The 10 Vital Pointers to Experience Authentic Quality Sushi
Before we get started, did you know that before eating at an establishment, many Japanese people have a conversation with the Itamae or Master Chef ‘in front of the cutting board’? Why? Well its to determine the Itamaes demeanour. In Japanese culture they believe that if a person is in a bad mood their essence will poison the food just through touch. As a Chef I think that if most people saw the way the chefs treat the food in their kitchens, they wouldnt choose to eat there! The passion you cook with is the passion you experience whilst eating – Food for Thought 🙂
1. Sushi is NOT Fish. The word Sushi is Japanese forrice prepared in a special way and preferably eaten with fish, called namanare????It has various forms, such as: Uramaki (inside-out), Makimono (seaweed outside), Nigiri (bite-sized pieces), Terimazushi (round shaped), Gunkan-Maki (battel-ship), Hosomaki (like maki but more than one filling). The secret to good sushi is the rice. I recommend asking to taste the sushi (rice) before ordering usually the quality of the rice determines the overall experience.
2. Good quality fish has no smell or taste. This means that fishy tasting fish is usually off. Sometimes lemon is used to disguise the taste so be mindful of this if you taste lemon or see it being used in the preparation.
3. Fish shouldnt be on display. Be mindful if the establishment you are eating at has fish in an easy accessibledisplay fridge where fish is often on top of each other. This can lead to cross contamination and the fish going off quickly due to the variation in temperature each time the fridge is opened. Fish needs be individually cling wrapped and placed in dark/cold storage.
4. Going Japanese. Due to the superior quality, hygieneand care of Japanese eateries, it is best to only eat sushi at a place that specialises in Japanese dishes, doing so elsewhere it is unlikely that you will experience the same freshness and high standards.
5. Keeping the heat healthy. Wasabi is used as a preventative measure to combat Colds & Flu. Mixing it with soy should be avoided as it will loseitshealth properties. Wasabi only stays fresh for 3 hours, so make sure you ask the chef how long ago he made it.
6. NEVER!!! EVER!! dunk you sushi inside of soy. Soy is not meant to touch rice AT ALL!! It destroys the quality of the rice and also disguises fish and rice that has gone off. Soy sauce is meant only for Sashimi; the raw fish that is eaten first when eating sushi. When eating Nigiri, only the fish must touch the soy. The taste of soy lingers throughout the meal and will stop you from tasting the sushi as it is intended.
7. Ginger/Gari is a pallet cleanser between different meals, so do NOT eat it on top of sushi as many do.
8. If you walk into a reputed Japanese eatery/Sushi-ya NEVER ask the chef if the fish is fresh or soy to use with sushi…it will not end well for the following reason 🙂
9. The True Japanese Chef is the heir to the samurai tradition and upholds the ideals of the samurai, therefore true sushi chefs follow the rigorous training path of Samurai Swordsmanship called Kenjutsu; the skill of Taijutsu unarmed combat and in-depth path of Iso-Philosophy to find balance with nature and harmony amongst people. The Way ensures that they are scholastic and gentlemen of high personal standards, humility, compassion, honourable conduct and unshakable self-discipline. They also strive to wear spotless ghis and earned knotted headbands, evidence that they are serious about their work.
10. The reason why sushi, at times, takes longer to prepare than most dishes, is the stringent code to ensure that the dishes put out are as fresh and presentable as possible under the watchful eye of the Sensei who emphasizes nothing less than the highest quality whilst interacting with diners to make eating more of a learning experience.
Sensei have more than 17years collective experience in the aesthetic of Japanese & Western style sushi creation, in-depth knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history ? Author of many genre titles including Japanese Novella and Short Stories ? Motivational Speaker ? Founder & Head of Touhkondo Martial Arts School NYC, UK & SA: In the Preservation and Teaching of 16th Century Samurai Code, Kenjutsu Swordsmanship, Kobudo Weaponry, Taijutsu Unarmed Combat and Iso-Philosophy ? Received the coveted Japanese Emperors Fan by Mrs. Sato after 26years of Japanese Cultural, Cuisine & Arts Involvement ? Honored in New York 2004 with the Nelson Mandela Memento in recognition of participation in the establishment of better ties amongst nation and positive contribution to social upliftment in South Africa.