Located next door to the National Nikkei Heritage Centre in south Burnaby, Hi Genki is easy to miss. It’s actually located inside the Nikkei Home, a seniors home, but don’t let that set you back. Their open hours are staggered from that of the home so there is no risk of walking in during their lunch hours.
The restaurant is operated by Fujiya, a small chain of Japanese take out stores around the Lower Mainland. However, don’t expect your typical sushi rolls here. Hi Genki specializes in serving some of the most authentic and homestyle Japanese food around. The menu offers a variety of rice bowls, udon, curries and side dishes like tempura and croquettes. A favourite of mine is their oyako donburi (chicken and egg rice bowl) and the karaage donburi (fried chicken rice bowl).
However, what really sets them apart are their specials of the day. Their specials typically are unique dishes not found anywhere else. On my latest visit, I tried their fried mackerel dinner which came with two whole crispy mackerels, salad and a bowl of rice.
Most dishes come in at less than $ 10 making it incredibly good value for your money. Everything is made fresh upon your order. It’s like having your own Japanese grandmother cooking for you. It’s pure comfort food.
Despite its hidden location, it’s popular among those in the know and wait times, especially on the weekends, can creep up on you as they do not take reservations.