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Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

Hello Nori opened its first location on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver earlier this year. They specialize in sushi hand rolls (temaki). It became popular very quickly, with line ups at the door. Since I’ve been almost a hermit during the pandemic, I haven’t ventured out downtown for a number of months. Finally last month with a nudge from my friend CC, we went to check it out.

Hello Nori has a rather small menu, which isn’t a bad thing, keeping it focused and making food prep easier. They have a few set menus or you can order a la carte. They may also have a couple of featured items on the “fresh sheet”, which were ikura and futomaki when I went. While their set menus offer decent selections and a great sample of their hand rolls, I opted for a la carte because I had my eyes on the unagi hand roll.

Food

Toro – which is their version of a Negitoro (toro with green onion) – there’s nothing spectacular about it but it’s flavourful.

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There are so many options in Greater Vancouver for craft beer lovers to find amazing food and beer pairings. You are probably familiar with gastropubs and bars such as Alibi Room, St. Augustine’s and O’Hare’s. If you are looking for a date night idea, or to try something different while still being able to enjoy a pint or two, I’ve put together a list of 8 restaurants ranging from Lebanese to pan-Asian cuisine, to Italian favourites and hidden gem fine-dining.

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For the last couple of years, the dynamics of Vancouver’s restaurant sector have shifted. More commissary kitchens have opened, some restaurateurs have closed their brick and mortar to switch to a ghost kitchen concept, some aspired restaurateurs and bakers are testing the water without a brick and mortar. It’s relatively lower-cost to run a restaurant operation without the investment of a physical location with equipment, tables & chairs, dishware and decorations, and everything else. It’s especially appealing during the COVID-19 crisis now when a majority of business comes from take-out or delivery orders.

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Coho Commissary

Earlier in the year, Takenaka opened its door, figuratively speaking, by offering different types of Japanese bento boxes. It operates in one of the Coho Commissary locations in Vancouver. Their concept is inspired by the traditional bento boxes created by mom, while introducing a more artistic approach and bringing in fresh and interesting ingredients. The owner/chef Shogo Takenaka came from Kingyo Izakaya and its sister restaurant Raisu. Sous-chef Daiki Ishikawa was trained in Niigata prefecture, known for its finest quality in rice, sake and seafood. I was provided a few of their menu items for a tasting.

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Food

Among the items I received, right away my eyes were drawn to the Kaiseki Bento.

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Despite the COVID-19 crisis, new restaurants continued to open up in the Burquitlam area, including one I was really excited about. Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, an international chain originated from Japan. You may have been to their other location downtown on Seymour Street. I did, and every time I walked away with a belly full of carbs and I didn’t regret it one bit. Opening their second location in Burquitlam means it’s much closer to home and more accessible to me. Even though dine-in service was not available at the time, I had to order take-out from them to support.

Note: This is a review of a take-out order during COVID-19. Since restaurants are operating under different circumstances, menu items and dining experiences may be different.

Food

Kokoro specializes something called mazesoba. It’s a dry noodle dish using fresh multi-grain noodle that is somewhere between ramen and udon. Kokoro makes these noodles fresh in-house. Most of their mazesoba bowls come with spicy minced pork and a combination of toppings such as minced garlic, green onions, seaweed flakes, and ground saba fish. A lot of those also come with a raw egg yolk, but for take out it’s been replaced by half soft boiled egg. To enjoy the noodle bowls, you stir everything together thoroughly. In fact, when you dine in, you could order a scoop of rice at the end of your meal to ensure you pick up every last bit of sauce.

 

For the four of us, we ordered one bowl each, including three different mazesoba bowls and one rice bowl to add variety, and a chicken karaage for appy. (more…)

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Recently, a famous Japanese tendon franchise — Kaneko Hannosuke — opened its first Canadian location in Vancouver. Tendon is the Japanese name for tempura rice bowl.

Their menu is simple: Premium, Special or Regular Tempura Bowl. All three bowls come with the following tempura — shrimp, kakiage (mixed seafood), soft boiled egg, seaweed and green bean. Premium includes a big piece of conger eel; Special with white fish; and Regular has mushroom. They have a Kid size for good measure, with tempura shrimp, pumpkin, soft boiled egg, seaweed and green bean.

I took Mama Lam and Papa Lam there on a Monday morning. (more…)

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