Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Weekend Up North, Way North! Vancouver Eats Part II - Hapa Izakaya

Do you remember where we left off on our Oh Canada! Tour? Laurie and I just finished some delicious gelato over at Mondo Gelato on Robson St.

So after our delicious gelato, Laurie and I met up with three other old JET friends who also taught in Osaka. Mich, Danny, and Rick met up with us for our mini-JET reunion at a great Tokyo-style izakaya called Hapa Izakaya. "Hapa" in Hawaiian, means "half Japanese." (Sidenote: There's a Hapa exhibit going on at the Japanese American National Museum in J-town: 100% Hapa. Check it out.) Anyways, like the owner, Justin Ault, a half-Japanese, half-Haole boy, the food is a mixture of both traditional Japanese dishes and new Western touches. Inside, Hapa Izakaya is a beautiful smooth lounge-type izakaya in minimalist black. It's where Darth Vader would kick it if he was a Canuck.

Once you walk inside, you'll be greeted by the cooks as they attack you with your standard slurred, "Irashaiiimaaaase~!"

Beard Papas

We ordrered TONS of dishes. I'm just going to highlight some of my favorites.

The Buta no Kakuni (braised pork belly)

The Buta no Kakuni was exremely tender, sweet, and wonderfully tasty. The dish also came with steamed bao's to make your own kakuni sandwiches. Too bad I don't eat all the fat. My mom would of hit me across the head for wasting the "junk parts" which she would of devoured without any hesitation.

Smoked sake (salmon). I wasn't into him. I just liked how he looked.

The Teba-saki's

The Teba-saki (chicken wings) were also very oishii! The wings were perfectly sweetened, crispy, and juuuuicy! We only ordered one plate of these bad boys. I think I could of gnawed on a bucket of them! So super oishii!

The beef carpaccio was ok. I don't really remember much. I think I got really hungry at this point, so my stomach was just interested in dishes that would fill me up. Dang, needed more of those teba-saki's!

Karaage: The izakaya staple.

The karaage was on point. I looooooooooooove karaage. Now, because I eat like a squirrel, I like things bite sized. Karaage is perfect for squirrels like me.

Dinner at Hapa Izakaya made all of us feel like we were back in our irresponsible mid-20's days hanging out in Osaka again. Oishii grub, good friends, Osaka stories, and catching up makes for a perfect reunion!

After Hapa Izakaya, we strolled around Coal Harbour, a soothing water walkway perfect for our after-dinner frumpiness. One thing that I truly enjoyed about Vancouver was their long summer days. While walking, I thought it was 7 o'clock until I looked at my watch. "What, it's already 9PM???"

It's about 9:30 and the sun is just starting to set. I love it!

*Stay tuned for our next meal of the night - Summer of Love at the Richmond Night Market.

Hapa Izakaya
1479 Robson St.
Vancouver, BC
(604) 689-4272


Renee said...

You did end up going to Hapa. :) It has the swank ambiance, but the good izakaya grub I find is at Gu :) Just a few blocks away (for sure lots of noise, lots of people and line ups).
Can't wait to hear about your reaction to the Richmond Night Market, or as I call it the place where even they try to sell stuff that even dollar stores can't sell. Plus all the grub that would probably be questionable in terms of health safety. But who cares, I fall prey to that and buy a bunch of snacks there. Did you get the "little eggs" bubble waffles? Those are always my fav. :P I get that, some skewered meat and the BBQ (overpriced) cuttlefish everytime, at the minimum, and then whatever else looks good (which always looks better than it tastes). :P
Looking forward to more summaries. It's quite fun reading your post as I'm a displaced Vancouverite/Calgarian (current Torontonian).

BoLA said...

Vancouver sounds absolutely fun! I haven't checked out JANM's Hapa exhibit yet but have been meaning to one of these days. And I love that concept - Hapa Izakaya! =)

Kirk said...

Hi Jeni - Love this post(Hapa Izakaya - you gotta love it), and the karaage. Can't wait to read about the Richmond Night Market - I've always wanted to visit! When recently visiting Portland, the 930pm sunset threw me for a loop as well!

mooncici said...

hey there, i just found your blog today - thanks for the lovely sharing and great food links/info...stay cool for the upcoming toasty weekend! yay ~ cheers

Jeni said...

Hey Renee...yes, I did go to Hapa Izakaya. It was very oishii! We drove by Guu another day, that place looks looks more my style. Ill be demanding some Guu the next time I'm up north! Glad I can entertain my displaced Vancouverite/Calgarian (current Torontonian). (^o^)v

BOLA...I think you'd love Vancouver. It's so you...clean, chic, cool!

Kirk...I'm glad you liked the post Kirk. I'm on a karaage kick now. It's all I want to eat! I'm glad my man is good at making it! Stay tuned for Richmond Night Market.

Mooncici...Thanks for reading. I like your site,,,you've got awesome pictures. Cheers...or in Japanese...KAMPAI~!


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