Category Archives: Did You Know?

Shrimp: Little Nutritious Wonders of The Sea

Amazing Benefits in Shrimps

Shrimps belong to a broad classification of any one of hundreds of small crustaceans that inhabit all the oceans of the world. They are a widely consumed delicacy. Most shrimp species are small, approximately 1-3 cm long, but sometimes growing up to 25 cm long. Shrimp variety is huge but most species maintain a similar organic makeup, hence, provide very similar health benefits for those who add shrimp to their diet.

The meaty and tasty tail of shrimps is the main food source. There are cultures and cuisines that choose to eat other parts of the shrimp as well. This delicacy provides a wealth of nutrition when added to the diet.

If you are on a diet, shrimp is a popular option. If you want to eliminate excess carbohydrates from your daily meals, having shrimps is a great choice. They have zero carbs and very low calorie content. There’s approximately 1 calorie/1 gram of shrimp. They are packed with protein, high in water and with a small amount of fat.

These crustaceans have loads of vitamins and minerals. See that you have your daily requirements of these nutrients from shrimp – iron, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and potassium, along with vitamin A, vitamin E, and B6, and even vitamin B12. It also contains iodine, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.

What are health benefits in shrimps?

A shrimp diet improves bone and brain health, contributes to weight loss and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Shrimp has anti-inflammatory, cancer preventative, and anti-aging properties that help to reduce the risk of various health issues.

Like in other forms of marine life, there are also health issues with shrimps. Firstly, the presence of trace amounts of mercury; you just have to be careful about where you source your shrimps. Shrimps have moderately high amounts of purine that can exacerbate gout, if you have it. If your uric acid levels are normal and you don’t have gout, surely you can enjoy shrimps. Finally, allergic reactions, which can be found in certain seafood, including shrimp.

Healthy Shrimp Indulgence in Issaquah

Enjoy fresh or cooked shrimp classics in out Issaquah Japanese restaurant. If you’re not allergic to shrimps and don’t have gout, you can always have shrimp indulgence at Aji Sushi here in Issaquah.

Hail to the Halibut: The Good Side

Halibut Can Be Healthy

The halibut is divided into two species: Pacific and Atlantic. Pacific halibut is one of the largest species of flatfish found in the Pacific Ocean, residing in between Asia and North America. It has recently been gaining some degree of popularity for its mild and delicious taste in spite of its size. The life span of halibut is about 55 years.

The main sources of Pacific halibut are the United States and Canada. About 80% is fished off Alaska, 15% from off British Columbia, and 2% from Oregon and Washington. Its season for halibut fishing is determined by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the individual U.S. states or Canadian provinces.

Medical benefits of wild-caught halibut are impressive. Halibut may reduce risk of dementia owing to its high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that consumption of marine oils is linked with higher cognitive function in later life. The fish may also help lower breast cancer risk. Halibut has high dietary intake ratios containing omega-3 PUFAs, such as DHA and EPA.

Omega-3 PUFAs has been observed to have an inverse relationship with breast cancer risk in prospective cohort and large-scale case-control studies. Regular consumption of halibut may help relieve symptoms of autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis due to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 FAs. Lastly, the fish protects against cardiovascular disease risk factors and helps reduce risk of metabolic syndrome.

Happy Dining on Halibut in Issaquah

At Aji Sushi Japanese restaurant, we assure you of the safety of our halibut – sourced reputably, prepared and cooked well. There is no reason not to enjoy the flavors of this good catch or deny yourself its amazing health benefits.

Know the Nutrition in Chicken Teriyaki

Marinated Chicken Teriyaki Made Healthy

Most people have chicken in their diet and enjoy it in its various preparations – fried, boiled, baked, barbecued, among others. Chicken is a rich source of protein that the body needs to perform its functions in growing, repairing and maintaining cells and tissues. It is also vital in strengthening immunity. It’s a good source of phosphorus, selenium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins.

Health experts and the US federal guidelines recommend eating lean meat, instead of fatty meat which is high in saturated fat and rich in calories. Considered unhealthy, meats that are not lean contribute to high cholesterol, high triglycerides and heart disease. They’re also responsible for weight gain and obesity.

