions at all. Whats with that? Why don’t you ever answer my questions? Do you hate me? Do you have a list sitting by your computer that says “Never Answer These Jerk’s Questions”? Is my name on that list? Do I have to ask everyday (like lcshepp just did)? Well, can I try again? . . . When is the SciFi Channel going to start re-running SGA’s 5th season? PS: I will not stop until you answer this question – sorry all you readers out there! Its Irish vs Italian. Who is more stubborn?

    Well, as least someone out there loves me. I just got my very first EVER spam!!! I was wondering why I never got cool spam like Baron Destructo gets.

    It was from Lady Sandra Cole. (maybe Baron knows her?) “I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you”. She is married to a dead Pilot. She has 9 Million Pounds Sterling with a security company in the U.K. (how much money is that?) “My Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems I am suffering from.” . . . “I have decided to donate this fund to you.” . . . I am to use this gift for “widows, widowers, orphans, destitute, the down trodden, physically challenged children, barren women and those genuinely handicapped financially”. Oh crap! I don’t want it if I have to spend it that way! I need shoes, a new purse, summer clothes, etc. Just forget it! I hit the delete button. Maybe I should have forwarded it to Baron Destructo?

  8. And, for dessert, the cheddar corn ice cream that sounds a lot better than it tastes.

    And yet you’re recommending it??? Or did you mean the reverse?

    It’s just hit 45 degrees Celcius here, I could go some ice cream. Oh, wait – I have more alcoholic mango smoothie in the fridge!!!

  9. i have a question. : are Eli Wallace, Matt Scott, Ronald Greer, Chloe and Tamara Going to be the only 25 to 30 years old or are there going to be more?

  10. Ponytail,

    I don’t think that the Sci-Fi channel is going to re-run Season 5 of Atlantis. Your best bet would be to either purchase it on DVD or iTunes or to wait until Fox starts to re-run Season 5, which may not be until Sep 2009 or so.

    The Gateworld website has the schedule for the upcoming Stargate Atlantis and SG-1 reruns, and the Sci-Fi website contains their complete upcoming schedule for the current and next months.

    Like you, I wish that Sci-Fi would treat Atlantis and BSG like regular network shows and run their seasons from Oct to Mar and then from Apr to Sep, but they want to keep new shows running continually on Friday nights.


    Do we have a schedule of directors for Season 1 of Universe yet?

    Thanks in Advance


  11. Hurrah for me! I’m once again a citizen of the US. Well, ok, I didnt stop being a citizen, but for awhile there I lacked the means to prove it. Which is annoying, because DMV won’t issue me a new liscence until I can. Fortunately, my passport came in so I once more can prove I’m me.
    Sorry, but it’s been a strange week. many many thanks for publishing your restaurant list. It’s increasingly likely I’ll get the opportunity to check out at least Fuel, and if time and funds permit, a couple of other of your recommendations.
    A final note. It turns out I’m dog sitting for the next month or so. Any ideas on what to do with a dog that snores louder than I do? Any advice is appreciated.

  12. Joe,

    Thanks for all the recs. I’ll be in Vancouver in April and I’ll keep these in mind. By the way, is there any good poutine to be had in Vancouver? I had it once two years ago and I’m due.



  13. Jim Stiles – Thank you, that makes sense. I don’t go to Gateworld very often and swore off the Sci Fi website after the cancellation notice. They lost my interest. I’ll wait for the DVD coming out this summer. Very excitedly waiting.

    Joe, why can’t you be more like Jim Stiles? He’s nice! (I’m just playing with you Joe. Take me off your “Jerk” list.)

  14. Daniel Boulud’s “Daniel” in NYC is one of my all-time favorites. If Lumiere and DB Bistro are anything like it, you’re in for a treat! The desserts, OMG. To anyone going, definitely splurge, you won’t be sorry! Have a good weekend everybody, and to everybody’s that not well, GET WELL SOON, please!

  15. Hey Joe.

    I was just wondering if, as a writer of the show, are you allowed to browse forums, fanfic, etc? Or are you not allowed in case someone accuses you of stealing their idea?

    Also, thanks for the restaurant list!


  16. Hey Joe, thanks for your thoughts on casting. I really admire that you seem to place more emphasis on skills than looks (correct me if I’m wrong here, that’s the impression I got). I’ve always thought if the actor can bring something different to a role, something surprising but exciting, then that should play a part in who’s cast. Here it really is more about looks, even at the call-back stage.

