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Japanese foods--sushi/sashimi


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Actually the area in and around Los Angeles has a number of very fine Sushi restaurants that are owned and opperated by native Japanese sushi experts. Much of their fish is flown in from top quality sources. LA is blessed with a rich blend of authentic ethnic restaurants, and Japanese food- esp. sushi- is no exception.

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Actually the area in and around Los Angeles has a number of very fine Sushi restaurants that are owned and opperated by native Japanese sushi experts.  Much of their fish is flown in from top quality sources.  LA is blessed with a rich blend of authentic ethnic restaurants, and Japanese food- esp. sushi- is no exception.

If its in and around the Los Angeles area, the locally caught (within couple hundred miles off shore) species around here are albacore (bincho), bluefin and yellowfin tuna, and yellowtail. So if the sushi restaurant gets them locally, I would try for any of those sushi's. I will also add that sea bream or tai is also in season.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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 would have to say that saba is definitely the most under-rated sushi of them all. Not glamorous, but great! I always order it.

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one thing that will definitely be available during my summer vacation (soon!) is river-caught mackerel (saba). am going to try as sashimi and BBQ'd. for whatever reason, there's an abundance of mackerel in Nova Scotia.

there's also another river-fish called "Gaspereau" there. any anglers or cooks know what the "real" name of this fish is? ('cus i don't...)  :shock:

I was under the impression that fresh water fish were not suitable for sushi due to possible parasites that are not able to survive in salt water. Am I wrong?

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my absolute summer fave...kakinoha-zushi is made with saba wrapped in persimmon leaves

there is a brief explanation here

every summer i go to yoshino in nara for the annual "boys suck" tour with my girlfriends...these pics are from last year! the green wrapped sushi in the top left corner are saba.

gallery_26697_822_156664.jpg

these babies are hand made by my best mates mom. they are so much better than store bought ones!

sorry this close up is a little blurry!

gallery_26697_822_388851.jpg

all the freshwater fish i can think of is either cooked or preserved - i cant remember ever seeing it eaten raw.

oh, btw, boys dont really suck, we just called it that :raz:

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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  • 4 weeks later...

I picked up this interesting variation on inari sushi the other day.

gallery_6134_2590_33553.jpg

Kokutou inari ("black" sugar) inari

My kids didn't really care for them but I liked the stronger flavor.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I picked up this interesting variation on inari sushi the other day.

gallery_6134_2590_33553.jpg

Kokutou inari ("black" sugar) inari

My kids didn't really care for them but I liked the stronger flavor.

I'm intrigued by the price tag. 230 yen per 6 pieces. That's a good buy.

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  • 2 months later...

Crack Down on Sushi

AP

TOKYO (AP) - November 6, 2006 - Are the chefs slicing the raw tuna correctly? Is the rice sticky enough? Is that paprika in your sushi roll?

Tokyo is launching a campaign to crack down on restaurants abroad that bill themselves as authentic Japanese - but fall short of culinary standards at home.

A panel of food experts was appointed Thursday to discuss a certification system that would presumably certify restaurants that serve dishes served in the true Japanese tradition.

Though short on specifics, the system would promote "authentic Japanese culinary culture" abroad, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

"There are many restaurants overseas that call themselves Japanese, yet use culinary techniques and ingredients far removed from those of authentic Japanese food," said a ministry statement.

<snip>

Read the rest here:

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=bizarre&id=4731642

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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Sounds nice, but will be tricky to implement. Japanese cuisine is a moving target, and the defining features of the cuisine are conventions rather than rules.

Historically, cooking oil was expensive and fuel was more plentiful than, say, in China, so boiling became more important than sauteeing/stir-frying. (In China the quick cooking technique conserved fuel).

As an example of the difficulty in defining what is traditional: I'm completely bewildered by broccoli in tempura but I don't think it's so strange to make it as ohitashi. Broccoli is decidedly not a traditional ingredient, but it's possible to treat it with a traditional technique.

Similarly, tomatoes are common in contemporary Japanese culinary culture, but there are no particularly traditional dishes depending on them... I wouldn't de-certify a Japanese restaurant for serving a little salad, because I've been served little salads in otherwise normal Japanese restaurants.

In sushi, the U.S. versions have proportionality out of whack, even when they sometimes use quality ingredients and techniques, just because the restaurant owners think their customers want "bigger" portions. Of course, the biggest flaw is some combinations that are truly bizarre, but also there are some actual innovations in Japan as well.

It's more an approach to ingredients that differs, than a set of rules, so it will be hard to codify. And some of the results of certification processes are not always desirable: the Napoli pizza certification requires San Marzano tomatoes, so the certified restaurants in the US used canned San Marzano tomatoes even when seasonal better-quality local, fresh tomatoes are available.

Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the plan on November 2, and according to news shows, their true intention seems to promote the imports of Japanese products.

The system will also promote Japanese agricultural exports and help Japanese food companies sell their products overseas, the ministry said.

Anyway, according to Yomiuri Shimbun's webpage, the committee is scheduled to study (1) Definition of Japanese cuisine, (2) Target countries and cities, (3) Ratio of the use of ingredients produced in Japan, and (4) Specific standards for cooking methods and customer service techniques, and draw conclusions by February of next year.

