Beyond The Food Court: Fujiya

From tuna sashimi to instant ramen, Japanese cuisine thrives in Western Canada. Victorians experience few barriers in accessibility to original meals, no matter their location or income level. Just because you can’t afford to dine out, doesn’t mean you can’t relish an authentic dish. No, we’re not referring to food court-style overburdened paper plates or stale California rolls at the grocery store. We’re talking about Fujiya.

Fujiya is located right on Shelbourne St. just off Cedar Hill Cross Rd.

With stores already thriving in Vancouver and Richmond, Fujiya opened their Victoria location in 1991. Across from Shelbourne Plaza near the University of Victoria, the Japanese grocery and take-away is a local favourite across all demographics. Scattered within and out are lunch-breakers and entire families. Students populate the tables outside in between classes. Everyone knows what they’re doing, for there are two ways to visit Fuijiya.

Sushi comes out of the kitchen just as fast as it leaves the store

The first is to head straight to the back of the store. A wide variance of don bowls, gyoza (fried dumplings), karage (Japanese-style fried chicken), calamari, yakitori (meat skewers), sushi cones, sashimi, rolls, and more are all chilled and lined up, ready to go at affordable prices. Beyond lies Fujiya’s kitchen, an impressive and industrious chrome operation with many chefs, all working hard to keep the fast-selling inventory stocked. You can see plates prepared as you make your selection, much like when sitting at a sushi bar. As far as breadth of selection goes, Fuijya’s may be inferior to a full restaurant menu, but you won’t find any competition in takeaway sushi elsewhere. After stacking up a few boxes, head around the corner to grab a Japan-sourced beverage, then to the till. Take your lunch or dinner home, find a coveted seat outside, or drive up to nearby Mt. Tolmie to dig in while you enjoy the city view.

Shelves of authentic green tea

The other way to visit Fujiya is to peruse. Many overlook the store itself, which is plentiful in hard-to-find ethnic ingredients, among other things. Different kinds of seaweed and rice, shelves of instant ramen and other noodles, desserts in fun packaging, teas, and miso are just the things one will be able to identify. The store provides take-home recipes for classic Japanese dishes, like miso soup, and holds a small library of cookbooks through which you may peruse to find something appetizing before locating the ingredients to purchase it. Or, you could always go for the most interesting looking package and see what happens. The employees are there to help fill you in.

A glance at the wide selection and busy kitchen

Fujiya is a beloved staple in the Victoria foodie family. It enables those of all income levels and backgrounds to enjoy a typically expensive but intensely loved cuisine with its affordability and accessibility. It’s not on the tourist track or something you’d spot from far away. Fujiya’s success is derived purely from loyalty and word-of-mouth, and when visiting the small store, it’s clear that it’s working for them.

3624 Shelbourne St, Victoria, BC

  • Pictured at the top: Take-away tuna sashimi, spicy tuna roll, and vegetable gyoza



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