6680 Southoaks Crescent
Original post below:
Teishoku. Often referred to as ‘set meals’, although not always strictly following that definition in Japanese eateries. Originally, the collection of several dishes in a combination, priced to be lower than if one was to order them individually, is often thought of as the reason this particular genre developed in dining out lingo. The basic tray generally includes a bowl of steamed white rice, miso shiru (miso soup), a tsukemono (pickled vegetable) of some kind, and a main dish (be it grilled, raw, fried, stewed, noodles, etc.) of some kind. To me, it reminds me of student cafeterias or lunch time hangouts for the white collar crowd where I had these many a time in Japan.
So it was no surprise that at Hi Genki which was essentially the dining area, very much cafeteria-like except there was table service, of a senior citizens home next to the Nikkei Place (home of the the National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre) the menu was lined with several teishoku offerings. I’d been forewarned that the clientele there could be more of the gray hair crowd but to our surprise it was mostly filled with young people, lots of couples in fact. None of whom appeared to be there visiting any aging relatives. A virtual full house, couldn’t be bad, could it?
At the same time though, hesitation filled my mind. After all, it was not a “proper” restaurant. But the homey, comfort food dishes on a special menu page reminded me that perhaps this was a silver lining. Things that I am not apt to cook at home intrigued me to possibly try, but in the end, we decided to go with some off the teishoku menu.
The shiromi (white fish, listed as cod) sakana (fish) and ebi fry (deep fried breaded prawns) teishoku. I’m not sure where to start. But first of all, it was seemingly cooked in some really hot oil and perhaps too long, as it was darker and crispier than should be. The panko almost acting like sharp blades cutting the inside of my mouth as I took some bites. If you’ve ever purchased any processed, frozen product in a Japanese supermarket made by one of the big food manufacturers, you’ll know what I’m talking about but the main items on my plate looked like it came off a factory production line. Even the fish seemed somehow “artificial” in appearance and taste. Not saying this was inedible, but that it was far from the home cooking I was hoping for.
The trend continued with my dining companion’s choice of the korokke (potato/onion croquettes) teishoku. Again, just too perfectly even and formed patties. Machine-made appearance. The side salad again a dried out afterthought. Not much more to say on this.
For under $8 a plate, I could accept it for what it was. Easy and basic food, enough to fill you up quantity-wise. I could see the appeal to young people and for the families I saw there dining out like it was a true restaurant. The seniors no doubt were also happy with the pricing given they were all probably on fixed incomes. I wouldn’t brand this as a never-to-visit-place, but just say that there are much stronger (albeit pricier) options for delicious teishoku in the Vancouver-area.