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Tojo Sushi

Northwest dining

From sushi to sweet breads, Vancouver covers culinary spectrum

October 3, 1997
Web posted at: 4:08 p.m. EDT (2008 GMT)

VANCOUVER, Canada (CNN) -- Vancouver is a city known for eclecticism -- a melding of British roots, Canadian French influence, strong Asian flavors and a touch of Northwest Americana from just across the border. Nowhere is that rich mix more evident than in the city's wide variety of dining.

"Vancouver is a food lover's paradise," says Kasey Wilson, who wrote a guide to 175 Vancouver restaurants.

In her book, "Vancouver Best Places: The Most Discriminating Guide to Vancouver's Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, Nightlife, Arts, Sights, & Outings," Wilson points seafood fans toward the city's Asian restaurants, such as Tojo's, known for its outstanding sushi. Using fresh, local ingredients, chef Hidekazu Tojo creates such delicacies as barbecued eel wrapped in an omelet, and salmon with radish sprouts. Tojo says patience is one of his secrets.

Salmon Filet

"(My) rice vinegar is very different. My rice vinegar, I have fermented for six months, so the taste is very deep," he explains.

When it come to Chinese cuisine, Grand Slam Restaurant earns high marks. Food critics in this year's Best of Vancouver Magazine named it the city's best Chinese food. In addition to delectable, oversized dim sum, the restaurant hits plenty of home runs with specialties such as Dungeness crab steamed in its shell, seasoned with roe and minced pork over cellophane noodles ... and winter melon soup, brimming with seafood.

Food critics aren't the only ones who appreciate the simple Northwestern cuisine at Bishop's. U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin have both eaten here. Owner John Bishop personally cooked for President Clinton.

"The main course was fresh local salmon fillet. The appetizer was fresh local crab. And then for dessert, we had blueberries with maple syrup ice cream ... and lots of security," Bishop recalls.

Sweet Breads

For some of Vancouver's best French food, Lumière shines. A few specialties include escargot topped with wild mushrooms in a garlic herb sauce ... and smoked black cod served with banana fingerling potatoes, arugula and leeks.

And if you're not up to trying the sweet breads (check your dictionary), all the better -- more room for the real sweets to round out a hearty tour of Vancouver dining.

Food & Health correspondent Linda Ciampa contributed to this report.

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