Many years ago the thought of eating raw fish was not very appealing. I tried it off and on, only when I was under peer pressure to eat it, and swallowing a mouthful of maguro was a painful experience.
Then there was a day in which I had been on the go for hours, no time for breakfast or lunch, finally sitting down to a full blown Japanese style dinner in a ryokan in Shimoda, a small resort town at the bottom of Izu Peninsula. I was travelling with a group of musicians at the time and we were all famished. I dipped a nice big piece of maguro into the soy sauce, wasabi, onion, and garlic mix, put it in my mouth and I was hooked! Perhaps it is an acquired taste or I just didn’t know what I was missing…A mental block for sure.
There is nothing like sashimi! Nothing is better than fresh, room temperature katsuo dipped in all those unique spices, followed by a splash of draft beer. Or better yet, that melt-in-your-mouth full flavor and texture of otoro…scallops…salmon…mmmmmmm….
And Let’s not forget the cooked side of things. I have always loved fish, and grilled hokke (from Hokkaido) is fabulous, especially when complimented with grated daikon and shoyu…Or hirame (flounder), grilled and smothered with freshly-squeezed lemon…Saba (mackeral) on the grill is equally as delicious, a bit oily, but succulent as all… The shellfish – shrimp, clams, scallops, oysters, crab…served raw, grilled, fried, boiled…It’s all here…
It is Sunday afternoon, and in just a few hours I will have a smile on my face as I go to my favorite restaurant with a new friend to enjoy and appreciate some of these culinary delights that I was so ignorant of years ago.
Life is good here.