On Eating Raw Fish

posted November 1, 2002 by Jer


For most of my life, I have been adamant about my lack of interest in eating uncooked fish, but lately my curiosity has grown. Washington DC has a mini-franchise restaurant called "SoHo Cafe/Market," (I understand that it started in New York). SoHo has a take out buffet, a deli, a salad bar, and a Mongolian barbecue. I am quite thoroughly addicted to Mongolian barbecue.

Anyway, right next to the barbecue is a sushi bar. At least once a week, while I'm waiting for my lunch to be stir-fried, I get to watch these talented Asian chefs create these really cool looking rolls of rice and raw fish. Curiosity grew.

Since most of Splurd's readers are fans of Japanese culture thanks to Anime, I figured I'd write a little about what to expect for those of you who are building up the courage to try sushi. My overall opinion: Sushi tastes unique, but not weird.

Now, I am a professional weird-food-sampler, and I've found the best way to try new stuff is to ignore what unusual ingredients it might contain and try and enjoy the food as a whole. Using the approach, I discovered that sushi honestly doesn't taste like anything we eat in the states, but at the same time, its tasted tame enough that I could easily see how it would become a culture's staple lunch. It tastes like something people would eat regularly: describing sushi in general is like trying to describe what "sandwiches" taste like.

The salmon rolls I had were made from uncooked salmon, seaweed, cucumber, some spices and sesame seeds rolled in sticky rice. I am not sure exactly what spices were used, but they will taste quite familiar to anyone who has had "Oriental" flavor raman noodles.

Final verdict: I'm not exactly blown away by how amazing sushi is, but it was an enjoyable light lunch. It tastes better for you then a hot dog, but more substantial then a salad. I doubt I'll be a regular sushi eater, but I intend to sample a few more types the next time I'm in an adventurous mood.