Saturday, December 24, 2011

Seafood in Japan

A good friend of mine took me to his favorite upmarket sushi restaurant. Since it was the last minute booking, we ended up at "table seats" instead of "counter seats" and because of this, the waiter on the phone apologized to my friend. I, as a Japanese person brainwashed by European dining culture, thought sitting at a counter in a restaurant was inferior to sitting at a table. In a proper Japanese restaurant, however, it's the other way around. Sitting at a counter is more desirable, perhaps because the chef works inside the counter and sitting at the counter allows customers to see how the chef cooks foods.

I didn't know this before. I'm foreign to Japan.

At a luxury sushi restaurant, you don't eat sushi only. You start with other seafood dishes. So we first had raw oysters with ground black pepper. I didn't know black pepper goes well with oysters. Then we had two kinds of fish grilled: nodoguro (also known as akamutsu) and mehikari (also known as aome-eso). Both tasted impressive (and I'm frustrated as I don't have enough vocabulary in English to describe the subtle taste of different kinds of fish).

The variety of fish eaten by Japanese people is just beyond my memory capacity. The other day, my mother served sashimi of sayori and kohada (which is the name of a child konoshiro). Some fish even changes its name as it grows (kohada is an example). For most of the fish, the translation into English doesn't make any sense as foreigners don't eat them. So I just use the Japanese names here.

No comments: