sanbiki restaurant japanese kitchen

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pride our dignity


ocean wise ocean wise

People's appetite for seafood has grown steadily in recent decades, putting immense pressure on global fisheries. Supporting sustainable fisheries has been important at Sanbiki since we opened in 2003. However it can be confusing to know how and where different seafood products were caught or harvested. In 2007, Sanbiki became the first Japanese restaurant in Canada to join the Vancouver Aquariumfs Oceanwise program. Oceanwise helps restaurants and their customers to identify sustainable seafood choices. Menu items marked with the Oceanwise logo are considered to be gbest choicesh for the environment. B.C. caught Albacore Tuna, Wild Sockeye Salmon and oysters and Spot Prawns from Vancouver Island are just a few of the top quality, sustainable ingredients we use at Sanbiki. Oceanwise certified seafood is also available for sale at Mori Mori Asian Grocery.

Ocean wise


ocean wise

Sanbiki offers our guests the opportunity to sample premium chilled sakes brewed on Granville Island. Masa Shiroki’s sake is left unfiltered and is free of preservatives. Pressed and bottled by hand, his sakes have fresh, delicate flavours that pair well with Japanese foods.

Artisan SakeMaker


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Whenever possible, we use locally grown organic produce. Mendel and Paula Rubenson of Silver Spring Farm provide us with the best available seasonal fruits and vegetables. They have been farming organically for many years in the Kamloops area. You can visit them Wednesdays and Saturdays downtown at the Kamloops Farmers Market!



Rabbit River Farms in Richmond provides us with certified organic, free range eggs. Committed to humane animal husbandry, the farm has received SPCA certification ensuring consumers that the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained.

Rabbit River Farms SPCA Certified



Certified organic ales brewed in Sorrento, BC. Unfiltered and rich in flavour, they are our delicious draft alternative with no bottles to recycle! Ask your server what's on tap today.

Crannog Ales



In 2008, Sanbiki relocated to our present location at the corner of Lansdowne and 5th Avenue in Kamloops. Our beautiful new space was designed and built by Chase-based Daizen Joinery. Local timber was used whenever possible. Dai and his team pushed us to consider several possible layouts for the new restaurant. A difficult economic climate meant all non-essentials were cut.

A completely open kitchen allows guests to watch as their meals are prepared and also acts as the focal point of the restaurant. Our Chefs in the kitchen can interact with customers while serving them over the counters bordering the kitchen. The thought that went into Sanbikifs design and Daifs attention to detail has resulted in a restaurant better than we had imagined possible.


SLOW FOOD At Sanbiki we take time and care

The Slow Food movement was started in Italy by Carlo Petrini in 1986. It has since spread across Europe and North America as well as Japan. Simply put, Slow Foodfs gphilosophyh is based on the ideas of ggood, clean and fairh. Food should taste good; it should excite the senses and bring people together to share it. Our food should be gcleanh in the sense that it does not pollute our planet and compromise the earthfs future productivity. By fair, the Slow Food movement reflects itfs commitment to the principles of social justice for all of those involved in all stages of food production and consumption.

The concept of people as gco-producersh as opposed to strictly consumers or producers is central to Slow Foods ideology. We are each responsible for the decisions that we make about what and where we eat. If there is no demand there will be no supply; we are all active participants in the production process.

Slow Food is also involved in maintaining agricultural and animal biodiversity, and preserving local knowledge, cuisines and food traditions. For more information on this fascinating organization, please visit their website at

The Flavours of Sanbiki

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Dried Bonito flakes and kelp are strained by hand to give the dashi its rich flavour. This dashi helps set Sanbiki's tasteapart from other restaurants. It is not the cheapest or the easiest way, but we believe it is the best way.

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Dashi is a Japanese stock that forms the base for many soups and sauces. Usually a powdered concentrate is used. At Sanbiki, we do it old school. Our dashi is made from scratch using all natural ingredients.

ocean wise

Preparation of our sushi rice begins the night before we open. The rice soaks and this improves the texture and flavour of the sushi rice.In Japan, sushi Chefs spend years perfecting the washing and preparation of rice for sushi.At Sanbiki we pay similar attention to all the details involved inpreparing our dishes.

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Futomaki is a traditional “big size” sushi roll. Other kinds of sushi include nigiri (“piece” sushi) which originated in Tokyo in the Kanto area of Japan. Oshii sushi is pressed sushi made using a wooden box and without seaweed. This kind of sushi is famous in the Kansai region in western Japan.

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Tamago is a sweet and savoury omelette that is a staple at sushi bars in Japan. Customers will often order this item first so they can judge what the quality of the other food will be. If a Chef takes care in the preparation of Tamago, chances are other dishes will be handled well also. We use free range eggs from Rabbit River Farms. Committed to humane animal husbandry, the farm feeds the hens an organic vegetarian diet and the eggs are delicious!



Konbu, Niboshi and Katsuo-Bushi are the main ingredients to make Dashi (a Japanese soup stock) at Sanbiki restaurant.

Konbu is the Japanese word for Kelp. It is farmed for one to two years and then dried to become a final product. Konbu is a good source for glutamic acid, an amino acid responsible for umami, the Japanese word used for one of the five basic tastes (in addition to salty, sweet, sour and bitter). Sanbiki uses pesticide-free Konbu grown in China.

Niboshi are boiled and dried small fish. Although usually made from different kinds of fishes like anchovies, baby sardines, round herring, flying fish, banded blue-sprat etc., when you say Niboshi; it is assumed to refer to anchovies in most of areas of Japan. Sanbiki uses niboshi made from anchovies.

