On Monday evening, I went to Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver (Coal Harbor location) for my good friend Sherry Cooper’s birthday dinner. We had a nice time, enjoyed some great food and wine. I am a huge fan of Hapa Izakaya (been many times) and highly recommend it.
I decided to have Hapa Izakaya’s Award-Winning Ocean Wise Chowder, it sounded so scrumptios with BC halibut, scallop, bacon, dashi and cream.
Oh cream, luscious cream! You make me work out harder the next day on the treadmill – but so worth it.
The Verdict of Hapa Izakaya’s Ocean Wise Chowder? The chowder had a wonderful velvety texture and yet at same time, very delicate flavor for broth. The chunks of halibut were nice and flaky, but a little sparse (I shouldn’t blame the restaurant on the lack of halibut though because the price of halibut in general is ridiculous and it won’t get better with the fishing quota dropping 8% this year, read more here). Like most Japanese food, the chowder was not overpowering but had a very authentic taste leaving me wanting more. I think there were some tiny pieces of fried wonton on top as well (at least, that is what the waitress told me) – they were very crispy and added another level to the chowder.
I definitely want to recreate this soup in near future. Afterall, it is halibut season and I will be picking up my special halibut order from 1fsh2fish soon! Can’t wait.
I was curious to figure out how the chowder had a nice delicate broth. Most chowders are made with broths from fish carcass, clam juice or crustation shells. But this chowder was made with Dashi.
Hmmn, so what is Dashi?
It is a japanese soup stock most commonly made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented bonito) to near-boiling, then straining the resultant liquid. As an alternate there is also a powder Dashi. Read more on Dashi here.
I found a decent blog post on how to make Dashi (image above is from the original source). It seems simple enough and I would rather make it myself versus resorting to the powder version: www.thekitchn.com/japanese-cooking-dashi-57749
Soup Mistress Rating for Hapa Izakaya’s Ocean Wise Chowder Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3/5)