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I live in Northern California and we have a few "authentic" restaurants, frequented by Japanese expats and a handful of non-Japanese. The problem for these restaurants is survival. Do you Americanize to broaden your customer base? If you decide to do that, can you still preserve your expat customer base? These are difficult questions. For the most part, Japanese food in the US (I've sampled it in at least 50 US cities) varies from pretty authentic to outright fraud, the worst being the large mall food courts which serve something that I wouldn't even feed to a dog or cat.

Many "Japanese" restaurants are owned by non-Japanese and they always share one characteristic, that being cutting corners in terms of quality and freshness. (I'm not even including service and cleanliness into this discussion.) Let me say that there are exceptions to this rule that come to mind and one of them is the Furaibo franchises in Southern California owned by an American musician who enjoyed it so much while touring Japan he setup franchises in the US.

The Americanized places are easy to spot. The first clue is the lack of a Japanese name. But, sometimes, they fake it and use one, anyway. I don't fault the Ministry for going after these places. I hope they succeed.

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For me, the first clue that something is amiss is a Japanese girl's name (Yasuko's or similar) as the restaurant name, or anything + Teriyaki... I just don't go in such places.

The first clue is the lack of a Japanese name.  But, sometimes, they fake it and use one, anyway.  I don't fault the Ministry for going after these places.  I hope they succeed.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Most Sushi retaurants are not owned by Japanese and most chefs are not clasically trained. My first question is always, " Are you Japanese and where are you trained?". Second question is, "Who owns the restaurant?"

If both answers are not Japanese, then you are eating the McDonalds equivalent. -Dick

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If they have something like promoting authentic Japanese cuisine abroad I'd say they might be wise to start with the consumers rather than restaurants.

Restaurants can make whatever they want, but it doesn't mean people are going to buy it.

If more people understand what Japanese food is in terms of ingredients, quality, freshness, serving style etc. they're going to demand it. In Australia it's still pretty much the same as anywhere, but I think more and more people have more of an idea of what "real" Japanese food is, and so, seek it out.

But in the end, I guess this is all pretty pointless. People are going to eat what they want depending on what they're used to. You can't force them to eat what you see as authentic Japanese food. Foods and tastes change, and perceptions of what is authentic differ.

I always thought Japanese food could be pretty much anything anyway, as long as it's prepared in a Japanese style and is in season and fresh. It's no good trying to eat tuna sashimi in the middle of somewhere far from the sea. In those places it would be more in the spirit to eat whatever fish you can get that is freshest.

A lot of sushi I ate in Japan was pretty much the same low standard as some bad restaurants in Australia. But maybe that says more about the price you're willing to pay for sushi. If you go to a cheap restaurant anywhere, of course they're going to be cutting corners. Are they going to crack down on sushi in Japan too?

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Okay, here's where my bias as a 3rd/4th generation Japanese-American comes out.

Japanese food in America had to adapt to having different ingredients. There are many areas in the US that lack a reliable source for some of the most basic of authentic ingredients for Japanese cooking.

It's sometimes easier or less expensive for me to subsitute a similar ingredient (say a Western sweet potato vs an imported satsuma-imo) than to go to a market 25 miles away to get the authentic ingredients... and I live in a metro area with a large population of Asians. The one local market that specializes in Japanese products is the size of a gas station mini-mart.

I'm from California though... it's more practical for me to use locally produced items than to use import products.

Cheryl

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I don't think using local ingredients is a problem... I was kind of hinting at that with my tomato commentary. It does seem clear that the motivation of this effort is to increase Japanese food exports, however, which might mean that such substitutions could be considered "inauthentic" even if the results are bad for the food.

I've made the sweet potato substitution when I couldn't find decent (also not imported) satsuma-imo. Often using the locally available thing is the right thing to do; witness how French cuisine works when it travels.

In the last 60 years or so Japanese cuisine has changed quite a bit. A professor of mine compared the vegetable selection of a rural shop in the 1960s with the selection in the 1990s, and it was a complete transformation; one was lucky to find much more than eggplant, negi, onion, daikon, kabocha and satsumaimo in some areas during the 60s, and in the 90s even the very rural areas have a dizzying array of choices.

Okay, here's where my bias as a 3rd/4th generation Japanese-American comes out.

Japanese food in America had to adapt to having different ingredients. There are many areas in the US that lack a reliable source for some of the most basic of authentic ingredients for Japanese cooking.

It's sometimes easier or less expensive for me to subsitute a similar ingredient (say a Western sweet potato vs an imported satsuma-imo) than to go to a market 25 miles away to get the authentic ingredients... and I live in a metro area with a large population of Asians. The one local market that specializes in Japanese products is the size of a gas station mini-mart.

I'm from California though... it's more practical for me to use locally produced items than to use import products.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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In the last 60 years or so Japanese cuisine has changed quite a bit. A professor of mine compared the vegetable selection of a rural shop in the 1960s with the selection in the 1990s, and it was a complete transformation; one was lucky to find much more than eggplant, negi, onion, daikon, kabocha and satsumaimo in some areas during the 60s, and in the 90s even the very rural areas have a dizzying array of choices.

