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Japanese foods--sushi/sashimi


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At sushi restaurants, I usually start with vineger-pickled medium-sized gizzard shad, then move to some white fish, some shell fish, yellowtail, fatty tuna ... continue as my stomach allows. But my highlight in the course is always sea urchin. What topping are your favorites?  

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At our favourite sushi bar, Kenzan, in Melbourne, Australia there's a young and super-talented chef called Yoshiki, who treats his a la carte counter customers (especially those who bring him Pavlova) to some truly inspired nigiri toppings. Some favourites:

Tuna, marinated in a mixture of soy and truffle oil

Julienne squid or cuttlefish, with lemon and salt

Flash-BBQ'd swordfish or salmon belly, with seasoned grated daikon

Sea urchin, piled into battleship-style nigiri, wrapped with shaved cucumber instead of nori

The chef at Orizuru, in Hobart, Tasmania, recently made me a strawberry nigiri for dessert - as a joke. It was, to my immense surprise, delicious. I think tataki strawberry, mixed with strawberry liqueur, and piled into battleship-style sushi, would be pretty special.

Shige, of Orizuru, also makes battleships stuffed with seaweed salad that has been prepared from fresh local wakame, chilli and sesame oil.

We had another memorable nigiri at Orizuru when Shige prepared - as a birthday treat for my husband - the "Big Nigiri". A massive expanse of salmon on a bed of rice. As long as a hotdog, though not as fat.

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I think I'm generally a toro man, but when in season I've been known to order several amaebi (sweet shrimp)

I also love deep fried soft shell crab maki.

Futomaki is always part of my order, I love seeing how its prepared at differnt sushi places.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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  • 2 weeks later...

Its a bit like ''which is your favourite child?" :)

When its in season though, I think sea urchin roe is hard to beat. My favorite is a hand roll with sea urchin roe, sliced squid or cuttlefish and salmon roe. Very rich but oh so decadent!  

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Favorite? I think it depends on which one I had last. I have to agree with grahame about picking just one, but I also agree that if I had to choose, it would probably be sea urchin when it's really good.

Many years ago we were in Kazanzawa and got on line outside a sushi restaurant in the central market. As we moved forward we eventually found ourselves on line inside the market. We were obviously the only non-Asians in the restaurant and I suspect well noticed. I don't speak Japanese, but at some point a tray with a bowl of sushi rice covered with uni passed in front of us. My eyes lit up, I nudged my wife and said "look, uni chirashi-sushi." I had the sense I surprised every one in the room and I also sensed a sigh of relief from the staff.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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It would save more space for me to list the things I don't like. It is hard to think of one, but I don't like cooked shrimp. I find it usually has no flavor. The same could be said for most precooked seafood and especially shrimp cocktail as served in the US. I find it a mark of the increasingly sophisticated tastes of New Yorkers that my favorite sushi bar has replaced the boiled shrimp in it's chirashi sushi with ama ebi. To the best of my memory, I've not met a bird or fish egg, I've not liked. Cod roe seems to appear mostly in a highly spiced form. At least that's the one I know. I like it best in a roll with cucumber. Salmon roe is a favorite. One time I was sitting at the bar and the Japanese diner next to me ordered an ikura kaiware sushi. The rice wrapped in nori, came with Salmon roe and radish sprouts on top. I ordered one too and it has become a favorite. I've never seen it listed on a menu as such. I also enjoy the small crisp roe the sushi chef at my favorite place, scatters on his set chirashi sushi. I believe it's flying fish roe.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I like almost overything that goes on sushi but i do have some less then obvious favorites.  Engawa is actually the flesh under the dorsal fin of a whitefish (forgive the dialectic tone, i get a little strident about sushi), and i've had it both raw and grilled and served like eal.  

I'm also a huge fan of shelfish especiall aoyagi, aoyagi adducter muscles (served batera style, generally somewhat sweeter), mirugai (I actually bought and served a whole one once, man was that a production!), torgai (a giant cockle i haven't seen anywhere outside of japan - do you guys get it in australia or england?), those metalic hiroshima kumomoto oysters.

otherwise i'm basically a fatty tuna related fish fan: albacore, hamachi, chutorro, ohtoro, etc., etc.

kazuo, rare in the u.s., is interesting but not my favorite. i'm a tobiko, masago fan.

ikura kaiware is actually a traditional salad (suminomo i guess).  The idea of having it on sushi is cool.  I'd like to try that.

I like to end the meal, if i have room, with an ume-shiso maki, with or without cucumber.  The piquency and saltiness seems to clear the palate and settle my tummy.

Sushi was the first food i actually liked enough to desire to eat it even when not hungry.  My introduction to gastronomy.  I was 4 i think.  It changed my life.  I still think it's one of the few perfect foods in the world.

 

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Ken, the chef/owner of Tomoe Sushi in NYC intoduced me to umeshisoyama maki, which he described as a finish roll, that is to end your sushi feast. It's a decidedly acquired taste. I believe it's the texture of the yam that's hardest for Americans. I've learned to like it, but the whole roll is still too much for me and I've met no one who will share it with me a second time.  ;)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 5 months later...

