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ASK SUSHI MAN 3

bigtuna27 Nov 13, 2011 10:55 AM

Hi. BT here. This is the continueus conversation from ASK SUSHI MAN. ASK SUSHI MAN got too big and hard to open sometimes.

Fresh wasabi is a root so that FDA prohibits to import. If you find one, iy's probably smuggled in or made in Oregon/Cororado. Wasabi needs plenty of very clean fresh water and hot in the day cold in the night situation. There for they choose sunny side of hills with natural ranning water in Japan. There prenty of grated freah wasabi products available here. [Specially LA or NY]. Wasabi stems are commonly used for pickling in sweet sake/miso paste. If you are looking in to spicy stuff, try "Tade or Kinome". These are used sometimes to serve sashimi in Japan. Totally different kinds of heat.
I hope to hear from you soon.

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  1. K K RE: bigtuna27 Nov 14, 2011 05:22 PM

    No questions? OK I'll start

    1) Many people are asking about the safety of sushi consumption of fish from Japan from the Fukushima disaster earlier this year. What are your thoughts on the matter and what has this done to the sushi restaurant business in the USA/California so far?

    2) What fish and seafood are unavailable as a result of the disaster? What are wholesale prices like now?

    3) What is safe / not safe to eat? People speculate that major fish markets in Japan scan fish for radiation, so what is exported and sold to US fish distributors is ok. But yet we still see stuff like Hokkaido scallops and seafood from Hokkaido at restaurants...are those safe to eat?

    4) Can you confirm whether farmed fish in Japan are given pellet feed that also contain MSG to make the fish tastier? And if so what varieties of fish?

    5) Why is sanma (pike mackeral) consumed as sashimi (and exported from Japan) here in the US, but virtually never in Japan (except maybe seared)?

    Thanks

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K
      bigtuna27 RE: K K Nov 15, 2011 12:15 AM

      1) Here are some explanations.

      1. Over 700 fishing boat were destroyed by Tsunami so they can’t go out catch fish.
      2. Japanese government prohibits moving any items out from the radiated area.
      3. Our Japanese fish comes from south island of Kyushyu located 705 miles south of Fukushima via Kyushu international Air port. So they don’t even go through Tokyo area.
      4. Radiation chart done by Germans shows Kyushu area is not affected by radiation at all.
      5. FDA is working hard to inspect every items come out from Japan now so there may be delay in getting items but in the other hand anything came through is the only ones we can purchase.

      2) Even though the fish from that area is not available, same kind of fish is available from safer area. Fish price went up a bit but not because of the disaster but exchange rate of Yen/dollar.
      3) I can not say for sure because I have no way making sure where does the fish come from but believe the origin the fish company tells me. But I would avoid Pike- mackerel for few years. Pike ackerel is the most famous fish comes from that area and even if the origin of the fish is from other location, it probably the boat land them to other location. They freeze pike mackerel usually so your fish may be 2~3 yrs old--means they may release to public few years later when people forgot about it.
      4) I know they feed the fish pellet with, coloring agent, hormons, anti biotic etc. I haven't hard about msg but possible.
      5].Sanmma sashimi is not so popular everywhere in Japan but only several area where sannma is fished. Sanmma sashimi is wellknown gourmet item in Japan though.

      talk to you soon KK BT out

      1. re: bigtuna27
        E Eto RE: bigtuna27 Nov 15, 2011 03:26 AM

        I guess I'm pretty lucky that I don't have to worry about radiation when considering seafood here in Hiroshima since most of it comes from the Seto inland sea or from the Japan sea. Also sanma sashimi is available for a short window of time from in the fall (Sept-Oct). It was widely available at many supermarkets around Hiroshima, and I would assume many other parts of Japan as well.

    2. k
      kainzero RE: bigtuna27 Nov 15, 2011 02:53 PM

      "Fresh wasabi is a root so that FDA prohibits to import."

      Is that true? The USDA allows it...
      https://epermits.aphis.usda.gov/manua...

      2 Replies
      1. re: kainzero
        penthouse pup RE: kainzero Nov 15, 2011 03:42 PM

        Thank you bigtuna for starting a new thread. Here in NYC, fresh wasabi is available in certain seasons (has not been in stores for several months) and is always small size. I did see a huge root
        at the Mistui store in New Jersey. I assume these are US raised. (Fresh yuzu also seems to come to market around the same time as wasabi and once again, I have not seen it for several months now.)

        1. re: kainzero
          bigtuna27 RE: kainzero Nov 19, 2011 12:09 AM

          Hi kainzero. All I know is from my several vegetable supplier. And very hard to find wasabi from Japan. I did see and taste several times here in LA but all of them were smaggled in by friends. i can get the one from Oregon or Cororado no problem. If USDA allows it ,I should have seen more often like every year. What do you think?

        2. t
          Tkn RE: bigtuna27 Jan 27, 2012 10:36 PM

          Hi BT, thanks for this opportunity to ask questions!

          1) I've often heard that tamago is a good judge of the skills of a sushi chef. What exactly do you look for in a good tamago? I've had some that taste like an omelette and others that taste like a pound cake. Which is correct/better?

          2) How are you supposed to eat the shredded daikon that the sushi chef puts next to the pickle ginger? Is it there to break the monotony of eating all that fish?

          3) What is the proper way to bow? I heard that you should bow lower than someone who is older than you. The sushi chef is almost twice my age and he always bows to me at almost 90 degrees. Should I bow back at him even lower like I'm trying to do toe-touch stretches? Also, I've seen younger Japanese men come in and bow with every step until they reach their seat. Is this normal? I think there were several older patrons there that day so maybe they were just bowing to everyone individually?

          4) Is it rude to eat everything they have to offer? I'm sure from a business standpoint they don't mind, but I just don't want to commit a faux pas by always eating everything the sushi chef has on display that night. I don't have that big of an appetite, but when I'm eating sushi, I just can't stop!

          Thanks!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Tkn
            K K RE: Tkn Jan 28, 2012 11:22 PM

            I'd be interested in BT's answers, but some comments:

            1) I think tamago as a taste or skill test, while a somewhat valid one, really depends on who is doing the skill measuring. Traditionally those who are extremely picky about Edo style sushi, who are of Tokyo descent of multiple generations and hardcore, begin their order with kohada at a new sushi restaurant (gizzard shad), if in Japan. While there are not many who might still do this, but if a sushi chef in Japan encounters one of those kinds of customers (who start their order with kohada), it means they should not be taken lightly. If the kohada prep is not good, they will and could walk out.

            With regards to tamagoyaki as a taste test, 3 Michelin star chef and national treasure Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro (where Anthony Bourdain dined at in the final segment of No Reservations: Tokyo premiere), is very anal about measuring the potential of a disciple (and ex-disciples that he visits) with tamago yaki. I've read translated articles that he tested an apprentice in a few things, and while he did other things great, Jiro failed him at tamagoyaki, because he made the typical run of the mill version (also known as dashimaki tamago or atsuyaki tamago). I recall reading that apprentice had no choice but to quit (his own doing). After analyzing this myself, I believe Jiro always set out to do something different, because at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, there are many famous tamagoyaki specialist shops that have been selling many flavors of tamagoyaki for over 50 years, and he didn't want to churn out a similar product. Whether he was the first person to do this sponge cake version is unknown. Every person who apprenticed under Jiro Ono, who went out on their own, does tamagoyaki exactly like the sponge cake texture version (which includes the addition of "shiva ebi", well grounded up into paste form with egg).

