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Re^2: On sushi

by tadman (Prior)
on Jun 24, 2002 at 06:46 UTC ( #176700=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: On sushi:
in thread On sushi:

I'm sure there's a million "Sushi for the Uninitiated" guides, but here's my quick take. We're OT licenced here, and I'm using it!

If you've had smoked salmon, also known as "lox", then you're half-way there. That's kind of the beef-jerky of the fish world. It's a 'gateway' food for some, kind of like the french fries at Taco Bell.

Stick to what you know and build out from there. Don't do eel or squid unless you're ready for it. Newbie sushi people usually aren't offended by salmon ("sake") or tuna ("toro" or "maguro"). The taste is familar, but when raw, it's a lot more intense. Good fish is really very smooth, but it takes a good sushi "chef" to find it. As a rule, it would seem the farther inland you go, the harder it is to find really good sushi.

If you're worried about wasabe, which is a green mustard paste with a very strong bite, you'd best stick with sashimi, which is just sliced raw fish. This will come with the wasabe and pickled ginger ("gari") on the side, so you can use it as you see fit. It's just tuna or salmon, so you know what to expect.

As a rule: The stuff you find pre-packaged in plastic containers at the local mall is not sushi. It's to sushi what a hamburger is to a good steak. They might look the same, adhere to the same basic technical definition, but really, you're fooling yourself.

When you get more advanced, you can tackle the more exciting stuff. If you're not sweating, you're not trying hard enough. The wasabe is a mustard, and from what I've found, even those used to spicy food are really burned by some of it. Chile hot and mustard hot are two different things, with mustard acting a lot more in the nose. Especially mustard oil, which I swear, is the sushi "chef"'s secret weapon. Do not taunt the chef, or they might spike your next roll with this stuff. Since it's a clear liquid, you're not going to see it.

Good sushi isn't cheap, but then, neither is good fish. Done right, though, sushi is a lot cheaper than binging on oysters, and it can be a whole lot more fun too.

Take the time to do it right and you'll probably enjoy it.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Re^2: On sushi
by snafu (Chaplain) on Jun 24, 2002 at 14:51 UTC

    stuff you find pre-packaged in plastic containers at the local mall is not sushi. It's to sushi what a hamburger is to a good steak. They might look the same, adhere to the same basic technical definition, but really, you're fooling yourself.

    We have a grocery store right next door that has real Japanese chefs with real Japanese tools making "boxed" Sushi right there in front of ya. The Sushi they make is really good! It comes with the ginger and the wasabi as well as a small container of soy for just under 6 bucks depending on what you get. I prefer their California rolls but they make many different kinds of Sushi.

    I consider this real Sushi and while I would generally agree with you, I would be careful to generalize too much. Although, I admit, I am not a Sushi officionado and you sound like you have way more experience with the authentic stuff than I. However, if you tried to say the same thing to the chefs making the stuff, I wonder what they would say. Heh, I even tried talking to them once. They don't speak Engrish.

    I've never been to Japan but I imagine there must be some similar thing out there? *shrug* I could be wrong...but I would think that something like this would be the case out there since Sushi is so popular there.

    Get this. There is a Chinese buffet restaurant here that is really good! They also have an all-you-can-eat Sushi bar which again has Japanese (these ones are engrish speaking :) chefs making the Sushi right there before your eyes. That place has some of the best sushi I've ever eaten and its a buffet! They do have a warning stating that if you eat too much of the Sushi at the Sushi bar they will charge you for what you eat...heh. Oh well.

    Btw, I mean no disrespect by "engrish" statements. I actually think its a cool way of saying English.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    - Jim
    Insert clever comment here...

      Not to rain on your parade, but here in the new york metro area, alot of the sushi chefs who dont seem to speak english are Chinese and not japanese. In fact, alot of the japanese restaurants are chinese owned. Enterprising lads aren't they :)
        No no...I know you are right. I know that the chefs I have mentioned are indeed Japanese. And, yes! Those Chinese dudes are quite enterprising! =P

        _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
        - Jim
        Insert clever comment here...

      No offense, but I still have a hard time calling those things they sell in a) grocery stores or b) all you can eat places, "sushi". Those things are nasty. They use cheap, low grade fish, and the rice is all fscked. ugh.

      If you can't go to Japan, come to Sunnyvale and be ready to spend $150 for a meal. I'll get you real sushi .... ;)

      Update: Hmmm, Interesting. I lose reps for this?

      Update: Correction, grocery stores in US. Mostly, the ones I know first hand are grocery stores in MidWest in general, Dallas, and the Bay Area (yep, don't like the ones here, either). If you get a sushi thing from a grocery store in Japan, it's definitely doable depending on the store... ;)

        The sushi in the grocery stores in Kamakura Japan were pretty good and not nearly as exoensive as the Japanese sushi bars. At least that was true a few years ago. I had some good grocery store sushi in a Bay area grocery while consulting for Apple, too (not Apple ][...), BTW.
        Ok. I admit, I have heard the same. However, I have to *also* admit, what they have at this store is pretty tasty. I refuse to pay that much money for fish and rice =D

        The almost 8 bones I paid for mine tonight is about my limit....nah, thats a lie too. I'd pay a good (decent?) 30 bucks for good sushi that was more than just a couple rolls.

        Btw, I abhor advocados!! :) I always dig that junk out of the sushi before eating it, if its in there. That fruit gives me the quivers.

        _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
        - Jim
        Insert clever comment here...

Re: Re^2: On sushi
by chaoticset (Chaplain) on Jun 24, 2002 at 19:53 UTC
    As a rule, it would seem the farther inland you go, the harder it is to find really good sushi.

    Well, Maine being right on the coast, I figure that means the sushi place here must be pretty good! ;)

    You are what you think.

Re: Re^2: On sushi
by blackjudas (Pilgrim) on Jun 25, 2002 at 16:44 UTC
    {grin} Thanks tadman. I've heard nothing but good things, but my dislike is brought on by personal reasons. I cannot stand the smell of fish. When I was young I was on a family vacation to the Black Sea, one hot afternoon, the people renting the cabin with us bought some fish from a local fisherman and when I woke up from my nap (I think I was 4 or so) I opened the door and the stench from the fish being gutted and the heat hit me pretty hard. I don't remember it, but I do know that my stomach turns when I smell fish.

    So in short I am completely uninitiated :), I've been working on trying to get myself used to most ways that fish is prepared.

    The foods you describe sound amazingly tasty and some people have told me that the approach may be to start with the vegetarian sushi. I figure so many people enjoy it that I must be missing something. One day I'll feel brave and go on a mission!

    Thanks again for the informative words.


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