WA-BAGEL opens its first Canadian location in Vancouver this spring

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      From Itameshi to Japadog, there’s something special that happens when Japanese cuisine combines with the foods of other cultures. 

      WA-BAGEL, a soon-to-be-open spot selling both sweet and savoury Japanese-style bagels, aims to fit that bill exactly. 

      Aburi Restaurants Canada plans to bring WA-BAGEL to downtown Vancouver later this season, setting up the bagel bakery’s first Canadian location at 666 Burrard Street. The restaurant will be counter service with take-out and delivery options. 

      “Japanese-style bagels are my favourite type of bagel because they are more light and smaller in size, often with a filling similar to another Japanese snack-favourite, the onigiri,” says Seigo Nakamura, founder and CEO of ABURI Restaurants Canada, in a release. 

      “They are becoming more and more popular in Japan, and there is really nothing like it in Canada yet. I thought it would be a great idea to introduce something new to the Canadian market. There are so many different kinds of flavours. Have you ever had a mochi cheese bagel or a lemon peel and azuki bean bagel? They are delicious!”

      Seigo Nakamura and Yukiko Iikura at her Kepo Bagels in Japan.

      Yukiko Iikura will lead the WA-BAGEL team as head baker, with experience in the bagel business from her own shop, Kepo Bagels, in Japan. 

      “In Japan, we use many different types of flavours and fillings for our bagels, and we’ll definitely be using some very Canadian-inspired ingredients in some of our options,” she says. “I’m very excited as Canada has some of the best flour in the world, and we’ll get to use it in our bagels.”

      Flavour combinations on offer include red bean paste and cream cheese, sweet potato and black sesame, salmon lox and scallion cream cheese, and eggplant and bacon with miso and cheese. 

      WA-BAGEL is expected to open in “late spring” according to the release, and those hoping to stay in the know of exactly when they’ll be able to try out a Japanese-style bagel can keep an eye on the shop’s social media pages