Category Archives: Did You Know?

The Japanese Ceviche and Its South American Origins

Ceviche and The Japanese Influence

That spicy, raw fish salad that has salt, garlic, chopped onions, and hot Peruvian peppers like aji or amarillo, mixed and marinated in lime is called ceviche. The fish is chemically cooked by the citric acids making it tender, hence it is no longer raw fish. You might think that ceviche is native to Mexico because the dish has been part of traditional Mexican cuisine for centuries. No, it is not Mexican in origin.

Birthplace of Ceviche

Peru is the birthplace of ceviche, dating back to when Spaniards first imported citrus to the new world. It was said that the first versions were brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada in Spanish colonial times.

Today’s ceviche is the national dish of Peru. It has its own national holiday. Many restaurants in the country are solely dedicated to ceviche, called cevicherias, especially in Lima where there are 20,000. While there are generally just 5 ingredients in ceviche – fish, salt, onion lime and chili – there are many variations. In Peru there’s ceviche with a touch of milk, passion fruit, orange juice, celery, among others. It is garnished with lettuce leaves, corn kernels and sweet potato.

Did you know that the traditional ceviche used to be marinated for 12 hours? Then the Japanese came. The Nikkeis people, of Japanese ancestry, first emigrated to South America in 1899 to work in the cotton and sugarcane fields. Japanese ingredients and way of cooking were not at first understood by Peruvians, but slowly soy sauce and ginger became part of Peruvian cuisine. Equal lovers of fish, the Japanese eventually began opening cevicherias. The merging of Peruvian and Japanese techniques became known as the Nikkei cuisine. The Japanese influence enabled a shorter marinating time for the famous ceviche.

Then, in the 1970s, a classically trained Japanese sushi chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, came to Lima, age 24, to open a sushi restaurant. Limited by the range of ingredients available, he adapted and improvised using Peruvian ingredients. This is now known as the Nobu style, eventually turning into a global restaurant empire. Meanwhile, the traditional ceviche has spread around the world, adapting to the country and culture where you find it.

Peruvian and Japanese: Together in Lynnwood

You can always have ceviche as a great alternative to sushi – especially if you are not a fan of raw fish. Experience our Japanese ceviche at Wild Wasabi in Lynnwood and bring to mind the Japanese influence on Peru’s national dish.

The Wonders of Matcha Tea

Discover Matcha Tea

Did you know that matcha powdered green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly green tea? This should make it the healthiest tea in the world. Antioxidants are the compounds that delay the aging process and prevent chronic diseases. Today’s varieties of fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, as gojiberries, pomegranate and blueberries, matcha tea beats them all together for antioxidants. Even include broccoli and spinach, just one gram of matcha tea is packed with exponentially more antioxidants according to the latest in antioxidant research. Hence, the more you drink of this tea, the better you are at fighting the effects of aging and the onslaught of illnesses.

Antioxidants in Matcha

Why is matcha tea so potent? It’s because the tea contains a unique class of antioxidants not found in other foods, called catechins. One of these catechins is the potent EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) which has cancer-fighting properties. They counter the effects of UV rays, pollution, and other harmful free radicals. Over 60% of matcha tea is EGCg, so you can just imagine how it helps the body’s well-being.

Matcha tea is also in itself a weight loss program. With almost zero calories, drinking this tea burns fats and boosts metabolism. It doesn’t increase heart rate or raise blood pressure. It does not stress the body as it burns calories, merely increasing your burning rate, hence, making it a better and safer alternative to pharmaceutical preparations.

The tea also keeps you alert, yet calm. The rich but rare L-Theanine, an amino acid in matcha tea, actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being by acting upon brain function. It creates alpha waves, not beta waves, to produce relaxed alertness. The amino acid also may help memory, concentration and learning abilities without the side effects of caffeine, which is also present in matcha.

The leaves of the matcha plant are richer in chlorophyll as they are shade-grown. This chemical provides the vibrant color green of green tea plants and other plants and is a powerful detoxifier. One can eliminate toxins and other harmful chemicals from the body with this daily detox regimen. In addition, matcha tea gives a boost of daily energy, prolonging your endurance by as much as 24%. A study even thought that maybe it is due to the caffeine content. Actually, it was the tea’s overall natural components that produce this effect.

