For some, the thought of eating raw fish sends shivers down the spine. Indeed, the act of ingesting anything raw is often completely alien to many Western pallets. This is perhaps why some people (thankfully not that many) baulk at the thought of eating Japanese delicacies such as Sashimi. Apart from the fact that very few dishes in the UK are served raw, there are also concerns regarding health. ‘Undercooked’ is word that terrifies many diners these days. But as you’ll see, Sashimi is perfectly safe to eat and is a delicious accompaniment to a typical Japanese meal.
What is Sashimi?
Sashimi is a popular Japanese delicacy that is usually served as a first course in a formal meal. However, most sushi delivery outlets include Sashimi as a main course. The dish, which translates as ‘pierced body’, consists of raw fish or meat, which is sliced into thin pieces. Although seafood is the most common ingredient, other kinds of meat can also be used, such as horse, beef and deer. However, it is fish for which Sashimi is most famous for. Typical dishes can include tuna, salmon, sea bream, mackerel, amberjack or squid.
Why is it OK to eat certain types of raw fish?
Human beings have consumed fish for millions of years. As mentioned in previous posts, seafood is rich in numerous proteins and can offer many health benefits. It’s also rather easy to eat as it contains far less connective tissues than raw meat. With regards to sashimi-grade seafood, to ensure safety, the fish must be of the finest quality and should of course be fresh. Many a sushi takeaway in London actually keeps the fish alive in tanks until the moment that it is prepared – this isn’t really necessary, provided the fish is sourced from a trusted and established fishmonger.
How we judge freshness
Freshness is paramount in all kinds of dishes and seafood is no exception. In order to judge freshness, the fish has to be whole, the slime-layer must be intact and the gills should be bright red and moist. Its scales should be shiny and attached firmly to the body. Cut-wound edges should have a fresh odour and the flesh needs to be firm. The eyes should also be bright white, with shiny black pupils – the presence of blood in the eyes should set alarm bells ringing. In addition, there shouldn’t be any indication of browning as this usually indicates oxidation. It’s safe to say that most if not all establishments, particularly those specialising in sushi delivery in London are at great pains to ensure total freshness.
Putterfirsh, or Fugu as it is known in Japan can be extremely dangerous if not prepared correctly. This is due to the presence of tetrodotoxin in its entrails and organs. Fortunately, only the most highly-skilled sushi chefs who have undergone years of training, are permitted to prepare dishes which contain this delicious but potentially lethal fish.
Like any type of meat, fish can contain certain parasites. These can include roundworm, tapeworm and flukes. Fortunately, stringent practices are observed by good fishmongers to guard against these creepy-crawlies. It should also be noted that sashimi dishes only use the fish meat – internal organs are discarded.
A matter of honour
Japanese tradition dictates that only the best quality fish of the utmost freshness should be served. This is a matter of honour for all sushi chefs and has been for generations. We want you to enjoy our dishes and share in the wonderful experience that our cuisine can offer. So creating and serving dishes which can be consumed with confidence is of paramount importance. Here at YouMe Sushi, we buy our ingredients and use them on the same day. Nothing is kept overnight so you can be assured of freshness.
Hopefully, this post will have reassured those who feel rather hesitant at eating sashimi! As most sushi delivery gastronomes will tell you, eating raw fish is perfectly safe when prepared properly and by professionals – numerous safeguards are in place to protect customers. It’s also worth mentioning that sashimi is delicious and is one of the most popular items on many a sushi takeaway in London! If you’d like to sample our own sashimi, please visit our main site where you’ll find some of the best handmade sushi Central London can offer.