May 24, 2011 – Sushi restaurants have been steadily popping up in Nairobi for the last few years; some owned by Japanese, some by Korean and some by Chinese.
Sushi is a fad marketed to hip and young urbanites, like Nairobians. Dining at sushi restaurants is somehow avant-garde and cool. Globally, more people consume sushi outside of Japan than in Japan. In contrast to popular stereotypes, the Japanese (the inventors of sushi), hardly eat sushi on a daily basis.
So sushi is the cool thing to eat these days, but what are the health benefits and what should first-timers remember?
Fish being a vital part of sushi, is a great source of protein, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty-acids (a good fat that helps to protect your nervous and cardiovascular system). Depending on preparation, sushi is low in fat and contains lean protein, which has little heart clogging saturated fat unlike red meat.
Sushi is very low on the calorie count and is probably as low as you can get when dining out.
Sushi condiments like wasabi, ginger and nori (seaweed used in rolls) are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. Wasabi and ginger also have antibacterial qualities, assists in digestion, and improves overall circulation.
NEW TO SUSHI?
Though sushi chefs are highly trained in handling raw fish and through specialized preparation techniques can minimize the probability of foodborne diseases, it is advisable that first-timers should try cooked items first like California rolls, tempura, tako (octopus), ika (squid) and maki(rolls).
When moving on to raw items on the menu, start with maki (rolls) first before you move on to sushi or sashimi. Cut-rolls will allow you to try raw fish in smaller portions.
When you’re ready to indulge in sashimi or sushi, try items with the least “fishy” intensity first. Milder items like tai (red snapper), hotategai (scallop) and ika (squid) are good raw items for beginners. Fattier fish like salmon and mackerel will have more of a distinct taste, which may put off beginners if they’re not expecting it.