Where being healthy is concerned, certain parts of the chicken are commendable, some are not. Chicken breasts are healthier than chicken legs, drumsticks or thighs. The breast part is naturally lower in fat and calories, and removing its fat and skin before cooking makes the breast even leaner. Note that a 3-ounce chicken breast without skin is 138 calories versus 166 calories if with skin, 3 grams versus 7 grams total fat for the same. Now, for a 3-ounce chicken leg without and with skin, its 159 versus 196 calories, 7 grams versus 11 grams total fat.

It’s teriyaki sauce that makes cooked chicken delicious and flavorful, but is also awesome in sodium. Sodium helps regulate blood pressure and muscle and nerve function, and as we know, if we go consistently beyond the 2,300 mg a day in recommended intake, it can contribute to high blood pressure in most susceptible people. Excessive consumption of sodium is also harmful to the heart, liver and kidneys. Marinating chicken in teriyaki sauce makes a great dish, but it will better to avoid additional salty condiments at the table. There’s always low-sodium teriyaki sauce which may have only 284 mg of sodium versus the regular version’s 611 mg.

Here are some tips for eating a healthier marinated chicken teriyaki. Remove all visible fat and skin before cooking, grill or bake the marinated chicken instead of cooking with oil, and use a non-stick pan to minimize the amount of oil needed if saute or stir-fry is desired. Be sure to pair this meal with other nutrient-dense foods, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. So actually, marinated chicken teriyaki can also be healthy.

Healthier Teriyaki in Issaquah

For people who don’t prefer sushi, you can still dine with us! You will love our healthier chicken breast teriyaki in Issaquah. Here at Aji Sushi, we do our teriyaki right and delicious. It’s one of our specialties.

The Bento Box: From Utility to Status Symbol

Convenience and Balance of the Bento Box

In ancient Japan, around the 5th century, farmers, hunters, and warriors packed their lunches in boxes and brought them to the fields. The practice wasn’t particularly special, but the boxes were. The design came from a farmer’s seed box and had multiple compartments for different dishes, such as rice, vegetables, and fish. It was a rather simple presentation but that it makes a lot of sense to keep the different delicacies apart to prevent contamination in flavors before the meal is enjoyed.

They were later referred to as ‘bento boxes’. “Bento” was actually from the Southern Song Dynasty slang term biàndāng, which means “convenient.” It spread to other cultures like China, Korea, the Philippines. Each culture adopted its own dishes for the box, but what was emphasized was that meal was varied and balanced.

The practice became popular in Japan and the Japanese would bring their lunch boxes for cultural gatherings and social events. People came with their bento lunches in festivals, the theater, and at religious holidays. The boxes were made of basket material or lacquered wood or aluminum.

The Japanese do believe in proper nutrition even then in the late 19th century. The government, particularly the Ministry of Education, recommended nutritious meals for all schoolchildren. After WWI, when Japan came into economic inequality, the gap between rich and poor was felt even in children’s schools. The well-off kids were taking their lunch out of shiny bento boxes, complete with nutritious foods. The poor could no longer afford such fare.

Enjoying Bento Meals in Issaquah

When you’re in Issaquah and wondering where to have delicious, balance meals, try Japanese. Try Aji Sushi dining in trendy surroundings. You’ll love our bento dinners and bento delights for kids, as well.

A Fishy Diet: Top Source of Omega-3 FAs

Not Just Any Fish in the Ocean

Omega 3 fatty acids (or Omega 3 FAs) are essential fatty acids for body health. Our bodies don’t make them, but they are ‘essential’ so we have to get them from other sources. These FAs are naturally abundant in cold water fish and shellfish, plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, and algae oils. But there are 2 types of omega-3 fatty acids – the long-chain ones and the short-chain. Fish and shellfish contain long-chain FA which are EPA and DHA. Algae however provides only DHA. Plants, like flaxseed, contain ALA, the short-chain omega-3 FA with less potent health benefits.

