Sushi is a hot commodity (or shall we saw raw commodity) that entered the American scene more than a decade ago, drawing fans near and far with its elegance, simplicity and mystique.
by Kelly Tokarski
For the past century, America has adopted a wealth of customs and
creations from Japan ranging from technology to food. We drive their
cars. We use their technology. We wear their clothes, and we eat their
food. Our intellect, lifestyles and palates have all benefited, and our
love affair with Japan is endless, especially when it comes to food. We
crave tantalizing teriyakis, tempting tempuras and nurturing noodles.
We even crave sushi – that’s right – sushi, a.k.a. raw fish.
Sushi is a hot commodity (or shall we saw raw commodity) that entered the American scene more than a decade ago, drawing fans near and far with its elegance, simplicity and mystique. What is it about raw fish that causes millions of diners to take off their shoes, shell out their wallets and pray that the delicacy is fresh? Simple – sushi is delicious, and it’s all the rage. From New York to Miami to Katmandu, sushi has been the "buzz" word in trendy and chic. We saw a variety of trends pop up in the 80s, focusing on clothing, hairstyles and diets. However, like most trends, they came and went. But, we still sought new trends because we wanted excitement in our lives. We wanted a place to go where we could experience the unusual, push our limits and break free from the norm. We found that with sushi. And who could resist with delicacies such as sashimi – raw fish bedded on rice; and sushi – raw fish wrapped in a bed of sticky rice surrounded by seaweed and accompanied by spicy mustards, special sauces, soothing soups, vibrant veggies and steamy rice. A star is born or a legend created? Or was sushi just a passing trend that is slowly fading?
Judging by its popularity around the country, sushi is still hot (or shall we saw cold). There are sushi restaurants, sushi stands and sushi takeouts. We can even find sushi freshly prepared in grocery stores – convenience at its best. Sushi is definitely not a passing trend. It is delicious, nutritious and fun to eat. The whole experience of eating sushi is entertainment at its best. We race to sushi bars where we sip saki and "ooh and aah" over the masterful, skilled chefs who dice, slice, roll and tuck flavorful tuna, salmon, eel and veggies into concoctions so tasteful, tantalizing and appetizing that our palates are forever altered.
In fact, skilled sushi chefs are greatly in demand. So much so that institutions are popping up all over the country and sushi chefs are commanding big bucks. What was once a five- to-10-year discipline is now an art that can be learned in less than a year. Places like the California Sushi Academy are breaking all tradition by opening the art of sushi making to people of all backgrounds. The public can even buy sushi-maker kits at the swap meet and in malls throughout the country.
Sushi is big business – not a trend. Our love affair with sushi will continue. And besides, sushi is not only tasty, but it’s good for us too. Who could feel bad about that? Thanks, Japan.