Vancouver is known for its plethora of cheap sushi restaurants. I’ll be honest, some of them put me off due to their grungy look or their suspiciously low prices but I’m now a convert!

My father brought me one quiet day to Kin Sushi in West Vancouver to pick up some takeaway for our dinner. The tiny shop does have eat-in facilities though they’re very very basic. Most people come and get their order to go. While you can get lots of special rolls, we ordered their more basic combos – each of these was about $6 (with miso soup!). Here was a California roll, tempura yam (sweet potato) roll and tuna maki.

Combo B

This was a spicy combo – spicy salmon roll, spicy tuna roll and spicy dynamite (tempura prawn) roll. Of course, it’s not actually very spicy – there’s just a reddish sauce with a tingly heat mixed into the rolls.

Spicy Combo

I was surprised by how tasty they are – they’re already about 20 times better than the sushi one gets at the major chains in the UK (I’m looking at you, Itsu and Wasabi).

Kin Sushi
1760 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC V7V 1J1
Canada

Kin Sushi on Urbanspoon

The next week, I met up with one of my best friends, her husband and her daughter for dinner and they brought me to Sushi Town on Marine in North Vancouver. This restaurant was absolutely packed on a Saturday night and there was a 30 minute wait for a table for four.

And yes, the prices were amazing for what you get. This was a Double Dragon roll (about $8) – unagi on the inside and unagi on top too. Lots of eel!

Double Dragon Roll

We had the spicy tuna and salmon sashimi (about $9) with the spicy sauce on the side (rather than have it all mixed in – it can overwhelm the fish) and the portion size that arrived was extremely generous.

Spicy Tuna and Salmon Sashimi

My friends’ normal order always included the Awesome roll (approx $7) – it’s like a California roll but it’s topped with seared salmon, masago (flying fish roe), spring onions and bonito flakes and then the whole thing is drizzled with teriyaki sauce and spicy mayonnaise. It’s totally and awesomely over the top.

Awesome Roll

When the tonkatsu (about $8) arrived, I asked my friends whether they asked for one order or two. Yes, this is just one order. Two moist thin tonkatsu cutlets served with rice and salad – it’s big!

Tonkatsu

A single order of agedashi tofu (approx $4) was a large bowl of tofu cubes! The tofu wasn’t as silky as I like it but it’s still a solid dish.

Agedashi Tofu

Sushi Town
1227 Marine Dr.
North Vancouver, BC V7P 1T3
Canada

Sushi Town on Urbanspoon

Of course it’s not the finest sushi you can find in the city but for bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong at these restaurants. In general, I’m not a fan of the tuna served here (not sure what type it is) and I prefer the salmon. The fish is fresh, their sushi is tasty and creative (North American rolls are crazy and crazy good) and it’s all certainly a bargain. It definitely scratched my sushi itch.

I know there are many Vietnamese restaurants over in East London but it’s not often that I’m in that area. Where I do frequent is Soho, in central London, due to the variety of shops on offer there. One place that we do like to have a budget dinner is Viet, one of the few Vietnamese restaurants not in East London!

I recommend sticking with the Vietnamese dishes on the menu. We did eat a pad Thai here once which was truly awful, all overcooked noodles and tomatoey sauce. On a recent visit, we started with an order of cha gio, those little and lovely fried meaty spring rolls, along with their accompanying fresh herbs and chili dipping sauce,

Cha Gio

Herbs and Dipping Sauce

grilled lemongrass pork on cold rice noodles for me,

Grilled Pork on Rice Noodles

and a combination rice, with shredded pork and pork skin and a crab meat ‘cake’ for Blai.

Shredded Pork and Crab Meat Cake on Rice

Blai’s dish was quite plain though not too bad but the winner was my grilled pork. There was so much flavour in the pork, probably marinated for a long time, and I love eating the cold noodles alongside. A small bowlful of nuon cham (a light dipping sauce of fish sauce, lime juice, chili, garlic and sugar) is served on the side to pour overtop, dressing the mixture that can be dry without it. The whole bowlful is light and fresh and perfect for summertime (or anytime) eating.

One of my favourite things to eat there is their bun cha gio or hot fried cha gio served with cold rice noodles and lots of fresh raw herbs and vegetables. You can see that I really do love Vietnamese bun!

Bun Cha Gio

I’ve also had their pho and bun bo hue (pictured below), both noodle soups, the former being thin flat rice noodles in a beefy (or chickeny if it’s pho ga) stock while the latter is thicker round rice noodles in a spicier broth. Both are served with plenty of the fresh herbs and raw beansprouts, to be put into your soup at your will.

Bun Bo Hue

I do suspect that there’s a hefty amount of MSG in the soup but hey, when most of the one dish meals hover at around the £5-6 mark, it’s hard to complain. And they do fill you up! Mmm…I’m craving some noodle soup now!

Viet
34 Greek Street
London W1D 5DJ

Viet on Urbanspoon