As the birthplace of sushi, and any trip to Japan is guaranteed to be a smorgasbord of high-quality maki, sashimi, and nigiri.
Thanks to the large Japanese diasporas dotted around the world, however, you no longer have to travel to Tokyo to for authentic tamaki and here are the best places to eat sushi outside Japan. *
The award-winning sushi restaurant, RawBar
Vancouver is full of sushi restaurants, cafés, and food trucks. Omakase tasting menus are especially popular in the city’s sushi restaurants; when diners set aside their menus and allow the chef to choose every course. Plus, Canada’s first artisan sake maker recently set up shop on Granville Island.
Visitors to Vancouver in August will be there for the Annual Powell Street Festival, a celebration of Japanese-Canadian arts and cuisine. After eating your fill, take a stroll through the 40,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees that stretch from Stanley Park to Kitsilano Beach. And only 11-minutes’ walk from the beach is the Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver with its award-winning sushi restaurant, RawBar.
São Paulo, Brazil
Head to Little Japan in São Paulo for the best maki
São Paulo has the largest community of Japanese people living outside Japan. Dining options range from affordable – yet still high-quality – sushi joints to high-end restaurants where some of the world’s most innovative sushi menus are created.
The district of Liberdade is known as the Little Japan of São Paulo and this is where you still find the busy Japan-centric Galvão Bueno Street. This the best place in the city for finding inexpensive, authentic sushi, and visitors can stay nearby at the Residencial Bella Vista Studios.
Celebrations of Japanese culture in Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf’s Japanese population boomed in the 1950s, when Japanese companies chose the city to be the base of their European operations and started to gather around one the city’s main streets, Immermannstrasse. Today the area is known as Little Tokyo and has Japanese grocery stores, cafés, restaurants, and bakeries.
Maruyasu should be the first stop for any sushi fan as the cheerful café’s bento boxes and freshly-made sushi rolls are too good to pass up. Book a self-catered apartment near Immermannstrasse at Studio 38 and have a go at rolling your own sushi.
Coastal city + large Japanese community = unbeatable maki
Seattle’s Japanese community tend to live in the Eastside area of the city, where the coastal location gives sushi chefs the best fresh fish to work with. Now really is the ideal time to visit as famous Seattle resident and sushi master Shiro Kashiba recently came out of retirement to continue producing dream creations at Sushi Kashiba.
Visitors looking to stay in the Eastside of the city will be impressed by the sushi menu at Thompson Seattle but it is worth venturing into the city centre as well. Liberty of Capitol Hill is a restaurant where the diner’s sushi choice arrives paired with a specially-crafted cocktail and is a local favourite.
Spoilt for choice in Milan
Milan is known for its seafood, and there are so many sushi bars here that Italian foodies are spoilt for choice,often to be found hotly debating which restaurant serves the freshest sushi. Restaurants that regularly attract praise are Fuku Jima and Poporoya; stay within easy walking distance to the latter by checking into the Libeccio Bed & Breakfast.
If you have an adventurous palate then head to Sushi Yokohama where Italian-Chinese chef Rosy Yokohama serves up sushi with an Italian twist. Make sure to try the parmesan-topped futomaki rolls. And don’t forget that while the Japanese-Italians may be purest, they were also responsible for the world’s first ‘sushi sneakers’, created by Milan-based sushi chef Yujia Hu.
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The Unkai restaurant in Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers
For travellers hoping to try out the most interesting and unusual sushi, Shiro in Hong Kong is akin to a culinary pilgrimage. This is the restaurant that debuted crystal sushi: slivers of jelly infused with strong flavours like ponzu, shiso leaf, and rose, placed atop traditional sushi rolls.
When it comes to sushi, Hong Kong diners are just as intrepid as the chefs. And in certain restaurants it has become a point of pride to dine Omakase-style and refuse all opportunities to examine the menu. Try it for yourself at the Unkai restaurant in Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers.
** The data scientists at Booking.com used internal data to uncover the top destinations for 'sushi' according to Booking.com customers.