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Sushi in Buenos Aires, Argentina


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It is worldly known that Argentineans are crazy for meat, this is our main

protein provider, we eat it in all sort of ways, thought we always prefer a

good asado. The asado is the local barbecue. This Argentinean version is

very different from the American kind. First of all, there's no fire, but

very hot coles spread underneath a grill on top of which very good quality

meat is set, with no other dressing than salt and a bit of pepper. A slow

and gentle roast with coles and sometimes special wood sticks would turn

your steak into a God's pleasure dish. This eating tradition can be traced

down our history up till the colonial times, were the Gauchos, rode their

horses throughout the beautiful southern pampas, and whenever they were

hungry they got hold of a naturally breaded cow or sheep. Throughout times

this culinary tradition has been sophisticated and improved thanks to the

dedication of our dear asadores and cooks, and our most recognized chefs

such as the recently deceased Gato Dumas.

In our culinary history no one would have ever thought that such a foreign

eating habit as the raw fish technique of sushi could ever be embraced with

such passion and pleasure by the Argentinean public. But it has.

Argentinean, and specially Porteños, have gone sushi crazy. These are one of

the world's most advocated fans to the oriental tradition. During the last

few years, sushi restaurants have proliferated throughout the city of Buenos

Aires.

To my humble opinion, this rapid love story between the once meat eaters and

sushi has its origin in a shared passion for care and delicacy with which

food is prepared, the ceremonial mis-en-place and careful preparation of the

dish. Both asadores and sushimen are experienced cooks, not just anyone is

qualify to come up with a delightful result after a few hours in the

kitchen.

The key to understanding the Argentinean eating habits lays on the fact that

we take great pleasure in good eating and have a unique palate. We once

embraced the Italian and Spanish culinary experiences at the beginning of

the 1900 when a great flow of immigrants taught us about the virtues of

grains and flours. Some time after, we bonded with the French styled cousine

and we're now embracing the delicacy of natural ingredients to their

highest expression.

The love story has begun early in the 90s and it looks like it's gonna last.

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  • 5 months later...

While I agree that Sushi is currently undergoing a "phase" here in Buenos Aires, in my opinion the quality of Sushi has a lot of room to improve.

There are of course exceptions.... but these are few and far between. I have heard of a few family restaurants in remote areas of the city where you dont get a table unless you are brought in by an insider, apparently these places are in the Flores and Paternal neigbourhoods. Im told these places are expensive, but quality is top notch as most ingredients are flown in - mostly from Brazil where there is a huge Japanese community that has a stable supply from Japan.

I still working on getting a gourmet contact in the Japanese community and am anxious to try one of these hidden places.

For the regular sushi places, its hard not to notice that everything is basically salmon, salmon, and salmon. Forget fatty tuna or anything that isnt salmon. The bottom line is that most menus are very plain vanilla.

However, to remain positive, one can say that the Sushi culture in Buenos Aires is just starting, and after the fad dies away there will hopefully remain a few places that will slowly start uping the antes and exploring the enourmous variety that is available in Japanese cuisine. As the market gets more sophisticated, I hope and assume that the right supply channels will be in place.

Visit Argentina and try wines from the RIGHT side of the Andes !!!

www.terroir.com.ar

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'd have to agree with Gaucho here. Sushi in BsAs leaves a lot to be desired, even at some of the "trendy" spots. It is, as he said, salmon, salmon, and oh yes, salmon. The occasional crab-stick (never real crab), langoustine, or "pescado blanco" (generally some sort of sea-bass) may creep in, but it's rare. Wasabi and ginger often have to be asked for, and the wasabi is rarely already impregnated beneath the fish. Some places don't even have these two condiments available! And although there is some salmon that is native to Argentina, much of it is flown in frozen from North America (hence its outrageous price at most fish markets, in comparison to South American fish). The usual claim for not using local fish is that it has to be brought in from the coast, about an hour and a half to two hours south, and there is no reliable refrigerated transport. I don't buy it - the fish markets manage to get their fish delivered packed on top of ice, it can't be any more difficult for a restaurant to arrange the same. Go figure...

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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I'm afraid we're talking about very different sushi places in Buenos Aires,

and I quite not agree with you guys.

First of all, it's not American (as in US American) Salmon, it's Chilean. Comes from the other side of those mountains....

Secondly, there's an interesting variety of fish options, however it all

depends on what you're looking for and where. In San Isidro Sushi club not

only the variety is broad, but very good too.

As to ginger and wasabi, I truly have never been to a sushi place where they

didn't serve these key ingredients. I don't know what kind of sushi places

you've been frequenting but if it's not too much of an indiscretion I would

recommend you to aim better.

In spite of the fact that I wish not to convey into a philosophical debate

on sushi in Buenos Aires I will point out that good quality food in our

country is never cheap, it sometimes can be priced more accordingly than

others. atop, new sushi restaurants are more like boutique restaurants.

It's all about decisions.

Please do not misunderstand my words, I don't neglect the fact that there

are better or worst places, nor that the food quality can vary, but in the

sense of a constructive criticism it's better to clarify what we're talking

about in particular, instead of despising the whole without distinction.

