200 Granville St #70
Hours: 11:30am – 10pm
Phone: (604) 568-3900
Around the Vancouver Convention Center are plenty of eateries. They range from the cheap with Subway to expensive with Miku. This Japanese restaurant is certainly worth the price, and when I was in town for Fan Expo Vancouver, I can finally answer the question of where to go if money is no object. Normally I don’t fall into this trap of hitting those operations in this area. But with Star Wars in my head and a pang of hunger the size of the moon … those lights staring across the street from me from where I stayed had drawn me in like a mosquito to a flame.
Miku has an excellent location to watch the sunset fall and to nibble on the best sushi in Vancouver! The servers are very friendly and were easy to talk to. I asked where they get most of their fish. Unlike Fudo back home, they don’t import as far and wide. They do source from Japan, but the uni I had was British Columbia than from California. I was told by a patron next to me that some of the best are near Santa Monica. We agreed that this place is one of the very best.
4679 Kingsway St,
Hours: 11am to 3:30pm, 5-9:30pm
Phone: (604) 620-4679
… and they are willing to tell noodle lovers one of their recipes “of toppings for nice ramen.” Okay, the grammar is odd, but I suspect the image I took makes up their soup base and this revelation will have many reproduce it at home. I doubt this will work for instant ramen (we have sake for that) but for properly refrigerated noodles, to have that perfect broth defines the experience.
I’m enjoying this freedom to discovery establishments when travel lust hits. James R. Shaw to do his research than take chances. For me, I simply look at a map and either decide or roll a die than to depend on what other people say. I’ll gladly ask afterward, but definitely not before! After a long day checking out Metropolis at Metrotown, I did not want to simply visit the food court. Instead, I walked across the street to sample one of a handful of diners occupying this street block.
Koto Sushi Izakaya
510 Fort St
Phone: (250) 382-1514
Late at night, folks do not have to wait long to get a seat at Koto Sushi Izakaya. Just how they compare to other places depends on what you are wanting to have. I usually go for the sushi rolls, and it was tough to decide on what to get without killing my wallet. Since this place specializes in Izakaya, where you are able to get quick bites (pub-style food), I went for the simple dishes first, hoping they will fill me up. The baked oysters were certainly wonderful, warm and lucid to the tongue. I also ordered deep-fried quail eggs, and could have gone for more. They were the highlight of my meal, given how filling they were over the rest of the items I ordered. The grilled fish was unusual. Sanma is a mackerel which had a distinctively salty taste. It was quite soft and was like eating a sponge cake. The texture took little getting used to, but I found enjoyment after the third piece.
1218 Wharf St,
Phone: (250) 590-7370
When the waitresses at Shima admit Victoria, BC has way too many Japanese restaurants, I have to wonder when some will close up shop out of frustration to get a regular clientele or which operation stands out as the best? I’m sure there’s a list out there which locals has voted on as the best. I can’t say I completely agree either.
This operation has been around since 2010. While I have walked by on many an occasion, the desire to try this place out was limited. The menus on display showed prices were above average and they did not offer anything unique when compared to other operations.
For some reason, James Shaw tagged along. As we both settled in a cozy corner, we both eyed the same item on the menu: a clam miso soup. I had to go for my traditional staples, a sunomono salad (perhaps one of the best I’ve had since the chef did not skimp on the octopus) and a deluxe platter of nigiri. To sum up my buddy’s thoughts on the said soup: you get your money’s worth ($6). Not only are the servers very generous in the serving of this mollusk, but also the aroma had feeling I ordered the wrong starter.
1420 Quadra St #101
Phone: (250) 381-6141
I can’t say Futaba is a favourite restaurant of mine. They did a bit of change in the menu offerings over the years and the overall result is not convincing me by much. The quality is not quite there anymore as another mutual friend pointed out (see below image) and while the meal I had was certainly tastier on the night I visited here with James Shaw, the improvements were minuscule.
These days, this guy still has an opinion about the places we dine together and he always has to express (to me) what he thinks about the place. I tell him to speak to someone else or resume being a bloke. He stupidly looks at me and I always roll my eyes. I really have no clue why I still hang out with him since he can’t separate from when we are hanging out together as pals to when to shut up if we happen to hit an eatery. He knows I can use his words to put into the next food review. He can’t stop me. In that regard, he’s still continuing to be part of this food-zine (or should I say scene?)
The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (VNCS) is active year-round, and in October, their annual fair from last weekend brings the community together — and the curious to learn about the elements of what makes traditional Japan cool. Now in its 18th year, their success lies in how they enrich and entertain the public who do not know much about the Land of the Rising Sun.
For spoiled folks like me who desire more of an academic edge, I’m craving the experience from the University of Victoria’s Pacific and Asian Studies CAPI Conference on Japanese Popular Culture. Two events were held on campus back in the late 90’s and they set the bar. Plus, I visited Japan and experienced the life on the streets that some festivals from afar have no plans to replicate. To sample the unique food from stalls at either a theme park like Fuji-Q Highland Park or at a seasonal event requires travelling back there.
VNCS’ version is quaint. It is worth going to at least once. I’ve been to this event years ago and saw no reason to come back in any regular basis. After James Shaw told me about 2016’s event perhaps offering Ikayaki (squid on a stick), I took a chance at returning. Was he wrong about what he heard? Most likely. This mouth-watering reason was the only reason I trekked out to the Municipality of Esquimalt.