Right and a Wrong Way to Eat Sushi

Things You Can and Cannot Do With Sushi

According to a top sushi chef in New York, eating sushi the proper way may present some problems to those who are unaccustomed to the delicacy. In fact, even die-hard sushi lovers may be doing it all wrong. Top chef gives some helpful tips to enjoying the famous dish anywhere you find it in the world.

If it’s easier for you, eat sushi with the fingers. Sounds uncouth but picking up the sushi with your bare hands – in an upscale sushi restaurant no less – is totally acceptable. Chopsticks are also permissible, whether it’s rolls, nigiri or sashimi. The benefit of using your hands is that a better grip of the sushi is more plausible; you can have more control when you dip your sushi into your soy sauce.

Nigiri, sushi with usually a thin slice of raw fish on top of rice, is eaten with chopsticks. And the best manner is to first turn the nigiri on its side, and then pick it up so that one chopstick is holding the fish side and the other is holding the rice side. This way the nigiri will stay in one piece and the rice won’t fall apart.

There’s etiquette of using soy sauce. You don’t ruin the balance of flavors by over dipping. Chefs try to give you the perfect balance to enhance the flavors of the fish and the texture of the rice. So don’t douse your sushi in soy sauce. You have to trust the chef.

If you have to add soy sauce to your sushi roll, do so by gently touching the nori or seaweed on your roll to the sauce. Sometimes, people dip the rice part of the roll into the soy sauce and that can result in saturating the roll with soy sauce. So remember to dip the seaweed part of your sushi into the soy sauce, not the rice.

Usually, nigiri is served brushed with some sort of sauce. You mustn’t be adding any additional soy sauce to the nigiri served by your chef. Did you know there’s a reason chefs put sauce on your sushi, and adding soy sauce to it can detract from the flavor they were hoping you would experience.

You can mix a small portion of wasabi into your soy sauce, if in case you can only tolerate wasabi in small doses. However, if you’re eating sashimi you can put a bit of wasabi directly onto the fish.

Finally, use ginger as a palate cleanser. Chefs put ginger on the side of your sushi plate and it’s not for decoration. It serves as a palate cleanser when eaten in between different kinds of sushi rolls.

Sushi Restaurant in Bellevue

Want to know more how you can enjoy sushi best? Then let our chef at Flo tell you. Just drop by your favorite Japanese restaurant and enjoy one of the best sushi selections in Bellevue.

The Top Fish Choices That Make The Best Nigiri

Best Raw Fish For Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi literally means “hand-pressed sushi.” Nigiri sushi is the small rectangular ball of rice topped with a slice of fish (sashimi). You may not be a sushi chef or expert, but there are many passionate sushi consumers who can tell the best raw fish for the best of sushi to experience and enjoy. And when you say raw fish on sushi, you mean nigiri sushi. So what are the most popular fish choices for sushi?

Bluefin tuna is at the top of the list as one of the most prized fish in Japan for its heavenly rich flavor. Most of the tuna at sushi restaurants will be hon-maguro or bluefin. However, its popularity has led to over- fishing, and the bluefin tuna species is now classified as endangered.

Japanese amberjack, also known as yellowtail, is beloved for its high fat content. It packs a unique combination of flavors due to its fat marbling. The spicy, salty, and rich yellowtail is a sushi aficionado’s guilty pleasure.

Salmon or shake is a sushi favorite and can be found in almost every sushi restaurant, both in Japan and the United States. In addition to its tasteful freshness, the salmon’s distinctive peachy color adds to its overall visual appeal. Added to that is its health-giving omega-3 fatty acids.

Mackerel is another fish packed with omega-3’s. Mackerel has a potent fishy flavor more appealing to the Japanese than to Westerners. It’s a versatile fish, four different types of mackerel are prepared and served – one of them being saba, which is cured for hours with vinegar and salt.

Squid or ika intimidates many if prepared as sushi, though as fried calamari has more fans. The squid is quite underrated, but its texture and delectable umami flavor classify it as one of the best fish for sushi.

Eel or unagi is a relatively popular fish among sushi chefs. Chefs often roast the unagi over charcoal and serve the freshwater eel brushed with a sweet soy sauce made from the simmered bones and heads of the fish. Unagi is full of vitamin B and fatty flavor.

Uni is the sea urchin’s gonads, a combination of the briny ocean taste and creamy texture which is definitely not for everyone. But sushi chefs don’t count it out. Its edible golden ovaries have a buttery texture that produces a desirable melt-in-your-mouth effect. It’s a non-fishy sushi.

