For years I have been known to say how much I want to love sushi. Its a beautiful food: you feast upon it with your eyes before it ever even gets to your mouth. It’s filled with good things: like fish, avocado, fruits and vegetables. Its super fun to eat: there’s wasabi paste and candied ginger to play with, there’s sauces to dip with, and then to top it off you usually eat it with chopsticks.
I’ve always wanted to love sushi – and I never have.
The problem is a dark green paper-like substance that holds almost all sushi rolls together. It’s called nori, or seaweed paper.
When I was around twelve I was swimming in the ocean when a large and unexpected wave knocked me down so hard and fast that I actually took a mouthful of sand, grit and other miscellaneous matter off the ocean floor. Choking, I managed to sputter to the surface and spit it all out in favor of air before I drowned, but it was a near thing.
That flavor of ocean floor mixed with near death is exactly what nori tastes like to me. When I put it in my mouth, my brain insists that it’s not food and I begin to gag.
As an adventurous and non-picky eater this was absolutely appalling to me the first time it happened, so I tried again. And again, and then again.
I couldn’t get past it. I absolutely hate nori and I always will.
Today: a revelation.
A co-worker had suggested to me that it’s possible to get sushi rolls made with something other than nori. I was skeptical, but today at a local Japanese restaurant I asked, and the waitress informed me that yes – rolls can be made with substitute soybean paper, also called mamenori.
Cautiously optimistic – I immediately ordered a plate of Hawaiian roll. Crispy tempura shrimp, creamy avocado and sweet mango slices soon arrived in front of me with a mango drizzle on top like a little piece of edible artwork. Nowhere could I see the dark green menace of nori lurking about in my food, instead there was a hint of a light, orangey colored wrap holding everything together. Damning the torpedoes I picked up an entire piece and went for it, simply popping the whole thing into my mouth.
And my taste buds exploded with pure happiness.
Sushi is SO GOOD! I didn’t know! All these years, I’ve been missing out!
I kept wriggling in my seat at lunch like a maniac but I just couldn’t help myself. I’m a foodie, and now a whole new realm of unbelievably tasty food is mine all mine to explore!