Are you talking about in Japan proper, or here in the States?

Cheryl

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Actually in Japan... When I was at Philipps University in Marburg, German as an exchange student, I was taking a course given by a visiting professor, a Nikkei historian from Temple University, mostly focusing on the changes in work, family and lifestyle in the postwar era.

My memories on the details might be a bit fuzzy, but I tend to remember things that I've learned related to food, correct or otherwise :raz:

In the last 60 years or so Japanese cuisine has changed quite a bit. A professor of mine compared the vegetable selection of a rural shop in the 1960s with the selection in the 1990s, and it was a complete transformation; one was lucky to find much more than eggplant, negi, onion, daikon, kabocha and satsumaimo in some areas during the 60s, and in the 90s even the very rural areas have a dizzying array of choices.

Are you talking about in Japan proper, or here in the States?

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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If the Mexican government gets the same idea, about 99% of Mexican restaurants outside Mexico will fail to be certified. The same for Italian restaurants outside Italy.

What does it matter anyway? Food quality has nothing to do with national "purity" of the cuisine. Using the fresh local ingredients in Japanese style is surely more desirable than using stale imported "genuine" ingredients.

It does sound solely like a roundabout attempt to promote Japanese food exports.

The nationality of the owner or staff should also be irrelevant to the quality of the food. Nobody has a monopoly on any cuisine, not even their "own".

I think this idea may "backfire", i.e. generate negative publicity.

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It seems to be working for things like Napoli-certified pizza. In Seattle a local restaurateur opened the first certified Napoli-style pizza restaurant, which is good, though it has prevented certain innovations (e.g. good local tomatoes in the late summer in favor of San Marzano canned).

The nationality of the chef should be irrelevant, and it's certainly true in cuisines with a longer history in the US such as French. However, thanks to the perceived cachet of Japanese cuisine, some disasters have been committed in pursuit of the buck: Korean immigrants run a fairly large number of terrible restaurants under the facade of "Japanese" food. It doesn't mean it's impossible for Koreans or Americans to produce good Japanese food in the US, but based on the current market it's a fairly good bet that non-Japanese managed restaurants will not produce great Japanese food.

I don't necessarily assume the worst of non-Japanese management, though it tends to leave me doubtful. I rely on other cues, usually related to things like the menu (a tendency to offer simple dishes without lots of clever tricks), presentation (I wanted to run away from a San Francisco restaurant solely based on the window display, but was unfortunately overruled by my hungry and weary Hong Kong colleagues, and my suspicions proved correct), and sometimes the name. When a name strikes me as strange in Japanese, though I cannot explain in a way that makes the information useful to anyone who doesn't speak at least a little Japanese, it's often a good sign that the place is a disaster.

Japanese chefs are also no guarantee of quality. The U.S. market mostly doesn't financially reward really high quality in Japanese food nearly as much as Japan does; truly great Japanese chefs will make more money by staying in Japan. In contrast, great French chefs can now do better running a small restaurant in, say, New York or Boston, than they can in France, in at least some cases, so the incentive to travel is stronger.

My own Japanese food is better than some of the Japanese-run restaurants I've been to in the U.S., and I'm not the only one who would say so :raz:

If the Mexican government gets the same idea, about 99% of Mexican restaurants outside Mexico will fail to be certified. The same for Italian restaurants outside Italy.

What does it matter anyway? Food quality has nothing to do with national "purity" of the cuisine. Using the fresh local ingredients in Japanese style is surely more desirable than using stale imported "genuine" ingredients.

It does sound solely like a roundabout attempt to promote Japanese food exports.

The nationality of the owner or staff should also be irrelevant to the quality of the food.  Nobody has a monopoly on any cuisine, not even their "own".

I think this idea may "backfire", i.e. generate negative publicity.

Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Barring further knowledge of this particular initiative, I don't have a problem with the idea of a voluntary certification system.

You can bet that it will only be relevant to a very small portion of Japanese restaurants--well under 1% of restaurants.

I wonder if the real reason for this initiative is to create a voluntary licensing system for Japanese chefs working abroad. Not a bad idea if it gives an aspiring Japanese chef the opportunity to get real hands-on training in Japan, under a structured system. Furthermore, instead of having Japanese go abroad and become "Japanese chefs" with no/minimal training, it might convince a few to at least get some decent training before doing so.

I'm for anything that elevates the standard of Japanese cuisine abroad--provided that it's voluntary. I'm under no illusion that this initiative will make a huge impact, but it could have a positive impact, albeit slight.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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  • 3 weeks later...

Have non-Japanese ingredients such as avocado, cream cheese, jalapeno become popular in Japan or do they remain American preferences? I rather dislike cream cheese but I think avocado is great and appeals to the East Asian palate. Are there ingredients that originated elsewhere, other than America, that have been imported back into Japanese sushi cuisine?

I suppose this only covers non-seafood ingredients as I believe nearly all species from around the world are imported into Japan.

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