I love tobiko with quail egg ontop, that's my all time fav I think.  There are tons of things I like it's hard to think of them all.  I like inari zushi, unagi nigiri, and takuan maki also.  But I usually don't eat those in that order or even all together.. generally I have what's in season or what looks good.

ami

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I really enjoy all sushi. But I have to admit that I will always have several orders of saba-zushi (marinated mackerel) which is of course the least subtle and cheapest. But I just love it.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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300 bowls of ramen? That is truly exceptional, BON. Do you like soba and udon as well?

Korean food is wonderful, isn't it? Elements of Chinese cuisine but heavily influenced by Japanese but with chiles! I have several huge jars of different kinds of kimchee in the refrigerator. I think I might just go and munch on a kimchee baby daikon.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 11 months later...

I sampled fluke fin for the first time recently (Engawa). Its textures were ribbed and fairly pronounced. It was served with ponzu sauce, and was taken in at a small Japanese restaurant in NY (cuisine not otherwise interesting). I found it rather interesting. :wink:

I'm curious about whether the NY restaurant translated this item properly. The chef was not too well -versed in English, but showed me that the "fluke fin" ran along almost the entire length of the "body" of the fish. It was not a "fin" in the sense one of the image conjured up by that word (i.e., a more pointy, shark-like fin with respect to appearance).

Edited by cabrales (log)
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cabrales, I had always heard of "engawa" as the fin of hirame (fluke).

How was it served? I think it's often done as a temaki.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Engawa is usually the fin of hirame (sole) but can be karei (flounder)

I've had it as the fin and bones of the fish, deep fried (kara-age), and then

served with ponzu and momiji oroshi (radish with chili).

The Merriam Webster dictionary says that fluke is a word for flatfish.

News to me, but the Japanese-English dictionary I have also uses the

word.

Engawa literally means balcony - the sole having fins running the length

of the body that are reminicent of the balcony of a traditional

Japanese house.

------------------------

to taberu is to ikiru

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  • 3 months later...

some types of sushi:

nigiri-fish placed on an oblong shaped piece of rice, occasionally with additional garnishes or nori, scallions, etc

chirashi- scattered rice, 1 or more type of fish scattered on top of rice sometimes with vegetables/eggs/nori/etc

temaki-hand roll usually triangular in shape filled with anything the chef desires in a piece of nori

maki-a simple nori roll of normally one or two ingredients, cut into bite size pieces

futo-maki-"fat" roll consisting of many ingredients rolled in a piece of nori and cut into pieces

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Katsuo-tataki! It's is made by searing a long chunk of bonito sashimi then slicing it thinly. It looks pretty- deep red inside and white from the searing outside. The sliced sashimi is arranged on a plate and sprinkled with various garnishes like sliced green onions, shiso, grated ginger, grated daikon, then splashed with ponzu. Spring katsuo is just coming into season, I'll have to make this soon.

I like futo-maki, but I won't eat it out- haven't figured out how yet. It's too big to go down in one bite, but if I bite off half then all the remaining innards fall off. It's usually too hard to cut in two with chopsticks before eating. Has anybody figured out how to eat it?

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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When I'm eating in a Japanese, I really prefer a combination of as many dishes/styles as possible. I'm a real fan of the Nigiri if the fish is fantastic. A piece of Toro for instance. I also rarely use soy.

The restaurant near my apartment that we have been going to lately has a "new age" type touch to it. There was a chef there who spent some time at Nobu in NY. The dishes raw or cooked may have a slight sauce or a chili pepper added.

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Pristine sashimi puts me in Heaven, but I do prefer to balance the meal with nigiri pieces and/or maybe a good roll. Maki wise, I love the salmon skin.

I look forward to hearing what you like, Kristin.

Celine

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Jinmyo, I love mackerel, too. It's a fish that really tastes like fish.

I don't eat sushi very often because of the cost (I'd rather save up and make it count). Since starting to eat sushi (just a few years ago), it's funny how often I've been eating a piece of grilled or broiled fish and thinking, "This would be much better raw."

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I am a sashimi person! :biggrin: I find the rice a distraction since I really want to taste the fish.

favorites include

toro

chu-toro

most of the white flesh fishes

amaebi

salmon

I love uni and ikura as well but find they are more suited to nigiri style as they are too difficult to eat otherwise.

Like Jin I love the saba (mackeral) the shime-saba (lightly vinegared) in great and I always order it and my husband always laughs at me and says that it is for obaasans (old women!). Well someday I will be one so I guess I need to practice..

Back in January My husband and I went to Crab kaiseki restaurant, we had the crab shabu shabu kaiseki, but one of the starters was a crab sashimi that blew me away!. True crab sashimi is pretty hard to find except at the pricier places and it was the first time my (Japanese) husband had eaten it, I had actually had it 12 years ago at the very same restarant but with an ex-boyfriend! :shock:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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