Scallops: One of the World’s Healthiest Foods

Amazing Benefits of Eating Scallops

Belonging to the family of mollusks, which also includes snails, sea slugs, clams, mussels, octopuses and squid, scallops are bivalves, sea animals that develop inside two hinged shells. Their colored, fan-shaped shells with ridges are easily recognizable. They feed on plankton by filtering them out of the water and reproduce by spawning. Unlike other bivalves, scallops are free-swimming, opening and closing their shells as they go, using their powerful adductor muscle. That’s the round, fleshy muscle you are eating when you order scallops in a restaurant. Whether grilled, baked, deep fried, broiled, or pan seared, the delicious scallop is a delightful dish. Do you know that they are also one of the world’s healthiest foods?

Scallops pack a lot of beneficial nutrients that are essential for cardiovascular health. Do you know that the magnesium and potassium in scallops normalize blood pressure? They are also a rich source of vitamin B12, which converts a harmful chemical that can directly damage blood vessel walls, associated with an increased risk for atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. If your diet is high in vitamin B12, you can have low risks for these diseases. Scallops are also rich in omega-3 fats that increase heart rate variability, a protective function that reduces risks for arrhythmia and/or sudden death.

According to a study, eating scallops that are broiled or baked, but not fried, may reduce risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia. The condition is an irregular heartbeat that can be life-threatening, leading to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

There’s more. A scallop diet (or a fish diet for that matter), says another study, offers protection against three types of cancer: leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to its vitamin B12. The omega-3 fats in scallops greatly reduce risk of colorectal cancer, according to another. In a brain cell research, it was found that the DHA in scallops boosts production of a protein which destroys the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. What’s not to love about scallops?

Eat Scallops for Long Life in Lynnwood

Have a healthy plate of scallops every week at least at Wild Wasabi and get protected in many ways. One of the world’s healthiest foods is served at your Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood.

How Nutritious are Fish Eggs?

Amazing Benefits and Moderate Consumption

To love dining on fish eggs is to have acquired a taste for their unique flavor and taste. Not everyone has a daring, adventurous palate for these slimy little delicacy. From the more common and affordable salmon roe to the insanely expensive beluga caviar, fish eggs can be a powerhouse of nutrition. However, they are also rich in cholesterol and high in sodium. So what gives?

Fish eggs come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, and can come from all different kinds of fish, most notably the beluga, other types of sturgeons, salmon and carp. All fish roe are very nutritious. Fish eggs have a common benefit with fish oil supplements – that’s their high component of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Better than supplements, fish eggs are natural sources, hence, there is less risk of oxidizing during processing. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for proper brain function and heart health, and help reduce inflammation in the body that can lead to chronic disease.

Fish eggs are also one of the few sources of fat-soluble vitamin D which works together with omega-3 fats. The vitamin helps healthy fats get absorbed and used by the body. Vitamin B12 is another nutrient present in fish roe for mental health and brain function and helps metabolize food for energy. Selenium, magnesium, iron and some calcium add to the impressive lineup of nutrients already in fish roe.

However, fish eggs are also high in cholesterol. Just one ounce of black caviar contains more than half of the daily limit of 300 mg recommended for healthy adults. We all know the risk for heart disease we face with a diet high in cholesterol. Also, the natural high sodium component of fish roe plus additional salt soaking during processing drives up the saltiness of this otherwise healthy food. More than the daily minimum requirement of 2,399 mg, eating too much of this can lead to higher risks of elevated blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

For health reasons, indulging in fish roe becomes a risk-carrier due to the presence of its high cholesterol and sodium levels. Nonetheless, its other healthy components are good for one’s diet. Moderation is the key to enjoying this delicacy as with other whole foods.

A Taste for Fish Eggs in Lynnwood

Love our many selections of fish roe at Wild Wasabi prepared in many exciting ways. Once in a while treat yourself to a nutritious dinner of one of marine life’s delicious offerings.

Sushi Grade Fish in Lynnwood

What is Sushi Grade Fish?

So you are an aspiring sushi chef and you want to make sure that your first sushi dinner with friends at home will turn out no less than spectacular. While it can be expensive you just want to be sure it’s safe to eat raw. So how are you going about it? Can you tell?

You might find fish labeled sushi grade. What does it mean? It means that the fish is of high quality and that it can be confidently eaten raw. For example, tuna. If inspected and graded as Grade 1, it is the best and can be sold as sushi grade fish. Salmon also can be sushi grade fish if it is flash frozen on the boat at the time of catch, preserving its freshness and texture.

