Sashimi! And Sushi Too!
April 19, 2003 10:21 PM   Subscribe

The Most Delicious Food That's Also Very Good For You - - in fact, to my mind, the best food in the world, including all the tastiest unhealthy ones, is sashimi. And sushi comes second. But sometimes it's late at night or too early in the morning; you're broke; the restaurants are closed; you're nowhere near Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market and all your sushi etiquette, memories and knowledge; your favourite sushi websites; your well-thumbed sushi books and your fishy wishlists...are of no darn use to you. Then you remember it's late or early enough to hit your local fish market... And it's then that this ideologically incorrect and Hawaii-leaning, California-dreaming, somewhat Englishly-challenged set of video tutorials comes into its own! Truth be told, for the price of one fresh mackerel, one sardine, a slice of salmon... and sashimi is yours! [But who am I kidding? It's just not the same. Oh well, Windows Media required for the vids.]
posted by MiguelCardoso (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I prefer rolls to sashimi; here's how I make them at home.

I got one as a gift and it kicks ass.

And this is my daughter's favorite book.
posted by padraigin at 10:26 PM on April 19, 2003

Rolls are nice, but Sashimi is, ummm... well, just ummm. I love the stuff, especially tuna. Luckily, I live in Vancouver, so I never have to worry about making it myself.

(BTW, great post Miguel.)
posted by pascal at 11:04 PM on April 19, 2003

post of the week.
posted by omidius at 11:31 PM on April 19, 2003

Miguel, I'm glad you live far away from me, or my wife would doubtless leave me for you by now.
posted by jonson at 11:40 PM on April 19, 2003

Man, I just wish... In the Midwest where I live, sashimi would involve corn and cheese sauce somehow. Don't get me wrong. Sometime the palate just craves a footlong chili cheese dog (lunch today) with sport peppers, but there are other times...
posted by Samizdata at 12:35 AM on April 20, 2003

Luckily, I live in Vancouver, so I never have to worry about making it myself.

Oh, I'm in the Bay Area. There are probably three sushiyas within walking distance. I'm just a bit of an overachiever.

Did anyone see the Iron Chef Battle Turkey? One of the contestants made turkey sashimi.
posted by padraigin at 1:24 AM on April 20, 2003

If you live near Bellevue, WA or Beaverton, OR, give Sushiland a try. They have achieved the holy trinity of goods & services: good, fast, and cheap! I eat there about three times a week. Even the raw-fish-fearing-friends I have taken there have loved it.

Try the seared salmon!
posted by ukamikanasi at 2:09 AM on April 20, 2003

Chef He-Day. He must have gotten tired of the way Americans pronounce "Hide."

I once made a big platter of sushi for my then-girlfriend. It tasted OK, but it looked like an elementary school art project. Very misshapen. Tanoshii (fun) link, Miguel.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:40 AM on April 20, 2003

I usta work across the street from Tsukiji. It gets old, trust me. Although that first zero-dark-hundred maguro-don breakfast fresh from the Pacific? Sublime, sublime.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:13 AM on April 20, 2003

Oh, and FWIW, this is far & away our favorite sushi joint.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:15 AM on April 20, 2003

Great post.

I have to admit that although raw fish is a delicacy to some, especially Koreans, (where one can choose one's living fish, as opposed to Japan, where one's fish is skillfully thawed), I still can't see the hullabaloo.

It's a bit costly, so the attraction to rarity comes into play, but I've never thought of raw fish as similar to other delicious treats like spicy steamed crab or lobster, beef sirloin, Korean-style flame grilled beef, or even grilled sword fish or shark steak. The subtleties of preparation and cooking are sometimes much more flavorful than slices of raw fish, with exceptions:

For example(!), fresh marinated Bonito, pickled squid guts, and fresh Hawaiian Yellowtail tuna poke are flavors that are unforgettable. Spicy and excellent. In fact, fresh Hawaiian yellowtail tuna is delightful anytime, especially with beer.

