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Episode 402 - N. Butterfly
Hand Rolls and Sushi Primer
A delicious delicacy...
Today's in-flight meal on our trip to Japan is sushi! In taking you on this wonderful voyage, I feel it is important to discuss this true Japanese delicacy. Joining me in preparation were Barry Chaim, owner of a wonderful Japanese restaurant known as EDO, and his revered chef, David Chung. As David prepared the sushi, Barry and I discussed some facts about it.

Barry pointed out that some people tend to shy away from trying sushi as they believe that it entirely consists of raw fish. The image that people conjure up of such a thing, is not always a pleasant one. However, sushi is a very broad cuisine which does indeed include raw fish, but is not limited to it.

As Barry and I talked, David created various styles of sushi: vegetarian rolls, consisting of avocado, green onion, and cucumber; spicy tuna rolls, consisting of slices of tuna and spicy sauce with little tempura bits inside; as well as EDO's very own dynamite roll - with a black tiger shrimp in it. Rolls, consisting of seaweed, rice, and sesame seeds, as well as the other ingredients, can be handrolls ("tema"), or regular rolls, cut into six pieces ("make").

As for the raw fish, David also prepared some of the most popular items. Sushi, called "nigiri", involves slices of vibrantly coloured fish (such as tuna, salmon, shrimp, and many, many more), marinated in sushi sauce, and placed delicately on top of a sliver of rice. A step further is sashimi, for the real raw fish lover. Sashimi is actually raw fish eaten on its own, typically served as an appetizer before the meal (much like carpaccio with Italian cuisine!).

Barry pointed out that one of the most important parts of Japanese food, and sushi in particular, is the way it looks, because we eat with our eyes long before we get to our tongue. If a dish is attractive, then we will enjoy it that much more. Well, the attractive array of fresh fish that David created was almost too beautiful to eat.

As I was about to indulge, Barry explained that the best way to eat sushi is to mix a bit of Japanese horseradish (wasabi) with some Soya sauce in a small dish. Then, you must take your sushi, and gently dip it fish-side down into the Soya sauce. If you place the sushi rice-side down into the soya sauce, then all you will taste when you place it on your tongue is the soya sauce. If you invert it and allow your tongue to taste the fish, you will get the full enjoyment of it.

To create sushi and learn to truly enjoy it may take a lot of practice, but it is certainly worth it to create these wonderful and delicious works of art.

Courtesy: Barry Chaim, EDO Restaurants, 439 Spadina Road, Toronto, ON (416) 322-7699