From ramen to grocery items, here’s a roundup of food news from Japanese eateries across the city, including in North Vancouver, Downtown Vancouver, and UBC.
Ramen spot revamps
A Central Lonsdale ramen shop has reinvented itself by broadening its menu.
Owner Brooke Naito-Campbell originally launched Hachiro (named after her grandfather) at 140 16th Street West in North Vancouver, in 2019.
She has now brought on chef Addy Gowe, who has previously worked at Torafuku, Bufala Edgemont, and Quattro.
Among the new tapas-style shareable plates, late-night bar snacks, and seasonal features are additions such as tuna or beef tataki (seared striploin or tuna, ponzu sauce, and scallions), “dirty fries” (okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, cabbage, and fried chashu), gyoza, and Brussels sprout and broccoli okonomiyaki.
There are also nods to chuka ryori, or Japanese-Chinese cuisine, with yum cha (Cantonese–style dim sum) dishes such as har gow, sui mai, xiaolongbao, vegetarian spring rolls, and barbecue pork buns.
In addition to sake, umeshu, wine, and beer, an array of new cocktails include Shinsen, with ginger liqueur, shochu, lemon, lychee juice, ginger, Mt. Fuji bitters, and a butterfly pea flower ice cube; the Tokyo Mule, made of shochu, campari, clove syrup, strawberry, lime juice, and ginger beer; and the Kagawa Margarita, with El Jimador tequila, shochu, vanilla syrup, lime juice, togagrashi, and activated charcoal.
Meanwhile, the restaurant still serves ramen, with four bowls: shoyu tonkotsu, shoyu vegetarian, miso tonkotsu, and miso vegetarian.
Groceries on the go
In adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, many eateries began selling food products to provide an additional source of interest and revenue amid the unpredictability of pandemic health measures and restrictions.
Among them was Aburi Restaurants Canada, which opened Aburi To-Go Yaletown in May.
The company has now opened its second Japanese boutique grocery store: Aburi To-Go Downtown is located inside Gyoza Bar’s entrance at 622 West Pender Street.
The store offers housemade food selections, including sushi, bento (featuring items such as unagi, ebi fry, pork katsu, and chicken hamburg); ramen, including chicken miso and pork tonkotsu; gyoza; sandos (Japanese sandwiches), with tamago and port katsu; onigiri (riceballs), with spicy tuna, shiitake ginger, vegan shiso-sesame, and spicy miso salmon; and more.
There are also housemade condiments, sauces, and ramen broth, including akadama chili paste, spicy miso sauce, and curry sauce.
In addition to the grab-n-go section, there are also frozen meal kits, frozen meats and seafood, imported Japanese beverages, sake and craft beer, and desserts.
Although the Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese celebration, Japan has its own version called Otsukimi, or the moon-viewing festival held at the same time to honour the harvest moon.
Kinton Ramen, located at 102–6111 University Boulevard at UBC, is celebrating autumn moon festivities with a special ramen bowl.
Roast Beef Ra-moon ($15.99) is available for both dine-in and takeout, but only until September 30.
This ramen is served without broth and features seasoned thick noodles with roast beef, onsen tamago, arugula, white onion, garlic chips, mayonnaise, and housemade yuzu soy sauce.
Update: Due to unexpected circumstances, this ramen is no longer available in B.C. but is available at Kinton's other locations in Ontario and Quebec.