Here are a few things to know when buying your sushi grade fish. Even Japanese chefs go by these guidelines.

Be sure you’re in the right place. Seek out a reputable fishmonger or fish market. They must have a high turnover for fish, meaning you always get fresh or newly arrived stocks. They must also have regular shipments, again ensuring freshness. It is helpful that their staff know their fish well.

Make sustainable choices. Be updated and have regional information about supply in your area. Being a responsible consumer helps contribute to healthy oceans.

Ask your seller the right questions. Where did the fish come from? How was the fish handled, was it processed at the store itself? How long has the fish been at the store? Is their equipment sanitized to prevent cross-contamination from fish that are not sushi grade?

Remember that it should be flash-frozen while still at sea which prevents the breakdown of the meat and kills any parasite present. This practise meets the regulatory standard for food safety of fish to be consumed raw.

Use your touch and smell senses. Fresh fish should smell like the ocean. Its flesh should not be soft or flaky. Its color must be vibrant and appealing to the eye. Look for small rectangular saw-cut pieces of the best part of the fish, ideally still almost solidly frozen. There should be no fat, bones or connective tissue in the block of the sawed fish. If you have any doubt of the fish’s quality, take a pass.

Only Sushi Grade Sushi in Lynnwood

Enjoy fresh and tasty sushi at Wild Wasabi in Lynnwood. Be assured that when you eat sushi here, it’s all about quality and freshness because we only serve sushi grade sushi.

The Remarkable Oyster

All You Need to Know About Oysters

Oysters are one of those foods that prompt a strong reaction. There are people who’ll grimace in horror with just the idea of eating oysters. Honestly, the slimy, quivering things to eat raw can turn some stomachs. But there are those who love the bivalves and some are even connoisseurs who talk about their tastes and texture, great recipes they make, and their known health benefits.

Oysters are members of the mollusk family which includes clams, mussels, and scallops. Their creamy flesh inside with its delicate briny flavor is protected by two hard and rough irregular-shaped shells. The grow wild in varying conditions from brackish to very salty waters. With their different varieties, oysters are only of 5 species – Pacific Oysters (or Japanese Oyster), Kumamoto Oysters, European Flat Oysters, Atlantic Oysters and Olympia Oysters. Their main differences lie in the size and texture of their shells and also in the type of water they grow in.

They are good for the environment. Oysters clean the water they’re in, filtering gallons upon gallons a day. Their shells are calcium-laden and when put into your garden soil, will improve the soil’s pH balance, add nutrients to the plants and strengthen their cell walls, leading to healthier, brighter flowers.

Prepared raw, fried or grilled, oysters are packed with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, known as brain and heart health boosters. Plus, oysters have enough zinc, known as an aphrodisiac, but is also excellent for the body’s immune system. They are also a rich source of vitamin B12 where one cup serving contains 362 percent of the recommended daily intake of this vitamin. And as a great source of protein they strengthen skin, nails and hair as well.

Oysters are tastier in the cold months of the year. During warm weather, oysters spawn during May, June, July, and August (months without the letter ‘R’), when they are thinner, translucent, and less tasty. They easily spoil in warmer months and harder to keep them cold in summer.

However, oysters from oyster farms are better taken cared of than oysters in the wild, decreasing the risk of pollutants and contaminants. Farmed oysters are safe from invading snails and crabs as well. Know that more than 85 percent of the world’s wild oyster reefs have been lost through invasive species and to climate change.

Satisfying your Oyster Craving in Lynnwood

Dine on our fresh and farm-sourced oysters in Lynnwood. They are a remarkable health source for meat-lovers, vegetarians and just plain seafood lovers.

The Way of Japanese Tea

A Silent Performance, An Eternal Tradition

The ceremony of tea, called chado and means the ‘way of tea’, is a very revered tradition in Japan, an art form that transcends the actual experience of drinking tea. The tea ceremony is also called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese.

In Kyoto, there is an exclusive program – the Urasenke – that educates students in this traditional art. The students train for ten years to become masters in the art of traditional tea ceremonies. They are used to conduct these ceremonies among national leaders and distinguished guests. Uji, another city south of Kyoto known for its shrines and temples, is also famed as one of the finest producers of green tea in Japan. Traditional tea ceremonies are famous here and are held in ceremonial tea houses.

