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"American people, they don't know real good sushi"

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Mr Taster

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  1. He's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sure we do!! We slather it with wasabi and soy sauce and it all tastes good!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Motosport

        ...and sushi = Rolls/makimono -- or even JUST uramaki. Right? ;-) Nigirizushi..."Uhhh, dunno what that is but it's not what I wanted when I said 'Let's have sushi tonight' "... Yes?? :-D

      2. He should be thankful for that seeing as how that's how he made his money in LA with his hot rice sushi drowned in ponzu...and of course, the blue crab handroll.

        Irony incarnate.

        1. Interesting video, looks like this guy is the real deal.

          As he points out himself, the American culture is different. And our culture generally seems to settle for less and by and large, unfortunately, seems to be perfectly happy with the lowest common denominator. In fact it seems that some consumers have come to _expect_ the lowest common denominator.

          But really, "authenticity" aside, in the end the fact is that whatever sushi satisfies one's own expectation is good sushi. Whatever floats 'yer boat!

          63 Replies
          1. re: The Professor

            Just consider the mainstay of American sushi, the California roll. Imitation crab stick meat!!!! UGH!!!!

            1. re: Motosport

              Stop bashing California roll, until you try the Philly roll.

              http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BSqfEBUHaXU...

              Maki-sushi with cream cheese. Yes, cream cheese.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                or the Spam roll

                1. re: Motosport

                  Do restaurants really make spam roll? Or is this just something people make at home?

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Restaurants in Hawaii certainly make what is essentially a Spam roll.

                    1. re: tommy

                      I love spam, but spam sushi sounds really bad...

                      Thanks for the information.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Spam cooked in a soy/sugar reduction (teriyaki) with rice and nori? What's not to like!

                        1. re: tommy

                          The Spam?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Chemicalkinetics likes spam.

                            I've never had spam musubi, but considering I'm a jersey boy who grew up on Talyor Ham, I know I'm not above some Spam. Especially if it has nori.

                            1. re: tommy

                              I grew up with SPAM. I have not had one for a long time. I should go get one just for the sake of it. I have no idea what is Talyor Ham. I have lived in N. Jersey for a few years now. It is a strange place. :P

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                You have no idea what Taylor Ham is? How far north are you? It's quite possible you've seen it as "pork roll" at any diner and most delis. I haven't had SPAM in about 32 years, but I'm guessing they are very similar. I've got 3 bucks, so I should probably buy a can and put my theory to rest once and for all.

                                1. re: tommy

                                  I have seen pork roll, like this:

                                  http://www.buynjporkroll.com/images/p...

                                  http://media.lehighvalleylive.com/foo...

                                  I have seen them all the time, but have never bought one.

                                  What do you mean how far north am I? I was from the Georgia before I moved to New Jersey. :D

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    I thought "N. Jersey" meant "north Jersey".

                                    No sane person buys pork roll at a store. You get it on a hard roll at a diner with egg and cheese. Generally in the morning or at 2 am. Until you do that please considering moving back to Georgia. ;-)

                              2. re: tommy

                                Did you call it "Taylor Ham" or "Pork Roll"? I grew up in North Jersey and I never heard of "Taylor Ham" until 2009.

                                http://www.jerseyboyporkroll.com/

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  You two are sending conflicting information...

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    I guess I am "no sane person." We used to eat pork roll at home all the time. It was one of my father's favorite foods, and mine, too. On a hard roll, or with eggs for breakfast on a plate. We never ate it with cheese, though I'd gladly do so now.

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      I was just making a generalization to make a hopefully humorous point. I too buy the sliced stuff on occasion. Although it's rare to see the big roll that weighs a couple of lbs in stores near me.

                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        I hope you know the hard roll is a Jersey thing too. They have NO idea in DE, and that's just across the crik. Bakeries are few and far between too.

                                        1. re: Nanzi

                                          These days, NJ doesn't know what a good hard roll is either anymore.
                                          So difficult to get decent ones these days...the supermarket bakery ones are really crappy, and all the great mom & pop/family run local bakeries that were once in every town have virtually vanished.

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Indeed we are. When I grew up in south jersey, I recall "pork roll." When I moved to north jersey, 20 years ago, it was always "Taylor Ham."

                                        Of course, the boundaries of "north/south" jersey are greatly contested. In fact one might argue that the further west you get, the more the south is north.

                                        In my neck of the woods, in what is no doubt north jersey, all of the delis and diners have "taylor ham". Although if I saw "pork roll" I wouldn't exactly be surprised. It's not legislated, after all.

                                        1. re: tommy

                                          They serve Spam rolls (Hawaiian rolls) next door to Nozawa's at Dai Chan. They're real good.

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            tommy: "Of course, the boundaries of "north/south" jersey are greatly contested. In fact one might argue that the further west you get, the more the south is north."

                                            If your area code was originally 201, you're in North Jersey; 609, South.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              All of jersey was originally 201. After the split into 201/609, much (all?) of ocean county remained 201. I wouldn't consider ocean county north jersey, although the northern border falls right about in the center of the state. I think more "central". Of course that introduces yet another region to be contested.

                                  2. re: tommy

                                    This is getting more gross by the minute. :D

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Admittedly I'm not a fan of Teriyaki. But something tells me that grabbing some Spam musubi before a hike up Diamond Head wouldn't be the worst thing I could think of.

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        Tom,

                                        To be honest, I don't think it is really that bad either. I just think it would be a bit strange to call it "sushi". It is like barbecuing a pork shoulder (pork butt) in Chinese oyster sauce..... It may taste ok, but not sure if it should be called barbecue.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          I don't think Hawaiians call it "sushi." It's called Spam musubi.

                                          Hawaii is a melting pop of Asian, not to mention indigenous Hawaiian, cultures. Its food culture represents that history. As far as I'm concerned they can call it whatever they want. It's just a word. It's not pretending to be anything other than what it is. Quite frankly I have more of an issue with the stuff being sold in supermarkets all over the US being called "sushi." Which is perhaps part of the point of the video referenced above.

                                          Regarding barbeque, that word also has many meanings, depending on which part of the planet you're referencing. I have no problem with any food or preparation being called "barbeque", as long as it's referencing a style of cooking that has some history. I don't necessarily approve of foods pretending to be southeastern US barbeque, when they're made with liquid smoke. This, of course, is different than the issue of Spam musubi.

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            Yes, barbecue has took on a different meaning now, so does the word "curry". Japanese curry certainly is not like Indian curry for example.

                                            Anyway, people can eat whatever they like, but we should also be willing to listen to expert in the area. Not necessary following, but at least hear. If a 30+ years experience sushi chef suggests something, then a sushi customer should view it as an educational experience.

                                            There is certainly a problem of "I can pay for it" problem. I have seen people do this. Sometime it has little to do with paying. When I lived in the South, people in the barbecue joints are always treat me very nice. They often would pull up the a chair and tell me how they barbecue the meat and which sauces they recommend to use and all. I always pay attention. I don't say things like "I have money. I can pay for it."

                                            I think the video is partally about sushi, but also touched on many other issues like cell phone usages and all.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Curry didn't "take on" different meanings through some bastardization. It has always existed in these places. Of course we're talking about the english word, so I don't care to get into that sort of discussion. Thai curry, North African curry, South Indian curry, all fine to me.

                                              1. re: tommy

                                                "so I don't care to get into that sort of discussion."

                                                Given that this subthread has veered about as far as possible from the original subject at hand, I applaud your decision.

                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  Thank you

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Just my opinion, but I think cream cheese is the sushi antichrist. But I'll defend to the death your right to eat it. Just don't carp at me (so to speak) for my choices.

                          3. re: Motosport

                            The California roll is the best of all the "american states" rolls. And it's what familiarized first-time americans to sushi. Don't bash the roll that helped popularize sushi in the US!

                            1. re: Motosport

                              Imitation crab stick is just a spin off of a Japanese staple, fish cake.

                            2. re: The Professor

                              "And our culture generally seems to settle for less and by and large, unfortunately, seems to be perfectly happy with the lowest common denominator."

                              I think that is general true for many cultures and countries. I don't think it is wrong to say that most Americans do not understand sushi as most Japanese. We shouldn't feel defensive about it. It is true. On the other hand, it is also true that most Japanese do not understand Southern barbecue as Americans do.

                              I do think one thing he made which is difficult to argue. How come people here (in America) can become a full fledged sushi chef in 1-2 years. That does seem a very short time. I also agree with the cell phone thing. I think it is extremely impolite to talk on a cell phone and a waiter at the same time. I think a waiter or a chef deserve my full attention.

