Saturday, November 21, 2009

sushi in unexpected places

One of the coolest places we chanced upon in Japan is this Standing Sushi Bar at a train station. No chairs, self-service green tea, and pretty darn good sushi served in a flash. We were pretty surprised at how fresh and yummy the toro and engawa were. The only thing that makes this different from pricier places is that the slices of fish are a tad smaller. But the quality of the fish is excellent. And this is just train station sushi!

Another place we went to with unexpectedly good sushi was beside a car wash. How cool is that? You can go there to get your car cleaned and eat great sushi while you wait. We thought it was hilarious how many guys go and wash your car. The Japanese are thorough, if anything.

The sushi was awesome. We started with engawa, both raw and lightly seared. The aburi engawa is lightly seared on top with a blowtorch, giving the engawa a whole other dimension. The texture becomes softer and the flavor is amplified. Very yummy. Then we had some aji sushi, which was awesome as usual. Still blows my mind how much milder and sublime mackerel tastes in Japan compared to the US. The mackerel served here tends to be much stronger and fishier in flavor.

A unique piece of sushi we tried featured was crab "brain." Surprisingly good! Then came some beautiful seared salmon sushi and my favorite uni. After the uni, I was quite stuffed (It was past midnight by then, after all). So I let the men wolf down more sushi and just snapped away at the parade of food. I wish I'd had enough space in my tummy to take in the ebi sushi, which looked so amazingly fresh. Very far from what we get elsewhere in the world eh. Then came an oddball piece, which I think is some kind of liver. I wasn't curious enough to try it. After that came some pretty sushi with greens. The last piece I tried had a hefty lump of diced toro. YUM.

I haven't had much of an appetite since coming back to New York. Must be going through Asian food withdrawal. Or it's a reaction to the massive cholesterol-fest I took on in the next leg of my trip: the Philippines. Stay tuned for how I tempted heart attacks for seven days straight.

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