Swordfish jerky is another delight with appropriate beverages.
posted by hama7 at 5:50 AM on April 20, 2003

Hama, you just ruined my day. We planned to go to a Japanese restaurant tonight and now I'll be thinking of skillfully thawed fish all the time. *cries*
posted by ginz at 6:47 AM on April 20, 2003

Thorry ginth. Thkillfully thawed fith ith delithiouth too. Don't think it thuspithious or leth-than-scrumtiouth.

Thawed fith is delihishous.
posted by hama7 at 7:05 AM on April 20, 2003

I am sure Miguel is familiar with this, but other cultures have raw fish delicacies as well.
posted by TedW at 9:15 AM on April 20, 2003

Skillfully "flash" frozen (very, very quickly by mega-powerful special freezers) and thawed fish does indeed make for a different - slightly waterier and chewier, saltier and a little fishier - flavour. From what I hear, you can get spanking fresh just-caught fish in Japan - but it's either very difficult or very expensive.

My revered itamae, Mr. Yoshi, of the Aya restaurants in Lisbon, tells me it has something to do with the fact that most Japanese fishing vessels only return to shore after two days. That's why fish in countries which, like Portugal, have a big artisanal fishing fleet, is much easier to find fresh.

In any case, according to the same sage, what you do with fish depends entirely on its freshness. If it's just-caught, you slice it up and serve it, with just a spot of soy sauce or lime juice - preferably nothing. If it's half-a-day since capture, then you can drop it in warm water/then cold iced water, just to revive, add a little more sauce, a sharp ponzu, for instance.

And so on, until you start blanching, searing and actually grilling - and adding more pronounced sauces.

Really fresh fish actually tastes of nothing at all - it's just the texture and the zing and cool buttery feel of it.


TedW: thanks for that great ceviche site. That Tijuana beach fisherman-prepared ceviche sounds delicious.

Greenfield: I doubt whether it would ever get old for me. I lived right next to Lisbon's biggest fish market, Docapesca - which is enormous - and every day was different. Still - what envy!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:59 AM on April 20, 2003

Japanese have the highest rate of intestinal parasites in the world. Not to mention Tuna has one of the highest rates of mercury poisoning of all fish, one roll is a weekly quota, but who can eat one just one roll.

I for one love raw meat. Raw beef, raw calves liver. Soaked in acidic fluids and spices .. nothing more healthy. Loaded with digestive enzymes and full vitamins and minerals. Traditional peoples of the world eat much meat raw. Leaves one feel energized and a small amount goes a long way. Raw organ meats are the most nutritious of all, brains, stomach linings (tripe). If you can find it anymore, all demonized for some reason, but the strapping healthy traditional people of the world this is standard fare. In fact many cultures consider muscle meat as trash food for the dogs and dine solely on the nutrient-dense organ meats and marrow.
posted by stbalbach at 10:06 AM on April 20, 2003

but for the strapping healthy traditional people of the world this is standard fare

Wow. Any links, stbalbach? Thanks for reminding me that sashimi is by no means just fish - all sorts of meats (including horse and chicken) are served in Japanese gastronomy.

I tried horse once - only because it was my itamae who offered it - but too many taboos prevented me from enjoying it. I like rare calf's liver - but that's my limit. It really is funny how different hang-ups cause different food preferences. There really is no logic to it.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:31 AM on April 20, 2003

It really is funny how different hang-ups cause different food preferences. There really is no logic to it.

The late Marvin Harris thought there really was a great deal of logic to cultural dietary taboos, and wrote an excellent book, Good to Eat, on the subject

As an aside, I have no idea why I have been responding to Miguel's posts so much today, other than the fact that motorcycles and food are two of my favorite subjects.
posted by TedW at 11:32 AM on April 20, 2003

Here are my favorite pj's in a familiar print. Mmmm, sushi!
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 11:33 AM on April 20, 2003

I hate you guys. Because of this thread I'm now eating a big plate full of sushi even though my financial circumstances would have me eating ramen noodles.
posted by gyc at 3:28 PM on April 20, 2003

Wow. Any links, stbalbach?

Yeah this book (Amazon link for the comments). In summary, Doctor Price visited about 15 native cultures in the 1930s (Swiss, African, Indian, Mongolia, Amazon, etc..) cultures that had not yet been exposed to "modern" food (white flour, sugar, canned goods, modern vegtable fats, flavorings and preservatives, pasteurization, etc..) and documented what he found in terms of physical health mostly through dentistry work since the teeth are an indicator of overall health and through facial features. What he found was the generation who ate traditional foods had almost no teeth problems ie. no cavities, no wisdom teeth pushing other teeth, no need for tooth brushes, etc.. and the first generation to start eating modern industrialized foods were ridden with teeth decay, smaller stature, narrow faces and noses crowded or out of proportion (sickly looking). His conclusion was it was a result of diet. From there he looked at the diets of all these traditional peoples and found common patterns which included lots of raw foods including raw meats (in particular organ meats) and raw dairy. He then concluded fat-soluable vitamins A and D were in quantities 10 times that of modern diets was one of the main differences and that modern diets are woefully lacking in fat-soluable vitamins found in things such as creame, butter, lard, liver, marrow.. all the things we are told not to eat and are difficult to absorb through supplementation format or processed versions which have been denatured.

Now we just need soyjoy to pop in we'll have a regular hootenanny.. Dr. Price found no example of a native culture that was strictly vegetarian.
posted by stbalbach at 4:35 PM on April 20, 2003

The folks at quackwatch are somewhat skeptical of Dr. Price's work.
posted by TedW at 6:06 PM on April 20, 2003

Oh yum. Sushi. I adore the stuff. I've not mustered the fortitude to try sashimi, but I am not sure if I'd like it. Part of the thing I like about sushi is the rice and nori. I love the texture.

If you're in Atlanta or Charlotte, I highly, highly recommend Ru-San's. Wonderful food, anime on the TVs, and a very diverse Dollar Menu. Nothing like getting loaded up on negi hamachi and spicy katsuo maki for a dollar per three. Excellent vegetarian sushi selection as well. Pickled garlic maki is divine.

Richmond, VA has a great sushi bar called Akido that is quite good too. I adore their tempura shrimp roll.
posted by sigma7 at 7:58 PM on April 20, 2003

When desparate at home, start with a Triscuit to replace the rice as a carrier, put on a dab of wasabi, then a piece of herring tidbit in wine sauce (Vita or Nathan's). The vinegary "wine sauce" hints of sushi rice, and the pickled herring, while not exactly like Kyoto-style saba, is a reasonable, not really raw, not really cooked stand-in.
posted by fpatrick at 8:46 PM on April 20, 2003

Hama: you're such an idioth.
Anyway, we had a wonderful time and delicious food. Sashimi, sushi, soup, fish and meat with lots and lots of Kikkoman soy sauce. From our own production site in Sappemeer. I never knew.
posted by ginz at 1:06 PM on April 21, 2003

I have never understood how eating uncooked animal flesh can be good for you, not mention why it would be worth paying twice as much as other food.
posted by erogers at 1:21 PM on April 21, 2003

Hi MiguelCardoso,

I tried horse once - only because it was my itamae who offered it - but too many taboos prevented me from enjoying it.

Basashi (horse sashimi) is very nice and I would recommend it - especially if you are travelling in north-east Kyushu, Japan.

It really is funny how different hang-ups cause different food preferences.

When I was living in Singapore (another country blessed with an abundant variety of tasty treats), mentioning the fact that I eat horse meat was met with genuine disgust.

To each his own, I guess.

When enjoying another country, I will generally eat anything that the local people eat. If the local people can eat it, I assume that I can since we are all the same on the inside.

Upon seeing dog meat on the menu in a restaurant near Taishan (China), however, I decided to draw a line. Although I do not look down on people who do enjoy dog meat (or who are forced to eat it due to economic circumstances - it was a lot cheaper than the other meats on the menu) I would have to be very hungry before I would partake of man's best friend.

I also avoid 'whale' since it is rumored to contain high levels of mercury and dolphin, another mammal that I could not bring myself to eat. It will be labelled 'whale' even if the dolphin content is much higher.

There really is no logic to it.

I agree 100% and my drawing the line at dogs and dolphins bears that out.

posted by cup at 9:53 PM on April 21, 2003


Millions of carnivores (felines, canines, crocs and gators, etc) can't be wrong.
posted by The Michael The at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2003

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