                              I think, overall, Americans understand a bit of every cuisines, but not necessary focus on one.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I think that it is very rude to talk on your cell phone in a restaurant period. Love going out with someone and having our conversation interrupted as he answers his phone! So, so rude. Love watching a couple sit down and each pull out their phone to do whatever...why do they even go out together!!

                              2. re: The Professor

                                Agree, and certainly not just in Sushi. It seems that mediocre is the norm here. Very sad but very true. My DH gets upset with me when I demand more, but why accept something that is not wonderful and not done with thought and care. The more we accept mediocre the more we will receive.

                                1. re: The Professor

                                  To be fair, there's lots of mediocre sushi served in Japan as well. But I would have to say that the everyday food eaten by ordinary Americans strikes me as just about the worst in the world. It's far worse than the everyday food in several third world nations. And in Japan, it's quite a challenge to find food as bad as what Americans eat on a daily basis. Even the $1 onigiri at 7-11 stores in Tokyo are far superior in quality to Americans' average meals.

                                  1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                    Which third world nations? I'd like to move there and live like a king, and eat even better than I do now.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      Every one I've been to (a dozen maybe). Recently I went to Nepal and ate with local people in the Himalayas. They grow their own rice and vegetables and raise their own animals. Their food is far superior to the factory-produced crap that lines supermarket aisles in America.

                                      1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                        You are romanticing the situations there. Has it also occurred to you that many people go hungry there, and most natives do not eat what you eat over there on a daily basis?

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          +1

                                        2. re: AlkieGourmand

                                          I'm not sure what your definition of "everyday food" is, but I guess I can stop my contributions to UNICEF and WFP. More sushi and spam for me!

                                          Oh, wait...
                                          "Fifty-four percent of Nepal’s population lives on less than US$1.25 per day, and three and a half million people are considered moderately to severely food insecure, counting Nepal among the poorest countries in South Asia. The 2009 Human Development Index ranks Nepal at 144 out of 182 countries and the land-locked nation is on the cusp of serious and alarming as per the 2009 Global Hunger Index."

                                      2. re: AlkieGourmand

                                        "It's far worse than the everyday food in several third world nations."

                                        Ahhh.....

                                        "And in Japan, it's quite a challenge to find food as bad as what Americans eat on a daily basis."

                                        In Japan, many blue collar workers eat Cup-o-Noodle for lunches. Americans eat out a lot more than people from many countries, whereas people from other countries treat eating out as more of a special occassions, so it is true that our "eating out" is probably rank low, but that is not to say Americans eat worse on a daily basis. People in many other countries just pack something ridiculously simple for lunches.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          I understand what you're saying, but AlkieGourmand is right. My Lovely Tasting Assistant™ and I spent about 7 months backpacking through southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan. There is a *huge* difference in variety and quality as to what is commonly, readily and easily available in these places.

                                          Now I am not saying that all the food in these countries are healthy. Certainly your cup-o-noodles argument holds true. There's plenty of junk food widely available all over Asia. The difference is that there are so many other foods to choose from-- and here's the real key-- they are both *easily available and cheap*.

                                          For example, in southeast asia, street vendors everywhere sell fresh fruit, or rice noodles in soup, or grilled sticks of chicken. In Japan those $1 onigiri (rice balls stuffed with something like tuna, sour plum, etc. wrapped in seaweed) are an incredibly filling and quick option. The Korean equivalent is kimbap, commonly available in train stations as easy and healthy to-go meals or snacks.

                                          Bear in mind that what makes this culturally significant and not simply a matter of "personal choice" is that these are default foods... the foods you can easily find when there aren't any other options.

                                          What are America's default foods? The foods we find when there are no other options around? Pizza. Burgers. Hot Dogs. That's the sad truth. We have horribly unhealthy "default foods" in this country.

                                          Case in point: We just went skiing last weekend and got hungry, stopped in at the little restaurant at the top of the ski lifts. And what was available to eat? Cheap burritos. Hot dogs. Pizza. This is America's default food. And I remember thinking "God, I would just love to have a couple of tuna onigiri right about now." And for those who say "If you'd wanted one, you should have packed one," you're missing the point entirely.

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            I don't know if Cup-O-Noodle is very unhealthy. My point was that many blue collar Japanese do not go out to eat tasty food on a daily basis. It is expensive. If you really compare a blue collar American, to a blue collar Indian or a blue collar Chinese. I bet you that the average American eat much better than you think.