            Found this amazing Japanese documentary TV uploaded to youtube:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm723q...

            where you can see a customer get served the sponge cake tamagoyaki at Jiro's restaurant, and later Jiro himself travels to a sushi bar at Nagoya, where a former apprentice/disciple of his works. In the clip, you see two key items served to Jiro, and that is tamagoyaki (also a sponge cake version) and kohada, which you can tell by his expression (and the chef and his father's reactions) that met the seal of approval.

            In the USA, the dashimaki tamago / atsuyaki tamago version is more common. If you find a chef who does the sponge cake version of tamagoyaki, that is a rare and generally excellent thing. Since you're familiar with LA area, Urasawa does the sponge cake version.

            2) There shouldn't be any shredded daikon next to ginger if you are at the sushi bar and you are being served nigiri. It is typically paired with sashimi/raw fish slices. Some say the daikon and wasabi counteract the "microbes" or whatever bacteria in raw fish, also a health factor. Who knows really.

            3) Unless you are native Japanese, or understand the culture, I would not recommend bowing. The chef is basically expressing his gratitude to you and your patronage. Plus he is in a sense lowering and humbling himself. You see in that youtube clip that the father of the former Jiro apprentice at the Nagoya sushi bar bowing, but he's doing that for a # of reasons, entertaining and serving a legendary master visiting their restaurant, showing homage to the man who I'm guessing taught/indirectly taught his son the ways of the force if you will, and lowering themselves as those serving the customer. This is the complete opposite in Southern California where certain abusive and moody sushi chefs are revered who honestly don't have great skill or would fail in the eyes of Jiro Ono, but yet have huge cult like fan followings.

            4) You are the customer, you can decide what you want to eat. If you let the chef decide, it depends on what system the chef/owner has with regards to that, and you can say when to stop (unless you are informed ahead of time what's going to be on that chef's choice selection and how many pieces of sushi you get).

            1. re: K K
              t
              Tkn RE: K K Jan 30, 2012 10:35 AM

              Thanks, K K. I learned a lot from all of your different posts.

              1) So since the pound cake variety is a specialty that only a few know how to make, the "run of the mill" variety is the standard that everyone else is being gauged? And if so, how does one gauge it?

              2) *shrug* It's on my plate every time I visit my favorite sushi bar (Shibucho). I did catch other patrons lightly dipping a few strands into their soy sauce and then eating them. But really, it does nothing for me.

              3) I realize that being a non-Japanese, I'm not expected to understand this part of their culture. But when the old man bows at me every time I visit, I feel the need to reciprocate the gesture somehow. His Americanized son merely nods his head and smiles at me--which is just fine. But a full-on bow seems to deserve more attention.

              4) I guess I'm fretting over nothing. I didn't want to come off as a gluttonous behemoth and the chef is too polite to say anything about it.

              1. re: Tkn
                K K RE: Tkn Feb 3, 2012 03:12 PM

                Hmmm BT is working too hard to check on his old threads...

                1) Honestly dashimaki tamago / atsuyaki tamago is such a common household dish that many Japanese expat stay at home mothers (and Japanese moms living in Japan) know how to make for the most part, and their versions will differ from the sushi restaurants that make them in house. So technically there is no real set standard given the wide interpretations this can have, other than personal preference. Some like heavy eggy flavors, others prefer a natural balance of moisture, eggy flavor, dashi, a little sugar, or more on the savory side. You would have to taste numerous specimens to get an idea of what you will like. I personally prefer one that has been out of the skillet within a couple hours, still retaining moisture, flavorful, not dry/overcooked, but not too moist, not too sweet. Now as far as what a chef like BT would look for if he's looking to hire a sous chef or apprentice? That'll be up to him/them.

                Also, go visit some of Southern California's best izakaya's and if they have it on the menu, try theirs. Some include unagi inside. They say long time ago while people were waiting at soba specialty restaurants in parts of Japan for their order, customers had to eat something while they waited, and dashimaki tamago was pretty much the de facto appetizer for filler. Which explains why the late Yabusoba in Waikiki did such a fabulous rendition, and also made for a great hot first bite before the main course came.

                2) Then ignore it. I find it odd they would provide it if you are not even ordering sashimi.

                3) Well that's really up to you now. I personally wouldn't bow, but "gojiso samadeshita" which is a perfectly acceptable high form of praise (it was a truly delicious feast, in the loose sense), followed with a smile and a head nod at most, does the job for me (and the chef) in return in showing your gratitude. Or you can do the westernized thing of buying him a beer next time and ante up the tips.

                4) Nah it's like dim sum. You are not obligated to put everything down on the check sheet, nor are you obligated to take whatever the dim sum cart maidens are upselling.

                1. re: K K
                  bigtuna27 RE: K K Apr 9, 2012 11:22 PM

                  Thank you KK. You answered perfectly. I've been too busy with my restaurant so didn't have time to check back. I'll do my best to check back. About bow--They bow, you smile and say thank you. don't have to copy Japanese. When they say "Arigatou" to me I say "Denada".

          2. w
            wasabinsoy RE: bigtuna27 Feb 7, 2012 12:09 PM

            Hi BT,

            I confess i haven't checked into the CHOW for years....lost my password and link long ago when changed computers. I just re-upped and stumbled across your postings and was gratified to see your patient answers and insights into Japanese cuisine and wasabi.

            Relative to this discussion of fresh wasabi in America, I respectfully offer some clarifications from direct experience.
            1) While the FDA doesn't actually prohibit importation of Wasabia japonica, they sure don't make it easy ;) In addition to permits, import fees, brokerage and costs for cold handling, it must come with phytosanitary certificate from department of agriculture from shipping country.
            2) Although Wasabia japonica is grown by small farmers in North America, including some in the pacific northwest as well as in north carolina mountains, the US domestic capacity does not meet demand and much is imported from Japan. The US grown crops are usually sold directly to restaurants, chefs, caterers and foodies and do not very often show up in stores.
            3) While wasabi can be grown in earth, the best in the world is grown in clean cold running water and referred to as "sawa wasabi" meaning water grown. Plants thus grown typically take two or even three years to reach maturity. Wasabi, btw, however grown, does not like hot or sunny days...in fact it takes shade to thrive. Temperate days and nights on the cool side are ideal.....think misty mountain stream environment under forest canopies
            4) While most of the fresh wasabi grown or imported into the U S is of a green stem variety, typically "Daruma", red stem varieties are becoming available as well, usually "Mazuma" The red stem tends to be a bit more intense on the sinuses.
            5) the flavor of fresh grated wasabi is decidedly different that of any "Seiyo Wasabi" powder preparation available and typically used by sushi bars. Fresh wasabi also tastes different than authentic wasabi powder preparations, but real wasabi powder offers the closest substitute.
            6) all wasabi flavors, irrespective of preparation, come from the release of sulfur molecules similar to what makes your eyes water when you cut fresh onions. In the case of fresh wasabi and real wasabi paste, an enzymatic interaction releases the nuanced flavors. These molecules are very volatile and dissipate quickly. For this reason chefs will sometimes re-energize wasabi by adding more or stirring it a bit. When initially grated (or when the pure powder is mixed with water to make a paste) wasabi actually tastes bitter. It is only after the myrosinaise enzymes go to work on glucosinolates that the sweetness emerges. Thus, the real wasabi flavor is at its peak after about ten or fifteen minutes and will last for half hour or so.
            7) While fresh grated wasabi is prized in fusion preparations, traditional Japanese chefs prize it for delicate pairing with sashimi. The chemistry that produces the unbelievably nuanced flavors is very delicate. Experienced itamae will place just the right amount in a hand roll or use it to top a special presentation so that the flavors are balanced....suggest you trust their judgement of this and resist the urge to add more.
            8) wasabi does wonders for a shaken martini or an uni and quail egg sake shooter) and, in the right hands has been know to produce unfogettable world class bloody mary. Enjoy!

            hope this helps.

