Best Cheap Sushi in Vancouver 2015? You Make the Call!

Photo credit: Alpha | Flickr

Photo credit: Alpha | Flickr

According to a report last year in the Vancouver Sun, Metro Vancouver has no fewer than 600 sushi restaurants (not counting grocery counters serving sushi). By some estimates, the city boasts the most sushi outside of Tokyo.

And, to the delight of local sushi lovers, lots of it is very cheap. Whereas sushi is a luxury food in other cities, in Vancouver it’s possible to get 18-piece boxes for under $10 (actually, under $5 if you know where to look). Alas, much of this cheap sushi is pretty mediocre, if not downright terrible. However, in-the-know sushi-philes generally all have their favourite cheap sushi joint – the mom-and-pop place on the corner where you can get fresh, well presented sushi for a decent price.

So I’d like to hear from you: Do you have a favourite cheap sushi restaurant in Vancouver?  Share your bargain secrets by leaving a comment below.  

Photo sourced from Pixabay

Sushi photo sourced from Pixabay

I’ll kick things off with a new favourite of mine, suggested by an Inside Vancouver reader in response to last year’s blog post: Kaide Sushi Bar on Richards Street near Pacific Street in Yaletown.

From the outside, Kaide doesn’t look like much. It’s sandwiched in a commercial strip alongside a dry cleaner, florist and waffle joint.  But the moment you step inside, it’s evident that Kaide is offering something special.

For starters, when you walk in, you’re greeted with the traditional Japanese welcome greeting, “irasshaimase.” The staff and the sushi chef are all of Japanese descent, probably an auspicious sign if you’re looking for authentic Japanese sushi in Vancouver.

The restaurant itself is small and completely unpretentious, just a sushi bar and a modest dining room. The menu itself may take some Vancouverites by surprise – it’s just sushi. There’s no tempura, no gyozas, no yakisoba, no ramen, no beef teriyaki. All you can order is sushi: ngiri, sashimi and maki. (I’m told that this is how they do it in Japan: i.e. you’d never eat sushi at the same place you eat your ramen.)

Now, prices certainly aren’t dirt cheap. For reference, a standard negitoro roll will set you back $4.50. Kaide’s take on a salmon avocado roll is $6. But the fish is exceedingly fresh – a definite notch above what you’re served in the typical corner sushi joint.

Sushi photo sourced from Pixabay

Sushi photo sourced from Pixabay

And the preparation and presentation is also above and beyond. No clumsily made rolls – jammed full of rice and falling apart – here. Instead, the rice is spread out in a thin, delicate layer and rolls are carefully assembled by the chef behind the counter – just one guy, who’s there every single day without fail.

Apart from that, Kaide really doesn’t offer any bells and whistles. Dishes are pretty standard. There aren’t any wildly creative East-meets-West type rolls. It’s just fresh fish and clean, elegant presentation – which I guess is what sushi should be.

But that’s just one of many great cheap sushi options in Vancouver. If you’ve got a favourite, please leave a comment below.

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