“Don’t eat sushi on Sunday.” I’ve heard that one for a long time, and in a way it does make sense to me. But really, mostly not. I’m a fanatic about my sushi. I’m not going to be told when I can and can not eat it, but I understand the logic behind the premise, even if its use is, often enough, faulty.
The premise is that the fish in the restaurant is no longer fresh on Sunday so it’s best avoided. It makes sense when one thinks about the procurement of the fish. In theory (and in all *good* restaurants) the itamae or owner (or both) head to the fish market every morning to bid on the day’s catch. They select the best quality fish and rush it off to the restaurant where we benefit from their expertise. These fish markets are not open on the weekends and therefore, the fish served on Saturday and Sunday is from Friday’s jaunt. I get it. This makes sense, but there are other issues at hand that many seem to overlook when taunting me after hearing that this ‘fanatic’ will still eat sushi on Sunday.
Consider that fish markets tend to operate in the coastal regions, which, on an island like Japan, is never really that far from anywhere (compared to North America and the other large continents). But that means that in cities like, say, Omaha, Nebraska, or Calgary, Alberta, there is no market to go to. Or the fish available is already not fresh anymore. Well, that just isn’t true. And it’s not like you can’t get sushi there.
Modern technologies have made the transport of foods fast, safe, and efficient. Getting a tuna from New York to Omaha is no longer the big a deal it was 25 plus years ago. Fresh sushi-grade fish is available world-wide, with little or no sacrifice to quality over the fish available at the Fulton Fish Market in New York City. In fact, some fish, such as Yellowtail (hamachi) pretty much always arrives at the restaurant frozen, to be thawed for later use. Health and safety issues have created regulations for restaurants to ensure the quality of their food. Sushi restaurants especially know the dangers that their offerings could pose if not stored and handled correctly. Some are obviously more attentive than others, but that is an issue for another entry so I won’t get into that now. Essentially, one or two days of storage no longer relegates a raw food product to the cat food industry.
All of this means that if a fish arrives on Friday, it can still be good to eat on Sunday. If it arrives frozen, which many do (since all fish has been frozen along the way anyway) then it doesn’t matter when you bought it (to a degree) and you can thaw items as needed, even on the weekends. There are actually plenty of sushi-ya where I would never eat the food on a Sunday. But I wouldn’t eat there on a Wednesday either. If you trust a restaurant and its itamae, then you can bet that they will serve high quality food any day of the week. If you have to worry about it, you should go out for fish and chips.
The sushi guy.
I have always been fascinated by the creation and culture of different foods, particularly sushi and sashimi in the modern era of Japanese cuisine. I am a classically trained chef and sushi connoisseur, also having operated a food service company and enjoy investigating and experimenting with food around the world.