The Story of The Avocado And Sushi

The American-Made Sushi With Avocado

The avocado fruit is foreign to Japan and not many know that it’s not commonly used in sushi rolls. In the late 1970s, the avocado became available in Japanese supermarkets, mostly from Mexico. It’s the ‘ butter of the forest’ the Japanese called it, for its buttery consistency, rich flavor and high calorie content.

When sushi came to the US in 1970, Americans started to gravitate to this delicacy. And there were no avocados in sushi then.

In Los Angeles, some 45 years ago, a Japanese chef was finding it hard sourcing toro for his sushi. The tasty, fatty portion of the tuna, with its melt-in-your-mouth consistency, was integral to his sushi menu. Since it was not readily available in California, he shifted to avocado instead. Avocado has the same toro consistency, it was abundant in the state and popular with Americans, especially those who also like Mexican cuisine. The sushi with avocado caught on and became widely accepted.

Other specialty rolls were developed also using avocado. The California Roll, another Japanese invention in the US, uses avocado. The California roll has avocado, crabmeat or imitation crab and cucumbers and it became the most iconic of all rolls, famous all over the world. Then there’s the simple but equally delicious Avocado Roll, with just the fruit and rice. Then there’s the Caterpillar Roll, the more expensive roll but the most well-known sushi roll in the 9 to 14 dollar range.

Known for their healthy fats, the monounsaturated type, the avocado in fact is the only fruit well-loaded with it, 20 times the average for other fruits. There are close to 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in avocados. These include 6% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E, 4% vitamin C, 10% folate, 11% fiber, 2% iron, 6% potassium and 136 micrograms of lutein per 50g serving.

Avocados have well-known benefits. The fruit maintains cholesterol levels, protects against osteoporosis from the high amounts of Vitamin K, reduces the risk of cancer and improves vision, to name a few.

Sushi With Benefits

Dine and taste our classics at your favorite sushi place in Lynnwood. Wild Wasabi offers delicious selections of sushi, among them the California Roll, the Caterpillar Roll, and our own Avocado Roll.

Gunkan Sushi: The Battleship Roll in Lynnwood

Delicious Little Boats of Sushi

“Gunkan” means “Mothership” and consists of a small ball of rice wrapped in a thin band of dry seaweed and topped with various ingredients. Looking like a warship, gunkan can be served as gunkan sushi or sometimes also called gunkan maki.

Nonetheless, it is a popular form of Japanese cuisine consisting of the basic ingredients – rice and nori seaweed accompanied by small pieces of salmon, sea urchin or flying fish roe as the ingredients. Sushi Gunkan is usually served as 2 pieces per package. The filling of the gunkan is not always seafood. It can also be vegetables such as corn, cucumber and carrots.

To make gunkan sushi, the nori or seaweed dried into a paper-like sheet is wrapped around a base of rice to form an oval shaped cup. It makes for a nice sturdy base on which to rest fish roe. The roe are deliciously salty and adds color to the sushi. The eggs of the flying fish (or tobiko) have an unexpectedly crunchy texture, with a mild smoky or salty taste. The larger salmon roe (or ikura) are more like caviar. While fish roe is a common topping for gunkan sushi, it can also be finished with oysters or quail eggs.

How do you eat gunkan sushi? It’s a simple matter, thanks to the design of the vessel which holds the fish eggs or other ingredients in place. Soy sauce is the perfect accompaniment to gunkan sushi, dipping the rice end first. Eat with chopsticks, a little ginger and just a little wasabi so as not to overpower the subtle flavours of the roe.

Gunkan sushi is extremely nutritious. The raw roe has high vitamin and protein content complemented by a favourable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. The roe also contains a relatively high amount of cholesterol. However, as there is typically no more than a tablespoon size serving of roe on each piece of gunkan sushi, it can still form part of a healthy, balanced meal.

Celebrating Gunkan Sushi in Lynnwood

When you are craving for just simply prepared yet delicious sushi, quickly served and yet appetizing, go for Wild Wasabi’s Gunkan Sushi. We have many selections to offer, either spicy or lightly with spice. Enjoy our enticing battleship rolls at great prices.

