Flowers are blooming and the sun is shining, time to take a spring vacation to another incredible destination. This spring let’s head north to Canada, where Japanese culture has made a major impact in two of the largest cities in different ways. From the bounty of the mighty Pacific to the fusion of French flavors, these two locations do Japanese style cuisine in uniquely Canadian ways.
Vancouver: East Meets West
Few cities in the world have a more picturesque setting than Vancouver. Backed by rainforest covered mountains and sitting right on the water, this metropolis wows visitors at first sight. Modern and stylish, Vancouver is also one of the major gates for Asian immigration in the Americas. Besides enjoying the 40,000 blossoming cherry trees, springtime visitors can also check out the Nitobe Memorial Garden. This waterfall and bridge-dotted oasis of Japanese culture also hosts traditional tea ceremonies.
When it comes time to dine, Vancouver has you covered. First stop should be Minami or Miku, the twin restaurants of local celebrity chef Seigo Nakamura. He is known for applying the Aburi style to sushi, where the sushi is flame heated to bring out more flavor. Then stop by Granville Island. This shopping district located just outside of downtown Vancouver is also home to Masa Shiroki, an artisan sake maker.
Montreal: French Fusion and More
The second largest French-speaking city in the world, Montreal also has a sizable Japanese community from post-WWII immigration. This winning combo has created a kind of fusion cuisine that you simply won’t find anywhere else on earth. After exploring old Montreal and springtime delights like Parc LaFontaine, check out the dining scene.
To get a great introduction to Quebec style Japanese French fusion, head to Au Pied de Cochon. Here you can try dishes like Okonomiyaki and Foie Gras Umami served alongside classic French style baguettes and artisan beer. When you are ready to dive deeper into the scene, swing by Jatoba Downton. Here Montreal chef Olivier Vigneault has put together an award-winning Japanese inspired menu. Stand out items include Hamachi a cru and the Katsu Cod.