My wonderful world of sushi
May 18, 2008
My father refuses to eatsushi.
"They don’t even cook it!" he rationalizes.
I don’t share my father’s view. In fact, you might call me a sushi fanatic.
I’ve spent time at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market to check out the auctions and sample the fresh catch of the day.
And I’m sure I’ve eaten at every sushi shop within walking distance of my Roppongi apartment.
Sushi will be one of the things I miss most about living in Japan.
When I arrived in Japan three years ago, I quickly noticed the difference between sushi here and what I was used to getting in the States. Here, it tastes fresher and the texture seems softer.
There are several ways sushi can be served. The most common way is nigiri sushi, where a piece of fish or other type of seafood or topping is placed on an oblong mound of sushi rice, which has vinegar added to it and tastes a little bit sweeter than normal Japanese sticky rice.
Sushi can also be cylindrical, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu. Maki sushi is normally wrapped in seaweed, or nori, and cut into several pieces.
Another popular form is temaki (hand-rolled sushi), which is the easiest to prepare. Sushi rice and toppings are scooped onto a sheet of nori, which is then rolled into a cone. Temaki sushi is eaten by hand, instead of with chopsticks.
Temaki-sushi is perfect for a dinner party. Get a bunch of rice, nori and seafood and let everybody roll their own. I’ve had a blast doing this with my friends.
Sushi originated in China as a way of preserving fish with rice and salt. Onigiri, a rice ball stuffed with fish meat and wrapped in seaweed, is a good example of how it might have looked. I have one of these for breakfast when I’m in a hurry. Japanese convenience stores sell onigiri in several varieties, for around 105 yen.
And my father is wrong — sushi can be cooked. The fish atop aburi sushi is seared for a few seconds by holding a blowtorch to the top of the meat. That still might not be enough to satisfy my dad, though.
My old man may never eat sushi, but I think I’ve eaten enough for the both of us during my stay in Japan, and I haven’t regretted a single moment.