Green tea, called Matcha, is prepared and served in an almost choreographic ritual. The host of the ceremony shows his respect and generosity to his guests with every movement and gesture, starting with the preparation of the tea, to its pouring into intricate designed bowls, even to the choice and placement of the tea utensils, even to the choice of the kimono. It is not just a matter of drinking tea with guests, but includes carefully selected aesthetics, attention to detail and all the predefined gestures involved in a labor from the heart. Bowing is common throughout the ceremony, from after pouring, after sipping, at the end of the ceremony, among others. Now due to the tea’s bitterness, Japanese sweets are served to balance the taste.

A full-length formal tea ceremony involves a meal (chakaiseki) and two servings of tea (koicha and usucha) and lasts approximately four hours. One has to focus on the senses and live in the moment, avoiding small talk and gossip and limiting conversation on the ceremony, the utensils and decor used. Hence, almost a silent performance, steeped in long tradition.

Remembering Tradition with every Cup of Tea

We may not conduct traditional tea ceremonies at Wild Wasabi Sushi, but we hold tradition dear to our hearts whenever we serve you tea at our Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood. Come by Wild Wasabi and enjoy green tea in a relaxed, contemporary setting.

A Quick Study on Japanese Food

Let’s look at some must-know details about this amazing and esteemed cuisine and keep in mind just how serious the Japanese regard their food.

  1. Japanese cuisine is one of only three national food traditions recognized by the UN for its cultural significance. Aside from French and Mexican food the UN recognizes that Japan’s cuisine helped mold and perpetuate her distinct culture and tradition, and to this day symbolized what they are.
  2. Everything about Japanese food is simple. Ingredients are as simple and as few to let its real food flavor shine through. Many are minimally seasoned; garlic, chilli peppers, and oil are infrequently used. Condiments add variety but are also simple, like soy sauce.
  3. Seafood, a major part of the Japanese diet, is a staggeringly huge industry in Japan. The world’s largest wholesale market for seafoods is based in Tokyo, selling 700 thousand tons of seafood a year. And it’s just one of the 12 based in Tokyo alone.
  4. While the Japanese diet includes a lot a vegetables, it is exceedingly hard to find a totally vegetarian recipe in Japan. There are not many vegans or vegetarians in Japan, and those who are, are not even 100% vegetarian. Even their vegetable dishes use some form of animal products – like fish flakes or dashi stock.
  5. Dining Japanese involves a lot of food rules and proper etiquette. It is good manners to slurp your food ( a sign that you appreciate it), also if you don’t rest your chopsticks on anything except the chopstick stand provided, not leaving your crumpled napkins on your plate, and not tipping the waiters.

We’ve got other juicy and serious tidbits on Japanese food that maybe we can share in another blog. Next time. In the meantime, why don’t you drop by Wild Wasabi, your Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood and see what our chefs have for you this season.

Udon Noodles and Soba Noodles: What’s the difference?

Through Thick and Thin Noodles

Both udon and soba are typical Japanese noodles forming part of the Japanese diet and culture. Served hot or served cold, they are both delicious and are compatible with a variety of other added ingredients. They are cooked similarly- in a large container of boiling, salted water and done until just right in consistency.

They differ in other ways. Udon noodles are made out of wheat flour; they are thick and white in color. Best as fresh, they are soft and chewy. Due to their neutral flavor, they are able to absorb strong-flavored ingredients and dishes. Dried udon is also good, however, the texture is more dense.

On the other hand, soba noodles are made out of buckwheat, with a strong nutty flavor. Many though have wheat in them also, which means they are not gluten-free. Pure buckwheat soba is gluten-free and stronger in flavor. The noodles are thin and soft, a lot chewier and nuttier than udon. Dried soba resembles flat spaghetti and is usually light beige to dark brown-gray in color.

The noodles differ in origins, too. Udon is credited to a Buddhist priest, who travelled to China in the 9th century and brought back udon noodles to his village in the Sanuki region. He was the one also who introduced udon soup. Soba origins are traced back to the Edo period, consumed by the Edo people, the present day Tokyoites. They were considered wealthier and are able to afford the otherwise expensive soba at the time. Thankfully, today, both noodles are popular, affordable, and are readily available.

Both Popular at Lynnwood

We serve your favorite noodles at Wild Wasabi together with other great classics, whether it is warm or chilly outside. They’re always popular. Enjoy our noodles hot or cold like nowhere else, only here at your Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood.