I feel Guilty after losing my Sushi Virginity

Before last Saturday I had never eaten any type of sushi. I had planned to lose my sushi virginity in March but saving for Japan and other priorities derailed that plan. When I first heard of sushi and read that it was raw fish the seafood hater in me barfed at the thought of eating raw fish even if it was from Japan and as time went on and I ran into references and read more and more about sushi I got lost in the myriad of types of sushi as is evident in this Wikipedia article on the topic. So back to the topic at hand, I spent the weekend of May 6th to 8th 2011 at the Iberstar Suites in Rose Hall, St James on the north coast of Jamaica thanks to an all expense paid “staff retreat” (read meeting-a-thon). It is the most luxurious hotel I have ever been to, I had to frequent lift my lower jaw off the ground as I enjoyed everything from the views to the realization that the bathtub alone was half the size of my bedroom at home, but anyway I am straying again.

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Being an all Inclusive hotel, everything you could see, do or eat was free and unexpectedly late Saturday night after a day full of meetings I caught sight of what looked like sushi at the restaurant me and my coworkers were having dinner. Unfortunately It wasn’t the super delicious looking edible work of art seen above, it was (according to Wikipedia) Western-style sushi typically found in North America and Europe, but rarely in Japan. I thought, what the heck it’s here so I might as well try it and I did. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad and it wasn’t real, or was it? I geektastically expected fireworks to light up the night sky as it made connection with my taste-buds but instead I felt guilty like I was going with a lady of the night and not with the girl (read sushi) I love. All I have to show to remind me of my fling is a blurry pick I took with my phone after a few drinks. Sushi I have forsaken you and I have made a solemn vow that the next time sushi passes these unworthy lips it will be the good stuff, the real stuff, the hopefully not too expensive stuff – IN JAPAN!

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It wasn't good, it wasn't bad and it wasn't real, or was it?

This post was entered in the August 2011 J-Festa Blog Carnival


25 thoughts on “I feel Guilty after losing my Sushi Virginity

  1. Wow. I expected you to be a sushi veteran. Hotel sushi is not usually very good and limited to maki / rolls like the ones in your camera phone shot. There are however, many good sushi options in Kingston to prepare you for the real deal in Japan. You should try the lunch specials at Cocoro, East Japanese or Katana Express – they are fairly affordable and quite tasty. In fact, one of these days I will take you for lunch. :)

    1. Oh goodness, Cocoro. I love their sushi. *drools* I also miss it; I haven’t had sushi in over a year. [sob]

  2. That stuff doesn’t look so great, but I have to say I don’t think Japanese sushi is inherently better than Western sushi. Of course since sushi is a traditional Japanese food, you’ll typically find more of the higher quality stuff here.

    That said, there are plenty of Japanese immigrants in the West and chefs who have studied how to make sushi (it’s not THAT difficult), and a lot of the quality is dependent upon the freshness of the ingredients. You can get good/bad, cheap/expensive sushi in just about any developed country.

    Personally I miss “American sushi” like California rolls.

  3. Ah – it’s a shame that your ‘first time’ was sullied by being away from home, after a few drinks, and looking for some excitement at something new… hold on, we’re talking about the sushi, aren’t we? I think that now that you’ve broken the chastity belt, please go out and find yourself some nice sushi to try. To be honest, there is a difference in sushi (generally) outside of Japan, and inside. Sushi is freshness and style. Often time, sushi is presented very poorly (from my Aussie experience) abroad, and the range and selection of ingredients is generally limited. Still, I’m sure you can find nice sushi any where. Don’t be too surprised to be less than impressed on your first time (as you don’t have a comparison). Also, don’t forget that sushi is more than taste.

    Unfortunately, your first experience may not be a good one. I wasn’t a seafood eater before I met my wife, but now love eating good sushi. Also, when you get to Japan, don’t think that good sushi is expensive. It isn’t (though you can buy VERY EXPENSIVE SUSHI…. ).

    What Japanese foods are you familiar with?…. There’s possibly a whole universe of gastronomical delights to experience on your trip.

  4. Well, that doesn’t look very tasty, looks sloppy and it shouldn’t be served randomly on a plate like that. You’d probably get better sushi from a convenience store… That said, don’t expect it to be better just because you’re in Japan, it will be better than the stuff you had at this hotel, but I can name a couple around where I live that are better than some places in Japan^^

  5. I had sushi for the first time in January and I was surprised I liked it.

    -that retreat must have been – just the hotel alone. [surfer]

  6. Two words: Tsukiji Market.

    When you go to Japan, I’m certain you must have this planned on your itinerary, right? Go super early (friend and I went about 6:30/7 a.m.), hop in a line that has many of the locals lined up outside the door at any one of the many awesome little eating places, and you’re good.

    Unfortunately after I ate there, I could not eat sushi again in the U.S. for three and a half years because nothing I had tasted as great to me.

  7. Tsukiji Market is a great experience. But, I could never be a sushi snob because I often can’t tell the difference between the quality of kaiten zushi and sushi from some well-known sushi bars I’ve been to. That being said, Sushi no Midori is probably the best sushi place I know of since it’s quite affordable and actually tastes, to me, a cut above the rest. I think you’ll appreciate the experience of quality sushi in a restaurant with a nice traditional atmosphere in the middle of a bustling restaurant/nightlife district.

    1. Never been to Tsukiji (too damn early for me) but I agree about the sushi snob comment. I can tell when sushi s cheap, but seriously sometimes supermarket sushi tastes as good to me as restaurant sushi. Don’t need to go to a fancy place or even to Japan to get sushi that tastes really good.

      1. In agreement somewhat with your comment that you don’t need to go to a fancy place or Japan for sushi to have great sushi (or bad sushi) because after I went to Tsukiji, I had sushi at a higher end restaurant and it still was not great. It was actually pretty disappointing.

        And since then I’ve had sushi at this place right in Midtown, NYC. It’s not overly priced but not cheap either and it was really very good.

        But there’s a lot to be said about the freshness of your food caught right there and prepared from the morning’s catch.

        It’s the same thing I say about fish (or vegetables) in Trinidad while growing up. It tastes great because chances are it’s super fresh – just caught from the day’s fishing expedition, versus fish I can get at the supermarket now in the frozen section. It tastes fine but obviously not as good than the just caught fresh fish.

        Man, I could really go for a bake and shark now…

  8. I think you will grow to love sushi, especially when its fresh and pleasing to the eye while on the plate. This Jamaican gyal loves sushi and my family think I’m crazy for eating/enjoying sushi. I told them to hush and that I’d cook red herring for them and rub up a few dumplins lol

  9. you know jamaipanese
    your first time is suppose to be special,
    you should have waited till you went to Japan, especially
    since you are going to be on your way soon…..
    Well as least now you got the taste in your mouth….

    just make sure you don’t become a sushi whore when you get
    to japan….

    1. It’s just sushi for crying out loud.

      Available in every country on earth.

      Japan is the country that gave us standing sushi bars & sushi trains, it isn’t that big a deal.

      Imagine a Japanese person waiting till they went to America to have their first cheeseburger, or a Chinese person waiting till they go to Australia before they have their first meat pie.

      Just for a comparison.

  10. Ohhh, man. Well, there’s a huge range of sushi in this world, and hopefully you’ll get to taste and experience all there is out there. Start at the bottom and work your way up? :) I kind of miss terrible Western style sushi actually!

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