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Sushi: global go-to

Fish demand rising around the world as Japanese cuisine spreads



White rice and fish artfully assembled in a fashion that looks just as good as it tastes arrives at the table. It almost looks too good to eat but salivating taste buds and hunger pains signal that this food is too good to pass up as an object of adoration.

Chances are good the chef preparing the culinary delight has a strong connection to Japan and one of the world's most popular foods right now.

There's also a strong likelihood that the sushi chef is doing well financially.

The popularity of sushi and other Japanese dishes has been on the rise the last few years. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has reported that fish consumption around the world may rise to 20 kilograms (44 lbs.) per person by 2030. Back in 2008 we collectively went through 17.1 kg (38 lbs.) each. The growing popularity of sushi is one of the factors in this increase.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that in 2011 the U.K. had about 450 Japanese restaurants. In 2012 that number is estimated to have jumped to about 500. On this side of the Atlantic Ocean, Bloomberg discovered that the number of Japanese restaurants in the U.S. grew to more than 14,000 in 2010. California alone boasted almost 4,000 Japanese restaurants. Bloomberg pulled the American statistics from the Tokyo-based Japan External Trade Organization.

Whistler is no stranger to miso soup, sashimi, yakitori, yakisoba and sake.

Sushi was named Whistler's Quintessential Dish of 2010 in the Best Of Whistler voting presented by Pique. Poutine took the title in 2011 and 2012 while sushi placed second.

Whistler has at least eight restaurants serving mainly Japanese food. Many other restaurants are featuring one or two or more Japanese items on the menu. Restaurant owners who aren't focused on Japanese foods see the trend so customers are being offered what they want, what's currently popular. We're in step with the rest of the world.

This sushi surge isn't lost on Sushi Sen owner and chef Yuji Kite in Squamish.

Sushi Sen opened its doors in 2007. The doors are currently closed but it isn't from a lack of success. The restaurant, which often has people lined up outside waiting to get in or to pick up take-out orders on Friday and Saturday evenings, is closed for renovations as the popular restaurant expands into a space next door vacated by The Cup Bistro and Deli.

Sushi Sen shut its doors on April 29 and may be closed for up to three weeks. Kite and his team have their heads down working hard on the renovation.

Sushi Sen fans are anxiously awaiting the reopening of the doors so they can check out the renovated eatery and rejoin the rest of the world in briefly admiring fresh salmon and tuna on rice before digging in to discover taste trumps looks.