British Columbia (BC), Canada, is a prolific breeding ground for many species of fish, the most famous of which is salmon. We didn't know about this until we walked through the Granville Island Market and saw salmon in at least 20% of the stalls! It was certainly a change---and a wonderful feast for the eyes---to see such beautifully fresh salmon so readily available. Products included whole uncut gigantic salmons, raw filets, smoked or cured filets, even candied pieces, canned fresh and smoked salmon, salmon roe, and various ready-to-eat salmon products, such as soup and chowder. If only we could bring all this back with us!!
We had the chance to taste BC's fresh fish at Go Fish Ocean Emporium near Granville Island. Situated right at the Fisherman's Wharf, the fast-food style eatery was a collaboration between local fishermen and chef Gord Martin to promote locally-sourced fish in the form of gourmet sandwiches, tacos, fish cakes, and its most popular fish and chips. It was certainly a popular place with an ever-present queue. We forwent the place when we first unknowingly passed by it on a beautiful weekend lunch (that is, we only learned of its fame after this first chanced encounter) and returned with hopes of a shorter wait on a weekday lunch. The queue was indeed shorter, but we still had to wait nearly 30 minutes before we could order with an additional 30 minutes for the order to be made.
There were three choices available for the fish and chips: traditional cod, salmon, and halibut. We tried all three and were very satisfied. Fresh fish didn't get better than this. The best was probably the halibut with its nearly melting juicy texture and gentle but present flavour. The salmon ranked second with its absolutely beautiful smoky salmon flavour, but its texture suffered from the cooking method; I think I preferred my salmon slightly rawer. As for the cod, well, it was simply defeated by the better textured halibut and more distinctly flavoured salmon.
We had yet another opportunity to try raw salmon at an all-you-can-order Japanese restaurant several days later. Our expectations were not high as it was all-you-can-order, but the quality of BC salmon was clearly exemplified in the creamy, smooth, sweet and flavourful salmon sashimi. It was so good that we forwent all the other copious choices for the salmon sashimi alone.
Such fresh and quality salmon so readily available, this was certainly one key asset of Vancouver that we were going to miss and reminisce. I only hope that they are and can remain sustainable!