Opening Soon: A Japanese-Style Bagel Shop in Downtown Vancouver

Ever had a mochi cheese bagel? You can at Wa-Bagel, opening in downtown Vancouver in late spring 2023.

Aburi Restaurants—the restaurant group behind Minami and Miku—is in their opening era.

Not even a month after the launch of Wa! Curry, the Japanese curry spot at 622 West Pender (more on that here), they’re announcing another new restaurant in downtown Vancouver. Wa-Bagel will open at 666 Burrard Street in late spring 2023: commuters, that’s right across the street from the Burrard skytrain station.

wa-bagel japanese-style bagels

They’re doing bagels like you’ve never seen them before (unless you’ve been to Japan—brag about it, why don’t you). Wa-Bagel’s offerings include bagels that have fillings. We’re not talking boring old cut-it-in-half-and-slather-it-with-cream-cheese fillings. No sir. These are Japanese bagels, and by law need to be more complicated and beautiful than other kinds of bagels (I’m kidding, obviously, but if you’ve ever seen a Japanese cheesecake or Japanese pancake or Japanese cartoon, you know what I’m talking about).

Bagel dough with toppings.
The making of Japanese-style bagels.

The filling is baked within the bagel. Wa-Bagel’s menu has flavours like lemon peel and azuki bean, red bean paste and cream cheese, sweet potato and black sesame, eggplant and bacon with miso and cheese and salmon lox (from Aburi Market in West Van, of course) and scallion cream. They’ll also have bagel sandwiches.

A bagel sandwich.
A bagel sandwich.

Wa-Bagels are made from koji-based yeast (koji is essentially a type of mold made from rice, and is also used to make miso, soy sauce and sake, among other things) and Canadian flour, so it’s the sort of cultural mashup wasians like me go absolutely nuts for. The head baker at Wa-Bagels is Yukiko Iikura, founder of Tokyo’s Kepo bagels.

Seigo Nakamura and Yukiko Iikura at her Kepo Bagels in Japan
Seigo Nakamura, CEO of ABURI Restaurants Canada, and Yukiko Iikura at Iikura’s Kepo Bagels in Japan.

We’ll report back once Wa-Bagel is open—watch this space and follow them on Instagram.