Seven Unexpected Ways to Enjoy Japanese Shiso Leaves


The menu at Hapa Izakaya (multiple locations) offers plenty of shiso-based goodness, including halibut tempura served with a shiso-infused tartar sauce for a new take on fish ’n’ chips. At Ki (310-1121 Alberni St., 604-609-0600.) beef carpaccio is topped with crispy shallots and shiso


Zakkushi (multiple locations) tops skewers of charcoal-grilled chicken with a chiffonade of shiso and a drizzle of ume (plum) sauce.


At Tojo’s (1133 W. Broadway, 604-872-8050.) you can score some lightly battered and deep-fried tuna tataki that’s been topped with fresh shiso leaves.


Gyoza, those Japanese menu standbys, get a makeover at Minami (1118 Mainland St., 604-685-8080.), with hamachi (yellowtail tuna), shiso leaf, celery, carrot, cabbage, and soy-yuzu-ponzu sauce.


Suika Izakaya (1626 W. Broadway, 604-730-1678.) offers aburi shime-saba (seared mackerel) as Osaka-style pressed sushi, and serves it with shiso and a mustard soy dressing. Green shiso leaves are often used in traditional nigiri sushi, and at Zest (2775 W. 16th Ave., 604-731-9378.), Chef Yoshi Maniwa slips a shiso leaf between the rice and a lightly grilled piece of squid.

Spring rolls

An unusual but delicious combo of tuna, julienned shiso, and melted Brie is on the chef’s tasting menu at Dan Japanese Restaurant (2511 W. Broadway, 604-677-6930.)


Minami Mojito

  • 2 oz Tantakatan sochu
  • 1/2 lime, quartered
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • 2 shiso leaves
  • soda water

In a glass, place shiso leaves, 3 lime wedges, and simple syrup. Use a muddler to crush the shiso and limes to release oils. Fill the glass with ice, pour Tantakatan over, and top with soda. Garnish with remaining lime wedge and shiso leaf.

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