Ever since I threw up after eating shrimp for the first time, I've suffered a horrible case of seafood phobia. I am fascinated with ocean life (my favorite biome), but the ocean on my plate was always controversial in my head. Living in north India most of my life didn't exactly provide an array of great seafood either.
Come Florida, a whole different story. I live in Jacksonville by the beach now, and not having eaten sushi was probably the biggest sin a Floridian can commit. 6th of Nov, 2009, Friday, about 5:30 pm, was the first time sushi touched my tongue.
I have to give it to Tyler Norris for being my encouragement and guide. The Sushi place in Five Points was where the tasting began. For a starter I tried the California roll which was basic uncooked salmon and asparagus, layered with tiny orange fish eggs. I have to say, the first bite is definitely a shock. Then you get over the texture and start enjoying the flavor. There was nothing uncooked about it, not like uncooked land-roaming-meat by any means.
My fumbling chopsticks then trooped their way to the "Dynamite". This roll was cooked, prepared with salmon, asparagus, and a step further--crab. And let me tell you, this roll was quite dynamite alright, my favorite of the four I tried. Probably because of the tangy sauce they had on top. The roll was fried, so the texture was crispy rather than soft.
The third roll was an uncooked salmon and cheese roll (Yes, by this time I was in love with salmon), which sadly wasn't the greatest. Stickier than the rest, I am more of a crunch-in-my-bite kind of person. This was more like a sushi flavored marsh-mellow so to speak.
Becoming more daring, the fourth was my bravest attempt. This roll was called... "The Green Dragon". Sound scary already? Exciting is the better word. This beautifully arranged sushi roll was made with uncooked (nope, not salmon) eel! Why I think this was brave because I used to own a pet eel. I won't go into any cheesy sentimental details, because I am about to tell you how I ate one. But I tried to keep my former pet feeling away and took a bite of The Dragon. And the dragon bit me back. For all those people who think they've had it all, oh you are so in the dark. I loved the taste of this ocean meat, it was just the texture I couldn't get over. Let's see... uncooked eel is like chewing a gummy bear steak. Appetizing?
I didn't even get close to finishing The Dragon, but I am sure to give the beast another try. Oh and if a sushi restaurant asks you to choose between soup or salad for the beginning, choose the clear soup! A salty watery sip of goodness.
I am falling in love with the ocean, so much I could eat it.
(P.S. Next on my list of adventures are shellfish. Suggestions for a tropical newbie?)