My Favorite Meal

This is a writing practice assignment from a book called “Find Your Writing Voice” by Chris Brogan. I thought it would be a good idea to post it here, since I’m trying to get this blog started.

Topic: My Favorite Meal

I can’t remember when I first had sushi, but I do remember the first time eating REAL sushi. It was at a very fancy (and expensive) sushi restruant called Sugar Fish in Los Angeles for an anniversary dinner in a previous relationship. We enjoyed Japanese food from ramen and shabu shabu to mochi and Beard Papa. I knew it was going to be some serious sushi because you weren’t allowed to order what you wanted. The only options available were the regular meal set, which included all the items, and a smaller set that contained less. I’m not sure if they didn’t allow the use of soy sauce or just highly discouraged it, but there was a note in the menu that said each piece of fish was served how it should be consumed. So if it did not come with a sauce already, then it should be enjoyed as is. And that alone earned my respect.

The first thing I noticed was the rice. Rice is something you rarely think about with sushi except that it’s there. I’m not a big fan of rice (which is weird since I’m asian, haha) so I tend to order only sashimi since I fill up more on fish than I do rice. I’m so glad they didn’t allow me to skip out on it because the rice alone was surprisingly flavorful. It wasn’t just bland starch that adds more volume to the food. It had a powerful flavor on its own and made me wonder if I ever really knew how rice tasted like before. Each piece of meat on the sushi was so fresh and full of amazing flavors. You could actually taste the difference between the types of fish and I realized instantly why it was considered blasphemey to dilute it with overpowering, salty, soy sauce. The menu offered a wide variety of fish from the most common like Salmon, Tuna or Eel, to the rarer types that were based on market availability such as Blue Crab, Uni and Fatty Tuna. It was a symphony of the sea. I personally couldn’t tell if there even was a difference in price since everything I ate had its own incredibly unique flavor and texture.

Eating at Sugar Fish has completely changed the way I viewed sushi and I admit, I’ve been a bit of a sushi snob ever since. Not only did this single meal raise the bar for any Uni I decide to put into my  mouth (most places I try now have uni that tastes like the bottom of a sink drain), but it also gave me a new appreciation for the simplieset sushi like tamago (sweet egg). This experience was bittersweet. On one hand, I am so grateful to have finally been exposed to what real sushi is supposed to taste like and not have to travel all the way to Japan to learn this. But, it’s also made me see the truth that not all sushi places can live up to that standard. They’ll serve whatever is popular and easily available, which almost always means cheaper and terrible tasting. Regardless, I think I’m better off knowing what godlike sushi is than living the rest of my life eating overcooked rice wrapped around imitation crab topped with frozen fish.

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