Sushi Fever

Sometimes, I go on these kicks where I am obsessed with a specific type of food. Lately, this kick (basically a full-fledged addiction) has been sushi! But, the love that I feel now for this Japanese cuisine was not always so strong. In fact, just a few years back I was very unsure about the concept. All I really knew about sushi was that it was made up of raw fish…and that made me a little bit apprehensive. But, after trying it with friends, I immediately fell in love with this Japanese cuisine and have been hooked ever since.

The one problem with sushi is that if you’re a beginner it can definitely feel overwhelming. Nigiri, sashimi, hosomaki, futomaki, maki-sushi, rolls, hand rolls, etc. There are countless types of sushi and endless combinations of ingredients that make up the extensive menus that Japanese Sushi restaurants have to offer. Ottawa is falling in love with all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants, with a new locations popping up all over. Most recently, Kirin Express opened on Albert Street in the business sector (and 3 blocks from my apartment, yum). For approximately $20 you can have all the sushi you want, allowing you to try new items as well as old favourites.

And so, here is my beginner’s guide to a delightful sushi experience…in a nutshell.

Sushi Glossary:

Shari: Vinegared rice
Nori: Roasted Seaweed
Tempura: Vegetables or Seafood that are Battered and Deep Fried
Nigiri: Traditional sushi – Raw fish laid on top of rice
Sashimi: Raw fish on its own
Hosomaki: Thin sushi rolls
Futomaki: Thick sushi rolls
Maki-Sushi: Rolls wrapped in seaweed (the most commonly served variety of sushi in North America)

Various types of Nigiri (photosource: JapanLinked.com)

California Roll: One of the most widely available varieties of Maki-Sushi

Wasabi & Ginger:

Wasabi and Ginger are always served alongside your sushi. Both are intended to compliment the flavour of your sushi, but should be used in moderation. Ginger is cooling and sweet, while Wasabi is extremely hot (known as Japanese Horsradish). Ginger can also be used to cleanse the palate when consumed in between different types of sushi.

Pretty to look at, but the Wasabi packs some serious bite!

Here are some of the items that (in my opinion) make sushi the most delicious feast…

Appetizer: Edamame

Edamame: Immature Soybeans, served warm and salted.

Maki-Sushi:

Dynamite Rolls: Yellowtail and/or Prawn tempura, Avocado, Cucumber, Chilli sauce and Spicy Mayo.
Spicy/Crispy Salmon Roll: Raw salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Chilli sauce
Philadelphia Roll: Smoked salmon, Cream cheese, Cucumber and/or Avocado and Onion
Shrimp Tempura Roll: Srimp tempura, Avacado, Toasted Sesame Seeds

California Rolls, Dynamite Rolls and Shrimp Tempura Rolls

Philadelphia Rolls (Image Source: sushisama.com)

Spicy/Crispy Salmon Rolls (Note: 2 missing because we were so eager)

Other Great Rolls to Try:
Yam Tempura Rolls, Spicy/Crispy Crab Rolls, Spider Rolls, Rainbow Rolls

Ottawa has a variety of great Japanese/Sushi restaurants:

All You Can Eat:
Kirin Express: 228 Albert Street
Sushi Kan: 1910 Innes Road & 1440 Merivale Road
1000 Sushi Islands: 1696 Carling Avenue

A la carte:
Kinki: 41 York Street
Wasabi Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar: 41 Clarence Street

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