Katsuo-Bushi are the shavings of dried bonito (a kind of tuna). After being filleted, the flesh of the bonito is boiled, smoked, sun-dried, and then planted with a mould called Aspergillus glaucus in order to reduce the moisture content. After that, the surface is cleaned and the process is repeated until the weight of the bonito has been reduced by 20%. It takes about one year to complete the process. Katsuo-Bushifs umami flavour comes from its high inosinic acid. Sanbiki uses Katsuobushi imported from Japan.

Dashi made from katsuo-bushi can be used in many Japanese dishes as we will explain later.

As an aside, there is John Lennonfs album called gShaved fishh and it is said that the name of the album originates from the katsuo-bushi.

Dashi at Sanbiki is made daily from scratch by using natural, organic products and it forms the base for Miso soup, Happo Dashi and many other sauces.

There is packaged instant dashi stock which is available and contains added artificial flavours, sometimes Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). If you do not have time to make dashi from scratch, you can use this powdered stock to save time and money. But once you have tasted Sanbikifs homemade dashi, you will know there is a big difference in taste!


happo dashi

Happo Dashi takes its name from the Japanese expression Shiho-Happo which means gin all directionsh. This is because of the many ways you can use this versatile stock. After making the basic dashi stock, a little bit of sugar, light colour soy sauce, and salt are added to season the original dashi. However, the taste is not supposed to be a rich, but should instead be of a subtle and light flavour. Happo dashi helps create Sanbikifs unique and original taste. We make our Tempura sauce, Tendon sauce, Sunomono sauce etc. from this dashi. It is a strange thing, but everyday we make the dashi using the same ingredients and recipe, yet it tastes slightly different everyday. We are taught the power of nature when we make the dashi.


udon dashi

This is a soup base for Tempura udon and Chicken udon which are very popular at Sanbiki, especially in the winter season. It is made from happo dashi stock to which we have added some dark colour soy sauce and mirin. Masato is from Nara prefecture in Japan. This is located in the Kansai area, the southern central region of Japan. Sanbikifs seasoning and taste is of Kansai style. Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe cities are in this region and Osaka is one of the most popular cities in this region.

There is also the Kanto area in the east of Japan which includes the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama. Many non-Japanese are not aware of the many differences between the cultures of Kansai and Kanto. Attitides, local traditions and of course cooking methods can vary widely. Kansai people prefer a very delicate taste and light seasoning while Japanese in Kanto prefer a stronger taste. Sanbikifs seasoning is light in keeping with the tradition of Kansai cuisine. This does not mean a watery or bland taste. Light seasoning with can be combined with stronger flavoured ingredients to produce delicious and complex dishes.

If you prefer a stronger taste, please do not hesitate to add some soy sauce or shichimi (Japanese chilli powder) to your dish. Japanese from the Kanto region also sometimes feel our seasoning is weak as well! However we will make one request; and that is please taste your food first before you add some soy sauce. This is similar to a French Chef asking you to sample a dish by itself before you add salt or pepper. It takes time but you will begin to appreciate all the subtle flavours and tastes that are in the food!


tendon tsuyu

This is the sauce poured over our Tendon (Tempura rice bowl). We make it using the happo dashi stock, dark coloured soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. These ingredients are simmered for about an hour and then we let it stand for two to three days before it is used. This allows the flavours to come together and intensify. We also use this sauce in our Unagi bowl (grilled fresh water eel and rice). We use quite a bit of soy sauce to make this sauce, so it has a rich taste but it should not be too sickly sweet.


We add this sauce to our Yaki-Udon (stir fried Udon noodles). It is made from happo dashi, soy sauce, mirin and katsuo-bushi. It takes about two or three days for the flavour to develop. Also, this sauce can be used for Hiyashi Soba (chilled buckwheat noodles with sauce) and Hiyashi Udon (chilled wheat noodles) These dishes are featured on our summer menus. On a hot day they are delicious, refreshing and very popular!


ponzu dashi

We do not use dashi stock for this, but do use katsuo-bushi (dried Bonito tuna shavings) It is made by boiling soy sauce, sake, and mirin in a pot until it reduces. We then add a pinch of konbu (dried kelp) and katsuo-bushi and leave it until it cools down. We put it in a special container and then let it stand for a week in the fridge. Now we call this sauce Nikiri Shoyu. A small amount of Yuzu juice (Japanese or Asian citrus juice) is added to this sauce to make Ponzu sauce. We use this as a dipping sauce for beef or tuna tataki (meats that have been seared but remain very rare inside) It is also delicious with Sanbikifs special seafood ceviche, and as a side for Nabemono (Japanese Hot Pot) It is refreshing and leaves a clean, pleasant aftertaste. It makes you happy!


gyoza dashi

This sauce is really simple to make! No special techniques or training and no waiting time. You can easily make it at home. Just mix equal amounts of soy sauce and rice vinegar, add a splash of sesame oil and voila! You have a yummy sauce for dipping your gyoza, shumai (Chinese dumplings) or whatever else you can find. Quick and easy and really tasty! Buy pre-made frozen gyoza or shumai at an Asian grocery and serve them to your friends at home. These appetizers go great with beer.


At Sanbiki, we make gyoza (dumplings/Japanese gpot stickersh) by ourselves every week. Our gyoza is made from a special recipe and folded by hand. Cabbage is one of the main ingredients. It is boiled and then we squeeze out the water to keep some of the crunchiness. Pork and Niira (Asian chives) are added with seasoning to make our pork gyoza. Top quality jumbo scallops from Hokkaido (Northern Japan), prawns and squid are all used to make our seafood gyoza. The texture of the seafood combines with the crunchiness of the cabbage to create a truly tasty dumpling.

Wrapping gyoza is a simple task, but it takes time. Our chefs often spend up to two hours wrapping gyoza. Making gyoza is hard work, but we have many customers who have grown addicted to Sanbikifs special recipe!