We’ve Got Them All in Bellevue

At FLO, our Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, we offer some of the best fish choices for nigiri and more. Better come by and try your hand and taste buds on some of the freshest and tastiest nigiri sushi.

The Healthiest Seafood of All

Not All Seafoods Are Created Equal

It’s common knowledge that seafood pack a lot of health benefits. We know that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish contributes positively to heart health. Studies have shown that eating seafood also supports brain function. It’s also a storehouse of valuable nutrients, as vitamins and minerals. Many seafood have a relatively high protein to calorie ratio, like as high as 7 grams per ounce.

Although many people are aware of the health benefits of different types of seafood, not everyone knows which is best for their diet. Here are some seafood choices to fit a wide range of types and price points that can fit every palate, budget and diet.

Salmon is a fatty fish rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a good source of vitamin D for healthy bones, and which is not easy to find in many foods. The daily recommended value of vitamin D is 400 IU for adults and children ages 4 and older. Canned salmon with bones is an excellent source of calcium. Canned salmon is actually cooked in the can, so any liquid in the final product comes from the natural juices of the flesh when the salmon is cooked.

Tuna is also heart-healthy, containing omega-3 fatty acids, and niacin which helps lower cholesterol levels. Fresh yellowfin tuna contains almost 16 mg of niacin per a 3-oz serving. The same amount of canned tuna has an impressive 11 mg of niacin, an inexpensive way to stock up on lean protein. Mashed avocado is a healthier alternative to mayo as a compliment to tuna and other fish.

Medium-sized or jumbo shrimp brings in big benefits – 20 grams of protein from just 3 ounces of shrimp Besides protein, a serving of shrimp provides all of daily selenium needs, which helps support thyroid function, heart health, boost immunity and fight inflammation.

Cod is a mild-flavored fish with white flesh that can hold up to many different types of preparations without falling apart. It’s one of the leanest sources of protein. Cod is an excellent source of vitamin B12, with one serving containing a little more than 30% of the recommended daily value.

From sardines’ bones, there’s about 40% of recommended daily value of calcium per serving. Sardines are an excellent choice for many types of diets, especially those that can’t tolerate dairy. Sardines are also an excellent source of vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus. Sardines are delicious right out of the can, served on top of a salad or mashed on top of a crusty piece of whole grain bread with a thick slice of tomato.

Scallops are a great source of magnesium and potassium, both important for heart and brain health. They also promote blood vessel dilation for better circulation, hence helping control blood pressure. A 3-oz portion of scallops is only 75 calories, 15 grams of protein and less than a gram of fat. They don’t take very long to cook and can easily be prepared. Only a touch of salt, pepper and avocado oil in a hot skillet can bring out the naturally sweet, buttery taste of seared scallops.

Oysters can boost iron intake. Oysters are very rich in iron, providing about 60% of daily needs in just one serving. There’s also vitamin C, vitamin E and plenty of zinc in oysters. There’s not much cooking when it comes to eating oysters. Slurping them down raw is best along with the addition of tangy sauces like mignonette or just a squeeze of lemon juice.

Clams provide a significant amount of vitamin B12 in just 3 oz of serving. Clams also provide iron and vitamin C, which all work together as vitamin C helps enhance the absorption of iron.

So which of the above is the healthiest of them all?

It depends on what nutrition you need. Each class of seafood presents its own blend of nutrients or the right combination can create a balance just for you. A word with your nutritionist and/or your doctor should be a lot of help. Next time you go to your grocer’s, ask about it.

Dining Out Healthy Japanese in Bellevue

Once you know, a Japanese dine-out might be able to help. At FLO, Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, we have a healthy combination of most of the best sources of nutrients for your diet. Enjoy our fresh seafood prepared in authentic Japanese style. Come by when you’re in Bellevue!

Japanese Cuisine: Different Regions, Different Specialties

Region-Hopping in Japan is a Culinary Adventure

Stretching from north to south, the different regions of Japan have have their own unique climate, hence the different traditions of agriculture, produce and recipes. While there are traditional dishes common throughout the country, many regions and cities in Japan have their own specialities. Here let us look at what specialties stand out as we go from one point to another.