                                            Apparently, you and I have a very different experience in South East Asia. When I was there, I noticed many people packed their lunches or eat fairly simple foods. Keep in mind too, novelty has a certain role here. When I was South east asia, people think of going to eat McDonald, Starbucks, Pizza Hut is cool. You can actually take a girl to your first date at McDonald. Here.... it is more of a tactic to let the girl dumps you, so you don't have to do it.

                                            So while it is true that you and I may think Pizza Hut kinda of crap. They don't. I can remember a few times that they want to take me out to hang out at Starbuck. First, I don't drink coffee, but second I don't think it is that cool to drink at Starbuck. I thought it is much cooler to hang out at the street fair with motocycles riding past people.

                                            Let me put it this way. McDonald, Starbuck, Pizza Hut,... all of these American foods which we view crappy, do very well in Southeast Asia. Do you want to know why they do so well there? Simply put, people there actually like them.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Not just southeast Asia but the Pizza Hut in Arpoador in Rio has a valet and is packed in the evenings with well heeled families.

                                              While I would rather eat the 3 Reis (~$1.60) pastelao de frango at the corner pastry shop because I can't get that at home, the Cariocas would rather spend 10x as much on Pizza Hut because...it's all relative. I'm personally not a fan of that phenomenon because being from the US, I naturally frown upon pizza hut.

                                              The breadth of cuisine in the US, especially LA, NYC, and SF (never lived in Chicago) is much more diverse than other countries. Have you seen what passes for sushi and Chinese food in Paris or Rome?

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                "The breadth of cuisine in the US, especially LA, NYC, and SF (never lived in Chicago) is much more diverse than other countries."

                                                I agree. I think the diversity in US has much to contribute to this. Yes, it is true that the top Chinese food in US is not as good as the top Chinese food in China, or the top Mexican food in US is not close to the top Mexican food in Mexico. Yet, isn't this normal?

                                                However, you get better Chinese food here than you would get in Mexico, and you get better Mexican foods there than you would get in China. That is the important point.

                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                My point in making this argument was not to dispute popularity of foods here or in Asia, but rather to point out that the foods which are abundant, readily available and cheap tend to be better for you than equivalent foods in the US.

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  I'm never more than a few miles from a $1.50 taco or $2.25 bahn mi. We've got options these days. No one has to default to hot dogs and Pizza Hut unless they want to. Even my buddy in Colorado Springs can get cheap hole in the wall Mexican food.

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    "A few miles" is a huge distance, relative to the often impulsive decision in choosing what to eat.

                                                    If you become hungry, you do not have an infinite number of choices of what to eat. You have as many choices that are reasonably available to you given your location, what you feel like eating, availability of transportation, and willingness to delay your hunger. Your field of choices shrinks or grows depending on those very subjective criteria.

                                                    If I get hungry at work mid-afternoon, my field of options are limited to candy (lots of it), chips or old refrigerated sandwiches from the lobby snack shop, burgers, pizza, burritos or Starbucks.

                                                    If I want a tuna onigiri, I'm screwed. Sure, I could get in my car and drive to get one, but the practical reality is that I'm limited by the criteria I outlined earlier. We're all limited to a greater or lesser degree by the "default foods" that our culture provides to us, and America's default foods are crap.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      If I want a tuna onigiri, I'm screwed
                                                      ============================
                                                      Aside from Japan, and I'm not sure it's even every single part of Japan, where else are you going to get tuna onigiri within a 1-2 minute walk? You're pretty much screwed in every country except Japan.

                                                      Even in Rome and Paris I had to walk 10-15 minutes to go to the certain fornos or boulangeries with the better pizza or croissant or baguette.

                                                      I think you're lamenting the fact you can't get Japanese food as good and as abundant here as in Japan more than anything else. But that's pretty obvious. It's the same as lamenting how the dim sum here isn't as good as HK or the French food here isn't as good as in Paris.

                                                      But bashing food options in the US, especially in a city like LA is no longer as valid as it was 10-20 years ago. We have plenty of cheap, affordable, multi ethnic options that isn't crap. Under $10 gets you anything from pho to ramen to dumplings to pitas to cubanos to kebabs to soba and udon to philly cheesesteaks to pulled pork sandwiches to caldo de res to pollo a la brasa...all within a 5-10 minute drive for me.

                                                      Now consider for a moment the food options for someone with diabetes in Japan. All of the sudden your food options become pretty slim. No onigiri, no ramen, no curry over rice...none of these options would be considered "healthy".

