It was 25 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 described as a culinary art form. Having grown up in Vancouver, which was back then more of a colonial outpost than a global cosmopolitan center, I had never heard the phrase sushi. However I was keen to use. So for lunch, my cousin took me to a local Irvine sushi bar (whose name I no more recall), and I’ve been Places For Sushi Near Me fan since.
I recall it as being a completely new experience, although one today that everyone accepts as common place. You enter the sushi bar, and 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 the menu as old friends.
The sushi scene has much evolved in North America, and today, just about everyone has heard of sushi and tried it, and millions have become sushi addicts like me. Needless to say you will find individuals who can’t bring themselves to accepting the thought of eating raw fish, possibly away from anxiety about catching a disease from your un-cooked food. But this fear is unfounded, as thousands of people consume sushi each year in North America, and the incidents of sushi-related food-poisoning are negligible.
Sushi is becoming wildly popular in metropolitan centers with diverse cultural interests, specially individuals with sizeable Asian communities, and those that are favored by Asian tourists. As a result, 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, Las Vegas, and Vancouver. Within the last quarter century since its arrival in North America, the sushi dining experience makes a significant change in a quantity of key markets, that has broadened its appeal. The creation of the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet has changed just how many individuals have come to know sushi.
Initially, the sushi dinning experience was just for the well-healed. The raw seafood ingredients that comprise the basic principles of the sushi menu include tuna, salmon, shrimp, scallops, eel, mackerel, squid, shark-fin, abalone, and red snapper. It is imperative that this 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 expense of eating sushi has historically been expensive. Sushi bar eating is normally marketed in an a la carte fashion whereby the diner covers each piece of sushi individually. Although an easy tuna roll chopped into three or four pieces might costs several dollars, a far more extravagant serving such some 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 two in an a la carte sushi bar, and this is well unattainable for most diners.
The sushi dining business model changed within the last decade. Some clever restaurant operators saw a whole new opportunity to create the sushi dining experience more of a mass-market online business opportunity, instead of a dining experience only for the rich. They devised a means to mass-produce sushi, purchasing ingredients in bulk, 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 design that devised the rotating conveyor belt, in which the sushi plates are positioned 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 out of this model was the single price, all-you-can-eat sushi buffet concept, where diner pays a flat price for all the sushi he or she can consume throughout a single seating, typically capped at two hours by most sushi buffet restaurants. Most major cities in North America could have an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet restaurant, even though they are predominantly situated on the west coast.
Outside Japan, undoubtedly, the town 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, which is a hugely 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 cater to the sushi market which is ever-growing. The Vancouver suburb of Richmond includes a population exceeding 100,000, and nearly all its residents are made up of Asian immigrants that arrived at Canada within the last two decades. Richmond probably has the greatest density of Asian restaurants to be found anywhere outside Asia, with every strip mall and shopping center sporting several competing eating establishments. Of course sushi is a fundamental element 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) is additionally the world’s undisputed capital for all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants. Given Vancouver’s fame for its abundance of fresh seafood because of its Pacific Ocean location, the city’s sushi restaurants have become world renowned for trying to outdo each other by offering 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 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 when it comes to price! Not many folks Japan can afford to eat sushi besides for a special occasion. However, All You Can Eat Sushi is very affordable in Vancouver that residents and tourists alike can eat it regularly, without having to break the bank! In the past decade, the cost of eating sushi in Vancouver has tumbled, with sushi restaurants literally on every street corner, as well as the fierce competition has driven the expense of an excellent all-you-can-eat sushi dinner down to the $CAD 15-20 range. An all-you-can-eat sushi dinner for just two, with alcoholic drinks can easily be had cheaper than $CAD 50, which is half what one could pay with a North American a la carte sushi bar, and possibly one quarter what one could purchase a comparable meal in Japan!