It was twenty-five years ago when I was first introduced tosushi, and it was love at first taste. I’ve been a sushi addict ever since. Back in 1981, I was in grade 11 living with my parents in Vancouver, Canada. That Christmas for the holidays, I went out to Irvine, California, to visit with my cousin and his wife, who were studying at UC-Irvine. I recall my cousin asking if I had ever tried sushi. I had no idea what on earth he was speaking about. He explained that it was a Japanese delicacy, whereby raw fish was beautifully prepared usually on beds of rice, and presented by sushi chefs in what could best be identified as a culinary art. Having grown up in Vancouver, that was back then more of a colonial outpost than an international cosmopolitan center, I had never heard the term sushi. Having Said That I was keen to try. So for lunch, my cousin took me to a local Irvine sushi bar (whose name I no longer recall), and i have been Sushi Nearby fan ever since.
I recall it as being a completely new experience, although one today that everybody accepts as common place. You go to the sushi bar, as well as the sushi chefs behind the bar yell out Japanese words of welcome, and it also seems like anyone you’re with is actually a regular and knows the chefs and also the menu as old friends.
The sushi scene has much evolved in North America, now, most people has heard about sushi and used it, and millions have grown to be sushi addicts like me. Of course you will find people who can’t bring themselves to accepting the thought of eating raw fish, possibly out of the fear of catching a condition from the un-cooked food. But this fear is unfounded, as huge numbers of people consume sushi every year in North America, and the incidents of sushi-related food-poisoning are negligible.
Sushi has grown to be incredibly popular in metropolitan centers with diverse cultural interests, specially those that have sizeable Asian communities, and people who are well-liked by Asian tourists. Therefore, Sushi restaurants are concentrated up and down the west coast of North America with sushi bars being readily available of all street corners in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vegas, and Vancouver. In the last quarter century since its arrival in North America, the sushi dining experience has created a substantial change in a number of key markets, that has broadened its appeal. The development of the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet is different the way many individuals have come to know sushi.
Initially, the sushi dinning experience was only for your well-healed. The raw seafood ingredients that comprise the basics in the sushi menu include tuna, salmon, shrimp, scallops, eel, mackerel, squid, shark-fin, abalone, and red snapper. It is imperative that the raw seafood be properly cleaned, stored and prepared, and then in most markets (even on the west coast) these raw ingredients are costly in comparison to other foods. Therefore, the price of eating sushi has historically been expensive. Sushi bar eating is typically marketed within an a la carte fashion whereby the diner pays for every piece of sushi individually. Although an easy tuna roll chopped into three or four pieces might costs 2 or 3 dollars, a far more extravagant serving such a piece of eel or shark-fin sushi can easily cost $4 to $6 or even more, depending on the restaurant. It is easy to spend $100 for any nice sushi dinner for 2 with an a la carte sushi bar, and also this is well out of reach for most diners.
The sushi dining business design changed over the past decade. Some clever restaurant operators saw a whole new opportunity to create the sushi dining experience more of a mass-market home business opportunity, as opposed to a dining experience simply for the rich. They devised a means to mass-produce sushi, purchasing ingredients in big amounts, training and employing sushi chefs in high-volume sushi kitchens, when a team of 5 to 15 skilled sushi chefs work non-stop creating sushi dishes in large capacity settings, where such restaurants can typically serve several hundred diners per night. It absolutely was this business structure that devised the rotating conveyor belt, where sushi plates are put on the belt and cycled with the restaurant so diners can hand-pick their desired sushi right from the belt at their table side. However, the key marketing concept borne using this model was the one price, all-you-can-eat sushi buffet concept, where the diner pays a flat price for all of the sushi they can consume in a single seating, typically capped at 2 hours by most sushi buffet restaurants. Most major cities in North America may have an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet restaurant, although they are predominantly situated on the west coast.
Outside of Japan, without a doubt, the town of Vancouver, Canada, has more sushi restaurants than any other city. Portion of the explanation might be the reality that Vancouver provides the largest Asian immigrant population in North America, in fact it is a very popular tourist place to go for tourists coming from all over Asia. Many of Vancouver’s immigrants seek self-employment, and open restaurants, a few of which focus on the sushi market which can be ever-growing. The Vancouver suburb of Richmond includes a population exceeding 100,000, and the vast majority of its residents are made up of Asian immigrants that got to Canada within the last two decades. Richmond probably provides the greatest density of Asian restaurants to become found anywhere outside Asia, with every strip mall and mall sporting several competing eating establishments. Needless to say sushi is an important part of the Richmond restaurant business, and diners can find anything from $5 lunch stops, to $20 sushi buffet dinner mega-restaurants.
Vancouver’s lower mainland (that features a population of some 2 million) can also be the world’s undisputed capital for those-you-can-eat sushi restaurants. Given Vancouver’s fame for the abundance of fresh seafood due to the Pacific Ocean location, the city’s sushi restaurants have become world famous for seeking to outdo the other person by giving superb quality all-you-can-eat sushi, in the very best deals to be found anywhere on the planet. Quality sushi in Vancouver is priced at a small fraction of what one would pay in Japan, and many Japanese tourists marvel at Vancouver’s huge selection of quality sushi restaurants. Some say Vancouver’s sushi offering meets and exceeds that lvugwn in Japan, certainly with regards to price! Very few people in Japan can manage to eat sushi apart from to get a special event. However, All You Can Eat Sushi is really affordable in Vancouver that residents and tourists alike can eat it regularly, without breaking the bank! In the past decade, the price of eating sushi in Vancouver has tumbled, with sushi restaurants literally on every street corner, and the fierce competition has driven the expense of an excellent all-you-can-eat sushi dinner down towards the $CAD 15-20 range. An all-you-can-eat sushi dinner for just two, with alcoholic drinks can be easily had for under $CAD 50, which can be half what one could pay at a North American a la carte sushi bar, and possibly one quarter what one could purchase a comparable meal in Japan!