sensei sushi

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while i was in the philippines last december, i met up with bea (an old friend that i went to school with in jakarta), who took me to sensei sushi. she always had such great foodporn from this place on her instagram account, so i was excited to check it out.

the place isn’t that fancy, just a little hole-in-the-wall, but their food was amazing! really high-quality japanese fusion food. we ordered a bunch of dishes to share, so we could try a little bit of everything the foie gras nigiri (picture #1) was one of my favourites, along with the tuna tartare on kang kong crisps (picture #5). we were allowed to bring our own bottle of wine in, and they didn’t make us pay a corkage fee, which was nice. our bill still ended up being over 2,000 pesos between the two of us (around $45 – $50), which shocked me since we were in asia, we weren’t paying for any alcohol, and the place wasn’t located in an upscale area or inside a 5-star hotel.

it’s crazy how expensive the philippines is becoming, especially since the average wages are so low! according to this article, the TOP, best paying salary for a recent grad there is around 23,000 pesos (which is $500) a month. the top, best paying salary for an oil and gas ENGINEER that has 1 – 4 years of experience is around 40,000 pesos ($900) a month and the top, best paying salary for those in the IT industry with over five years of experience is 55,000 pesos (roughly $1,200) a month.

According to Jobstreet Philippines, the average monthly salary of a fresh graduate (based on the list of jobs posted on their site) is P16,524 (roughly $372). So if you are earning more than P16,524 you are already earning more than the average of your peers.” – http://www.pinoymoneytalk.com/biggest-paying-jobs-philippines/

arguably the best sushi in vancouver.

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toshi sushi is located on main street and there is usually a line-up that goes out the door. the place itself is miniscule and if you’re coming with a large group… good luck. they also won’t seat you unless your entire party is there.

although toshis (it sounds better no?) is only open for dinner (starting at 5 pm), and is known for its long lines (a decent-sized line already starts to form as early as 4:30 pm), this does not stop its increasing popularity and business. the sushi here is of such a first-rate quality that people keep coming back, even though they know how long they’ll have to wait for a table; you even might be forced to share a cramped table with complete strangers (i repeat, this place is MINISCULE).

it is the perfect balance between quality and price: the food has the quality of a high-end restaurant, but for regular and reasonable sushi prices. the fish is incredibly fresh and the sashimi just melts in your mouth. all the rolls are delicious, and it doesn’t even matter what you’re eating because everything is made with the same pristine freshness and quality.

worth the wait? absolutely. best sushi in vancouver? arguably so.

miyakos

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in the depths of downtown vancouver (and right next to lasalle college) lies a little japanese place by the name of miyako. around the peak hours for lunch-time when the whole business world decides to take their lunch breaks, this tiny place can get as busy as the bustling, business-suit city outside its doors. after 2 pm though, it empties out and slows down… and all the food becomes 10% off because of miyako’s “happy hour” (2 pm – 4 pm).

the fish is surprisingly fresh: the nigiri and sashimi are of a supreme quality. a dab of wasabi is placed in-between the rice and the fish in the nigiri, like a light layer of glue holding the nigiri together. the tuna tataki deviates faintly from the original tuna sashimi because it is slightly seared. served with a sesame-soya sauce, this sashimi dish just screams sheer scrumptiousness.

all the sushi rolls on the menu are terrific: from the salmon avocado roll/tuna avocado roll (and their spicy versions)to the yam tempura roll and the negitoro roll. it’s pretty hard to go wrong with sushi when the slices of sashimi are the best thing about the menu because the fish is so fresh.

the bento boxes and lunch combos that come with an assortment of teriyaki (beef or chicken are my personal favourites), sushi rolls (i always substitute my california rolls for yam tempura rolls), assorted tempura, tuna or wild-salmon sashimi, salad (the traditional japanese dressing on the salads is amazing), fruit, and ebi sunomono are always filling, and reasonably-priced.