             
            5 Replies
            1. re: wasabinsoy
              bigtuna27 RE: wasabinsoy Apr 9, 2012 11:04 PM

              Thank you.Wonderful post.

              1. re: wasabinsoy
                smaki RE: wasabinsoy May 5, 2012 04:23 PM

                wasabinsoy, great post. Like the wasabi information. Will wait before eat the powder after mix with water hope sweet instead of bitter next time not sure if have the right stuff as says: horseradish, spirulina, and turmeric (Product of Japan distributed by JFC International in LA, CA) think bought at Albertsons. Especially like what you said, "5) the flavor of fresh grated wasabi is decidedly different that of any "Seiyo Wasabi" powder preparation available and typically used by sushi bars. Fresh wasabi also tastes different than authentic wasabi powder preparations, but real wasabi powder offers the closest substitute."

                bigtuna27, thank you for your threads great stuff to help learn.

                Where is typically the best place to buy sushi grade center loin of tuna, salmon for sushi, and halibut for making sushi at home? A store, a sushi bar, a commercial supplier, off the dock, catch it yourself, ... ?

                What is the best way to make substitute wasabi to eat lots of it at home? Today had an OK green paste in my soy sauce to dip my sushi. Wasabi tube said in fine print was horseradish, turmeric for yellow, and blue dye. What is the best brand of wasabi powder, tube, or do we use good hot fresh horseradish as a wasabi substitute and skip all the chamicals? Or should I find a way to buy "Seiyo Wasabi" powder and prepare it ahead of time as a standard to compare to? What is the best way to make wasabi without real wasabi root? If we need to acquire real wasabi root powder where do we get that?

                How hot is real wasabi root compared to horseradish? Do you like real wasabi better than substitutes? Live in Oregon. If a good thing to do, seek to try real wasabi and gain more information about growing wasabi root from those with experience. Frustrated that often what we eat is not real wasabi root because expensive and scarce. Is it true fresh Wasabi roots sell for up to $100 per pound and that one pound contains just a few roots? Hear has been proven healthy. How do you sell wasabi root if grow it? Can it be worthwhile to grow wasabi or is it usually a waste of time? Either way would like to know. If wasabi is worthwhile with a place and a strong back, would anyone growing it help a beginner get going with starts? Planting wasabi instead of letting brush grow in low areas may be useful and tasty. Can it freeze at all or does freeze just instantly kill it? In Japan wasabi grows on shady wet stream banks in cool climates. Is anyone growing or can we find real wasabi around the Pacific Northwest or beyond? More info about wasabi including a description of eating fresh wasabi leaving me wanting to know more about growing it is at: http://davesgarden.com/guides/article...

                All thoughts or direction to get further information is appreciated. Like to make and eat sushi at home and enjoy wasabi (even though imitation). Share sushi often with friends especially beginners. Want to eat the best and freshest ingredients possible which often involves growing them when wise. Would like to step it up and find a way to eat the best, fresh grated wasabi, for its unique health benefits and reported taste. Would consider growing wasabi if can and will sell.

                1. re: wasabinsoy
                  K K RE: wasabinsoy Jul 11, 2012 09:09 AM

                  Over the weekend, I stopped by my local Nijiya supermarket, and noticed that in the same referigeration area where they keep sashimi, were individually packaged whole wasabi roots, about 4 inches or so. In terms of country of origin, the label clearly stated Shizuoka, Japan. They run about $29.99 a pound which seems to be a bit cheaper than their supermarket price for bluefin. It is probably a mid to lower grade quality of wasabi root at that price. Using a Japanese book from 2007 on Tsukiji Fish Market shop that specializes in wasabi, those listed prices were about 500 to 2000 yen per 100 grams....so the Nijiya price would be closer to the 500 yen per 100 grams range give or take.

                  So perhaps imports restrictions have been lifted on these.

                  1. re: K K
                    penthouse pup RE: K K Jul 13, 2012 11:16 AM

                    I envy your access--in New York City, wasabi goes for $234/lb (!) and the tiniest of roots are what's currently available -- a smidgen that goes for $20 and renders next to nothing. (Last year, at the same market, the price was something like $130/lb and at least decent sized roots were available.) For NYers--this is at Sunrise Market. If anyone has a better source, please let me know (I know Mitsuwa in NJ has much better pricing but not everyone can get out there.)

                    1. re: penthouse pup
                      smaki RE: penthouse pup Aug 18, 2012 06:19 PM

                      K K and penthouse pup. Thank you for the real world numbers you see locally. Ate wasabi shoots recently and very much enjoyed the flavor. Still looking for wasabi starts and have a place feel it will grow so want to give it a go.

                2. t
                  Tkn RE: bigtuna27 Apr 18, 2012 03:30 PM

                  From the owner's perspective, what is the most profitable sushi item? What is the least profitable?

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: Tkn
                    bigtuna27 RE: Tkn Apr 22, 2012 05:21 PM

                    Hi. Up until recently, spicytuna roll was the most profitable and most popular item. Ground tuna went up 3 times and yet very hard to get now so not anymore. For the average sushi bar, any kinds of rolls make good profit. Least profitable item is bluefin toro/tuna, giant clam or any special fish from Japan.

                    1. re: bigtuna27
                      Caroline1 RE: bigtuna27 Apr 22, 2012 05:44 PM

                      I expected an entirely different answer: Tomago nigiri. But if you don't have many vegetarian customers, maybe not. '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1
                        bigtuna27 RE: Caroline1 Apr 23, 2012 03:38 PM

                        Tamago nigiri cost a lot less but probably least selling item. Tamago-pan cost a lot and need the skilled chef. Lots of waste and hight labor per nigiri. Spicytuna still sells like crazy. And sushi is getting more and more popular so more entry lebel customers who prefer rolls.

                        1. re: bigtuna27
                          Caroline1 RE: bigtuna27 Apr 23, 2012 07:55 PM

                          I love really good well seasoned tomago; the old version that is rolled in layers in the pan, then weighted while cooling. Probably a "grandmother's version?" LOL! I lost my tomago pan when I moved six years ago, and good tomago pans seem impossible to find anymore. The ones I do find have rounded corners and to my way of thinking (and cooking tomago) that's just wrong! <sigh> Maybe someday I'll find one with truly square corners again.

                          I know rolls are the most popular today, but to me rolls are to sushi what a balogna sandwich is to a steak: Too many flavors overwhelm the palate. Once again, my age is showing! '-)

                      2. re: bigtuna27
                        EWSflash RE: bigtuna27 Apr 22, 2012 07:34 PM

                        When did giant clam start to become hard to get? It used to be readily available, even here in Arizona, and for a set price. Now if they have it it's market price (either a sign of seasonality or frighteningly diminished supply). Do you remember when it started to be hard to get?

                        1. re: EWSflash
                          t
                          Tkn RE: EWSflash Apr 23, 2012 04:47 AM

                          I don't know when specifically, but I've heard that the huge Chinese market for giant clams has severely depleted supplies and driven up prices, the same way over-fishing of Bluefin Tuna has.

                        2. re: bigtuna27
                          Silverjay RE: bigtuna27 Apr 23, 2012 08:36 AM

                          In "The Sushi Economy", Sasha Issenberg mentioned that bluefin tuna is often a loss leader item for shops that feel compelled to serve it as an obligatory part of sushi meals.

