The Sharp Edge of Japanese Knives

What You Should Know About Japanese Knives

If you’re a serious chef or wishing to become one, you’d dream to possess one of those tools you can’t do without – the Japanese kitchen knives. Known worldwide for their excellent quality and artistic beauty, Japanese kitchen knives are also cloaked in heavy mythology and romance. This makes it difficult to see through the glint and make the correct choices. But truly, Japanese knives are great treasures to keep.

Hagane is a type of carbon steel that Japanese knives are traditionally made from; and they come in various gradations. Knives and other cutting tools made with hagane can hold an extremely sharp edge. This is the material they forge samurai swords. However, the relatively soft steel has to maintained regularly or they will become dull, chip and rust. That is why professional chefs sharpen and take care of their knives every day. So if you are willing to put much time and effort in knife care, this is the one for you.

The type of Japanese knife that is very easy to maintain is made of stainless steel. It also holds a sharp edge and doesn’t rust. However, once a stainless steel blade loses its edge, it takes skill to sharpen these knives properly so it is best to have these professionally sharpened. Ceramic knives are ultra sharp and stay sharp 10x longer than steel. They are ideal for slicing fruits, vegetables and boneless meats. They also won’t brown foods or transfer metallic taste or smell. They are rust-proof, stain-proof and germ resistant.

Do you prefer a single- or double-bevel bladed knife?

Most traditional Japanese-style knives have a wide, deep-angle bevel on one side of the blade, while Western-style knives (and most popular modern Japanese knives) have a shallow, narrow bevel on both sides of the blade. Double-bevel knives are also generally thinner and lighter than single-bevel knives of similar size. Double-bevel types are more for home use, easier to handle and not too difficult to sharpen. Both stainless steel or hagane-clad stainless steel knives are best for home use.

Need a sturdy knife for everything – meat or fish to vegetables – go for a chef’s knife, which is called a gyūtō (cow knife). If you prefer lighter, thinner knives, a santoku bōchō is great choice. Santoku means “three virtues,” meant for meat, fish and vegetables. If you have small hands, a smaller version of the santoku called a petty knife, is for fine cutting tasks or general chopping.

Other knives are the nakiri or vegetable-cutting knife, with its square, thin, double-bevel blade; the deba, single-bevel pointed knife used for breaking down fish and meat; a smaller version of the deba called the ajikiri, for small fish like Pacific saury (aji); and the long, thin, elegant yanagiba (willow blade), to delicately slice fish for sashimi and sushi.

Visit us at Wild Wasabi Lynnwood

If you love sashimi or nigiri, you can see how our fishes are carefully sliced at Wild Wasabi Lynnwood by our sushi chefs.

What Japanese Foods Kids Enjoy

Japanese Children: One of the Healthiest in The World

Published in The Lancet were results of a major worldwide health study concluding that, children born in Japan today are projected to enjoy the longest and the healthiest life due to the lifestyle and eating patterns. Even as childhood obesity and diabetes increase the world over, Japanese childhood obesity levels have historically been much lower, and have been declining overall in recent years.

It is said that Japanese-style eating is very efficient- it is filling and comes with quality nutrients. With these, your body has fewer cravings and yet have less room for junk food. They eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and healthy fats from omega 3-rich fish, and less processed food with added sugars and salt. Food pattern is relatively low in calories, high in nutrients, minimizing the risks of obesity and the hosts of illnesses it triggers.

Rice is the meal foundation, not bread or pasta. The advantage of their short-grain rice, preferably brown, is that it is water-rich when cooked, fluffy, and super-filling, and much lower in calorie density than bread.

Also, children enjoy occasional treats and snacks, in the proper amounts and frequencies, which are much smaller and less frequent in Japan than those that are typical in the West.

Over time, what children may like or dislike about food will change, with their parents gently guiding them towards healthier patterns, exposing them to a wide variety of choices and by setting an example themselves. The earlier and wider a child’s experience with new healthy foods, the healthier their diet will become through childhood.

So what are some of the kid-friendly Japanese foods that children will enjoy? One is udon. The thick noodles have a nice texture, prime ingredients being wheat, water and salt. Udon noodles aren’t really too nutritional but they are filling. Tamago Sushi is good to eat with kids’ hands and ranks high in all nutrition factors. Oyakodon is “parent and child rice bowl” because it features both chicken and eggs, provides great protein for kids. Surprisingly, there’s also edamame or green soybeans, natto, a health booster rich in calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium among other minerals and vitamins, and curry rice.

Chicken and the different ways of presentations and styles are another enjoyable treat and healthy choice for kids. Karaage, fried chicken without the bones, is especially loved.

Fun with Kids’ Japanese Menu in Lynnwood

Dining out Japanese today and bringing along the kids? Then look no further to spend that bonding time. Here at Wild Wasabi, sushi restaurant in Lynnwood, we’ve got a menu just for tots to enjoy.

Enjoying Hot or Cold Sake

Different Sakes at Different Temperatures

Sake is traditionally served warmed. About 30 or 40 years ago, warmed sake is much rougher, fuller, sweeter and woodier than the warmed sake now. For many centuries, sake was brewed in wooden tanks made from cedar and stored in wooden casks. You can just imagine the tremendously woody flavor and aroma of Japan’s favorite drink at the time. And that’s is why sake has to be warmed when drinking it back then, to masked the not-so-refined aspects of the drink – it was woody and rough. But it seems to be suitable.

Then change came to the sake-brewing world. Brewing technology has advanced since. Today, sake is brewed in stainless steel, ceramic-lined tanks, and stored in bottles. Even rice milling techniques have improved. New strains of sake rice became available and pure yeast strains led to sake with bold and lively taste and fragrances. Sake became more delicate with fruity and flowery essences. Premium sake is like that and to heat it may destroy the flavors.

Good sake is enjoyed slightly chilled, but not too much either. Over-chilling it will leave it tasteless. Sake’s flavor peaks at slightly below room temperature and if anyone serves you ice-cold sake, that sake may be of inferior quality. With their varieties, each sake will be different at even slightly different temperatures. You might like yours at a particular temperature as others will like theirs at a different one.

With plenty of good sake around, such as premium ginjo or daiginjo, even when slightly warmed is excellent sake. It is a fine drink especially in the winter months.

So how’d you know if a particular sake is best warmed or chilled?

The label should say it. Sake breweries, called sakagura, will say if their sake is better served warmed. So try the varieties and taste as many as you can so as to help you decide which is best for you. Also, recommendations from friends, restaurants, sake experts, among others, can lend you a hand.

Sake at its Best in Lynnwood

Discover the higher standards of Japanese cuisine at Wild Wasabi. Enjoy our sake that pairs wonderfully with many of our sushi selections.

The Practical Guide To A Gluten-Free Sushi Dining

All in the Details

Like many people who have Celiac disease, sushi is a welcomed gluten-free option. Certainly they can enjoy the dish and not worry about getting sick. However, it is not so easy. While sushi is naturally gluten-free, it may be possible, at some restaurants, that cheap ingredients might be added that contain gluten. Also, there’s the added risk of cross-contamination occurring if some basic ingredients like soy sauce be unintentionally carried over in the preparation.

Let’s look at some highly common foods served at Japanese restaurants and figure out how you can be careful in your choices and ensure you are not served unwanted gluten.

Sushi is the top dish in most sushi shops, of course. Again, it is naturally gluten-free. It’s basically, rice, fish and vegetables. However, it mustn’t use soy sauce because it’s wheat; unless it’s gluten-free soy sauce.

Fish or vegetable that has been battered and deep-fried, otherwise called tempura style, because it uses wheat flour. Be sure there’s no imitation crab in your sushi, as it’s fish parts that were only dyed, starched, flavored and frozen, and not gluten-free. Most restaurants and their servers indicate if they are using imitation crab; so ask for real crab instead.

Rice in sushi, to be gluten-free, must be rice that has not been mixed with sugar and rice vinegar. It is safer if just plain rice is used. And while vinegar comes from rice, which is just fine, some vinegars can come from grains like barley. Now, seaweeds or nori; sushi nori is gluten free as long as no additional ingredients were added to flavor, as soy or teriyaki sauces.

Sauces can be complicated, too. The following can contain wheat, hence, not gluten-free: soy sauce teriyaki sauce, eel sauce, barbeque sauce, ponzu sauce, and spicy sauces that may contain mayo. You might just want to bring your own gluten-free sauce for your sushi. Wasabi. For as long as you can get real 100% wasabi, it’s alright; it is not served in most Japanese restaurants, though.

So what should you have? For one, sashimi is safe. So are Masago/Tobiko, King Crab, nori, vegetables. Also Rainbow Rolls, California Rolls, and most simple rolls such as the tuna and vegetarian rolls. Ask your server about their gluten-free options, or else get creative.

Sushi Dining Safety in Lynnwood

Enjoy our sushi without the gluten dilemma at Wild Wasabi, your Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood. We ensure that our delicious selections, when labeled gluten-free, they really are.

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.