Having lived in Vancouver for over ten years of my life, it’s safe to say I’ve been exposed to a pretty wide gamut of sushi. I’m told that Vancouver sushi is pretty much the second best in the world, the first being obviously Japan and Tokyo. While I’ve never had it, San Francisco sushi is supposed to be pretty tasty as well, although many of my friends who have had both prefer Vancouver sushi.
I spent ten days in Tokyo back in 2006, and was treated to some of the best tempura I’ve ever had in my life. Eating out in Tokyo is a pretty cool experience, mainly because dinners are long and drawn out compared to North America, which means you can leisurely have a few beers with some friends for a few hours all while having a nice restaurant experience. In fact, you don’t really ‘ask for a cheque’ in Tokyo. When you’re done eating, you simply go to the front and pay for your meal.
While I don’t mind real sushi or sashimi (that is, food typically containing raw fish), I find I’m pretty much indifferent to it, and would rather have rolls on most days. In BC, many sushi restaurants have BC rolls which are BBQ salmon rolls that are super tasty (some places actually use BBQ salmon skin for their rolls). I’m also a big fan of dynamite rolls, which are rolls stuffed with prawn tempura usually.
One of my biggest sushi pet peeves is when restaurants serve rolls that are obviously too large to be eaten in one bite. In that scenario, you’re forced to bite the roll in half, which usually causes it to fall apart into a big heaping mess of rice. If it falls apart over your soy sauce dish, you’ll left with a pile of crud that you have to scoop out in addition to a messy roll. I really don’t understand it — it’s not something I ever saw in Tokyo.
If you’re looking for good sushi in Vancouver, I really can’t say where the best spots are anymore. My favourite hole in the wall place was Spin Roll sushi on Pender. MoMo sushi in Gastown was also pretty good back when I used to work there. But for the most part, Vancouver sushi is good wherever you go. Just look for places with small rolls.