3 Stand-Out Sushi Restaurants In Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada, is filled with restaurants serving Asian cuisine, especially sushi. With hundreds of these types of venues sprawled across the city, it can be difficult to choose where to go. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, try one of these stand-out sushi restaurants in Vancouver.

Let’s Roll
104-1184 Denman Street

Located in Vancouver’s West End, Let’s Roll allows sushi lovers to make their own rolls. The process takes five steps. First, choose whether you want traditional seaweed or modern soy as your wrap. Next, decide between white, green or mixed grain rice. Once this is done, you’re on to the best part: stuffing your roll. You can choose two vegetables and two meats from a colorful showcase of items like salmon, tuna, avocado, prawn tempura, crab, beef, cucumber, spinach and more. Then, it’s time to select two toppings from conventional choices like fake crab and tempura flakes or unusual items like potato chips. When you’re finished, pick your sauces and you’re good to go. Remember, this isn’t traditional Japanese style, and the rolls you’ll make are huge. That being said, all ingredients are fresh, it’s fun and you’ll get exactly what you want.The Eatery
3431 West Broadway

The Eatery is unofficially Vancouver’s funkiest sushi restaurant. Located in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver, it’s been serving quirky Japanese fare since 1983. Signs reading “Funky Sushi” and an Astro Boy logo adorn the facade, while inside electronic music fills the air. The main attraction on the quirky cartoon-covered menu is the innovative rolls, although there are traditional-style options for those who want them. Some interesting fare includes the “Miss Piggy Roll,” which has bacon, scallops, asparagus, roe and unagi sauce, the “Found Nemo” roll, with crab tempura, asparagus and avocado wrapped with seared salmon or the “Volcano” roll, which has salmon, tuna, scallops and avocado on a bed of spicy crab meat. Expect fun roll names like “Erotica Roll,” “Italian Stallion” and the “S&S Roll,” as this is one of the sexiest sushi venues in Vancouver. You can also go here for a fun night out, as it’s more of an eclectic restaurant and bar then a quick sushi stop.

Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro
572 Davie Street

Although you’ll find a plethora of sushi restaurants in Vancouver, most of them are quickly churning out rolls without thinking about quality or fresh ingredients. That’s where Yaletown’s Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro differs. I’m a big sushi fan, and I found this place by asking numerous chefs, managers and wait staff at local restaurants where I could get the best sushi in the city. It was almost unanimous that Juno was the best. This place employs serious Japanese chefs who are committed to making the highest quality sushi rolls possible. My main reason for recommending Juno is they’re also sustainable. Ingredients include wild seafood, natural beef, free range chicken and heritage KUROBUTA pork, all locally-sourced from British Columbia farms. This is also a good place to try local libations, as Juno serves sakes from the Granville Island Artisan Sake Maker and BC “Vintners Quality Alliance” (VQA) wines.

[Image via Shutterstock]

Reducing Your Slavery Footprint

Despite my awareness of sweatshops, I was shocked while flipping through the July issue of Marie Clare on a recent flight, when I came across an article entitled, “What’s Your Slavery Footprint?”

According to slaveryfootprint.org, (which is backed by the U.S. State Department), there are up to 27 million slaves worldwide, many of whom work in the mining and agriculture industries. The result? A lot of our everyday household goods, including shoes, cosmetics, and toiletries, raw materials for cars, and the seafood industry utilize slave labor.

Some of the worst offenders include China, parts of Southeast Asia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (definition: irony) and India. You can actually add up the “slave footprint” in your home by utilizing the website, or by downloading its “Free World” app, which also enables you to send letters of protest to major chain stores known to use products made with slave labor. You can also make donations to Slavery Footprint to help enslaved workers.

As Alison Kiehl Friedman, deputy director of the U.S. State Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, says in Marie Claire, “[businesses] should be transparent in their practices.” We all need to pick our battles when it comes to purchasing power, but it’s fascinating, as well as chilling, to find out just how much of what we own is made using forced labor. Knickknacks for thought.

[Photo credit: Flickr user stevendepolo]

Five classic Chilean foods

Chilean food doesn’t have the glamour and romance of the cuisine of its neighbor, Argentina, nor the complexity and exotic Japanese influences bestowed upon the contemporary dishes of its other neighbor, Peru. I just returned from my second visit to Chile, where in between consuming epic quantities of manjar (dulce de leche) and pisco sours, I found more substantial food to love.