Fish is the richest source of omega-3 FAs, and are also high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and low in saturated fat. The omega-3s have been proved anti-inflammatory and consuming large amounts can reduce inflammatory processes that leads to many chronic conditions, like cancer, asthma, depression, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. The omega-6 FAs are different; they are pro-inflammatory. The American diet, composed of crackers, cookies, cereals, poultry, eggs, mayonnaise, whole grain bread, corn-fed beef and most vegetable oils – are rich sources of omega-6 FAs. Consuming large amounts is a key step in many chronic diseases.

What are the top food sources for Omega 3 FAs?

According to the SELF Nutrition Data, the top 15 omega-3 foods (percentages based on 4,000 milligrams per day of total omega-3s) are the following: from 1 to 15 in order are Atlantic Mackerel, Salmon Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Herring, Alaskan Salmon (wild-caught), Flaxseeds, Albacore Tuna, White Fish, Sardines, Hemp Seeds, Anchovies, Natto, and egg yolks.

Eating two 8-ounce servings of fish each week may be all that is necessary to stay healthy, or better, supplemental daily with doses of between 2 and 5 grams of EPA and DHA. Since polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury are common toxins found in seafood, safer sources with less amounts of mercury can be found in canned light tuna, catfish, pollock, salmon (especially wild salmon), and shrimp. Predatory fish, like shark, swordfish and king mackerel may have higher mercury levels. Remember to be safe while staying healthy.

Omega-3 Rich and Healthy in Issaquah

At Aji Sushi, find only the freshest and safe-sourced fish and seafoods that we serve our diners. Enjoy our omega-3 rich fish and seafood, prepared in true Japanese manner in Issaquah.

Tasty Uni: From the Gonads of Sea Urchins

Worth its Weight in Gold

Uni is the edible part of the spiky and intimidating sea urchin, a common delicacy throughout Japan and in many Mediterranean countries. Present in all marine ecosystems and all climates, the sea urchin is usually found in temperate and tropical coasts, and is one of the deepest-living creatures of the ocean. Small, rounded, and possessed of a hard shell, it resembles a small hedgehog with all its prickly spines. The gonads of both male and female sea urchins, called roe, are the tasty part, best eaten raw and used in culinary dishes around the world. In Japan, uni is served raw as sashimi or in sushi, with soy sauce and wasabi. Japan imports large quantities from the United States, South Korea, and other producers.

Uni’s color ranges from rich gold to light yellow, and has a creamy consistency. It is a sushi item enjoyed as nigiri sushi or sashimi; has a light, sweet, and briny flavor. Although it is harvested around the world, sea urchins are a rare treat especially for those who have acquired a taste for it. Due to its high demand, they fetch a hefty price; it can retail for as much as $450/kg. Harvesting uni is also a very delicate process as its meat falls apart easily. Uni is a seasonal item and by Japanese standard, the best catch is served from late fall through the winter, with December considered the best month.

Uni is graded based on color, texture, and freshness. Grade A is the highest grade, a bright yellow or gold with a firm texture and slightly sweet. Grade B uni is a muted yellow, has a softer texture and is less sweet. When the uni has broken apart during processing or handling it is a Grade C. So the higher the grade, the more pricey is the uni, and fresh uni taken directly from a living sea urchin will command the highest price. The color and quality of uni is largely dependant on its diet, gender, and time of harvest.

Does uni have any health benefits? For one, eating sea urchins is said to enhance virility; it’s a popular aphrodisiac. Other benefits include that of being a protein source, a high dietary fiber source, sufficient supply of vitamin C and, to boost the immune system, it supplies beta carotene.

Developing a Taste for Uni in Issaquah

At Aji Sushi, your trendy Japanese restaurant,, we serve tasty uni sushi and uni sashimi in season – only fresh, authentic sea urchin roe for our discerning diners. Get in touch now and enjoy your favorites.

The Nutrition Behind the Humble Edamame Beans

What’s in Edamame?