Know, as to those "family restaurants in remote areas of the city where you dont get a table unless you are brought in by an insider, apparently these places are in the Flores and Paternal neigbourhoods" that Gaucho makes mention, I would say those are a must to find, if Gaucho knows of one or 2, please tell us more...... and I don't see these places serving forget to serving, as well as poor quality items or even forgetting the wasabi or other ingredients. En fin, it’s been a pleasure, hope to here more. Bob

Everything on Art to Antiques and Collectibles found in Buenos Aires, Argentina.Bob Frassinetti, art and antique dealer

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Bob,

It's possible that the San Isidro Sushi Club offers more of a selection, but then, San Isidro isn't Buenos Aires. There are several Sushi Club branches here in BsAs, and their menus offer salmon - not a wide variety of fish. Occasionally they offer a special of something else, as I noted, langoustine or a white fish, but that isn't the focus of the menu. As to my comment on the source of the salmon, that came direct from talking to a couple of sushi chefs, who flatly stated that they get their salmon flown in from the U.S., not Chile. I know my local fish market gets Chilean salmon - as to why some restaurants choose to go with North American, who knows? Also, as to the wasabi/ginger, that wasn't a generalization, there are certainly many, probably most, sushi bars here that serve them (but I have found that I sometimes have to ask for them), what I've found surprising is to encounter some that don't.

Now, on the flip side, if you have a sushi bar in Buenos Aires that offers an "interesting variety of fish", I'd be delighted to go try it out. Neither myself nor my friends here have found one yet.

Edited by saltshaker (log)

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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Just to clarify, I dont believe it was I that mentioned a lack of wasabi and ginger at the places Ive been to. What I will say, however, is that only at very few restaurants did I find the ginger quality to be acceptable.

Im still working on getting to those by recommendation only places, as soon as I have more details I will be back and post more information.

Visit Argentina and try wines from the RIGHT side of the Andes !!!

www.terroir.com.ar

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I don't know about the influence of the increasing Korean population. My experience here is that unlike some of the other Asian communities the Korean population is tending to be somewhat insular. If one wanders into Barrio Chino, or chinatown, you find that the community is quite open, restaurants have signs in both chinese and spanish, and often in english, and they are quite welcoming there and in the markets. My one visit to Pequena Korea, the koreatown of BsAs was quite the opposite experience. Most of the signs are solely in Korean, without spanish translations. Many of the shopkeepers keep their doors locked and refused to buzz us in to look at their wares. The one restaurant that actually let us in the door was a mixed experience - the proprietress was not at all welcoming and we nearly left, but the chef intervened and was quite the opposite, cooking us a delightful lunch; and although initially the other patrons (all Korean) eyed us somewhat suspiciously, when it became clear we were enjoying our food, they all came over to ask us questions about ourselves and why we were checking out the food - though the owner never "came around", the experience ended up being a lot of fun.

There is, however, a big increase in the Japanese population here, which I imagine has more of an impact on sushi than anything else, and possibly even more that there is a willingness on the part of the portenos (BsAs natives) to try more new things (a few years ago it would have been tough to open many of the restaurants that are now open and thriving - Argentine "nationalism" has relaxed quite a bit in regard to food & wine at least). It's still tough to get imported wine at a reasonable price, but that's a function of excessive import taxes, not a lack of interest.

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have never had the opportunity to have sushi in BA but I would assume it is a welcomed change from the everyday meats.

I was used to eat there though as a son of gringos khren (horseradish cream red or white) same as wasabi was always not far away from kitchen table.

Yes salmon is always use here for rolls or sushi or zushi.

Like Chile who is one of the world largest salmon farming countries that export world wide including USA

Australia does have sizeable farms in Tasmania and mainly export to Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

On the other hand Koreans are very much like(not exactly) Japanese in culture but theyare uch more emotional than Chinese when you strike a cord with them.

Chinese are much more open and are born traders they have a common sense business like approach. We now here have a large Chinese and South East Asian community some Argentineans expats married to Asian ladies too.

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  • 3 months later...

Relatively new sushi-fusion place opened a couple of months ago, its in Palermo and is called Osaka. For BA standards, its actually quite good.

Visit Argentina and try wines from the RIGHT side of the Andes !!!

www.terroir.com.ar

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Hello Gaucho,

Nice web site and nice shop. I deal with art & antiques, and from time to time, I get dealers from all over the world down here to B’s A’s, and one think most have in common, is drinking good wine.

And that’s what you seem to have. Next time I have some one here can I take them to your shop?

LMK and best wishes. Bob

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I just recently read about Osaka, so it got added to my list of places to try. Now doubly looking forward to it!

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Osaka is IT. He gets fresh fish or none at all and there are choices other than salmon. We've had lovely fresh tuna he got from the coast of Uruguay and do try "lisa". The restaurant ambiance is soothing, a fine change from the noisy trendy all-salmon sushi places. Do not miss!

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Tried Osaka yesterday. Definitely first class, and very creative. Selection was still minimal, salmon and two other fish, though chatting with the sushi chef, he varies what he has from day to day, depending on what's in the market, as any good sushi chef should. Still, kind of hard to believe that all that was available fresh was salmon rosado, salmon blanco, and "lisa", which is a type of mullet. Some fun twists on the combination rolls, and, although I recently also ate at Dashi, which had a better selection, Osaka has the plus of a combination sushi plate where you can mix a selection of your choices of whatever they have that day, Dashi's combo plates only allow various combinations of salmon and tuna, regardless of whatever else they may have. I also liked the atmosphere at Osaka more than at Dashi, though I enjoyed both (reviews for both on my site).

Oh yeah, and had to ask for wasabi again, he doesn't put it on the plate unless you request it...I really find that strange!

Edited by saltshaker (log)

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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It isn't that they didn't have wasabi, if you read my post, it's that you have to ask for it, something I've found in roughly half the sushi places I've visited. (And I've actually found a couple of locations that don't have it at all.)

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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