Local + Organic meets Homestyle Japanese at Uchida in Victoria BC

Uchida in Victoria (next to the Bug Zoo and Miniature World) is my idea of what a humble eatery in a small Japanese town would be like: cooking up homestyle food using local ingredients, prepared simply with minimum fuss, and gentle seasoning that lets the ingredients speak for themselves. I’m not in Victoria very often (even less now that my sister moved back to the mainland) but I always try to eat at this lunch-only spot because I think it offers something that not even Vancouver has.

DSCF9076

Here it is, Uchida on Courtney St., right in downtown Victoria. That’s the bug zoo in the background (windows with yellow trim). You go left into the little alleyway and you see this:

DSCF9080

It’s a tiny place that fits maybe 20 people max.

Note: this place used to be Daidoco before May 2012. Some of the staff took over and renamed it Uchida. Daidoco still operates as a market stall/bento box lunch delivery service in Victoria. Very cute drawings of their lunches on their Facebook page.

DSCF9081

Curtain hanging in the doorway.

DSCF9083

They’re only open for weekday lunch.

DSCF9084

Hopefully my Japanese readers will know what this says…

DSCF9087

Their regular menu of rice bowls, rice balls, etc. They have organic rice that they polish themselves! You can choose either white or brown rice.

DSCF9089

Their side dishes. Most things here are à la carte, so you can build your own meal of protein, rice, sides, etc.

DSCF9090

Today’s special. The lady said it was like ginger pork.

DSCF9093

They also have what looks like pressed sushi.

DSCF9095

One of two special veggie sides, using mostly organic vegetables.

DSCF9094

The other special veggie side. We got both. “Komatsuna” is Japanese mustard spinach.

DSCF9109

If you mention “single-estate” or “single-origin”, my eyes will go wide! So I had to try it.

DSCF9113

The description said “light and comfortable flavour…unintrusive”, which is spot-on. Very gentle, balanced, easy to drink. No harsh bitterness at all.

DSCF9116

Yasunobu must’ve been the guy I waved and said bye to afterwards. It’s a small place but they had at least five people working there in the open kitchen.

DSCF9100

Help yourself to water.

DSCF9107

Roast Veggies containing kabocha, beets, kabu (turnip), daikon and onion. Absolutely delicious. With veggies this good, you don’t need to do much to them.

DSCF9103

Tsubu Mustard Ae with Japanese mustard spinach, chard, cabbage, carrot and enoki mushrooms. Again, the seasoning doesn’t mask the inherent deliciousness of the veggies.

DSCF9123

Organic Brown Rice. They polish the rice themselves! I don’t know of any places in Vancouver that do this! The rice is nutty and rustic. I can’t get enough of it.

DSCF9118

My dad got miso soup. Didn’t get to try it.

DSCF9121

Grilled Mackerel. It’s that salted kind of mackerel. So yeah, it’s a bit salty but tastes great with rice.

DSCF9129

Miso Marinated Grilled Rockfish. What’s rockfish you ask? They had a photo of it on their wall:

DSCF9203

You could really taste the miso marination in the fish. A simple, classic Japanese preparation. I could taste the freshness and simplicity.

DSCF9135

Tuna Don. Sister-in-law inhaled this.

DSCF9138

Today’s special rice bowl: Buta Shogayaki Don. They use pork from a farm that’s only 21.9 km away! They are humbly doing organic, farm-to-table cooking here. Love the soft egg.

DSCF9147

Chicken Teriyaki Don. Dad couldn’t wait to dig in. He grew up poor and starving most of the time, so I completely understand that he can’t stand having that hungry feeling in his stomach. Once he gets hungry, he has to throw together something to eat — even if it’s leftover sushi boiled in some broth with other fridge leftovers thrown in!

DSCF9199

Spicy Chicken Wings flavoured with shichimi togarashi. Wicca totally fell in love with these wings. Enticing grilled/charred aroma and flavour. Not sure how they cooked these but they rocked!

DSCF9205

Juicy inside, crispy outside. The natural chicken flavour just shines through, lightly accented by the shichimi.

DSCF9223

The best part was the surprise inclusion of the NECK! We rejoiced. There’s so much flavour in neck meat. We had fun tearing it apart and nibbling off all the meat out of the nooks and crannies!

Uchida is a no-brainer if you’re in downtown Victoria.

Uchida on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Local + Organic meets Homestyle Japanese at Uchida in Victoria BC”

Leave a Reply