If you love soy milk or tofu, you’ll probably love young soybeans, the ones still in the pod. Young and green when they are picked, edamame is soft and edible. While the pod itself is not edible, you’ll find some grocery outlets selling green edamame that has been hulled and is outside of the pod. They are great additions for green salads, rice dishes, and in Japanese foods. But because pod flavor is so tasty, edamame make great snacks as well.

In Japanese restaurants, edamame is a popular appetizer. Vegetarians love them for their protein, vegans prefer them for snacks, or if you just want healthy eating, it’s a great choice. The beans are packed full of healthy and low-fat soy protein.

They are versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways: boiled, steamed, microwaved, or pan-seared. They can be seasoned with sea salt, red pepper flakes, or sesame seeds. Hot or cold, you can serve edamame as appetizer of snack.

Each 155-gram (g) cup of frozen, prepared edamame beans contains just 188 calories, 18g protein and 14g carbohydrates, 8g each of fat and dietary fiber, and lots of minerals to boot: calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. The young beans also have lots of folate (121% of daily requirement), vitamin K (52%) and C (20%).

Because it is soy food, edamame is a complete source of dietary protein, high in healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, and contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens that have been linked to a lower risk for osteoporosis and cancer.

With its multiple health-giving components, ease of preparation, and appetizing taste, edamame is surely a pleaser in any dinner table.

Enjoying Everybody’s Favorite Appetizer

When you’re in Issaquah and craving Japanese, come by our sushi restaurant, Aji Sushi, and enjoy our classics. But first, tickle your appetite with our broiled edamame soybeans, a health-conscious choice.

Issaquah Sushi Restaurant: Know Sushi Basics

The Different Types of Sushi

Most people think that eating sushi is eating raw fish. It is not so all the time: not all sushi is raw and not all are fish. Sushi was then fermented fish with rice preserved in salt, a staple Japanese dish for a thousand years until the Edo Period, from early 1600s to about 1868. Then contemporary sushi was developed. The word “sushi” means “it’s sour,” which reflects back to sushi’s origins of being preserved in salt.

It is not really difficult to distinguish one sushi from another. There are five main types of sushi.

Nigiri is sushi rice with a topping, usually raw fish but it can also be cooked shellfish, a vegetable, egg, or some other ingredient. It may have a little bit of wasabi on top. Eaten with fingers upside down, the fish part is dipped in soy sauce (not the rice part) and that touches the tongue. It is a great way to appreciate the topping’s flavor.

When you are having Maki, both the rice and filling are wrapped in seaweed. The seaweed wrap is on the outside. Maki, meaning roll, are cylindrical pieces of vinegared rice and other ingredients wrapped around nori sheets, with thin slices of cucumber, soy paper, or thin omelette skin. Rolling the ingredients with a bamboo sushi mat and slicing the roll into cylindrical pieces, these are eaten with the fingers, too.

Uramaki is similar to maki but the seaweed is on the inside and rice is on the outside. The rice also wraps around the other fillings, like fat belly tuna or avocado or other. Hence, it is also called an inside-out sushi roll. Uramaki tend to use lots of sauces and toppings, either cooked or raw.

Temaki is sushi that has been hand-rolled into a cone shape. Nori is on the outside and vinegared rice with ingredients on the inside. Eaten with the fingers. The cones are not as easy to share, though, as the rolls.

Sashimi is fish or shellfish served alone, without rice. It’s preferred by those who really love to taste the fish or shellfish since it comes with nothing else. Sashimi is not referred to as sushi because of this. While most sashimi is raw fish, some sashimi is not raw and some sashimi is not fish. If the sashimi is raw tuna, it’s called Ahi; if deep-fried saltwater eel it is called Anago; Ebi if cooked tiger shrimp; Hamachi if raw yellow tail; Kani if crab meat, and so many other varieties.

Love My Sushi in Issaquah

So when you’re in Issaquah and ready for your exploration into sushiland, drop by Aji Sushi and you will know more about the wonderful, diverse world of sushi and sashimi.

