Saturday, May 8, 2010

Heblish Sushi

I never gave much thought to whether or not sushi would be popular in Israel, but in case you do, it IS! Not sure why it surprises me. I guess I assumed there were so many Japanese in the U.S., and so many Americans who served in Japan, that it would be a slam dunk for sushi in America. (That, and the cocaine thing in the 80's probably had something to do with it). But Israel? It's not exactly a rice nation, is it?

Gotta love this photo of a Tel Aviv sushi joint named "Moon" in Hebrew, English, but NOT in Japanese.  My little friend, Alma is posing to give you an idea of scale. (She's five years old).

Lihi, Sigal's 14 year old daughter says that sushi is her favorite food. She bought some norimaki for us in the middle of the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. I was amused and stunned at the same time. Looking around at all of the open air stalls of housewares, produce and fish, it did see a little incongruous to be standing at a sushi counter. Granted, the choices were slim, very slim. Nevertheless, it was a kind of combo Asian norimaki, if you know what I mean. The proprietors (the husband was doing the rolling) appeared to be part Asian, perhaps a quarter Chinese. (I can say these things because I'm half and half myself). Even more astonishing, while we were eating our sushi, an Israeli woman sitting at the counter next to us proceeded to strike up a conversation in Japanese. It was the oddest feeling -- like I was being dubbed over in a foreign movie. Turns out, the woman had spent some years in Japan once upon a time and she was desperate to practice.

Once I started asking about sushi, I received so many recommendations for sushi restaurants. Even Nadia, who is from Russia, waxed on about Sushi Samba. Seems everyone has their favorite spot.

Lihi wanted to learn how to make sushi.  We spent about $100 just buying the basics: nori, rice, shoyu, gari, wasabi, miso, etc. It's pretty expensive to buy anything imported over there. Then we had to wing it with Arabic smoked mackerel, a small piece of tuna, smoked salmon... It was a HUGE sushi fest that fed seven of us with leftovers for the next day.  The kids were kind of freaked out about how much prep had to be done.  But they wandered back to try their hand at rolling and figuring out weird combos in the centers. Hey Sigal, if the cupcakes don't work out, you can open a sushi joint and have the kids do the "producting" and then you can finally take two days off. Brilliant.

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