Monday, January 31, 2011

HM :Izakaya!

"Izakaya". Sit, drink, relax. "Sake-ya"=alcohol selling shop; and the prefix "I"= to sit. Put it all together (with the proper Japanese pronounciation and word order!) and you get "Izakaya". This is a Japanese institution we hope will take root in Kamloops as it has done in Vancouver, London and other cities around the world. Traditionally, izakaya were small "taverns" with lanterns (usually red) hung outside.

Nowadays, many izakaya are part of nationwide chains in Japan. A few have gone upscale with more sophisticated decor and imported wine and cocktails replacing the draft beer and shochu (Japanese "vodka"). Most remain informal and friendly places, even the famous ones...Tarantino fans may recognize the Tokyo izakaya below as one of the sets from "Kill Bill"

Izakaya style restaurants usually serve a little of everything. Outside of Japan you'll often find a small selection of sushi or sashimi on the menu. In Japan, not so much. Portions are "tapas" sized, reasonably priced and lend themselves well to sharing. Menus often feature pictures and can appear somewhat overwhelming to the unititiated....

Izakaya are hugely popular in Vancouver with several hot spots to be found along Robson and Denman. Guu and Hapa both have multiple locations in the city.

Kingyo on Denman features live bamboo growing down the middle of communal tables.

Izakaya atmosphere is lively with staff calling out greetings to customers as they arrive. Orders are yelled back and forth between the servers and cooks in the open kitchen. It's alcohol fueled semi-chaos in a mix of Japanese, English and Jibberish. It's universal fun.

Some dishes you can finish cooking yourself. Shuraku is a new hot spot on Granville St. where thinly sliced beef can be seared as much (or as little!) as you like.

Mackerel is popular grilled tableside by your server at Hapa.

Seasonal sushi is available at Vancouver izakaya; amaebi (sweet BC Spot Prawns) are a (sustainable!) favourite with guests.

Waste not, want not...The heads are fried in a light tempura batter..crispy, crunchy calcium yum! Probably my favourite part...
At Sanbiki we are hoping we can create an "izakaya" like atmosphere for our evening customers. We want our all of guests to be comfortable coming to the restaurant with their family or friends. We hope to introduce Kamloops diners to new foods and to perfect our recipes for their Japanese favourites.
Ideas? Let us know! We are always looking for ways to serve you better!
Next time...continuing education...Dashi School @ Sanbiki!! Our Sushi Students graduate and move on to learning Dashi..The basic Japanese's where all those delicious Sanbiki soups and sauces begin.....


  1. The information which you have provided in such a manner is too good.It is very attractive.You have written all the things like cooking,travelling google map, these all are attractive.

  2. yes. please do this in kamloops. please.