Over the years, I've had some truly delicious sushi in Japan. Ditto for outside of Japan. Of course, there are the types of sushi created abroad, such as the California roll. Good stuff!
Recently, a thread popped up on 2ch, Japan's largest online forum, showing a collection of "foreigner made sushi". The original source, a Russian website, is a few years old, but nobody on 2ch seemed to mind. However, some did mind the sushi.
"This is not 寿司 (sushi)," stated one 2ch user. "It's 'sushi.'" And I'll admit that I've never had anything, that has looked like this. But hey, that's OK. Sushi should be flexible and open to interpretation.
"Their ability to pack rice for sushi is clumsy," professed a 2ch user. The way the rice is packed is incredibly important for sushi (and rice balls, for that matter). So, if there is one valid criticism, it's probably this. But, like most things, with practice, one can improve.
Not everyone was so negative! "[The sushi] sure is creative," wrote another 2ch user, while another astute 2ch user pointed out, "Japanese people totally change foreign food when they make it, so you can't really say too much." A few others stated that the sushi actually looked yummy.
Foreigners living in Japan know that the country's restaurants and chefs can offer their own spin on global cuisine. Some can even replicate it perfectly. Others fail horribly.
Even in Japan, restaurants serve, and have served, sushi that can hardly be called traditional. Last month, nationwide conveyor belt sushi chain, Kurazushi (くら寿司) offered "chocolate banana roll sushi" as a Valentine's Day themed treat. You can see it below:
Many of these chain restaurants, which appeal to families with little kids, have an array of untraditional sushi. Take salmon with melted cheese and mayo, for example. Cheese with mayo (or basil) is a relatively recent addition and would have miffed Japanese dinners in the past. Kids now grow up eating that kind of stuff.
Whether that's video game-inspired sushi or the now iconic California roll, foreigners should feel free to experiment with their own take on sushi and create dishes to suit local tastes. Why? Because Japanese cooks are doing the same with international cuisine.
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