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Posts Tagged ‘Karaage’

The wait is over. One of the highly anticipated restaurants to open in Vancouver – Afuri ramen + dumpling – has officially opened its doors. The Afuri brand was established in 2001. This is the fourth ramen + dumpling location outside of Japan, first in Canada. Last year we went to Portland and checked out the ramen + izakaya and I was quite excited about the arrival of ramen + dumpling here in Vancouver. Technically the restaurant is in Richmond. It’s where Dazzling Cafe used to be (remember Dazzling Cafe?). I was invited to its media night and previewed some of its menu items.

Afuri ramen + dumpling uses a kiosk system. Meaning, you go up to one of the three kiosks at the restaurant, place your order, grab a number then head back to your table. At the media preview, to my surprise food arrived very quickly so I don’t think it would be a long wait at the table for your food.

Food

Afuri’s signature broth is chicken based. We saw this giant stock pot (apparently there’s only 3 of these pots in Vancouver and here’s one) that holds enough broth to serve 450-500 bowls of ramen. It takes 300lbs of chicken (meat and bones), 3 types of dried fish, konbu seaweed, and fresh vegetables, on a simmer at 90 degrees for 3 hours. They never bring this broth to a boil, to ensure a clear broth in your bowl. It also helps skimming the fat easier. They then add yuzu, a small citrus fruit native to Asia, to give this broth a refreshing taste.

As for noodles, they make them fresh, in house, daily. If you visit them at lunch, you will likely see the machines going, mixing and rolling the dough and cutting the dough into noodles. Will they run out? I was told they would make enough servings everyday and if need be, they can jump in and make some more to meet the demand.

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With different Japanese izakayas popping up around town, it’s been forever since I last visited a Guu location. I remember the Thurlow location was my very first izakaya that I’ve visited in Vancouver and it was such a unique experience: the screaming servers, the exchange of Japanese throughout the room and the long list of small plates that we could order. It was so much fun I took a visiting guest to Guu Garlic after. Now, years later, I’m back.

Food

Guu Garlic’s name came from the extra use of garlic at this particular location, and it still holds true to this day. With my girlfriends, we ordered a number of dishes. First, the Salmon Sashimi didn’t look super fatty at first, but it’s actually quite good. It tasted fresh and did have a bit of the fatty texture.

Salmon Sashimi

And so we had an encore of sashimi. The Assorted Sashimi included salmon, scallops and tuna tataki. Not very many pieces so I’m not sure if it’s the best value, but the scallops were sweet and the tuna tataki was skillfully thinly seared on the outside.

Assorted Sashimi

Funny enough, we also ordered the Tuna Tataki (when a bunch of hungry women blindly ordering food off a menu, there could be a lot of similar items lol). The difference here was that they made it more like a salad by including some greens, ponzu sauce and a generous serving of crispy garlic chips (remember I talked about the use of garlic? Proof #1). I prefer this iteration of tuna tataki, using the slightly acidic ponzu sauce, over the sashimi version with just soy sauce.

Tuna Tataki

The last raw dish was the Yellow Tail Carpaccio. The flavour of yellow tail (hamachi) is quite delicate, so the sauce was a bit too over-powering in my opinion. The garlic chips (Proof #2) and sliced onion were actually a bit sweet (though also a bit spicy) so they did work with this plate.

Yellow Tail Carpaccio

Ebi Mayo is my must-have at all izakayas. (more…)

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Hi Genki is a Japanese restaurant located in the lobby of an old-folks home. It’s not much different than a hospital cafeteria, which is one of the worst possible settings for a restaurant.

Eating Area

If that doesn’t surprise you enough already, there’s usually a line waiting to get seats. That’s right: people line up to eat at a retirement home cafeteria.

The florescent lighting and the uniform layout give off a sterile look. The daily special is hand written, and photocopied and inserted in every menu.

So why do people eat here then? It’s the food, and the value.

What went in

Hi Genki doesn’t serve sushi. It’s an authentic (relatively speaking) Japanese restaurant, primarily serving rice and noodle dishes.

Between the two of us, we had the Spicy Karaage Donburi, the Genki Bento Box, and the Salmon Sashimi.

Spicy Karaage Donburi

The karaage donburi is deep fried chicken served on rice. (more…)

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