From a rare and expensive delicacy to a grocery store staple, sushi has moved into the mainstream. Whether you stop in at a privately owned sushi restaurant to get the latest new sampling or buy yourself a rolling mat to make your own maki, it’s important to remember that sushi is more than fish. Sushi is about freshness.
Sushi is More Than Raw Fish
The term sushi actually refers to the rice used as a bed or wrap for the featured fish. The bite-sized combination of seafood and rice became popular on the west coast of the United States during the late 1960’s.
As the popularity of the sushi restaurant took off, both coasts sprouted multiple dining options. By the early 1990’s, sushi was a staple in many mid- to large cities.
Beat The Stereotype
For those who’ve never tried sushi and swear they never will, fans of the dish need to serve as a guide at a sushi restaurant. For those who reject it because of the idea of raw fish, it’s important to point out that many presentations feature steamed shrimp, smoked salmon or steamed crab.
Be Prepared To Select A New Favorite
If you absolutely love a particular fish cooked a particular way, do not expect it to taste the same when served raw on a dab of rice. One very popular seafood dish is seared scallops. The fatty tissue in the scallop sweetens and firms in the cooking process.
Raw scallops have a markedly different texture and are more fatty than sweet. They’re not bad raw, but they’re very different from the flavor of cooked scallop.
Sushi and maki (rolls) present the primary protein with rice. Depending on what you choose to drink, this rice can sneak up on you and make you feel overfull. Rather than placing a large order, often a sushi restaurant will offer diners the chance to place repeated orders. Whether you’re a first timer or a dedicated fan, making multiple orders one after the other is a great way to let your palate bloom.
Be Prepared For Many Flavors
If you’re new to sushi and are trying to expand your palate, be ready to enjoy a variety of flavors. The slivered pink ginger on the plate will give you an astringent, cleansing bite of freshness.
Soy sauce (both full strength and low sodium) should be available on the table. You’ll be provided with small dishes for easy dipping. Finally, the green wasabi will deliver a powerful boost of spice to your mouth and nose.
Wasabi is an acquired taste. For those not accustomed to a spice similar to horseradish, it can be an unpleasant jolt. Often, your serving of sushi will have a smear of wasabi on top of the rice. You’ll smell and taste it as you bite into the sushi. If that’s all the zing you need, ignore the rest of your wasabi. If you’re ready to heat things up a bit more, mix it into your bowl of soy sauce.
One of the funnest things about eating sushi is the variety of truly beautiful dishes you get to eat off of. Your sushi will likely come on a small serving dish or platter. You’ll likely also be given small bowls to fill with soy sauce. Finally, you may enjoy a sip of sake with your sushi.
Beverages in a Sushi Restaurant
Most often, a sushi restaurant will offer liquor. Sake, or rice wine, is a common pairing. Sake is served heated and can pack a wallop, so go very slowly with this beverage.
Fresh Sushi is the Best Sushi!
Good, fresh sushi is an exciting treat. If you walk into a sushi restaurant and can smell something fishy, you may need to find a new restaurant. Grocery store sushi may be safe, but it will likely lack flavor. If you’re new to the dish, find a fan who can guide you to the best flavor to suit your palate.
SushiFork of Tulsa offers made-to-order sushi rolls and a casual, clean and fun sushi dining experience. SushiFork is a sushi restaurant located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.