Remember how I said that I had an exciting post but I couldn’t put it up until I had photos?
Well, I took pictures, so here we go!
I have to tell you. I love sushi. Not in an “oh, I haven’t had sushi in months, we should go” kind of way. It’s more of an “every. single. meal. Forever” relationship.
So you can just imagine, when I stopped eating fish, I temporarily thought that my world might implode, or deflate or – at the minimum – be painfully sticky-rice-and-seaweed-free for the rest of my days.
Not so, my friends! (I’m sure plenty of you knew this. And you didn’t tell me!?)
When I arrived at the restaurant last night, I had a chat with the lovely waitress about what items on their menu (besides the obvious meat-free rolls) would be Vegan. After a difficult phone conversation the previous day, where the language barrier and my lack of ability to talk with my hands turned out to be insurmountable, I was a bit at a loss. Perseverance proved to be key! Our waitress talked to the kitchen for me, and we discovered that the tempura is gloriously animal product-free, as is the mixed vegetable stir fry, and the miso soup. I was set to go!
I tend to dump a lot of wasabi into my soy sauce…
I started with cold tofu and a seaweed salad (which came with roe on top, but was easily removed). The tofu was interesting – I had expected firm and it turned out to be soft, but the marinade was nice. The serving was very large; not ideal when you want to stuff your face with sushi, but it was pretty tasty just the same!
I have often ordered their mixed vegetable stir fry, so this visit was no different. I was disappointed to discover that they changed their recipe. It was still good, but no where near the obsessive, addictive pile of veggies it used to be. I’ll live, though, since I based the red cabbage saute that I made all the time on their old recipe, quite successfully.
The seaweed salad was marvelous. (And I’m sorry – despite being all iPhone photo-happy, I scarfed that one down without a shot!) I think it had some mustard – I swear I saw mustard seed- and definitely sesame. It’s a strange, slippery concoction when rehydrated (which you can imagine exactly if you’ve ever gone swimming in a weedy lake), but the taste is definitely worth the unfamiliar texture.
The rest of my meal was pretty straight-forward, since I just got the meat-free options of things I would normally choose. Cucumber and avocado maki rolls are to die for (I wanted the spicy version, but usually that requires hot mayo, so I abstained), and when my friend and I accidentally swapped hand rolls, I ended up with a mango one that was surprisingly delish (especially since mango isn’t my favourite).
For tempura, I chose mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant. Being so creamy on its own, eggplant tempura is perfectly, indulgently greasy, and oh so tasty dipped in the sweet sauce they provide (which I just found out might have some kind of fish in it. Might steer clear of that in the future…)
I promise you the sole purpose of sharing my sushi story was not to make you drool and excuse yourself to track down the nearest 24-hour Japanese delivery joint. Many of my posts on this blog discuss (if in a roundabout way) the seemingly tricky task of still eating foods you love when you aren’t eating the staples traditionally used in making them. My delicious outing last night shows once again that with a bit of research (or a bit of delegating, in this case) you can still nosh big time on your favourite foods.
When I first sit down with my sushi menu, I am overwhelmed with all of the choices I used to love: Philadelphia rolls, spicy tuna, deep fried scallops… But once my meatless versions are in front of me, I quickly realize that what I was craving was that delectable combination of seaweed and warm rice and crisp, cool crunch. And the chopsticks. I love chopsticks.
I digitally pinky swear to you all – I did not miss that farmed fish flavour at all!
PS: Last week before I had photos, I was looking for a stock photo to use to brighten up this post, when I came across this. How perfectly brilliant and delicious looking is that?!