Quick Bites from Pender

Sunday Lunch – Sushi from a Friend

In Recipes, Sunday Lunch on January 17, 2010 at 6:02 am

sushi-dynamite-club-roll

This post is all about giving credit to a new online friend from Japan.  Robert-Gilles at Shizuoka Gourmet is originally from France, but has been living in Shizuoka, Japan for 30 years.  He has  some real insight into Japanese food, especially from a western perspective, and goes to great lengths to describe even the most esoteric of Japanese dishes.

I have my own Japanese connections, which is perhaps why I was drawn to Robert-Gilles’ profile on Foodbuzz.  My brother has lived in Japan off and on for over 20 years.  He originally went over to demonstrate skiing in northern Japan, then taught English in Tokyo, then spent years researching and achieving a Doctorate in Sociology in Japanese.

sushi-spicy-scallop-roll

When I was 18, I went to visit him in Tokyo for a little while.  It didn’t last.  We had a fight, I ended up leaving to do some exploring, and spent the next 3 months hitchhiking from Tokyo down to Okinawa and back.  Hitching is not a “normal” Japanese activity, so I had to be a bit creative to get rides, but I found that Japanese truck drivers were happy to have the novelty of a North American girl in the cab, even if we couldn’t communicate.

In 3 months, I had only 1 slightly scary situation.  But, when I mimed my disinclination to sleep with the driver in question, he shrugged and drove me right to the door of my destination.  It was that experience that made up my mind not to tell my mother the details about how I traveled around (smart, eh?)  When I did finally let it slip while telling a story over 15 years later, I saw the wisdom of that of the original omission:

“You did WHAT?”

“I hitchhiked around Japan, Mom.  It was years ago.  It′s not like anything happened.”

“Who else knew about this?”

“At the time?  Well, no one.  But it was totally safe.”

“Which is, of course, why you didn’t tell me.”

Leave it to a Mom to cut to the chase.  Yup, it was stupid, I admit.  But, given that I came home unharmed and a little wiser in the street smarts department, totally worth it.

sushi-roll-lineup

With those personal connections to Japan in mind, you would think that the foodie in me would have perfected sushi long ago.  Not so.  Vancouver probably has more sushi restaurants per capita than Tokyo, so it was always abundant when we lived here.  After we moved to Pender, Vancouver errand trips included a trip to Shiro’s on 15th & Cambie.  If Shiro was more of a web-savvy guy, I would throw him a link, but, considering he has listed himself in the WHITE pages under “Japanese Restaurant Shiro” for the past 15 years, I’m not holding my breath while he gets a website together.  He doesn’t need too — advertising or not, Shiro pulls in a full-house every lunch and dinner.

island-vittles-sushi

I have tried sushi a few times in the past, but it was never right.  However, armed with Robert-Gilles’ suggestion of a spicy scallop roll and his recipe for sushi rice, it was time for another go.  In addition to the scallop roll, I made another I’m calling a Dynamite Club roll.

Success!  The rice turned out perfectly, and the fillings were fantastic:

Spicy Scallop:  chopped local scallops, red pepper (brunoise), lime juice, mayonnaise and cayenne to taste.  In the centre of the roll were several pieces of julienned cucumber.

Dynamite Club:  panko-fried local sidestripe prawns, Red Barn bacon, avocado, green onions and just a tiny bit of mayonnaise — oh yeah.  Just another confirmation that bacon does belong everywhere.

Thank -you Robert Gilles!

I have my own Japanese connections, which is perhaps why I was drawn to Robert-Gilles’ profile on Foodbuzz.  My brother has lived in Japan off and on for over 20 years.  He originally went over to demonstrate skiing in northern Japan, then taught English in Tokyo, then spent years researching and achieving a Doctorate in Sociology in Japanese.
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  1. Dear Friend!
    Greetings1
    The old dragon is blushing under his scales!
    Well, I must say, and happy to do so, that your sushi roll would grace many a home table in Japan, and this is not a return compliment, but the truth!
    Very well balanced, great ingredients and beautiful presentation!
    Talking of Dynamite Club, have you heard about the Bakudan Maki/Explosive Roll?
    It is a Shizuoka specialty as our Prefecture grows 80% of all wasabi in Japan!
    We chop (not grate) some fresh wasabi root into very thin strips before rolling them in rice and nori! Great, not so hot and very tasty. I understand it might be a bit difficult to reproduce in your area although a couple of farmers have started growing wasabi in the States.
    I just posted another sushi recipe you might be interested in at:
    http://shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/sushi-millefeuille-the-recipe-with-vegan-option/
    Looking forward to talking more about sushi and Japanese gastronomy (I don’t forget my French roots, mind you!LOL)
    Sincere regards,
    Robert-Gilles

  2. Last time I stayed at Gyokuriuji Monastery in the Japanese mountains, an old monk took us down to a valley to pick “wild foods,” as he called the wasabi and other wonderful greens we picked that day. Sadly, the river valley is no more. It’s been covered with concrete and made into a summer resort for overworked Japanese.

    Before you roll the rice and other ingredients, if using, in the nori, do you warm the nori over the stove? My favourite monk, the Kitchen God (I’m sure you know the story, Esteemed Dragon Robert-Gilles, after whom ‘my’ —(there’s a special name for the cook-monk, which I’ve forgotten) is named.

    Look forward to more posts on Japanese cooking.
    Cordially,
    Trysh Ashby-Rolls
    Author & Journalist

    • Dear Trysh!
      Greetings!
      The nori is usually quickly “passed over” a heat to ensure it is dry and crispy. But if it has been properly stored, that step should not be needed.
      Cheers,
      Robert-Gilles

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