Chilean food is of humble origins; a combination of indigenous influence, simple technique, and hearty, regional ingredients designed to sustain and nourish the body despite limited means and harsh climate. Today, Santiago is a glossy, metropolitan capital of seven million, and there’s no shortage of high-end dining with regard to various cuisines. But travel beyond the city limits, and you’ll see tweaks on Chilean specialties depending upon what part of the country you’re visiting.

Northern Chile is largely high-altitude desert, while Central and Southern Chile have more of a focus on seafood. The following is a very simplified list, but they’re five of the most classic dishes to be found throughout the country.Try them for a taste of Chilean culture and history.

1. Empanadas
Not to be confused with the Argentinean variety, which are essentially a culture within a culture, the Chilean empanada is usually baked, larger and flatter in composition (either crescents or rectangular in shape), and less varied in variety. But what’s not to love about a tender, flaky pocket of dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef, hardboiled egg, and olive; roasted vegetables, or melted, stringy cheese? Not much. Find them at panaderias, shops, markets, or restaurants offering “comida typica.”

2. Curanto
This is a specialty of the lovely island and archipelago of Chiloe in Chilean Patagonia’s Lake District. Curanto is a shellfish, potato flatbread, and meat bake believed to have been inspired by Polynesian luau via Easter Island (Rapa Nui). It’s traditionally cooked in a pit that is covered with seaweed or the leaves of nalca, an indigenous plant related to rhubarb. The potato flatbreads, milcao, and chapalele (the latter flavored with pork cracklings), are delicious street foods in their own right that can be found in coastal towns throughout this region. A curanto is a must-see if you’re visiting Chiloe.3. Pastel de choclo
Sort of an indigenous shepherd’s pie, this comforting dish is composed of ground corn (choclo) mixed with hard-boiled egg, olive, and usually ground beef and/or chicken. It’s baked and served in an earthenware bowl called a paila, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

4. Caldillo de Congrio
Okay, I confess that I have a particular dislike for the congrio, or conger eel, which is an obsession in Chile. It’s not that it’s bad; I just don’t care for most fish as a rule (for the record, it’s fairly mild, white, firm, and rather dry and flaky). But I would be remiss to not include it, because it’s such a classic. Whether fried or served in a caldillo, or brothy soup seasoned with cilantro, carrots, potato, and fish stock, it’s hearty, rustic, and very representative of Chile’s culture of subsistence and commercial fishermen.

5. Chupe
This is a somewhat generic term for a creamy seafood stew enriched with milk or cream. Depending upon where you are (or what country you’re in, because it’s also found in Peru and Bolivia), chupe might contain shrimp (thus, it would be called chupe de camarones), fish, chicken, beef, or lamb. It also contains vegetables, potatoes or yuca, and tomato, but the magic is in the addition of merquen, an indigenous (via the Mapuche people) spice mixture made with smoked, powdered cacho de cabra chili. The end result is fragrant, complex, and delicious.

[Photo credits: Laurel Miller]

10 Waterside seafood destinations in the U.S. and Canada

With the Independence Day holiday coming up this week, many Americans will be hitting the beaches to celebrate the nation’s birthday. What’s on the menu will definitely be on the list of things to plan. So Cheapflights.com made up a list to feature the best of the best locations for lobster, crab, oysters and other melt-in-your-mouth delicacies with its list of Top Ten Seafood Destinations.

Georgetown, Maine

Maine is synonymous with lobster – and for good reason. Long before the clawed crustacean ascended from being considered fit only for a state prisoner to a delicacy paid for at a premium by the pound, hearty lobstermen were plying their trade along the rocky coast. No place represents this history better …

Photo of the day – Walk this way in Malaysia


Photo of the Day is from Malacca, Malaysia, a nice slice-of-life from Flickr user Don Wright of a local family out on a walk. We’re intrigued right now with Malacca after following the tweets and dispatches of the bloggers at Eating Asia, who are currently eating their way through Malacca. Malaysia is becoming increasingly well-known as a culinary hotspot and with colorful lakma, homemade fruit tarts, and lots of fresh seafood to eat still at bargain prices, it’s sure to become more popular with foodie travelers. Perhaps the little girl above is pointing the way to the next hot restaurant.

Taken any trips to up-and-coming destinations? Share them with us by adding them to the Gadling Flickr pool and we may choose it for a future Photo of the Day.