    So, when a casting call is first put out what kind of things do you list? Does height, build, age, previous work come into it, or other things?

    Any chance you know of some good agents I could check out (please)?

    Great restaurant list, you really know the Vancouver dining scene. When my sister and I head to Vancouver next year I’ll definitely be checking some of them out and reporting back with my thoughts!


  17. Joe Thank Fondy for me!!!!

    I had a bird crap on me today so I bought a lotto ticket. I got 4 of the 5 numbers. I find out how much I’ve won tomorrow morning.

  18. Morpheus was my first episode ever, thus it will always have a special place in my heart!

    Thanks for the restaurant list. It will most definitely come in handy if I ever actually get to go to Vancouver for the Olympics (I looked into getting tickets and such but the info packet I requested hasn’t been sent yet) next year!

    Still anxiously awaiting the announcement of the actresses who will get to be in SGU! I can’t wait (I dunno why, but this has me very excited for some reason…)!!!

  19. Hi Joe:

    With the discussion about Christian Bale’s behaviour, and some things that have happened to me and to a friend recently, could you share how you would deal with a first class A-hole who insists on being nasty at every turn and blaming you for what ever goes wrong in their day?


    Patricia (AG)

  20. Hey Joe I just finished looking at the VA Lottery page and it looks like I won $150. That’s almost a whole weeks worth of pay. If Fondy wants half though I can send it to her. I would not have baught the ticket if she had not teased you about the whole bird crap thing.

  21. @Arctic Goddess. I was married to a first class A-hole who did exactly that, I ended up agreeing with him absolutely and oh so sweetly then I divorced the SOB.alternatively if its a boss at work I’d imagine them standing there in the nude and try hard not to wet myself laughing. sorry I can’t be more help I’m sure you’ll find your own way of dealing with them, I feel sorry for people like that because their own lives are so obviously sadly lacking that they have to make everyone else’s lives miserable.

    Well Joe I’ve decided to treat myself once a month and find somewhere nice to eat out…*looks in local phone directory and decides to make picnics instead*

    Congrats to suziesbluefeather. enjoy your win.

  22. Ooooo great restaurant list!!…..lots of those for me and the old man to try out on our next visit to Vancouver…..small “claim to fame” here – Warren Geraghty from “West” was on the next table to me at the Bluewater Cafe when we dined there last summer….he was working his way through a 10 course taster menu I think…..

    I was certainly surprised to hear another English accent coming from only a couple of feet away from me and then our waiter explained who he was….I then tried not to be too nosey and listen in on the conversation, but the poor bloke kept being interrupted during his meal by many people going up to the table and talking to him….

    Now I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes I have to pick and choose my restaurants wisely….those with the freshest and best quality ingredients are top of my list to go to and some of your recs sound absolutely perfect for that!..and there can never be too much seafood where Vancouver and the Pacific West Coast is concerned imho!!

    Deeds xx

  23. Bonjour Joseph =)

    Waaouuuu O_O quel liste! lol cela se voit que vous avez de l’expérience en la matiére ^^. Je vais garder cette liste qu”en même, on ne sais jamais, peut être qu’un jour j’aurai la chance d’aller à Vancouver=)

    Passer une trés bonne journée! Bisou

  24. Hi Joe,

    Bale apologized and he seemed sincere, I guess he blamed it on himself for not being able to do what he wanted with the role and there was a little bit of john conner in him. I just dont like to judge people based on some leaked thing that is out of context and it wasnt the worst thing, the only reason it became a hit was because Bale was so eloquent in his tirade 🙂 and no that wasnt sarcasm, my tirades suck compared to his.
    anyway, do you ever notice that on a stargate set, where actors start imitating the characters they’re playing when not filming? or do they know exactly when to switch it on and off?

  25. What, there is no decent German restaurant in Vancouver? I think I’ll have to move there and start one, it seems to be a market gap. After all, there’s more to our fare than sausage and – ahem – sauerkraut.
    Nah. I won’t start torturing unsuspecting Canadians with käsespätzle or blutwurst.
    So, thank you for that list! I seriously plan on visiting a cousin of mine who’s teaching at UBC; now I know where to invite him and his family out to dinner while I’m there.

  26. Hey there Mr M!

    Greetings from a Sunny Tipperary!

