If there was ever one single food trend that 99.9% of the population could identify with, foodie or not, it would absolutely be the ingenious Japanese creation known as sushi. Climbing up the ranks of culinary fads so rapidly that it has barely established it’s roots in the US before hitting cult-status. Fanatics sprung from the woodworks and soon, it seemed as if the country was engulfed in a collective obsession over those rolls of vinegared rice. One could practically trip over all of the dime-a-dozen sushi joints sprouting up in metropolitan areas, and I personally have yet to see a single one of them go under. It would seem as if every last person on earth were enamored with them, and their appetites as bottomless as the wallets that strain under their often exorbitant prices… And I am certainly not excluded from this majority. As shocking as it is to still find the stray uninformed eater who has yet to try sushi for themselves, it is even more startling to still encounter confusion when I profess my love for this simple fare. “But… I thought it had fish in it? Are you sure you’re VEGAN?” they might ask incredulously. While hundreds of different vegetable combinations and recipes struggle to emerge from my slightly gaping mouth, the overwhelmingly abundant options prevent more than a feeble response of “Of course, there are vegetable sushi…!”
Coming from someone who partakes in some sort of rice rolls about once a week, you would expect a slightly more in-depth explanation, but if you ask me, sushi speaks for itself. So simple in its basic construction but with so many complex adaptation and options along the way, it’s no wonder that the preparation of this ubiquitous Japanese specialty is considered an art in its homeland. When it comes right down to it however, I take the purist’s approach and pursue the easiest choices, guaranteed to be found on any menu. The sheer number of kappa maki that have rolled down into my gullet over the years would be terrifying to account for, to say the least. They’re my idea of comfort food, and so every time I returned home for a weekend between classes, there would always be sushi in the dinner plans.
Unfortunately, the difficulties of ordering in most rinky-dink restaurant become abundantly clear from the moment that we’re seated, and the waiter can’t even tell you what certain dishes are composed of. The rank smell of stewing chicken wafts out of sticky kitchen doors and stamps out the scent of what’s actually being served. Requests for separate plates go unheeded, and fish comes piled on top of my sad, squished rolls, rendering them uneatable. These occurrences are nothing new, but worst of all is when orders get mixed up, an suddenly an unseen hand above my head drops a bomb: A plate with only fishy flesh.
Vegetable sushi. What is so hard to understand about vegetable sushi? I’m sure that one combo platter is just as easy to make as another, but that doesn’t mean that they can be prepared interchangeably! A lovely work of art in it’s own right, it’s almost an insult to return such a meticulously constructed platter back to the kitchen, as I’m sure most other patrons would be delighted with the brightly colored fish perched delicately on their starchy thrones. My confidence abandons me, and the most I can do is stare sadly at those unsavory sushi. With nothing else to eat while the rest of the family digs in, ordering sushi starts to become more of a trial than a treat. Struggling to replace this offensive dish with the correct one for several more minutes, followed by another long wait while a new plate is prepared… It’s a surprise even to me that my love for the stuff still remains untouched by the end of such arduous meals.
I can’t be the only one to have experienced this, and yet there is still such an enthusiastic reception for sushi that it clearly has a firm hold on a multitude of palates near and far. Perhaps it’s the promise of exotic new flavors, the sheer possibilities that keep sushi fans coming back for more… Or just the possibility of making it in the comfort of one’s home that makes it all the more appealing- Something that I can certainly agree with!