                          1. re: Silverjay
                            K K RE: Silverjay Apr 23, 2012 09:35 AM

                            Absolutely...leader of the pack. On top of that there are many restaurants/investors/owners across east Asia with an abundance of wealth willing to spend $$$ to get the good stuff (competing with top tier sushi restaurants in Japan)....China, Hong Kong, pockets of SE Asia, Taiwan where demand for bluefin has soared to great heights. The last few notable bluefin tuna auctions were won by a guy named Ricky in Hong Kong (nicknamed Ricky-san) who owns a chain of sushi restaurants...I want to say it is some silly name like Itamae Sushi 板前壽司...but this guy is a very very successful high profile businessman (and Japanophile) who cleverly markets himself and is some food chef pseudo media personality/celeb chef wannabe, yet plunked down crazy coinage for a bluefin where he would never make up the loss (which obviously did not matter to him)....yet it was the perfect PR opportunity for him on the global stage, and it drew customers through his doors.

                            1. re: K K
                              Silverjay RE: K K Apr 23, 2012 09:41 AM

                              Haha, yeah there is always someone trying to make a big splash like that PR-wise these days but I think Issenberg was referring to more pedestrian operations that try to lure customers with fixed or stable prices, as well as neighborhood shops that simply don't want to scare customers away by saying they don't have toro.

                              1. re: Silverjay
                                K K RE: Silverjay Apr 23, 2012 01:56 PM

                                The funniest supposed aftermath of Ricky Cheng's bluefin over spending on the auction, apparently resulted in employees of Itamae Sushi not getting paid for a month, according to a youtube newsclip a year back. I'm sure he doesn't give a flying fish about this....he's also pretty high up in the conglomerate of his other sushi chain business (alongside Itamae Sushi) and apparently is also in charge of Ajisen Ramen branches in HK.

                                Also local environmentalists were protesting outside of one of his restaurants following the news of him purchasing the overpriced bluefin, while holding Facebook style dislike thumbs down signs. Too bad those guys weren't seen protesting seafood restaurants for serving shark fin. Around the same time, customers were seen complaining about the rising prices of Itamae Sushi's nigiri and the shrinking thickness of their neta (hilarious)...followed by customers accusing Itamae of lying about importing fish from Tsukiji daily when they found out from Ricky's slip of the tongue that their popular salmon sushi is sourced to farmed salmon from Norway (following Fukushima last year).

                                It just boggles the mind that so much money is spent on a delicious scarce commodity, just to get PR for a crappy "sushi" restaurant chain...it looks like some are even kaitensushi (all in the name of business) rather than properly treating the ingredients with respect and maximizing that experience for the customer. I really doubt that even with Ricky's supposed training in Japan in sushi (and ramen, strangely according to the wiki bio), that he even learned anything about aging and storing tuna.

                                1. re: K K
                                  Silverjay RE: K K Apr 23, 2012 03:08 PM

                                  The rising popularity of sushi in Chinese countries and the emergence of both legitimate, illegitimate, and every type of business concern in between, does not bode well for the bluefin tuna.

                                2. re: Silverjay
                                  Caroline1 RE: Silverjay Apr 23, 2012 02:06 PM

                                  My understanding is that there was an effort in the recent past by upscale Tokyo sushi houses to lure customers away from toro by offering nigiri with A5 Kobe beef instead. Has that caught on, or was it a flash in the pan?

                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                    Silverjay RE: Caroline1 Apr 23, 2012 03:05 PM

                                    I haven't heard of that but it's an interesting idea. You will see beef (and horse!) sushi occasionally at sushi restaurants. But as a full on replacement for tuna, I haven't heard. I don't think it would work without a really serious cultural shift as a) the tuna industry is probably much more significant than the beef industry in Japan and anything that threatens business would be a big deal and b) people just love tuna too much, despite scarcity. Perhaps when prices reach some kind of unbearable level a change may occur. Anyway, I had several sushi meals in Tokyo late last year and did not encounter beef. But I've attached a photo of some very nice Ishigaki beef sushi I had a few years ago in Okinawa.

                                     
                                    1. re: Silverjay
                                      bigtuna27 RE: Silverjay Apr 23, 2012 03:51 PM

                                      I love you guys post. Very well said. BTW, I do have kobe beef sushi. I use American kobe short rib[ Closest beef to real kobe beef] and serv seared. It taste a lot better than you imagine. Silverjay is right. Rising Chinese apitite for sushi scares me.

                                      1. re: bigtuna27
                                        Caroline1 RE: bigtuna27 Apr 23, 2012 09:03 PM

                                        bigtuna, rising Chinese appetite for EVERYTHING scares me...! But better they demand sushi than oil! '-)

                                        1. re: Caroline1
                                          EWSflash RE: Caroline1 May 5, 2012 09:10 AM

                                          Not sure I agree, unless it leads them to farm bluefin for the Chinese market. That would be a good thing for them to do, unless they totally polluted the ocean doing it, and they probably would... uh oh, must stop thinking, just read and enjoy... do not get depressed...

                                      2. re: Silverjay
                                        Caroline1 RE: Silverjay Apr 23, 2012 09:01 PM

                                        Silverjay, that looks most inviting! For me, the problem with "sushi grade" tuna today is that I'm 78 years old, and taste and smell are my most accurate memories. I grew up in San Diego, California, and in the 1930s, '40s, and part of the '50s, it was home to a very large tuna fishing fleet. One of my Japanese girlfriend's mother would make sushi for us for a snack or for lunch with toro. Hey, in those days it was cheap! And she made excellent sushi! Except for canned albacore for tuna salad, I pretty much avoid tuna today because of the disappointment factor. It just doesn't taste the same. Time, pollution and over-fishing have taken their toll. So while I have never been fortunate enough to set a tooth to actual grade A5 Japanese beef (I have had American Wagyu, but there is no such animal as A5 American Wagyu), intellectually I find it an interesting idea. Principally because it purportedly had the same "melt in your mouth" texture of really good toro, but additionally because it is sustainable. But if it ever catches on, they'll have to come up with another name for it, right? There is no "su-shi" in rice and beef. What did you think of your Ishigaki and rice? Would you order it again?

                          2. Dio Seijuro RE: bigtuna27 Apr 24, 2012 08:54 AM

                            I have a slightly sensitive question, I apologize in advance if it offends anybody. The question is: at a smaller and not very expensive restaurant (perhaps like yours), can I really trust that I will get great stuff if I order the omakase or the "best sushi dinner" (sushi jou) on a slow night like Monday/Tuesday night? Or if I go to such a place at lunch time, where most people order lunch special, can I really trust that I will get great stuff if I order the omakase? I am under the impression that for economic reasons, perhaps smaller places will only stock the best stuff for busy nights like Thursday~Saturday. I am not talking about bad restaurants, just smaller places that may not get a lot of customers ordering the more expensive things like mirugai, amaebi, uni, toro, awabi etc. on week nights. I am thinking places like that might lose money to have those things be available (and in the freshest condition) on week nights to make it worthwhile. But maybe I am totally wrong! Please help with this question, thanks!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Dio Seijuro
                              bigtuna27 RE: Dio Seijuro Apr 26, 2012 12:09 AM

                              Hi. You guess is right. Most of small restaurant have hard time getting those items. you have to find small but busy reastaurant which doesn't realy serve American rice sandwiches. You can call ahead and ask for. But you have to expect those restaurant will be little pricy. Key to find those restaurant is price is high but busy. That means they are not only good but can afford expencive items. Fortunately my place is very busy but still can't afford mirugai. Mirugai price 30 yrs ago was $ 1.75/lb. Now $ 39/lb. And you can only use 1/3 of the clam the most.That brings the cost for sushi bar to $ 117/lb. You can get roughly 10 odrs/lb. So if you are lucky enough to get,it'll cost you $ 35.odr. If you get it cheaper than that,you are lucky.Go to Korean market and buy clam and make sashimi yourself. Sorry

                              1. re: bigtuna27
                                EWSflash RE: bigtuna27 May 5, 2012 09:14 AM

                                Wow- about thirty years ago is when I started eating sushi and fell in love with mirugai. I'm lucky to have the mirugai memories that I have, I guess.

                            2. s
                              Sharuf RE: bigtuna27 May 5, 2012 09:57 AM

                              We first started having sushi about 25 years ago at a neighborhood Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. For sushi you sat at the bar and dealt with the serious sushi guys working there. You paid them at the bar, and if you tried to leave a tip, they would refuse it and you got the idea you were offending them.

                              Now I get the impression that tips ARE expected, just like in regular restaurants. I still feel awkward, now knowing what to do. What is right?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Sharuf
                                bigtuna27 RE: Sharuf May 13, 2012 12:36 AM

                                I've been making sushi in LA for 35 yrs but never hard of refusing tips. It is the main sauce for sushi man's income so please leave generous tips for them . If it's ok--15 %, good 20 % and impressive--25 %. If you don't ,they may refuse to serve you next time.

                                1. re: bigtuna27
                                  roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 May 25, 2012 07:23 AM

                                  Many Thanks to BT for starting this thread. Hats off to K K, Silverjay, cgfan, just to name a few of the most impressive posters! All of your knowledge is truly enlightening and entertaining. I've tried to teach myself to make sushi at home and have become respectable. Unfortunately, it seems the home cook has few options for the freshest fish so in most instances the best I can do is catch it myself, which leads me to the questions of preparation. Is there any particular way to treat a fresh catch to make it "sushi grade"? Some say after cleaned properly it should be frozen to make it safe? Is a regular freezer cold enough to accomplish this? Is a brine ice bath better and how long is necessary? Finally, are most any fish that are caught in the ocean acceptable for raw preparation? I've read about Ciguatera poisoning and understand that nothing really kills that, its best to avoid those fish most responsible I guess. I live near the atlantic ocean and some of the fish I catch include Striped Bass, Croaker, Spot, Speckled Trout, Gray Trout, Flounder, Whiting, Cobia, Redrum, Sheepshead, are any of these good for sushi and whats the best way to prep them? Any inof would be greatly appreciated.

                                  1. re: roguesushi
                                    smaki RE: roguesushi May 25, 2012 02:45 PM

                                    Freezing is often used to kill parasites. According to European Union regulations, freezing fish at −20°C (−4°F) for 24 hours kills parasites. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends freezing at −35°C (−31°F) for 15 hours, or at −20°C (−4°F) for 7 days. NOTE: most home freezers do not get cold enough so is best to have a relationship with someone who has a commercial freezer.

                              2. a
                                AdamD RE: bigtuna27 May 26, 2012 05:37 AM

                                WOW I had no idea geoducks were so expensive now! No wonder I dont see them on sushi menus anymore.

                                1. roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 May 26, 2012 11:01 AM

                                  Ok, Got freezer part, what about any other methods? Also, what's the best non-japanese fish for sushi/sashimi besides salmon??

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: roguesushi
                                    K K RE: roguesushi May 26, 2012 12:23 PM

                                    Not "fish" but here are some great American seafood fit for sashimi: Geoduck (Pacific Northwest), spot prawns (Santa Barbara, Pacific NW), sea urchin (Southern California/Santa Barbara/San Diego, Pacific NW/Alaskan maybe, Boston, Maine). Sea urchin you can get Santa Barbara ones mail order from catalinaop.com (they also sell sushi grade fish, but quality and batch may vary), oysters (usually served on the shell with ponzu, but it's fun to eat it as sushi sometimes), aoyagi (apparently there are varieties from the East Coast), abalone (California coast, Mendocino being a good variety)...to name a few.

                                    As far as fish, you could use American halibut for sashimi, there's an East Coast variety that's not bad (passable compared to Korean hirame from Jeju Island) but I don't know the exact species.

                                    There are kanpachi farms off Hawaii (Kona kanpachi) that was the rage for sourcing some years back.

                                    Some Asian buffets that serve sashimi might use cobia, tilapia, escolar/snake mackeral but I try to avoid eating those if I can...though I'm not sure if those fish are from Vietnam or off our shores.

                                    1. re: K K
                                      roguesushi RE: K K May 26, 2012 12:41 PM

                                      Thanks K K! I've actually used catalinaop many times, and it's mostly very good, especially the uni and hotatagai. I'll have to give halibut a try, never tired that one. How's spanish mackerel compared to horse mackerel? Would this make good Aji? I've also just found some good looking tai snapper at ilovebluesea.com and that may be something to try. Does anyone know some pointers about the prep of snapper? Don't they leave some skin on and pour a little boiling water over skin side?

                                      1. re: roguesushi
                                        smaki RE: roguesushi May 26, 2012 12:57 PM

                                        +1, halibut
                                        crab
                                        shrimp
                                        salmon

                                        When catch fish fresh, I slow cold smoke as soon as possible (this works great to preserve salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and trout). Usually vacuum seal that not eaten fresh for cold dark storage. Keeps many months. Mine never lasts that long. Sometimes eat salmon raw in sushi. More often eat salmon smoked. Smoked fish adds good protein with flavor to various sushi maki roll creations. Often eat with cucumber and / or daikon alone. Philadelphia maki are liked by many.

                                        Sometimes make a mostly crab, shrimp, or smoked fish meaty spread. California roll's often use imitation crab. And real crab chunks when have around fresh is a treat. Like to eat these meaty seafood spreads alone in sushi maki. Combining the seafood meat spread with favorite vegetable(s) is worth the effort. Sometimes it is easier to go with seafood spread(s) than tuna, salmon, halibut, or another fish when crave sushi with some protein.

                                        The other seafood can think have had fresh through the years here in the PNW none as sushi are: mussels, clams of all kinds lots of razor, abalone, ling cod with other deep-sea bottom fish, crappie, bluegill, bass, and perch. Most catch fresh only when hungry to eat.

                                        1. re: smaki
                                          d
                                          divadmas RE: smaki Jun 29, 2012 01:07 AM

                                          those last fish are from fresh water. are any fresh water fish served as sushi? problems with parasites?

                                          tako octopus is very good, i think it is always par boiled.

                                        2. re: roguesushi
                                          K K RE: roguesushi May 26, 2012 03:01 PM

                                          I prefer scallops from Hokkaido, but that's just me (it is also a premium ingredient for Chinese conpoy/dried scallops). Masa in NY used or supposedly buys scallops from a private diver who gets them somewhere off the East Coast.

                                          I've been to sushi bars where sardines and squid (as raw ika) from Monterey California are used, and another local place uses Oregon sardines that can taste quite good when in season. The sardines spoil quickly so they would have to be real fresh to eat raw, otherwise salt grilling it with innards intact is the way to go.

                                          "Tai" is actually sea bream. Snapper is a different kind of fish and can have a bit of a waxy taste. Chefs cover the whole fish or blocks of it (after de-scaling) with a kitchen paper towel and boiling water is poured over it, then the flesh+skin is submerged in ice to arrest the "cooking" or "scalding" process. The reason is two fold...first to create a little separation between flesh and skin, and to make the skin softer to eat. The 2nd purpose is to make the flesh more firm (and thus make it last longer...although the best way to do that is to wrap the fish in kelp that imparts a fantastic flavor to it...you can even wrap scallops and albacore in kelp, and even saba/mackeral or kohada/gizzard shad).

                                          No idea about spanish mackeral vs horse mackeral....aji has always been horse mackeral, but often times improperly translated. Hard to beat Japanese aji though (and even so there are at least 4 varieties of that...)

                                          1. re: K K
                                            roguesushi RE: K K May 26, 2012 04:00 PM

                                            Interesting....What are the 4 types of aji? Also do you know what are some of the toppings that are placed atop nigiri sometimes? Besides obvious green onion, Is it chopped daikon?? Sometimes I've seen a very small 5 or 7 lobed leaf, any ideas?

                                            1. re: roguesushi
                                              K K RE: roguesushi May 28, 2012 09:50 PM

                                              There are likely more than 4 depending on the classification of the fish, but that was what I saw recently in a library book of Japanese fish that I no longer have in my possession.

                                              The common horse mackeral from Japan, is called ma-aji 真鰺 with a Latin name of Trachurus japonicus, sometimes called jack-mackeral.

                                              There is a variety called Trachurus trachurus (Linnaeus) that comes from the Atlantic, called Nisim Aji.

                                              There's also a kind called Maru Aji http://www.zukan-bouz.com/aji/muroaji...

                                              Aka Aji (with a red hue) - http://www.zukan-bouz.com/aji/muroaji...

                                              Moro - http://www.zukan-bouz.com/aji/muroaji...

                                              Muro Aji - http://www.zukan-bouz.com/aji/muroaji...

                                              And of course Seki Aji that comes from a very specific region in Japan that is pricey and delicious (and very rare), but not sure how that is classified in the marine biology department in Japan.

                                              If the chopped daikon you see is orange, it's likely momiji oroshi
                                              http://www.sushiencyclopedia.com/sush...

                                              Does the lobed leaf you saw resemble Shiso? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiso

                                              1. re: K K
                                                K K RE: K K Jun 11, 2012 05:37 PM

                                                Continuing the question of non Japanese fish fit for sashimi...

                                                some local sushi restaurants once sourced Tasmanian ocean trout, which has a texture very similar to salmon

                                                Shima-aji is "white trevally" in English, technically. There is a variant of this off the coast of New Zealand, called just "trevally". http://www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Recreat...
                                                The picture featured is virtually identical to a typical shima aji. Spotted some New Zealand shima aji at my local Marukai Japanese supermarke over the weekend.

                                                There is a snapper or sea bream type of fish (red colored) from New Zealand, that was at some years back, offered as a variant for "tai", whose flesh was more tender and soft than Japanese tai, slightly sweet.

                                                Alfosino is the English name for kinmedai. There are very similar non Japanese varieties that swim in tropical waters.

                                                Hiramasa, mostly translated as "yellowtail amberjack" or "giant yellowtail"...there is a variety that swims off the coast of Australia that has a texture very similar to shima aji and kanpachi.

                                                Kurodai (black porch, black seabream) - looking at specimens sold in Japanese supermarkets last year (e.g. Nijiya), a bunch of them caught around Greece.

                                    2. r
                                      reezyrice RE: bigtuna27 May 26, 2012 04:34 PM

                                      Hi there! Thanks for this Q/A opportunity!

                                      My father and my grandfather always said that you judge a sushi restaurant based on the quality of the tamago and this one other fish. (i forgot what it was called, i think it was aji, but i'm not too sure. It was this less fatty fish that is quite common)

                                      Is this true?

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: reezyrice
                                        bigtuna27 RE: reezyrice May 30, 2012 12:12 AM

                                        Hi. you guys having fun w/o me ha? Here is the answer to reezyrice. To check chef's skill--Tamago, Kohada, Saba and Shrimp. These are the common items you shpould check. Why? Sushi chef don't do much cooking so above items are the ones he has to do work on. Your fdad and grandpa's comment. -- Because tamago is more like dessert at sushi bar. So in any restaurant ,if the dessert was good you'll be happy. But you can't order tamago as first items. It's very odd. No body eats dessert before main meal except may be kids.I would order Saba sashimi first and if it's good, start from light taste fish like halibut and end with Anago or. tamago

                                        1. re: bigtuna27
                                          Silverjay RE: bigtuna27 May 30, 2012 08:42 AM

                                          My standard sequence is hikari-->ika-->kai-->shiromi-->fatty-->unagi/anago-->tamago. And every time there is an --> I order more shochu or beer...no, just kidding...maybe...

                                          1. re: bigtuna27
                                            K K RE: bigtuna27 May 30, 2012 09:55 AM

                                            Yeah especially true on kohada. It is definitely a taste tester for the traditional hardcore, especially to Jiro Ono. So thanks to Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, he's now in the international spotlight. But what the movie doesn't tell you is that Jiro wrote several books, including as a coauthor of a book called 江戸前の流儀. In it, he describes the process of prepping kohada, that takes the most time to do out of many fish. Cleaning, deboning, slicing, the salt marination/rub, washing/rinsing, the vinegar soak, of which the time / proportions of the steps depends on the fat content of the fish (that changes with the season). To be able to execute each step exacting to come out with an end result that is not fishy tasting all the way up to the fish skin, is not an easy thing to do. The same thing in a way can be said for saba, but perhaps the receipe can vary a bit more to get a similar result that leaves more room for error or experimentation.

                                            The ultimate mastery is if a chef can take regular non super high end ingredients and use a good process to come out with an excellent product that's comparable to high end restaurants that rely on high end ingredients, but not have a good process to maximize their flavor. You can say Jiro Ono does that very well.

                                            1. re: K K
                                              c
                                              clutterer RE: K K Jun 15, 2012 04:53 PM

                                              Does anyone know where you can buy Jiro Ono's books online?

                                              1. re: clutterer
                                                K K RE: clutterer Jun 15, 2012 10:35 PM

                                                Amazon.co.jp should have them. There might be other online Japanese bookstores, though I don't know if they ship internationally.

                                                search for:

                                                1) すきやばし次郎―生涯一鮨職人

                                                2) 巨匠の技と心 江戸前の流儀 (Jiro is coauthor with two other chefs, one is a very very famous tempura specialist called 早乙女 哲哉). The book covers what appears to be 3 well known Edo period classic cuisines.

                                                3) すきやばし次郎 旬を握る (文春文庫) [文庫] - Jiro didn't write this book, someone else did but from the cover it looks like it is more of a coverage of raw materials to sushi at Sukiyabashi Jiro.

                                                4) 鮨―美・職・技 [大型本]

                                                1. re: K K
                                                  K K RE: K K Jun 18, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                  There is also a Japanese region 2 DVD about Jiro, released in 2008

                                                  http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2...

                                                  プロフェッショナル 仕事の流儀 修業は、一生終わらない 鮨職人 小野二郎の仕事

                                        2. roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 May 30, 2012 05:53 AM

                                          Thanks again KK for all your info, very impressive. No the toppings have never been orange and the herb is not shiso either?, I'll have to ask. Maybe BT 27 can list some common or uncommon sushi toppings? I'm hopping to make my sushi look a little more impressive for my next sushi party. Also, BT 27 can spanish mackerel be used like Aji preparation??

