Q1. Why is *wasabi combined in your sushi and not on the side of your soy sauce plate?
A. Traditionally, Nigiri sushi and Maki rolled sushi were made with wasabi as an essential anti-bacterial/anti-parasitic ingredient. Today, with new preservation and delivery systems, we are able to use very clean fish, and wasabi is still used, but mainly for taste.
The secret to exquisite tasting sushi is the balance of all these components as a whole:
– the vinegar in shari (seasoned rice)
– the *neta (a protein or vegetable component, on top or inside of sushi)
– wasabi, which lies in between the shari and the neta
– soy sauce
With the perfect balance, these are the characteristics of each component:
– the shari breaks apart smoothly
– the neta leaves a fresh flavour in your mouth
– the soy sauce brings out the flavours of the sushi
– a hint of sharp wasabi flavour clears the sinus
This is how sushi is enjoyed in Japan.
Allow Chef Hiro to give you an authentic sushi experience. At Hiro Sushi, you won’t fine wasabi on the side of your sushi plate, because he adds the right amount of wasabi in each morsel of sushi depending on the characteristics of fish. For example, clams or shellfish with a milder taste require less wasabi than others. On the contrary, more wasabi compliments fattier fish like Toro (tuna belly).
We understand, however, that not everybody, especially children, likes the strong sensation that wasabi gives off in your sinus. Kindly notify one of our staff members, and we will gladly prepare your sushi with less or no wasabi.
*wasabi: known as Japanese horseradish, a green paste, used mainly in sushi and sashimi
of the Omakase experience.
Q2. Why does the master sushi chef clap his hands before moulding sushi?
A. Technically speaking, the best tasting shari is controlled by the temperature of the sushi chef’s body temperature. To make the shari, the master sushi chef keeps his hands cold and wet as possible at all times to keep the grains of shari from sticking to his hands. The cold water is meant to cool his temperature as quickly as possible while removing the fat off his hands. The master sushi chef does this often. Clapping removes the excess water on his hands to keep the sushi from being too watery.
The master sushi chef keeps a bowl of cold water and vinegar by his side, dips his fingers of his right hand in it, claps them on the palm of his left hand to even-out the water.
Q3. Why is one serving of sushi in two pieces?
A. This topic brings up many considerations, as there is not one single answer. Typically, Nigiri sushi is moulded in one-bite size. One would be too little, and three would be too much. Chef Hiro has many recommendations for those who order Omakase sushi. He may serve one piece, occasionally two, depending on the individual’s consumption level. When it comes to Maki rolled sushi, a half of nori (seaweed) is used, which called Hoso-maki, and cut in six pieces. Again, this is the belief of many master sushi chefs over the ages: seven pieces for a roll makes the bite sizes too small, and five pieces are too big. However, Kanpyo-maki (dried gourd strips) is rolled with less shari than other rolls, and cut in four pieces; Futo-maki, using whole nori rolled with more shari, is cut in eight pieces.
This concept can also be applied to the way to slice sashimi. For example, when it comes to tuna, master sushi chef cut different thickness in regular reddish part of tuna and Toro (tuna belly). Also, freshness and firmness of fish matter when preparing sashimi, as Chef Hiro selects the best cuts for a good mouth-feel.
Contrary to common North American believe, rolls that contain a lot of mayonnaise and hot peppers are not actually considered “sushi” in Japanese culinary terms. This roll is called Ura-maki, and is rolled with the rice on the outside and the nori on the inside. This is the same with large rolls eaten in two bites.
Q4. Why do you serve sashimi with wasabi on the side, and sushi with pickled ginger?
A. Traditionally, sashimi is considered as an appetizer. It is ordered with sake or beer at the very beginning of meals. Sashimi is eaten with soy sauce, salt, or citrus, such as lemon juice. With soy sauce, it is common to eat it with wasabi, which gives off a fine spicy flavour and also has anti-bacterial effect. Sashimi is a luxury, and is meant to taste the seasonal flavours; not to eat as a main dish. However, having sashimi with a freshly cooked bowl of rice is considered a luxury house meal, and it is loved among people of all ages and both sexes.
Sushi, on the other hand, is to be eaten with the fingers (no chopsticks), and the neta (the main ingredient in the sushi) dipped in soy sauce. The wasabi is already combined in the sushi. In order to refresh your mouth, while eating fatty fish or fish with strong flavour, there is pickled ginger on the side of your sushi plate. Chew a slice of pickled ginger while having sushi. Ginger naturally raises one’s appetite, which is one of the reasons why it is an important ingredient of sushi.
We aim to preserve the traditional ways of eating sushi and sashimi, and we are respected for many customers for serving our food this way.