Sapporo

Sapporo in Hokkaido is well known for its ramen shops, common all over Sapporo and other towns in Hokkaido. In fact, there’s a famous “Ramen Alley” or Ramen Yokocho, a narrow passageway with wall-to-wall ramen shops decorated with celebrity-customer signatures. The different cities in Hokkaido were the places of origin of some of the best known ramen found all over Japan.

Tokyo

Monjayaki is so popular in Tokyo that there’s a dedicated Monjayaki street called Tsukishima Monjya Street, or Tsukishima Monja Sutoriito. It was originally a children’s treat, now monjayaki is established as a speciality of the Tsukishima area of Tokyo, near Ginza. Although the dish is often compared to okonimiyaki, monjayaki has more of a liquid base.

Kyoto

Kyoto is known for yudofu is a warming meal, a winter hotpot dish in Japan, especially in Kyoto where winter is very cold. It’s made of tofu put in a kelp soup, taken out and dipped in sauce. Buddhist priests in Kyoto ate this as a source of protein as they’re unable to eat meat or fish for religious reasons. Today many restaurants offer delicious boiled tofu in Kyoto.

Osaka

Takoyaki are grilled octopus dumplings, tasty treats found in parks, along the street, in restaurants, almost anywhere in Osaka. As the octopus dumplings of Kansai are small and easy to eat, they have become a popular dish throughout Japan.

Hiroshima

Hiroshima is known for Okonomiyaki or savoury pancakes, popular even before the WWII. After the war, with food shortages, people developed these pancakes into a meal, adding additional ingredients. The Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki has a six-layered structure, with flour batter, cabbage, and noodles.

Shikoku

Kagawa on the island of Shikoku is famous as the origin of Sanuki-udon, and has many udon (wheat-flour noodle) makers and restaurants. Sanuki wheat-flour noodles are noted for their strong body and smooth texture with many varieties of toppings. Kagawa has many self-service udon restaurants.

Okinawa

Champuru is an Okinawan word meaning roughly “mix.” Champuru dishes are a mixture of various ingredients fried together, and usually named after the main ingredient. The most common types of champuru in Okinawa are goya (bittermelon) champuru, tofu champuru, and somen champuru.

Carpaccio Means Appreciating High Quality

The Carpaccio Journey: Painting to Plate

Carpaccio is a traditional Italian appetizer of raw beef sliced as thin as paper and then drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and finished with capers and onions, and sometimes, parmesan cheese. These days, other types of meat and fish (particularly salmon and tuna) are being used as carpaccio.

Traditionally, beef of a high quality, as sirloin or tenderloin, is bought at the butcher’s, specifically asking for carpaccio, trimming all fat. The meat is then seasoned with salt and pepper, chopped fresh herbs like parsley, tarragon, or cilantro and maybe some balsamic vinegar before wrapping it with plastic and chilling it for at least 8 hours. While not to the point of frozen solid, one can proceed to slice it very, very thinly with a very sharp knife and some degree of knife skills. Serve with capers, onions, olive oil and lemon juice, along with some shaved parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley. It makes for a good appetizer.

While beef is classic, there are other variations. Seafood carpaccio is very popular. Sushi grade fish, like tuna or salmon, is often on restaurant menus. Sometimes seafood carpaccio will be accompanied with thin slices of jalapeno and a soy dipping sauce. Vegetable carpaccio can be creative – such as artichoke and fennel – sliced razor thin and prepared on a plate. Other proteins, such as lamb, veal, and venison can be used also. However, with any protein, it must be of the highest quality since it will be eaten raw.

The Japanese-style tuna carpaccio is a simple, almost exotic, light meal, though is an appetizer. Tuna must really be fresh, and fresh means it needs to be red and almost waxy-looking. A really simple, but delightfully delicious is tuna carpaccio with capers and shaved red onions, infused with olive oil.

Another is the hamachi carpaccio or yellowtail carpaccio. Like bluefin tuna, hamachi is a migratory fish sometimes called amberjack or buri. Its golden flesh is favored by Japanese sushi chefs. In Japan it is eaten both raw and cooked particularly in winter when it is fattier. When eaten raw and prepared as carpaccio, it is buttery and rich. Can be served with shaved jalapeno and garlic chips served with a light soy sauce.

Prepare your Appetite with Carpaccio in Bellevue

At FLO, before you go main course, we recommend our carpaccio – tuna or yellowtail – high quality and really fresh appetizers that will make your mouth water. Only at FLO Sushi and Sake Bar in Bellevue.