Outside of Chinatown, there are quite a few suburban Asian malls that carry goods direct from Asia. No 3 Road in Richmond and The Crystal Mall in Burnaby is lined with several of these malls, which have a different feel than the average Canadian mall. The shop and storefronts are smaller with a more "boutique" atmosphere and they cater to the Asian population, which is why you won't find many non-black haired people around here.
Take the #98 bus to Richmond and get off at any stop between Capstan Way and Landsdowne. For Burnaby, take the SkyTrain to Metrotown station and follow the skywalk into Station Square to the lower level. Cross the parking lot and you'll be diagonally across from Crystal Mall.
What to buy: Not to advertise for anyone in particular, but let's just say there is a large Japanese dollar store in Aberdeen Centre with everything you can think of. What's unique is that Richmond is the *only* place in Canada to find this Japanese dollar store and was the first one opened in North America. These Asian malls would be the place to find Asian brand cosmetics, cute Asian cartoon character items, Asian candy, anime, or anything else you're not likely to find anywhere else. Different Asian grocery stores carry unique items, so look carefully!
The food courts carry all the Asian favourites, like bubble tea, noodle soups, congee, or hard-to-find items and some of the best roasted duck and roasted pork.
What to pay: As much or as little as you want, depends if you're window shopping or wanting to try new things.
This is the NEW Aberdeen Mall in Richmond (municipality south of Vancouver). There was a mall here about 17 years ago but they decided to tear down a perfectly good mall and replace it with a newer one. It has loads of shops catering to primarily an oriental clientelle. Not that anyone is not welcome but be prepared for signs in various languages.
What to buy: The mall's main feature seems to be the $2 Store. It's from a Japanese chain of stores that sells everything for $2. There is no need for price tags. Some things a e a good deal while others are not. So you need to know your prices before you enter.