Appreciating the Yellowtail: by Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

The Amazing Yellowtail (aka Hamachi)

The name yellowtail can be confusing because it can apply to flounder, tuna and sole. However, yellowtail is the common name for some species of amberjack (sometimes referred to as yellowtail amberjack) that can be found off both coasts of the US. The fish is called so because of the corresponding color of its fins. Its large sleek body resembles that of a tuna; it is a heat-loving, schooling fish that can grow to one meter in length and weigh up to 10 pounds. The yellowfin lives mainly in East Asia, around Korea and Japan.

The most valuable member of this family is the yellowtail farmed in Japan and featured in U.S. sushi bars under the name hamachi. The fish is prized for eating raw and commands a premium price in Japanese markets. Raised in cages in Japan’s Inland Sea, hamachi are harvested at 15 to 20 pounds, then iced and handled with great care to prevent bruising of the flesh, which lowers its value as sashimi. A small amount of hamachi is harvested wild off the coast of central Japan.

Another yellowtail species (Seriola lalandei) is harvested wild off southern California and Baja, California and farmed in Mexico and Australia. While amberjacks are subject to parasite infestation in the wild, this is not a problem with farmed hamachi. The Stehr Group in South Australia is presently (2010) the largest producer of cultured S. lalandi in the world. Most cultured S. lalandi is sold to the Japanese restaurant market for consumption as sashimi and sushi.

This freshwater fish is valuable, especially in Japan where it is also used for canned food, and is specifically grown for aquaculture. Farmed yellowtail is consistently light colored because it is high in fat. Yellowtail fillets can have a dark muscle line along the edge. Cooked meat is white and firm with a sweet, mild flavor. The high oil content gives the flesh a buttery texture.

The fish contains many health-giving nutrients: vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, K, micro- and macro elements, as well as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Hence, it is beneficial in conditions as metabolic disorders, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, high blood pressure. It is also recommended to use for prevention of atherosclerosis. However, yellowtail is very oily and so best consumed in small quantities.

Prime and Safe-to-Eat Hamachi

Enjoy Aji Sushi’s yellowtail, both as sashimi or in sushi and in our other selections. There is no mistaking its buttery texture and value content. We offer only primed and safe to eat hamachi in Issaquah.

Chirashi: A Quick and Easy Way to Enjoy Sushi

What’s in Chirashi Sushi?

Chirashi sushi is a bowl of vinegared sushi rice topped with a bunch of colorful ingredients. The rice is covered with slices of different raw fish. It’s also called “Scattered Sushi” which came around the 18th century along with Maki Sushi. It is generally like a sushi salad. There is no rolling or shaping involved, the ingredients are just scattered or topped on sushi rice. It’s perfect for families, straight from a large serving bowl, or if you are by your lonesome.

In Japan the most popular types of chirashi sushi has no meat, only vegetables, eggs, fried tofu, etc. Usually the ingredients used in chirashi are not used in most other types of sushi like, kamaboko (fish cakes), soboro (meat, egg, or fish), bamboo shoots, lotus root and baby corn.

Other ingredients that go well in it are crab, avocado, carrots, green beans, unagi (eel), omelette slices, tofu or fried tofu, scallions, green beans and bell peppers. A vegetarian version is with simmered shiitake mushrooms, carrots, egg, sugar peas and benishoga or red ginger.

Because of the festive look of chirashi sushi, it is served for celebrating special occasions, such as festivals, birthdays, others. Sakura denbu or seasoned ground codfish, which is sweetened and pinkish in color, is also added to chirashi sushi for its resemblance to pink cherry blossoms. It is popular during spring but is also served year round.

There really is no set recipe for chirashi sushi and the ingredients tend to vary from region to region. It is up to you how you want your chirashi or you leave it up to the chef. Traditionally, it is eaten on Hinamatsuri (Doll’s day or Girl’s day) on March 3; it is said to be a healthy dish for girls.

Celebrating with Chirashi in Issaquah

Enjoy our Chirashi Lunch at Aji Sushi. It’s an all seafood, healthy choice if you are celebrating some occasion. You will love our well-prepared sushi bowl of rice with the following toppings just for lunch: fresh tuna, yellowtail, salmon, albacore tuna, scallop, kampachi, shrimp, octopus and tamago.