The first time I tried sushi, was in Hollywood
California in 1986. It was in a sushi bar right off of Sunset Strip. A friend and I went in and immediately met this seemingly wealthy real estate mogul. We ordered a few items as suggested by the stranger. We walked away chalking the experience up to trying out something we had wanted to do for a long time.
The next time I tried sushi was many years later when a friend ordered it for our group while eating at the Hibachi Steak House in Huntington. This time, it was the Maguro or raw tuna on rice. I loved it and have been eating it ever since.
The misconception is that sushi is only raw fish. This is not true. Many items are deep fried, such as the soft shelled crab and many of the rolls. The peppered tuna is actually seared before it is sliced very thinly and many of the rolls are actually vegetarian.
What most people don’t realize is that in grading fresh fish, sushi quality is the absolute highest quality fish you can buy. So you are not eating just any raw fish, but some of the highest quality fish that the ocean can provide. Because of the cost of this fish it is rushed to the sushi table as quickly as possible having taken every precaution in keeping it fresh. As for the raw fish, I’m not big on the sea urchin, octopus or the mackerel but I sometimes have waking dreams of tuna.
The Japanese believe that raw fish provides energy. After eating sushi I always feel satisfied but not full and sleepy like with my other love, pasta and I truly do get a rush of energy after a meal of sushi. But what I love more than the wonderful tastes of sushi is the complex textures of the food. While sushi is comparatively new to me, the techniques of preparation and the various ingredients of these dishes have evolved over hundreds of years. The reason this food is good is not by accident. There is a reason for the roe lightly coating the outside of your roll, there is a reason that they place cucumber in the squid salad, and there is method in the madness of the use of sesame seeds.
I alone have converted at least twenty would be meat eaters to the world of sushi. People who turned up their noses and made funny faces now eagerly await their next opportunity to crack their new chop sticks apart and wisk their wasabi in the small saucer of soy sauce.
This is my advice. First, while at work daydream as much as possible about food, eat a light lunch and try and do as little actual work as possible. When your boss is not looking, try picking up things on your desk with a pair of chop sticks for practice. In the afternoon, make a personal call to your significant other and tell them that you are taking them out to eat tonight. After work, it is important to first make sure your children, if applicable, are fed and provided for. Then go stand by the bathroom door impatiently awaiting the emergence of your significant other. This part is tricky. You have to hurry them along without passing the point of aggravating them so much that there will be no dinner conversation. It can be a tenuous line and it moves, so be careful.
Now then, point your car in the direction of the nearest sushi eating establishment. Drive fast. If you get a ticket, it’s ok, it will be worth it. As you enter the establishment, look at the sushi chef and say in very clear words “Chow Sabadi Bau”, then smile. He will smile back not having any idea about what you just said because he is neither Japanese nor Laotian. But he will think you actually may have a clue why you are there. Once you have his attention, ask him what is good today. If he says sea urchin, make an ugly face and find a seat quickly.
If it is your first time, order the squid salad and maybe the soy pods. You eat the soy pods by putting the entire thing in your mouth and pulling out the seeds. For your entrÃ?Â©e, order a California Roll (vegetarian), Magura (raw tuna), and Eel and Cucumber (cooked).
First mix the soy sauce and wasabi (the green stuff), to taste, dip the morsel and place the entire thing in your mouth. Then close your eyes and experience the taste but also the complex textures of this wonderful food.
As you leave, put a couple of bucks in his tip jar. This is in addition to your server tip, and say politely; “Deolay Chow High”. He won’t know what this means either. If possible learn the chef’s name and call him by name the next time you visit. There is an eighty percent chance his name will be Joe. If all this is done correctly you not only will have a great meal, but during your next visit you will appear to be very cosmopolitan.