Tuesday, June 26, 2007


SUSHI SUNSET


Imagine America running out of beef, France running out of snails, or Mexico running out of tortillas-- well here in the Orient there's a cuisinal change under way that's perhaps even more disturbing: Japan is running out of maguro (bluefin tuna). Not only because of competition and overfishing, but also because sushi and sashimi are now world foods and the premium ingredients command big bucks.

When I first came to Japan, the early morning Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo was wall-to-wall fresh-frozen tuna carcasses. You could get fresh magurozushi in any streetcorner sushiya without shelling out too many yen. Then a few years ago, when I heard that a single bluefin tuna had sold for something like 260,000 dollars, I thought: that's the end of sushi as I know it. The situation hasn't gotten any better since then.

And isn't it always the way— just after Japan formed the Sushi Police to ensure round-the-world conformity with the homeland's founding standards, here in the Land Where Sushi Began the sushi chefs are scrambling for - shudder - maguro substitutes, and are turning to ingredients they once mocked, like avocado, deer and even... horse.

Yes, raw horsemeat sushi is galloping your way; can GM sushi be far behind?

BTW, don't eat cheap sushi...

Excellent recent history of sushi...

Plus a neat link from Michael...

3 comments:

Michael said...

Hi Bob,

Yes, it's another case of our gluttony putting yet another species in a precarious situation.

Your post elicited memories of something I recently witnessed and photographed at a Japanese market here in New Jersey. (Here's the link: http://ohenrosan.blogspot.com/2007/02/tuna-carving.html

I think it's going to become an increasingly rare sight.

Tabor said...

This situation is happening in the U.S. Restaurants were going to lower grade sashimi tuna because it was hard to get the good stuff. Now they are facing shortages of the low grade stuff. I need to blog about times on a boat in the Pacific when we had fresh yellow fin...really fresh.

Trace said...

I have never tried sushi, and I have always wanted to.