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Sushi and Sashimi

I love sushi.  But it has to be good sushi.  I have yet to find a good “all-you-can-eat” sushi joint here in Vancouver, and I’m pretty sure they don’t exist.  Good sushi is not mass-produced, ’nuff said.

Not everybody knows this, but sushi does not mean raw fish.  The term actually refers to the vinegared rice which is the basis of nigiri (hand-formed), maki (rolled) and chirashi (in a bowl, with stuff on top) sushi.  Yes, you can have sushi without fish, such as the kappa (cucumber) maki and tamago (egg) nigiri.  Or the fish might be cooked, as in ebi (prawn) or tako (octopus).  Raw fish alone, served on a plate, is called sashimi.

See my post on uni (sea urchin) here

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Uni

The u is pronounced like the u in “pull.”  For those who don’t know, this Japanese dish is sea urchin, or specifically, the sea urchin gonads.  Sounds gross, and we have to admit, we never liked it before we went to Japan, but that was because we had the more commonly found previously frozen ones.  The “live” ones are the way to go, no comparison.   These are soft in texture, almost like a pudding, and sweet.  The presentation is impressive, all nestled in the shell and perhaps on a bed of shredded daikon and shiso leaves, as shown here.  And yes, it’s raw, so it’s considered sashimi.

uni

Live Uni

You can dip it in soy sauce with a bit of wasabi if you like, but I prefer its pure, unadulterated taste.  Here in Vancouver, this is a seasonal dish between September and April.  If you get it, make sure it is “live.”  If you have tried the previously frozen and not liked it (I still think it’s gross), give the live one a try.  Added bonus – it is harvested sustainably here on the west coast of Canada, and earns a “best choice” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.