Today I pay homage to one of my favorite foods – sushi! Pictured is an assortment of sushi from one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in Culver City, CA. I try to eat there whenever I’m in Los Angeles. They also have fantastic udon bowls. And the service is always phenomenal.
Fifty years ago, you would be hard pressed to find a sushi bar in the United States but in the late 1970s, sushi began to gain a following as a healthy and delicious food choice. Personally, sushi is one of the few foods, besides fruits and veggies, that I feel are truly clean eating. I learned to eat sushi at an early age because my mom loved Japanese food and I remember her saving money so we can try one of the first Japanese restaurants in our city. We tried sukiyaki, tempura, sashimi and sushi.
Some use sashimi and sushi interchangeably but sashimi is raw seafood without rice whilst sushi always has rice with raw or cooked seafood. Of course nowadays, sushi has been modified to suit the American palate and we find odd ingredients like cream cheese and avocado. In one Chinese restaurant, I even saw a banana split sushi. Although I am not picky, I passed on that one. I was pretty sad last year when I was on a medication that lowered my immunity so I had to avoid all raw foods so no sushi for me. Although I am off that medication now, I am still a little wary since I ate sushi once and was sick for three weeks. So a word of caution, do not consume raw food unless you are confident that it is fresh.
In my research for this post, I found out that traditionally, sushi is eaten with the fingers. The correct eating etiquette is to hold the piece of sushi, turn it over and dip the topping side into the soy sauce or dipping sauce and then put the whole piece in your mouth. The reason the rice side is not dipped is because it falls apart and soaks too much of the sauce. Chef Hide from the California Beach Sushi restaurant in Newport Beach, CA shows the correct way to eat sushi, including a no-no that most of us probably do, which is adding wasabi to the soy sauce for dipping. He said if you want more wasabi, you should inform the chef and the wasabi will be added to the sushi pieces while being prepared.
For those interested, you can find out more about sushi from Chef Hide on Eatsushi.com. They also have some recipes for making basic sushi and sashimi.