    Am working on a Saturday Morning…with one their Imperial Majesties (my daughter) in tow.

    This is her first time looking at your blog. She knows you as :

    (1) The guy whose name appears after Atlantis is over
    (2) The guy whose mother’s recipe is stuck on the front of the cooking press (Friendship Cake)
    (3) The guy who had dinner with Dad in Vancouver last year

    Anyhow, Hazel just wanted to say “HELLO” (her capitals)

    Have printed off the restaurant list for some future visit.

    Best to all


  27. That Abercrombie fellow clearly is trying to hide a receding hairline *g* – and I think his cover is terrible. Wouldn’t make me want to buy his book. Perhaps that’s what he is going for.

  28. Thanks. I’ll be okay really, I’ve got my mind set to get fully well and I tend to get what I sent my mind to. I was just a little taken aback by the news yesterday.

    So is there any dining place in Vancouver you haven’t visited yet? If so, why?

  29. Do you watch, or have you watched The Flight of The Conchords?
    You should check it out if you haven’t already. It’s a great show on HBO, very different.

  30. It pleases me to no end to see Vancouver has a reccomendable BBQ joint.

    @vo fan: I daresay it would be hard to define even American food without using examples that were either taken directly from another culture (pizza, hamburgers) or are the result of some fusion (soul food; southern cooking in general). I reckon Canadian is the same sort of thing, only with a heavier influence from the French.

  31. Joe, thanks for the restaurant list! I have a feeling it will come in handy over the next few months as I play host to many visitors to the fair city. (I think I have 2-3 people minimum that I get to play ‘tour guide’ for.)

    Though I noticed a couple of your phone number entries mysteriously got cut off on the end by emoticons:

    La Regalade: West Van (604-921-222 8)


    Au Petite Café: 4861 Main St. (604-873-332 8)

  32. Whenever we have conferences with out-of-country visitors, we always send them to Pair Bistro ( on the corner of 10th & Alma (just a few doors up from White Dwarf Books). Next time you find yourself out by campus at the end of the day, check it out. I’d classify it as Canadian Food, west-coast style (elk, not poutine).

    The decor is classic PNW native art without being overwhelming or cheesy, and the food is absolutely the best I’ve found on a student budget (excepting Fuel’s summer brunch specials). I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to replicate their mushroom lattes for about two years now.

  33. Thanks kindly for the list of restaurants, Joe. I’ll definitely be checking some of those out when I’m up there for the convention in April, especially the Korean place. Man, it’s been entirely too long since I’ve had good bulgogi and kimchee!

    By the way, would you mind putting a bit of good news for ‘Gate fans in your blog? Quantum Mechanix (QMX) is putting out a line of replica ships from the Stargate franchise, the first of which is a replica of the F-302. I remember seeing a few other folks who respond to your blog being interested in replica/model ships when I mentioned it some time ago and I thought I would share the great news!

  34. Thanks for giving us the list, i will try to visit one of them next time i am in the area(even though i dont come up often)

  35. @shadowstep. Had you read the article re:Abercrombie’s book cover you’d have found that the choice of cover is not up to him though he has been allowed some input he unfortunately has to abide by others’ final decisions. It wouldn’t matter what the cover looked like to me having read (and purchased) his First Law trilogy I’d happily buy anything with hi name on.

  36. I hope the Aussie fans here are safe and sound from the bushfires we’ve been having. Just wanted to let everyone know I’m OK, I live south of the Kinglake one, probably over an hour away. Narelle, are you OK?

    Thinking of everyone caught up in it. Utterly devastating.


  37. I decided last night, with firm determination, that I will write a spec script. I think I shall write three. One for a dramatic show, one for a comedic show, and one for a science fiction program.

    I have a question but I fear you’ve already answered it somewhere down the line. (What search function on wordpress?)

    To whom, exactly, am I sending these spec scripts?

    And what advice is there (websites, books, your own experience) for people like me who assume that they are good writers, have a love of television that spans from infant to adulthood, and have, otherwise, no experience despite one broadcast writing class in community college under their belt?

    Dear Vancouver,

    What’s your deal? Why are you so far away? I want good food.



  38. Cool to see the fabled restaurant list, but I’ve still got the “Sushi Prostitutes” image stuck in my head. “Sushi Prostitutes” sounds like a 70’s martial arts movie about two female cops who go undercover to bust a prostitution ring. It writes itself, man.

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