Tag Archives: Issaquah Japanese Restaurant

What is Inari?

Deep Friend Tofu Skin

The world of sushi is one of many nuances and surprises, even for the experienced diner. If you think you’ve tried every roll and every nigiri in the book, come on down to our Issaquah sushi restaurant to try some inari.

Inari, or inarizushi, is a curious golden-brown deep fried tofu skin that may not look like a piece of sushi you normally see. One of the simpler varieties of sushi, it consists of a small brick of sushi rice wrapped up in a coat of the fried tofu skin. The end result is quite delicious, and is a popular choice for many Japanese children. It often goes under the nickname of “brown bag sushi” or “football sushi”, describing its distinctive shape. Come and give it a try at Aji Sushi and Grill!

Agedashi Tofu: A Heartier Tofu!

Not a big fan of tofu? Think again.
In the West, we don’t have a terribly high regard for tofu. It has a reputation as a “diet food”, with great potential for health value but little little in the area of taste satisfaction. In Asia, on the other hand, the culinary practice of cooking tofu is old enough to have been honed as a cultural art form.

Japan brings us a wide range of tofu dishes, sure to tempt even the strictest carnivore. Therefore, if you’re looking for something more out of your tofu, our Issaquah Japanese restaurant invites you to give agedashi tofu a try.

The word “agedashi” translates to “deep-fried”. Agedashi tofu is a well-known recipe dating back hundreds of years. A cookbook from as early as 1782 shows us what may be the earliest depiction of the dish. This recipe traditionally calls for a square of tofu to be dusted in potato or corn starch and deep fried to a golden-brown color.

It is then topped with chopped onions and served with a hot sauce made with soup stock, rice wine, and soy sauce. The end result is so hearty and flavorful, you just might forget that you’re not eating meat! Try it out at Aji Sushi and Grill today.

The History of Rice

How much do you know about rice?

We tend to take rice for granted in the modern world, but have you ever thought about the history behind this remarkable grain? From ancient times to our Issaquah sushi restaurant, rice is undoubtedly the most important crop ever cultivated by humankind. It has been a primary source of sustenance for more people over a longer period of time than any other food, with a story going back thousands of years.

There are also numerous types of rice. Not just white rice or brown rice. There are long-grain, short-grain, jasmine, black rice, etc.

The earliest record ever uncovered of rice being farmed for food goes back to 2500 BC in ancient China. It spread throughout the world from there, its great versatility proving to be a boon everywhere it went. It could be grown in anything from deserts to wetlands, and its nutritional value made it a staple in Japan and throughout Asia and the Mediterranean area. Come get a taste of this ancient tradition with Aji Sushi in Issaquah!

Chopsticks from Across Asia

Have you ever looked closely at your chopsticks?

The next time you eat out, try seeing if you can spot how one restaurant’s sticks are different from another’s. The sticks we use at our Issaquah Japanese restaurant may not be the same as those at a Chinese place, or a Korean venue. You might find that there are distinct styles in the chopstick world. Indeed, though these sticks may seem as simple as utensils can get, it is actually possible to identify somebody’s country of origin based on the sticks they eat with:

  • Japan: (ha-shi) Traditional Japanese chopsticks are made of lacquered wood or bamboo. They tend to come in different lengths for men, women, and children, and they taper off with a thin, round tip at the end. Historically, Japanese nobles were fond of having their sticks made from jade or precious metals, particularly silver, as it was believed that silver would stain when it came into contact with poison.
  • China: (kuàizi) The birthplace of chopsticks, China is fond of longer sticks than the other countries. Chinese chopsticks are usually crafted from unfinished wood or bamboo, and have a thicker, blunter tip than those employed in Japan.
  • Korea: (jeok-ga-rak) Korea’s chopsticks are particularly distinctive, as theirs are the only ones commonly made out of steel, but you can still find wooden chopsticks. Such sticks are shaped with a flat, rectangular cross section that tapers off to a round, slender tip. Many Korean sticks are decorated with ornate designs along the broad sides of the grip.

The Hearty Freshwater Eel of Japan

The Japanese word “unagi” refers to freshwater eels, specifically the anguilla japonica variety native to the country. You can find this eel on the unagi nigiri and the “eel bowl” at our Issaquah Japanese restaurant. This is one of the more traditional varieties of sushi that you will commonly see with cooked meat, representing a popular choice for native diners and American sushi lovers alike.

In Japan, it’s not uncommon for a restaurant to specialize entirely in unagi-based food. Such restaurants are often easy to spot, making use of a picture of an eel to represent the Japanese character for “u-”. The meat is well loved on sushi and in “unagi-don” rice bowls.

