The best things stem from the intersection of two philosophies, the harmony within the dissonance of opposing ideas. It is in this mixing of contrasts that we find true beauty, be it art or food. For the latter, there is Zipang Provisions, a Japanese restaurant that melds East to West, yin to yang. “Our inspiration comes from the Japanese concept of keeping things simple,” says owner Hayato Koshizuka. “We try our best in bringing out the unique qualities of ingredients, so we try to be as simple as possible in terms of our food. We also look to other cultures’ food for inspiration, constantly looking for ways to improve in order to fit the culture we are a part of on Main Street.”
A perfect example? Zipang’s Chicken Karaage Poutine (which, along with Sockeye Salmon Sashimi, Koshizuka suggests pairing with 33 Acres of Life). It harmoniously combines a Canadian staple with a Japanese one, topping golden fries and smooth gravy with crispy deep-fried boneless chicken. Of course, there are more traditional dishes, too, and the sushi certainly does not disappoint. “Our emphasis on incorporating different cuisines really fits with the notion of multiculturalism in Vancouver,” Koshizuka says. “Combining the best of Vancouver with the best of Japan is really important to us. Our interior is our interpretation of Main Street culture, and we emphasized it by using wood for our tables to really create a rustic, homey feel.” And it is very easy to feel at home there, with rich woods and warm tones creating an atmosphere both inviting and modern.
Before opening a brick-and-mortar, Koshizuka operated a booth at the Richmond Night Market from which he sold takoyaki—round, octopus-stuffed pastry—and is known as the first person to bring the dish to Vancouver. Fans of takoyaki can now make a pilgrimage of sorts, to Zipang, where Koshizuka has kept it on the menu. Zipang has been part of Main Street since 2006, moving into its current home between 14th and 15th a couple years ago. It was when Koshizuka was creating the drink list for the new location that he approached us, and a friendship blossomed. Due to our close proximity to Zipang, Tayokaki often stops by the tasting room with his friends for coffee, and we are always so happy to see him.
This year marks a decade since Zipang first joined the Main Street family, and shows hopeful promise of many more to come. The restaurant takes its name from history, referencing the name Marco Polo gave to Japan during his travels. And so, like connecting Japan to Canada, it connects the past to the present, and represents joining of alternative sides. Rather than focusing on the ways we differ, it celebrates the ways we can come together, and presents it perfectly, artfully, on the plate.