While most UK supermarkets now stock sushi and large restaurant chains take pride of place in almost every shopping centre in the country, there are still those who are frightened of its raw fish association. There are some British sushi chefs out there determined to change this view, creating western style fillings to appeal to those with the raw fish fear.
Simon Phillips, a Leeds sushi chef is leading the way: “The main thing about sushi outside of London is that lots of people don’t really understand the concept. They still think it’s only about raw fish and don’t want to come anywhere near!” Simon teaches people how to fuse their British favourites, with Japanese rice and seaweed. Simon said, “Some of the most popular items are roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce sushi. Chicken-tikka sushi, blue cheese and asparagus, or spicy Whitby crab sushi are also really popular. These are all easily made and get people willing to try sushi, sometimes for the very first time.”
Sushi simply means ‘seasoned rice’ in Japanese. Not fish. Sashimi is the raw fish that some westerners will jump in the sea to get away from.
In Japan, and surprisingly in parts of Australia, sushi is eaten like the British eat sliced bread – rice and nori (seaweed) are simply used to hold together any ingredients one wishes to place between them.
Pure Sushi – an Irish catering company, who recently won the prestigous Mitchelstown Food Festival Innovation Award, promote traditional Japanese sushi but with an Irish twist. Company Co-Founder Madeleine Murray said, “We use local ingredients such as Roscarbery black pudding or Ummera smoked duck and chicken. It adds an interesting twist to our menu and works well with the Irish palate. The result is an eclectic mix of the familiar and exotic, all sprung from the magnificent local foods we have here in Cork.”
Some may argue that sushi is even more versatile than bread and butter. Wally King, of Brighton restaurant Sano Fusion, uses lots of fruit in his menu. He said, “A firm favourite with our guests is cucumber, mango, wasabi flavoured mayonnaise and sesame seeds.”
The big question is will sushi ever become a large part of the Western palate? Will rice and seaweed ever replace bread and butter as a lunch alternative? With obesity rates in Britain soaring, and nearly a quarter of adults now classed as clinically obese, it would certainly be a much healthier alternative. Sushi is one of the few truly healthy fast foods in the world. Nori has high proportions of iodine, carotene, vitamins A, B and C, as well as significant amounts of calcium and iron.
To learn out how to make your own sushi and buy sushi making ingredients visit www.sushisushi.co.uk