                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                        The argument is not that onigiri is difficult to find in the US. I am using onigiri as an example of a quick, easily accessible, cheap and healthy food that is a widely available snacking option, and drafting the argument that there is no tasty and healthful equivalent that is as widely available across the US.

                                                        Remember, "default food" is what I'm referring to here. Stop in any small town in the US, and what are you likely to find? Right. Burgers and pizza. In a small village in Japan? Fish and rice. Default food. And I'm not saying you won't find a tonkatsu cutlet and curry. What I am saying is that the likelihood is MUCH higher that there will be something tasty and healthy to eat.

                                                        incidentally, I have been a type 1 diabetic for 25 years and can definitively say that the subsequent blood sugar rise from 2 low fat onigiri is infinitely easier to control and requires far less medication bolus than the fat/carb bombs of pizza, hot dogs and burgers (or a big ol' fried tonkotsu curry over rice).

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                          Remember, "default food" is what I'm referring to here.
                                                          =====================================
                                                          Though the premise of your argument is based on "default" american food aka traditional american fast food, I'm saying it's no longer a relevant argument since there is an abundance of cheap, good, multi-ethnic options these days.

                                                          I've never lived in many small towns in the US but depending on which part of the country you're in, you might be able to find good BBQ, or a local specialty sandwich, or even food truck. Apparently there is good cheap mexican in Colorado Springs, I've had killer good BBQ just outside of Memphis, and on a recent trip to downtown Orlando, I found a Kogi-esque taco truck. It's not all Pizza Hut and hot dogs out there anymore. Since you live in LA, the "default" food argument is even less valid.

                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                            But my point is that even in a city like Los Angeles, a reliable source of healthy, cheap, tasty and convenient food can be difficult to find, unless you 1) go out of your way for it or 2) live or work in a health conscious pedestrian heavy area like Venice or Santa Monica (or perhaps the Japanese/Chinese communities of LA). In the Fairfax district near me, we have lots of local options like Animal, Golden State, etc. All great food, terrible for you. Down by the farmer's market there are better options like the Mediterranean kebabs, tabbouleh and baba ghanoush at Moishe's, but it's one of the few places- even in this great walking district- where you can get a reliably good, healthy, tasty meal (though it's not cheap).

                                                            In the suburbs or small towns throughout the country, it can be impossible, even with a car. Spend any time driving on I-70 through the midwest, for example, and you'll see what I mean.

                                                            In Japan or Taiwan, any corner convenience store (and there must be thousands in Taiwan alone) like Family Mart or 7-11 will have onigiri or tea eggs, which are well established popular choices in the food cultures of those societies. The equivalent choices here are hot dogs rotating around on those hot rollers, and donuts in a plexiglass case. Those are the guaranteed foods-- the "default foods" at American 7-11 stores. See my point?

                                                            In America, you can be virtually guaranteed that no matter how small the town, you'll be able to find a hamburger, hot dog, pizza or burritos. Default food.

                                                            But don't be distracted by my example of a 7-11, which I'm simply using to illustrate my point of "default food" as the rule, not necessarily as a specific example. And I'm not saying you'd never find a piece of fresh fruit or a boiled egg at a 7-11 (which would be the exception that proves the rule). I'm saying our food culture is overwhelmingly biased in favor of fatty and unhealthy convenience and comfort food, which expresses itself in strikingly similar ways from sea to shining sea.

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              And an additional observation-- when other cultures make their food here and adapt it for the American market, what happens to it?

                                                              It tends to get fattier, more sugary, higher calorie (and the portions tend to get bigger.)

                                                              Case in point: Americanized Chinese food, with all the fried wontons, heavy corn starch sauces thick with sugar. Cream cheese on sushi. As for Mexican food, do a Google Image search for "Manuel's Special" burrito for the penultimate example of what happens when immigrants come to America and adapt their food for American tastes and expectations.

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                                        "If you become hungry, you do not have an infinite number of choices of what to eat."

                                                        Neither in most other countries and probably much worse. Do you think you will get a lot of good Japanese food in Iraq?

                                                        "Sure, I could get in my car and drive to get one, but the practical reality is that I'm limited by the criteria I outlined earlier."

                                                        If you are in a major US city, then you should have plenty good options just like a major city in East Asia. If you live in a suburban or a remote location, then you can drive -- at least you can drive. Asians live a suburban do not have nearly the same options you have.