Takoyaki: From Street Food to Restaurant Fare

Takoyaki: Tasty Street Food

Takoyaki first appeared in Osaka in 1935 by a street vendor who created it. It was inspired by akashiyaki, a small round dumpling from the city of Akashi, made of egg batter and octopus. It was comfort food for the people of Osaka that spread to other regions and now is available throughout Japan. It has long been associated with street food especially during local religious festivals. The dish is easily and cheaply made provided the preparations are right and teppan plates for takoyaki are available.

Takoyaki are ball-shaped snacks, basically of wheat flour-based batter cooked in a special moulded pan with half ping-pong sized depressions. Flour is dissolved in a specially mixed soupy stock and poured individually over the half moulds. Then minced or diced octopus are added, called tako, also leeks, pickled ginger, and tempura scraps.

The dish is cooked in an evenly heated pan, made of cast iron. As one side of the takoyaki gets cooked, each is turned to the other side with a pick to get cooked in turn. The balls are brushed later with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise is added, then green aonori and shavings of dried bonito are sprinkled over. Takoyaki makes for great, delicious snacks.

If octopus is not used in takoyaki, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be called takoyaki anymore. Anything can actually be put inside takoyaki. In the absence of octopus, cheese or sausage can be used. Shrimp pieces or even chopped vegetables, like cabbage make for delicious takoyaki. Everybody seems to love it. They’re bite-sized and easy to eat even by children.

There are many individually operated traditional takoyaki stores, especially in Osaka. Big companies have gone into franchising their takoyaki versions since the 1990s and since then been competing in the fast food market within and outside of Japan. The hot dish has evolved into high quality snacks with attention to ingredients, toppings and degrees of cooking. In the US, one can find takoyaki stalls in malls and supermarkets and other commercial areas. Many Japanese restaurants also serve this favorite snack.

Comfort Food in Lynnwood

At Wild Wasabi, enjoy hot takoyaki straight out of our kitchen to your plate. It is not just your regular street food fare, but our tasty octopus balls, steamed or fried, are balls of fun.

Snow Crabs: Japan’s Winter Delicacy

Tis The Season for Japan’s Tastiest Crab

Japan’s love of crab is unlike anywhere else in the world. Crab is Japan’s winter seafood and its consumption is one of the world’s highest. The snow crab is the most familiar to the Japanese though there are many different types and that’s because its flesh is delicately sweet and uniquely flavored. Though expensive, it is widely loved in Japan.

Snow Crabs

Snow crabs are crustaceans with a flat body and five pairs of spider-like legs, the front pair being claws. As they grow, the hard outer shell is periodically shed in molting, after which they have a soft-shell for a period of time and are called soft-shell crab or white crab.

Snow crabs are found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. In the North Atlantic, they are found from Greenland in the northeast Atlantic and from southern Labrador to the Gulf of Maine in the northwest Atlantic. They prefer deep, cold-water conditions. Canada is the world’s largest producer of snow crab, exporting two-thirds of the global supply to the US, China and Japan. In Japan, though, snow crabs are also abundant.

The snow crab is found in the deepest and coldest waters in the Sea of Japan. Fishing for snow crab is allowed only for 4 months in a year. Fishing male crab is permitted for the period from November 6 to March 20, while female crab only from November 6 to January 10. Bigger in size, male snow crab is widely traded all around Japan, smaller female snow crab is locally enjoyed. Some people prefer female crab meat because of its richer and more concentration of flavour with variety of textures, meat and egg.

A particularly popular variety is the Zuwai-gani snow crab. Slimmer than the other crabs, the Zuwai-gani snow crab is loaded with concentrated “umami” (savory taste) that crab-lovers crave, and appeals to the palate with a distinctly sweet flavor. This crab dwells primarily on the west coast of Japan, in the Sea of Japan, as far north as Hokkaido, and as far south as Tottori Prefecture, where fishing season for the snow crab opens around November, and harvesting continues until around March. In some regions of Japan, the Zuwai-gani snow crab is referred to by its local place of origin, such as “Matsuba-gani” and “Echizen-gani”. Some of these local varieties are recognized as luxury seafood brands.

Loving Snow Crab Sashimi in Lynnwood

Experience why the Japanese so love their snow crab. We serve delicious snow crab meat at Wild Wasabi. Be one of our many crab lovers enjoying Zuwai Snow Crab nigiri and sashimi. Also try our delicious Snow Crab soup.