I recently met Russell Deasley online who is the mastermind of a superior Homepage/Blog with the name of THE TOP 10…of Anything and Everything!. Not only is his Homepage immensely hilarious and instructive, but he is also kind enough to invite like-minded bloggers’ suggestions and articles for mutual help and fun!
Having lived and written about Japan for more than 30 years I thought this particular article may find a small niche among Russell’s grand collection!
1) Sushi Birthday Cake Millefeuille
Shizuoka Prefecture being the top gastronomic region of Japan I certainly do not need to travel to Tokyo to enjoy top-class sushi! In any case, all these introductions to impress your date would deplete your purse for a long time whereas you will find it cheaper to travel down here and sample them together before visiting one of the most varied Prefectures in Japan!
The above creation was inspired by the French traditional Millefeuille cake accordingly to the chef (incidentally all pictures were taken inside Shizuoka Prefecture!).
The “cake” itself is made of layers of sushi rice, red lean tuna, avocado and crispy Japanese cucumber. The sushi above includes red lean tuna, cherry shrimps, salmon, flying fish roe and crispy Japanese cucumber!
He made it for my neighbors who actually celebrated a birthday and made such a request when they saw me served with the dish below:
2) Sushi Love Flower Bouquet
The concept for the lower part is the same as for the Sushi Birthday Cake but the toppings are diferrent: on a bed of katsuo bushi/dry bonito shavings and fresh shiso/perilla leaves three flowers (roses) made of red lean tuna, raw salmon and raw hirame/sole!
3) Sushi Charlotte
The inside of this other “cake” is still of the same concept with layers of sushi rice, red lean tuna, avocado and crispy Japanese cucumber but the whole is wrapped inside thin slices of raw salmon and red lean tuna! Hard work, I can tell you! The topping is simply extravagant with ikura/salmon roe and finely chiseled crispy Japanese cucumber!
4) Sushi Rainbow Roll
No sushi dinner would be complete without at least one sushi roll!
Rainbow rolls are thick rolls wrapped around 7 ingredients representing the colors of the rainbow. Mind you, you will not find many with the blue and violet colors!
Now, this one could be called a super rainbow as it includes no less than 12 ingredients!
Guessing them out before sampling the roll is the essence of their enjoyment!
5) “Baton” sushi
This is a suggestion for a lady treating her male date!
This style of sushi in Japan is called “Bou Gata Sushi/棒形寿司/Baton Sushi”.
The chef who made it for me in Gotemba City at the foot of Mount Fuji hails from Western Japan where pressed sushi/Oshi Zushi/押し寿司 is very popular. This particular one was made with half a Aji/鯵/Horse mackerel both grilled and marinated pressed over sushi rice. A whole meal in itself!
6) Vegan Nigiri Sushi
“I can’t go to sushi, it’s all about fish!”
I don’t know how many times I heard this comment.
BUT, any sushi chef worth his salt should agree and be able to prepare sushi for vegan customers!
Shizuoka Prefecture is known all over the country for not having (officially and unofficially) the largest number of varieties of seafood, edible seaweeds but also for producing the largest number of vegetable and fruit varieties!
The possibilities are simply endless!
Nigiri sushi means small rice balled topped with whatever you fancy!
In this case: menegi/thin leek sprouts held by a band of dry seaweed, himesoba/buckwheat sprouts, fresh mitsuba/Japanese honeywort and the same plant lightly boiled in salt water and topped with ume/japanese plum pickle paste!
7) Gunkan Symphony
“Gunkan/軍艦” means “Mother ship” in Japanese.
A smaller sushi rice ball is wrapped in a band of dry seaweed wider than the height of the rice ball to enclose ingredients otherwise more difficult to prepare atop simple rice balls.
They do make for some beautiful and colorful combinations!
From top to below, right to left: uni/sea urchin, sakura ebi/cherry shrimps (to be eaten fresh only in Shizuoka Prefecture!) with grated fresh ginger, quail egg with seaweed and dry bonito shavings, shirako/whiting (cod sperm sacs) and negitoro/grated tuna and chopped scallions!
8) Ruby Pearls Sushi
This sushi is truly extravagant!
On, in and around a large gunkan, plenty and more fresh ikura/salmon roe with two small rolls (inverted) of salmon toro (fat belly part)!
A rare sight (as a combination), even in Japan!
9) Land and Sea Gunkan Sushi
This is for the health-minded sushi lovers!
On gunkan-style sushi lined with finely cut naga imo/Japanese taro a quail egg yolk and a piece of red lean tuna!
Served already seasoned with light soy sauce and ready to pop into your greedy mouth!
10) Japanese Foie Gras Gunkan Sushi
Ankimo/Frog Fish (Monk Fish) liver is prepared by steaming it in Japanese sake in the shape of a large sausage. It is kept for a while inside the refrigerator to acquire some solidity before being cut into all kinds of shapes. It is called Japanese Foie Gras because of the similar concept and texture of French Foie gras. Like foie gras it is soft, rich and utterly tasty!
The Japanese will usually serve it with momiji oroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper powder, chopped scallions and soy sauce in a plate as it is or as a gunkan in above photo.
Another must in sampling true Japanese gastronomy!
I can guarantee that your friend/lover/spouse will be overblown!
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES
Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,
Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents
HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City