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 referring to. 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 referred to as a culinary art. Having grown up in Vancouver, which was back then more of a colonial outpost than a worldwide cosmopolitan center, I had never heard the word sushi. However I was keen to test. So for lunch, my cousin took me to a local Irvine sushi bar (whose name I no more recall), and i have been Sushi Near Me Now fan from the time.
I recall it being a completely new experience, although one today which everybody accepts as common place. You enter the sushi bar, as well as the sushi chefs behind the bar yell out Japanese words of welcome, and it seems like the person you’re with is actually a regular and knows the chefs and the menu as old friends.
The sushi scene has much evolved in North America, now, just about everyone has been aware of sushi and tried it, and millions have grown to be sushi addicts like me. Of course you can find those who can’t bring themselves to accepting the idea of eating raw fish, possibly from the fear of catching a condition through the un-cooked food. But this fear is unfounded, as millions of people consume sushi annually in North America, and the incidents of sushi-related food-poisoning are negligible.
Sushi is becoming incredibly popular in metropolitan centers with diverse cultural interests, specially individuals with sizeable Asian communities, and those that are popular with Asian tourists. As such, Sushi restaurants are concentrated up and down the west coast of North America with sushi bars being easy to find on many street corners in La, San Francisco, Vegas, and Vancouver. Within the last quarter century since its arrival in North America, the sushi dining experience has created an important change in a variety of key markets, which has broadened its appeal. The creation of the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet has changed just how lots of people came to know sushi.
Initially, the sushi dinning experience was only for the well-healed. The raw seafood ingredients that define the fundamentals in the sushi menu include tuna, salmon, shrimp, scallops, eel, mackerel, squid, shark-fin, abalone, and red snapper. It really is imperative that the raw seafood be properly cleaned, stored and prepared, as well as in most markets (even on the west coast) these raw ingredients are costly in comparison to other foods. Therefore, the cost of eating sushi has historically been expensive. Sushi bar eating is normally marketed within an a la carte fashion whereby the diner will pay for each piece of sushi individually. Although an easy tuna roll chopped into 3 or 4 pieces might costs 2 or 3 dollars, a much more extravagant serving such a piece of eel or shark-fin sushi can easily cost $4 to $6 or more, depending on the restaurant. You can easily spend $100 to get a nice sushi dinner for two at an a la carte sushi bar, and also this is well out of reach for most diners.
The sushi dining business model changed over the past decade. Some clever restaurant operators saw a new possibility to make the sushi dining experience much more of a mass-market home business opportunity, rather than a dining experience only for the rich. They devised a way 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 was this business model that devised the rotating conveyor belt, in which the sushi plates are put on the belt and cycled from the restaurant so diners can hand-pick their desired sushi right from the belt at their table side. However, the key marketing concept borne from this model was the only price, all-you-can-eat sushi buffet concept, where the diner pays a flat price for the sushi she or he can consume throughout 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, though they are predominantly situated on the west coast.
Away from Japan, without a doubt, the city of Vancouver, Canada, has more sushi restaurants than every other city. Part of the explanation might be the truth that Vancouver has got the largest Asian immigrant population in North America, and it is an increasingly popular tourist destination for tourists from all of over Asia. Many of Vancouver’s immigrants seek self-employment, and open restaurants, many of which meet the needs of the sushi market which is ever-growing. The Vancouver suburb of Richmond has a population exceeding 100,000, and the vast majority of its residents are made up of Asian immigrants that arrived at Canada in the last two decades. Richmond probably provides the greatest density of Asian restaurants to become found anywhere away from Asia, with every strip mall and shopping center sporting several competing eating establishments. Needless to say sushi is an important part of the Richmond restaurant business, and diners can find from $5 lunch stops, to $20 sushi buffet dinner mega-restaurants.
Vancouver’s lower mainland (that features a population of some 2 million) is also the world’s undisputed capital for all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants. Given Vancouver’s fame because of its abundance of fresh seafood due to its Pacific Ocean location, the city’s sushi restaurants have become world renowned for attempting to outdo each other by giving superb quality all-you-can-eat sushi, at the lowest prices to become found anywhere on the planet. Quality sushi in Vancouver is priced at a fraction of what one would pay in Japan, and lots of Japanese tourists marvel at Vancouver’s large variety of quality sushi restaurants. Some say Vancouver’s sushi offering meets and exceeds that lvugwn in Japan, certainly with regards to price! Very few individuals Japan can manage to eat sushi apart from for a special event. However, Sushi Nearby is so affordable in Vancouver that residents and tourists alike can eat it frequently, without breaking the bank! Previously decade, the cost of eating sushi in Vancouver has tumbled, with sushi restaurants literally on every street corner, and the fierce competition has driven the price of an excellent all-you-can-eat sushi dinner down to the $CAD 15-20 range. An all-you-can-eat sushi dinner for 2, with alcoholic drinks can be easily had for under $CAD 50, that is half what one could pay with a North American a la carte sushi bar, and in all likelihood one quarter what one could pay for a comparable meal in Japan!