Eat More Ginger!

Ginger is a big part of the dining experience throughout the Asian continent.  You’ve probably encountered this herb in your tea, next to your sushi, or, indeed, hiding amid many of the dishes here at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant.  And it’s a good thing that you have, too, as the health benefits of ginger are quite impressive indeed:

  • Digestive Health: Ginger stimulates the release of digestive enzymes, easing the process of breaking down fats and proteins while simultaneously neutralizing some of your excess acids.  In this way, ginger can serve as a cure for nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, gas, heartburn, and diarrhea.

  • Circulatory Health:  Ginger is an anti-inflammat, allowing it to open up blood vessels while it stimulates the flow of blood and prevents clotting.  Meanwhile, it also helps to reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol absorbed into the blood.

  • Curative Properties: In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is a natural decongestant and antihistamine.  It also boasts powerful fever-stopping attributes, and has demonstrated an ability to prevent the replication of certain viruses.  The herb has even been used to inhibit the growth of some cancer cells, or even eliminate them outright.

  • Dental Health: Ginger contributes to increased salivation in people suffering from dry mouth, which helps ward off cavities and gum disease.

  • Fat Reduction: A diet rich in ginger helps you to burn fat more easily.

  • Mental Health: The consumption of ginger has been linked to the prevention of plaque in your brain, which is a symptom of mental conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Don’t Play With Your Chopsticks!

Chopsticks are novel to many of us in the West, so the inclination to use them in a way that the Japanese would see as crass or inappropriate can be rather strong.  In case you’re ever playing host to some friends from overseas at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant, keep the following rules in mind when you break out your sticks:

  • Don’t Play With Your Sticks: Don’t point with them, don’t use them to pass bowls around the table, and make yourself into a chopstick walrus.

  • Don’t Wear Chopsticks in Your Hair: It is a common misconception that chopsticks are sometimes used as hairpieces.  In truth, people who appear to be wearing chopsticks are actually wearing an accessory called the kanzashi, which only resembles chopsticks.  The two are not interchangeable.

  • Do Not Rub Your Sticks Together: Rubbing your sticks together can be seen as an insult to your host.  This is something you do with a shoddy pair of sticks when you need to rub the splinters away after you break them, so you could be sending the message to your host that they’re cheap.

  • Always Use the Sticks in Pairs: Your sticks should always act as a pair.  Don’t ever use one independently of the other.  In particular, never use a stick to skewer a piece of food.

What is Nigiri?

What do you call a piece of sushi that isn’t a roll? At our Lynnwood sushi restaurant, the non-roll sushi is mostly going to be nigirizushi (literally, “hand-formed sushi”). Often called “nigiri sushi”, or just “nigiri” in English-speaking countries, these are the pieces of sushi with that classic, old-fashioned, fun-sized-candy-bar shape. They consist of an elongated clump of sushi rice, often mixed with a dash of wasabi, topped with a strip of fish, tamago, or another ingredient.

When a nigiri sushi is topped with roe, shredded seaweed, or some other loose topping, a thick strip of nori will be wrapped around the rice to create a bowl-like structure on top and hold the topping in place. When this happens, it is called gunkan-maki (“warship roll”). Try out your nigiri favorites today at Wild Wasabi!

How to Use Chopsticks

Are you still fumbling your chopsticks? Don’t worry! Chopstick proficiency is not required at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant. However, eating with chopsticks can be a valuable exercise in manual dexterity and cultural immersion, so, should you ever wish to master the chopsticks, try following these simple directions:

The first step is to hold your sticks correctly. The first chopstick should rest beneath your thumb, braced by your middle finger. Pick up the second stick on top of this one, holding it more or less like you would a pen. A beginner should start out gripping the sticks closer to the tips, and then hold them further back when he or she develops a proper gripping motion.

Pick up your food by holding the sticks at a forty-five degree angle with your dish. Practice applying proper pressure with your grip, strong enough to hold the food and yet not so strong as to cause the sticks to “scissor”. You may want to hold your food under your mouth for a while as you gain confidence in your technique.

Good chopstick use comes down to practice, so try it out the next time you come to Wild Wasabi. After a meal or two, you should be chop-sticking with the best of them!

Fresh Sushi vs. Supermarket Sushi

When people are introduced to sushi, many are trying the supermarket varieties. This is unfortunate, because it’s a poor representation of the kinds of proper sushi you can find at a quality place like our Lynnwood sushi restaurant. If your only experience with sushi came plastic-wrapped out of the corner store’s take-out aisle, here’s why you should give our favorite Japanese fare another chance.

Quite frankly, there is no substitute for fresh sushi. Supermarket sushi generally cannot be made fresh, because it has to endure sitting on the shelf for longer than is strictly advisable for raw fish. This is why you’re mostly going to be finding only cucumber rolls and California rolls with imitation crab in your supermarket. Neither of these contain raw fish, and neither of these deliver a properly satisfying sushi experience.

When you get sushi fresh from a restaurant, you’ve got a better selection and better ingredients. In addition to fish, you’re also getting fresh nori. Nori used in supermarket sushi is dried and processed, robbing it of much of its taste and better qualities. Only the nori in a proper, fresh sushi can contribute to the overall experience, rather than detracting from it. So if you need to give sushi a second chance, get yourself down to Wild Wasabi; we’ll serve it up right for you this time.