                                                        You cannot compare an Asian major city like Tokyo or Hong Kong to a suburban in US. In addition, you are also using strong US dollar to purchase goods. An average Indian earns $500 US in a year, so that is $1.4 per day. So how much do you think an average Indian get to spend eating out per day? If you went to India and spent more than 20 cent for eating out a meal, then you are spending way out of their average budget already.

                                                        You have to look this objectively as a native, not as a visitor. If you look at what an average American get to eat vs what an average Indian get to it, then you will see an American has vastly more options. Yes, driving is such a drag, but at least you have a car, most of them don't have cars. Even if they do, they don't have the option you would have in a driving distance. Yes, they may able to get better Indian foods than you do, but they aren't going to get better Japanese foods than you do or better Mexican foods. Would you say they are all screwed?

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          >> "If you become hungry, you do not have an infinite number of choices of what to eat."

                                                          >> Neither in most other countries and probably much worse. Do you think you will get a lot of good Japanese food in Iraq?

                                                          The point is not that there is an infinite choice in other countries. The point is that the
                                                          "default foods" in the us... that is foods that exist universally across the country, that you can reliably find when all other foods fail... are inherently bad for you.

                                                          Also, I am looking at this with some degree of objectivity. I have native friends in SE Asia and China. I have family in Taiwan. Both acknowledge food is cheap. Of course it's cheaper for us relative to our income, but our living expenses and taxes eat a a much larger percentage of our salaries so it's not a 1:1 equivalent. We didn't have a car during our 7 months of travel. We took public transportation (bus, boat and train) most places. Sometimes taxis. We were in small villages and big cities. Even though we walked most places, no matter where we were we were never far from a hot bowl of fish ball soup, a fresh bag of fruit or tropical blended shake, roasted chicken, banh mi, pan fried noodles and vegetables, an omelet, whatever the case may be. The only place that food was not available was during a jungle trek and overnight in a tiny Thai village near the Chinese/Laos border.

                                                          Certainly this abundance of options is part of the Asian population density, and their obsession with food... you're hardly ever a stone's throw from some vendor selling something tasty or interesting.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            Ok, in term of Asian countries foods, I think they are great. I also have family in Taiwan and pretty much spent my childhood summers there. I lived most of young life in Hong Kong. While, there are plenty interesting and much more focus foods, they are not more diverse. I think I went to Taipei 101 (台北101) and had some Indian foods there. Let's just say it wasn't very good, and since you have family from Taiwan, then you must know many popular American brand food stores are there, like Starbuck. Again, you may think it is interesting to eat the local Taiwanese foods, while the local Taiwanese may think it is much more interesting and cooler to eat at KFC. It is perspective.

                                                            Both Taiwan and Japan are fairly developed, but if you go to India or China, many there do not eat in abundance. I have many coworkers from mainland China, and we have done the calculations that an average Chinese (with average salary) cannot possibly go out to eat like average Americans do. People have this notion that foods are so cheap there. Cheap are so cheap with US dollar, not with average Indian and Chinese income.

                                                            Now, my profession has to do with health. I can tell you that the health situation in Asia is not nearly as good as many think. Take Japan for example, the diabetes rate in Japan is not much lower than in US. Both China and India due to their recent economic booms have exposed diabetes problem. They have higher population of diabetes than US. In 2030, they may have comparable rate (percentage) based on the growth of the economic. This is not including the extremely high rate of hepatits A and B in East Asia (A has to do with food). Then, there is crazy alcohol drinking styles in East Asia.

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              "It tends to get fattier, more sugary, higher calorie "

                                                              You are missing the baseline. Why are Asians health deteriorating with or without adapting American markets? Case in point: Type 2 diabetes is a great illustration, just look at how it skyrocketed in Asian countries and increasing at a faster speed than in US.

                                                              http://www.ipswitch.com/wp-content/up...

                                                              White rice may look healthy, but many of which have worse G.I. than white sugar. You are greatly mistaken if you think Asian street foods are healthier than American street foods.

                                                      3. re: Mr Taster

                                                        Are we talking about health or taste? Isn't the video about taste and AlkieGourmand was also talking about quality of sushi here vs Asia.

                                                        If you want to talk about health, then it is fine too. I think that depends on how to quantify it.

                                                        The foods we have here are cleaner with less incidents of bacteria contamination than most part of Asia. As for Americans eating unhealthy foods, that is because how cheap and abundant food here, and how much we love to eat until we are absolutely full. If you think street foods in Asia is much healthier than American foods, then you are mistaken. An average Asian eating out everyday is not going to be healthier than an average American eating out everyday.

                                                        For much of modern Asia history, it has remained relatively poor. The recent economic growth bought prosperity, but also over-consumption of foods and bad lifestyle. The number somewhat varies due to the lack of absolutely reliable data, but the diabetic rates have exploded in China and India.

                                                        "Now, it would appear China has overtaken India and become the global epicentre of the diabetes epidemic with 92.4 million adults with the disease. Some of the difference between the old and new estimates for China may be due to differences in methodology. However, the new figures certainly reflect a rapid increase in the prevalence of diabetes over recent years. Due to the new study, we expect the projected estimates of the number of people with diabetes in the year 2030 will be close to half a billion."

                                                        http://www.idf.org/node/4250

                                                        "This study found that of the 347 million people with diabetes, 138 million live in China and India and another 36 million in the United States and Russia."

                                                        http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/0...

                                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Perhaps this is true for blue collar workers, but it is not true for professionals. Take a look at the dozens of decent restaurants in the Shin Marunouchi building and compare them to the crap American lunchtime standards like Panera, Corner Bakery, Wolfgang Puck's Cafe, Au Bon Pain, etc.

                                                  3. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                    One of my siblings spent a year in India working in and around the slums. One thing she has never stopped talking about is how good the food was. Really. She said that in the slum, often there will be certain people running tiny little food stands and selling food for very cheap - and that what's being sold is always made out of super fresh ingredients (in that situation, I don't know what else they could be - probably not a lot of access to processed ingredients...?) and delicious. Mostly curries.

                                                    Now, I totally hear ChemicalKinetics on the 'romanticizing' charge, and I don't want to do that. It doesn't matter how good the food was, I wouldn't choose to live there, nor am I under any illusions about *how much* of this food these people get (generally, not near enough). But the fact remains that the people living in these slums, at least the able bodied ones who could afford it regularly, were eating fresh and freshly prepared, delicious food. Doesn't it almost go without saying that in a less developed country, ingredients are necessarily going to be fresher/more local, simply due to ... being less developed?

                                                    In a way the emphasis on fresh, local food in the developed world bothers me. It's not entirely black and white in my mind - yes, we eat a lot of processed foods, but we also don't go hungry, we also generally have much higher food safety levels, more classes of people can afford to eat meat regularly etc. It's an interesting point to realize that, according to certain food rules (fresh, local = ALWAYS preferable) people in the third world eat better than I do. But that doesn't mean they're healthier or better off in a larger sense.

                                                    Anyway...interesting issues...

                                                2. I like the video, Mr Taster.

                                                  1. Replace 'sushi' with 'pizza'.

                                                    Yadda yadda yadda.
                                                    Blah blah blah.

                                                    1. Well, in a sense, duh. Of course Americans don't know sushi like the Japanese, in general. As Chemical Kinetics said, the Japanese don't know southern US barbeque, either. I actually didn't get any condescension from that chef, despite the fact that being condescending about sushi seems to be a bit of a sport with certain types these days - he seems to get that of course he's going to get better quality in Japan, because it's Japan.

                                                      Watching that made me hungry. I always order plain tuna and spicy tuna when I get sushi - I just love raw tuna (the red tuna...maguro?). Didn't know about the 'spicy tuna' trick, tho. Not sure that even applies here in Montreal, where I'm not sure most places are dealing with different grades. If anyone knows otherwise, tho, say so, so i can stop ordering the spicy and stick with the plain.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: montrealeater

                                                        I've read in several places that the spicy tuna/yellow tail/what ever is usually either lesser grade, scraps or on it's way out.... but order what you want - no matter what it shouldn't be spoiled.

                                                      2. Yeah, no problem with this. But I'll tell you ... after a week in Japan, I wanted a taste of home. I can assure you that the Japanese don't know real nachos. My fault for ordering it, but gosh, was it weird.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Lulusmom, that was priceless! And you SO made a point in so few words.

                                                        2. His crusade was done in earnest, but in terms of his own execution he himself redefined traditional to be historically non traditional, fooling people and fans to think his stuff is the real deal.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: K K

                                                            +1. He has done more harm to the edomae sushi scene in LA than anyone else. His success and brand of non-traditional sushi has inspired copy cats serving hot rice and ponzu sauce instead of the more traditional version. Funny that he would talk about "real good sushi".

                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                              The video could have been renamed "Nozawa dreams of sushi" but it would go straight to the quarter DVD bin.

                                                          2. Enjoyed! Well, so much for any future Spicy Tuna!!!

                                                            1. eh, left me cold.

                                                              I like sushi but, realistically, most of the time I have it we're not talking about high end places. Decent spicy tuna, though. And I would happily try a spam roll if offered.

                                                              My father spent his first 24 years in Japan and growing up, we had sushi regularly. But mainly futomaki and inari, no pricey fish for us in those days. Once a year, splurge on sashimi.

                                                              Whenever people start going on about how it's just not like the good old days, I zone out. And ill-mannered cell phone users are hardly confined to the US (tho I agree they are annoying).

                                                              1. Yes, not a living person outside of Japan, or any non-Japanese will ever be humanly capable of "understanding" or "knowing" good sushi.

                                                                I love sushi as much as the next gal, but this pretentiousness and 'better than thou" attitude Japanese sushi chefs give off is insufferable. But then I'm not Japanese, and likely incapable of understanding the intricacies of sliced fish and proper rice.

                                                                Of the nationalities I've had the pleasure meeting and eating with, Americans are likely some of the most open-minded eaters on the planet. Japanese? Not so much.

                                                                So I say.... whatever, dude.

                                                                1. On the one hand, he's absolutely right. I especially liked his essay on manners, and the fish market guy who said "He's too picky. Everybody hates him." He's obviously a true artist.

                                                                  On the other hand, we grew up with the sushi that was served to us her in the USA, including the ever-more ridiculous rolls offered by Japanese sushi chefs and developed our palates accordingly, since most of us don't have Nozawas in town.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                    And THEN I read the whole thread, and realized that he may be just as arrogant as a lot of people who've done something for a long time (like be a chef, for instance) and gotten very good at it.

                                                                  2. 1. Today's special "Trust Me" is in Mann's Chinese theater fortune cookie character font...that's pretty F'd up if you are of Asian descent.

                                                                    2. This man is known for serving virtually an identical lineup of "let the chef sock it to me" style dining. Nigiri sushi in Japan is about eating the seasons of the sea. For a guy who claims to care about tradition, who is consistently building the same lineup with not much in the way of variation compared to competition further away, is a bit of a joke. Sure he doesn't serve spicy tuna, but if he always stocks the same ol' mushy melt in your mouth bluefin, salmon, albacore and drowns them with sauce, it is not that far off with low quality fish mixed in with mayo, funky ingredients in big ass stupid name rolls.

                                                                    3. Is it true he still serves pre-sliced fish? If so, another sign of fast food convenience and semi unprofessionalism. Quick in, quick out. Older yelp reviews say they were in and out in about 20 mins or less. It may be ok if Bourdain spent that little time at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo and paid $400 for his meal and got that level of quality, but we're not even there.

                                                                    4. In trying to "educate" customers of doing things his way, he is as already mentioned, doing more harm than good. He's actually not educating, but pushing his new reformed style down people's throats. Kind of like the current political system. Educating is when there is interaction with the chef, you learn from each other and you walk out a new person and refreshed. Or the idea is that you feel like a VIP (after paying VIP prices), but not sucked up to like royalty. This guy will either be mildly friendly, or treat you like dirt (happened to a friend of mine). Yet in our culture, some love to see this guy verbally abuse others (e.g. celebrities, which can be amusing to read from time to time....like when he called Nicolette Sheridan a wh0r3 when she proclaimed his halibut did not taste fresh....pot calling kettle black?)

                                                                    I could go on...but I'm sure there's more to this. Still an amusing video. There might be similar clips if you search for Sushi Sasabune, Nobi, sushi nazi, which covers his disciple....another sushi Sith.

                                                                    1. Thanks for sharing that! After 25 years in CA I understand exactly what Nozawa is trying to say. Sushi should be fabulous in its simplicity, the very freshest, best quality fish. But I think American's get carried away with all the "other stuff" i.e. the sauces, the rolls and things to cover up the quality of the fish.

                                                                      1. I wish the video would have explained exactly what can be learned in 45 years of experience as a sushi chef that cannot be learned in five years. Does it take that long to learn to cook the rice? Can you cook the rice better with more practice? Or is it all about being able to select the perfect fish and know exactly where to slice it?

                                                                        They showed another chef asking Nozawa for his advice, but they didn't translate what was being said. I really wanted to know how his expertise manifests itself.