                                          1. roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 May 30, 2012 08:18 AM

                                            I found a picture of the topping, looks like has more than 7 lobes maybe 9- 11, anyway who can identify. Thanks

                                             
                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: roguesushi
                                              Silverjay RE: roguesushi May 30, 2012 08:40 AM

                                              I believe it is "kinome". It's edible and like mint/shiso type of taste, but it's more for aesthetics and presentation than taste. I had to look up the name myself.

                                              1. re: Silverjay
                                                roguesushi RE: Silverjay May 30, 2012 01:57 PM

                                                Thanks Silverjay I knew one of you would know, here's a little more info about it just FYI : Szechuan pepper / prickly ash (Zanthoxylum piperitum) This is a large shrub or small tree, called sansho in Japan. The pericarp (seed covering) is the spice Szechuan pepper; the young leaves (kinome) have a unique flavor and are prized as a spring garnish for sushi, etc.

                                            2. k
                                              Klunco RE: bigtuna27 May 30, 2012 08:51 AM

                                              First, thank you so much for answering all of these questions. I have learned quite a bit from reading the other threads as well as this one.

                                              I read through the other threads and hope this wasn't asked but it's a question I've always had. I've always been intrigued by temaki but never tried them because I don't know what to order with them. What is the history of Temaki (hand rolls)? Is there a reason some people prefer them over rolled rolls? Is there an etiquette or anything I should know about how to order or eat them? Are there specific fish that work well for temaki?

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Klunco
                                                bigtuna27 RE: Klunco May 31, 2012 01:24 AM

                                                You can order temaki with anything anytime. But the way Japanese do is to order at the end to fill up the space in your stomach. Usually kappa, uneshiso, oshinko etc. Some people like them because it has less rice but similar amount of ingredients. It started as a snack for the sushi chefs while they are working behind the bar. They usually hide behind the bar knee down and eat it in couple bite. I forgot the name but one restaurant in Tokyo made it house specialty roll and also started ice cream cone style. It became very popular after that. Classier way is straight roll with cut off piece at the bottom as a diaper so that soy sauce doesn't leak.

                                                1. re: bigtuna27
                                                  bigtuna27 RE: bigtuna27 Jun 2, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                  My customer went Japan last month and visited JIRO. Guess how much was the bill? How long did they stay? What they got?

                                                  1. re: bigtuna27
                                                    t
                                                    Tkn RE: bigtuna27 Jun 2, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                    $300 for a 30-minute meal is my guess. As for what they got, probably nothing exotic. Jiro seems like a place with the emphasis on perfection and simplicity.

                                                    1. re: Tkn
                                                      bigtuna27 RE: Tkn Jun 6, 2012 12:14 AM

                                                      You are right. They spent $ 300. per person. They got 18 different kinds of sushi in about 30 min. And they were asked to move to the table where they wrre served slice of water melon. And had to leave right away.

                                                      1. re: bigtuna27
                                                        K K RE: bigtuna27 Jun 6, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                        I assume you've watched "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi". What do you think of the movie, from a professional's perspective?

                                                        1. re: K K
                                                          bigtuna27 RE: K K Jun 7, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                          That movie was excellent documentary film. Not only good to watch fo us older generations but also his comments are very usefull for young parents. It's not about sushi but about the attitude towards sushi/food general. Great inspiration.

                                              2. j
                                                jerry i h RE: bigtuna27 Jun 2, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                *There prenty of grated freah wasabi products available here.*
                                                FYI: Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo Ave in north Berkeley (SF/Bay Area/Calif) occasionally has the fresh stems for sale (I forget exactly from where, but I think Oregon). A small, 2 inch piece is about $5.

                                                1. a
                                                  AdamD RE: bigtuna27 Jun 3, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                  What is the difference between shirauo and shirasu? Size? I had a piece of sushi in Tsukiji that was served with a tiny bit of ginger and negi. My Japanese Aunt-in-law told me it was shirauo and it was fantastic. When is the season?

                                                  17 Replies
                                                  1. re: AdamD
                                                    K K RE: AdamD Jun 6, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                    It turns out there are many restaurants that falsely label the two (in English).

                                                    Shiraou is icefish, and shirasu is white bait. Both are caught from different regions in Japan.

                                                    This blog explains it a little better

                                                    http://shizuokasushi.com/shirasu-shir...

                                                    Season for shirauo is March through May according to a book I have, not sure about shirasu.

                                                    Shirasu when dried, can be used in ramen stocks (where ni-boshi is added).

                                                    1. re: K K
                                                      a
                                                      AdamD RE: K K Jun 7, 2012 09:17 AM

                                                      Thanks KK. Ive seen that article but was wondering how BT might respond.
                                                      I was told by the chef what I has was shirauo. It was fantastic and wonder if it is ever available outside of Japan (i.e. in NYC).

                                                      1. re: AdamD
                                                        K K RE: AdamD Jun 7, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                        There was a mention of a sushi restaurant in California where the chef was able to import and serve Oma bluefin tuna from Japan....so if you have $ you can import anything.

                                                        Searching on yelp.com for shirauo/shiraou returns Masa and Ushiwakamaru, at least they were mentioned but as with the season it's a matter of luck.

                                                        This blogger had "noresnore"/baby eel larvae at 15 East back in 2008
                                                        (not sure of the season but extremely short was what I was told from a place where I had it) http://blog.yam.com/breadbug/article/...

                                                        (two pics inbetween amaebi fried heads and uni tray)

                                                        1. re: K K
                                                          bigtuna27 RE: K K Jun 7, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                          Shirauo is also called silver fish and sold at chinese market as frozen block. Cost around $ 2~4/box[ 1lb]. You can't eat as sushi or sashimi but staifry like you do on baby eel ,it taste similer. Shirasu usually sold as dried fish and you can splinkle over rice,put them in cucumber salad. If you deep fry til crispy golden brown, it's good snack to munch on.

                                                          1. re: bigtuna27
                                                            K K RE: bigtuna27 Jun 7, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                            The ones from the Chinese market I'm guessing are different varieties or at least in the same family, maybe not necessarily Japanese. It's also a quick fix in Chinese/SE Asian cuisines by pan frying them with scrambled egg and scallions...like you say, quick fix over rice. Anything bigger and the replacement would be smelt...usually salt + pepper fried like crab/lobster at those Cantonese seafood restaurants.

                                                            The Chinese characters for "aji" as a possible scientific name, is also applied to the fish caught off the coast of the Philippines (I forgot the exact name but it sounds like galong galong) but looks nothing like the stuff we like.

                                                      2. re: K K
                                                        Silverjay RE: K K Jun 7, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                        That's an excellent blog that I have been checking out for years. Was in Shizuoka a few years ago and had excellent nama shirasu. Snapped a photo of the little critters. I used to live in a fishing village on Sagami Bay that caught them. They are excellent raw but also mashed a little together and then fried as tempura. Some people get freaked out by all them little eyes staring back at you.

                                                         
                                                        1. re: Silverjay
                                                          K K RE: Silverjay Jun 7, 2012 12:24 PM

                                                          I still have yet to eat the real deal! That looks good.

                                                          Also for the fish geeks in us:

                                                          http://www.zukan-bouz.com/kyuriuo/sir....

                                                          Looks like these are harvested/caught all over the northern/NE sides...Hokkaido prefecture, Miyagi prefecture, Shimane prefecture, Aomori prefecture, and Ibaraki prefecture.

                                                          This fish is apparently referenced in Japanese kabuki, to spring season (but I figure you know way more about this than all of us :-) )

                                                          1. re: K K
                                                            Silverjay RE: K K Jun 7, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                            LOL, I don't know sheeeet about kabuki...That page is actually for shirauo, but that site is cool. I have it bookmarked at home. I just bought a really cool nerdy Japanese fish book at Kinokuniya in NYC that I wanted to tell you about. I will post about it later.

                                                            1. re: Silverjay
                                                              K K RE: Silverjay Jun 7, 2012 12:38 PM

                                                              Whoops sorry you were talking about the south and I of the north!. Ok then that makes sense...shirasu caught in southern waters, shirauo in northern.

                                                              Here's the shirasu page

                                                              http://www.zukan-bouz.com/zkan/zkan/d...

                                                              That shio ramen (Kochi prefecture) in the pic, the broth likely enhanced with the dried shirasu in the stock with a mention of ....tiger prawns? Must be splendid.

                                                              Please upload a pic if you can of the fish book (or if there's a pic of it on amazon.jp).

                                                              1. re: K K
                                                                Silverjay RE: K K Jun 7, 2012 12:45 PM

                                                                Found it!

                                                                "からだにおいしい魚の便利帳 "...Roughly translates as "The Healthy Fish Handbook". A national bestseller. Probably not as detailed as some of Big Tuna's books, but it's fun for the layman.

                                                                http://tinyurl.com/7ngz7mh

                                                                ...or maybe "Tasty Fish Handbook"...

                                                                1. re: Silverjay
                                                                  K K RE: Silverjay Jun 7, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                                  Dude I borrowed that exact same book from a local library (that happens to have a half decent small Japanese book selection, but extremely surprised to have found it there for checkout) not too long ago! What a coincidence.

                                                                  That's where I got the info that there were at least 4 types of "aji". The book I think had a publish date of 2008/2009 ish? Definitely a fun read (or at least "looking at the pictures")

                                                                  This pocket book is cool too (first search result)

                                                                  http://tinyurl.com/7h3bwbt

                                                                  the one I have is translated for the TW market, lists 94 common fish used for sushi in JP

                                                                  すし手帳 [単行本(ソフトカバー)] by 坂本一男

                                                                  1. re: K K
                                                                    a
                                                                    AdamD RE: K K Jun 8, 2012 09:17 AM

                                                                    now that is the type of dialog I was looking for-thanks!
                                                                    I guess I was in the right place at the right time as it stands out as one of the best raw fish pieces I have ever had.

                                                          2. re: Silverjay
                                                            bigtuna27 RE: Silverjay Jun 9, 2012 01:05 AM

                                                            That looks very fresh. I had those few times when I was in Japan long time ago. I used ponzu sauce to dip in. Since I left Japan, the food scene changed a lot. Lots of younger chef is doing very creative way to work on ordinary food like ramen etc. I never had ramen with fish stock in. I heard about it in very remote area by the ocean though. any way you guys are in to fish like no Japanese can be. Amazing

                                                            1. re: bigtuna27
                                                              Silverjay RE: bigtuna27 Jun 10, 2012 06:41 AM

                                                              Yeah, gyoukai (魚介) ramen soups and blended types are big these days. I went to a great shop in Shinjuku that makes their soup from chicken and niboshi. When you stand in the back of the shop, it smells REALLY fishy as they simmer the niboshi part of the broth. You think you are in a seafood restaurant.

                                                              1. re: bigtuna27
                                                                roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 Jun 14, 2012 12:44 PM

                                                                BT27 Need Help! When I'm making rolls it seems no matter what I do the nori gets soggy very quickly. Am I using too much sushi vinegar? I've tried using a little less sushi vinegar but doesn't seem to help. Or do I just need better nori? I read previously that you recommended gold or premium. Any other tips? Thanks

                                                                1. re: roguesushi
                                                                  bigtuna27 RE: roguesushi Jun 16, 2012 01:23 PM

                                                                  Hi. If you are using ready made sushi vinegar follow the direction. Key things when you toss rice is as follows.
                                                                  1. You need bowl, rice spatura and clean napkin.
                                                                  2. 32 oz dry rice[ before cooking] per 1 cup of sushi vinegar.
                                                                  3. Wait 45 min after you set the rice to cook. Don't open the lid at all untill that time.
                                                                  4. Set everything on your table before open the lid.
                                                                  5. Move cooked rice to bowl as soon as possible after you remove lid and add vinegar evenly then start tossing.[ Try not to mash the rice. more like cutting rice with your spatura.]
                                                                  6. After quickly tossed the rice cover them with moist napkin and wait 10~15 min.
                                                                  7. Now you can make rolls but don't put too much water on your hand just moist them. You have to work quick before moisture on your hands go away. Speed is the key to make roll. Soon as placed rice on the sea weed, you have to add ingridients quickly and roll. If you want to keep the roll for little later, wrap roll with plastic food wrap individually before cut.
                                                                  8. Remember water is your friend but not your girl friend. Speed is the key.

                                                                  Enjoy and good luck.

                                                                  1. re: bigtuna27
                                                                    roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 Jun 16, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                                    Thanks BT!! I probably need to work on my speed for sure. I'll remember water is not my girlfriend, ha! I'm having a big sushi party in the next couple of weeks, will let you know if I need more help. Thanks again for this blog, keep it going!

                                                        2. roguesushi RE: bigtuna27 Jun 27, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                          BT, do you have a Nikiri recipe you can share?

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: roguesushi
                                                            bigtuna27 RE: roguesushi Jun 28, 2012 11:38 PM

                                                            You can use any recipie from internet. They are mostly same. 1 part soy sauce, 1/10 mirin and sake. Mid heat and reduce down to 1 part.

                                                          2. h
                                                            hchatterjee RE: bigtuna27 Jul 11, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                            What kit should someone new to sushi use? Complete Sushi Book & DVD Kit
                                                            by sushi, Sushi Master The Ultimate Sushi Maker by As Seen On TV, The Sushi Kit
                                                            by Setsuko Yoshizuka (Hardcover), Sushi Deluxe Book & Kit by Kumfoo Wong (Hardcover), or Sushi Chef Sushi Making Kit by Sushi Chef ? Or do you have a better suggestion?

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: hchatterjee
                                                              bigtuna27 RE: hchatterjee Jul 11, 2012 11:39 PM

                                                              Any kit will be fine I think since you are not gonna be pro. I saw some on you tube but don't recomend.

                                                              1. re: hchatterjee
                                                                roguesushi RE: hchatterjee Jul 17, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                hcj,

                                                                I've learned much from the web sites below not to mention BT27!! Read through the entire blog, so much to learn.

                                                                This one is great for many of the sauces, key ingredient!
                                                                http://www.sushisecrets.com/recipes.html

                                                                KK listed this one not too far above, photos of all things sushi. Spectacular!

                                                                http://shizuokasushi.com

                                                                some good recipes and videos here
                                                                http://www.sushivids.com

                                                                I've got the sushezi which is a plastic apparatus with a built in plunger which quickly and evenly squeeze your ingredients into the perfect Futo-maki size, just roll up in some gold or premium nori, fix your rice as BT27 recommends and Voila! Perfect roll for the beginner. (wish they made a smaller one) I also bought a pair of wood presses that work reasonably well from Maki Sushi KI. Good for pressed sushi and rolls if unable to master nigiri. A uni shot and sashimi tray!

                                                                Good Luck!

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                              2. davis_sq_pro RE: bigtuna27 Aug 1, 2012 07:59 AM

                                                                BT-sensei: Just want to express my gratitude for these threads. I just finished reading through the entire set of posts, which took me almost two months (on and off, naturally :-)). Great, great stuff. Thank you!!!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                  bigtuna27 RE: davis_sq_pro Aug 2, 2012 12:14 AM

                                                                  Glad to hear that.

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