Unagi meat is high in protein, calcium, and vitamin A. This has given the eel a reputation as a strong source of stamina. During the summer, unagi is traditionally eaten during the Day of the Ox in midsummer, when people hope to harness its stamina-boosting to help them through the hot summer days. Try some for yourself today at Aji Sushi and Grill!

The Benefits of Fish Eggs

Have you ever eaten fish eggs? Fish eggs, or roe, is a common sight in our Japanese restaurant in Issaquah. Whether they’re sprinkled across a roll or piled onto a piece of nigiri, it’s a delicious addition to any sushi. Many Americans need to work their way up to trying roe, but they’re generally glad that they did. After all, not only does roe taste great, it’s also surprisingly healthy.

As you likely already know, seafood is a great source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. These highly beneficial fats help maintain a healthy heart and circulatory system, offering a slew of important benefits. You can get a good dose of omega-3 from fatty fish like salmon and tuna, but the absolute greatest source of omega-3 is fish eggs. A minimal consumption of roe, in particular salmon roe, can easily give you your recommended serving of fatty acids. Come and make roe a bigger part of your diet at Aji Sushi today!

The History of the California Roll

If you’ve heard of sushi, you’re probably aware of the California roll. You can find it all over, including our Issaquah Japanese restaurant. You’re probably familiar enough with this simple sushi favorite, but did you know that it represents a significant chapter in sushi history?

The first California roll first made its appearance in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. Japanese sushi chefs were still trying to find a market for their craft in the United States, so they combined imitation crab with avocado and rolled it up in a layer of rice. The taste of the imitation crab and the texture of the avocado proved to be a great way to simulate the experience of eating raw fish, and served as a stepping stone for many Americans into the world of sushi. And thus, the phenomenon of “American-style” fusion sushi was born.

The California roll represents several sushi firsts. This was the first time avocado had been used in sushi, representing a pioneer of non-Japanese ingredients to be used in the craft. Also, it was the introduction of sushi rolls that contained more than one main ingredient, as well as the advent of the “inside-out” roll, with the rice rolled around the nori. It’s exciting to see how far the sushi craft has come today, and more exciting still to consider how it might advance in the world of tomorrow.

Health Benefits of Shellfish

Do you like shellfish? You can find all of your favorites at our Japanese restaurant in Issaquah! Not only are these dishes a delicious part of any Japanese meal, they also feature a broad range of impressive health benefits.

Shellfish is more than just a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, like most fish. Shellfish are all also rich in chromium and selenium, both of which have a powerful impact on your body. Chromium helps insulin to metabolize sugar, making it a highly recommended nutrient for diabetics or people at risk of diabetes. Selenium is an antioxidant that battles a lot of deadly carcinogens, like cadmium, arsenic, and even mercury. Keep shellfish in your diet, and keep cancer out!

The Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi

Do you know the difference between sushi and sashimi? If you’re dining at our Issaquah sushi restaurant, this is an important distinction to make. We offer both a sushi and sashimi section on our menu, and failing to know the difference between the two could very well end up with you getting a dish that you were not expecting.

In simple terms, “sushi” always contains rice and “sashimi” always contains fish. Indeed, contrary to a popular misconception, sushi does not necessarily contain fish. This is because the word “sushi” describes the particular style of vinegared rice that always goes into the dish, so anything that becomes paired with this rice goes under the name. Sashimi, on the other hand, is generally nothing but a piece of raw fish.

Japan’s “Rule of Five”

In Japan, the number five is a very important one. The next time you dine at our Issaquah Japanese restaurant, take a good look at your surroundings and the food that you are served. If you look carefully, you might notice how the tradition of five is brought out in five different ways in an authentic Japanese meal.

The Five Senses: You don’t just experience a meal with your tongue and your nose. Your food should be presented well to be pleasing to the eye. Your utensils and dishes should feel good to the touch. The restaurant should have a pleasing sound and ambiance. When all five senses are happy, you’re enjoying an excellent meal.
The Five Colors: White, black, green, red, and yellow are Japan’s five elemental colors, Just like artists and architects have aspired to feature in balance of these colors within their work, chefs try to work all five into a perfect meal. This also lends itself to a healthy balance of nutrition.
The Five Preparations: Raw, simmered, fried, steamed, and roasted or grilled are the five common ways Japanese food is prepared. Working your way through a complete dining experience in this way is a great way to add complexity and nuance to your dining experience.
The Five Tastes: We’re all familiar with bitter, sour, salt, and sweet as the four tastes. To this, Japan adds something they call umami, which might be translated to “savory”.
The Five Attitudes: Buddhist tradition provides Japan with a philosophical approach to eating, which comes in the form of these five phrases:
I reflect on the work that went into preparing this food for me.
I reflect on my shortcomings, and ponder whether or not I deserve this food.
Allow my mind to be free from prejudice and greed.
I take this food to maintain good bodily health.
I accept this food to further my pursuit of enlightenment.