I Dream of Sushi

salmon sushi lifted with chopsticks

I was already in college the first time I tried sushi. Or Japanese, for that matter. It also happened to be the first time I tried fish. I wasn’t exactly a picky eater, but most people, like yours truly, have their own go-to cuisine. When you don’t grow up eating something, the lingering thought of foreign food on your plate can be enough to curb your appetite.

It’s certainly something psychological. It might stem from the fear of the unknown. The anxiety of trying something new could also just be the dread of not only disliking it, but also fearing the disappointment of the person who prepared it for you. All of us can be a bit hesitant to try new experiences, especially with food. I get it. And hell, I didn’t even try curry until college either. Needless to say, it blew my mind.

The sesami seeds really give it just the right kick. Perfection. [Photo by Michael Lemmone]

All the Fish in the Sea

The first time I heard the word maguro, I didn’t know it meant tuna. All I knew was it was incredibly delicious. Tender and moist blood-red fish, cut to perfection, with just the right amount of soy sauce. As soon as I took that first bite, it forever had me. I don’t know how I’d ever go back to my home country and eat anything else, knowing that I had missed out on this for so many years of my life. I was hooked.

I immediately asked my friend to order another, and he did, along with a slew of other things. The next plate quickly caught my eye, as the server brought our dishes over. I could see the oil gleam as it dripped down the side of the salmon, bright orange chunks divided by thin white creases in the meat. Its round curves and glistening body beckoned our gaze, and in that moment, I caught myself yearning for a delicacy like no other.

The stuff in the west can’t compete with the best. [Photo by Michael Lemmone]

A Taste for Sushi

Not before long, the plates began vanishing just as quickly as they first appeared. I glanced over at the menu. What was next? It was the only thing I could think of. Bincho? Negitoro? I couldn’t read the menu at the time, but I trusted my eyes, and they had not led me astray. It wasn’t long before I lost count of exactly how many pieces I had eaten. We eventually called it quits, but the sushi I consumed that day never left me. I think I ought to see a doctor. Just kidding, but I hope you get the chance to experience it the same way.

In the days that followed, I learned of kaitenzushi, or conveyor-belt sushi. It was a good thing I was sitting down, but that’s a story for another day. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you can basically buy sushi anywhere in Japan. If you’re ever craving it badly enough, you can even pick some up from your local conbini. You can always just buy some at your local grocery store, or even just pick up the ingredients and make it yourself. If it’s your first time though, then of course I recommend going with a friend and getting the real deal.

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