Tag Archives: Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

Japanese and Korean Cuisines: World’s Healthiest

Asian Neighbors and Common Cuisine

A US-based global movement named Oxfam reported that not only are Japanese and Korean cuisines two of the healthiest in the world but also are outstanding where healthy eating habits and food availability are concerned. Both have common basic elements, like rice, vegetables, meat and fish, contributing to some of the longest life expectancy in the world.

While Korea is famous for its variety of side dishes, Japan is known for her soups. Both involve slow food cooking generally and are quite unlike the growing fast food trends in the West, even if lifestyles in metro areas have been fast-paced. There is no rushing East Asian food. Even the eating styles are different – Asian dining is about eating together and sharing, not individualistic. Japanese and Korean meals mean variety and customization, there’s something for everyone. In contrast, Western meals are one-menu sit-downs.

Note that the use of chopsticks; they contribute to eating more healthy. You tend to concentrate on the food, slow down and lose some of the weight. Smaller plates not only provide you differing varieties, allow you to soon finish your meal, not necessarily stopping because you’ve already emptied your plate, as Westerners do. In Japan and Korea, you finish when you are not hungry anymore.

Look at what makes these East Asian meals so healthy. Firstly, they use fermentation that keeps the enzymes, vitamins, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids intact. Thanks to their soybean meals, tofu and soymilk for their wealth of iron, calcium and proteins, while staying low in carbs and fats. Vegetables are a major part of Asian diet as well as their vitamin-rich rice.

They use condiments that are low in sugar and fat content. They much prefer nuts and dried fruits for snacks, and not chips and chocolate bars. Finally, helping your weight, health and digestion are Japan and Korea’s natural alcoholic beverages and their much-loved green tea.

Balance is what Japanese and Korean cuisine is all about, a balanced mix of vegetables, protein, and grains, some oils, sauces, and fruits. It is little wonder why theirs are two of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

Experiencing Asian Delights in Issaquah

Our Issaquah sushi restaurant offers Japanese classics with their healthy and tasty portions, complete with their balance mix. Savor authentic Japanese when you dine with us. Also, know that we offer Bibimbap, too, if you are just as passionate for Korean fare.

Why Does Nigiri Sushi Come in Pairs?

Life is better with Two

If you visit a lot of places like our Issaquah sushi restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that nigiri sushi is almost always served in sets of two. Have you ever wondered why Japanese establishments so often serve their nigiri like this?

Nigiri Pairs

Serving nigiri in sets of two started back in the eighteen hundreds. Edomae-zushi, the predecessor of the nigiri sushi we know today, was the common form that sushi took in this time. Such sushi came in the form of a single large, square piece.

These pieces were often too big for most diners to comfortably eat, so people got in the habit of cutting the edomae down the middle into two bite-sized pieces. Over time, restaurants began to serve their sushi way, and the nigiri sushi as we know it was born.

The Secrets of Japanese Grilling

Robata Grilling: Serious Grilling by Japanese Chefs

Just how serious do Japanese chefs get when it comes to grilling? They employ the ancient style of grilling – the tradition of robata. Robata means “fireside cooking” in Japanese, with results that are dramatic and delicious. It’s tradition and history are much longer than Japanese sushi.

Hardwood charcoal are stacked in such a fashion that creates an even heat source. It is devoid of binders and tends to burn hotter than ordinary charcoal, like briquettes. Depending on the tree-source of hardwood, this high-quality charcoal can burn in incredibly high temperatures. For Robata grilling, the white binchotan charcoal is favored for super-hot heat.

There is a stacking method used to avoid big differences in heat distribution across the grill. Hardwood charcoal is stacked Jenga-style, not dumped, creating a tower. The hardwood pieces, picked up by tongs, are arranged in a crosshatch pattern about the size of the meat on skewers. Leave about an inch of space between the meat and the heat, but if it is chicken, the charcoal is about three to four inches from it, which allows the skin to crisp while the chicken fat slowly renders.

Generally, if the charcoal tower is too short the meat won’t cook fast enough, and too tall – the meat will burn. One other detail is to use the hands-on approach, literally using your fingers. Using tongs can bruise the meat and release juices, affecting the overall taste.

This style doesn’t use barbecue sauce, but sauces that heighten the taste of the protein being grilled.
The traditional tare sauce, salty with just enough sweetness, works well with chicken, beef, pork, or seafood. It’s the perfect grilling glaze; specific measurements for every pound of protein.

Savory, Smoky Aromas from Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

Enjoy the smoky flavor of Aji Sushi grilled meats in Issaquah. We are passionate about our grilling to bring you authentic Japanese dishes from our grill to your plate.

Japan’s Most Popular Seaweeds

Seaweed Varieties and Uses

Let’s look at five of Japan’s best loved seaweeds – the most consumed varieties and how they’re used.

Nori (海苔) is the most familiar, a type of red algae that appears green to the eyes. It looks like paper and is used to wrap sushi rolls and onigiri or rice balls. It’s being consumed by ancient Japanese as paste and not until the Edo period in the 1750’s did they discover the paste can be formed into paper-like strips and taste as delicious.

Nori is also a popular seasoning in ramen soups and noodles, sprinkled atop some dishes, and can even be eaten as snacks. Aonori (青海苔) is blue green nori, actually a different species of sea algae used to flavour many dishes. It is usually available as a dried and powdered ingredient. When sprinkled over food, it releases a very powerful aroma and brings out the flavors dishes like yakisoba noodles, octopus balls, tempura (shrimps), and also used to flavor Japanese potato chips.

Then there’s the Konbu (昆布) a sea kelp which grows in long strips and is the main ingredient for making dashi soup (stock) where its dried form is boiled into dashi. Konbu is also pickled in vinegar, chopped into fine strips, or made into tsukudani, a chilled side dish, or as powdered konbu made into Japanese tea. Hijiki (鹿尾菜) is one more seaweed, a type of brown algae but looks black and usually sold dry. It is added to fish or vegetables, eaten as side dish, and flavors sushi.

Finally, the Wakame (若布), also a sea kelp like konbu, but much more tender and succulent. It is a brown algae, even though it is bright green. It goes with root vegetable, added to miso soup, salads or eaten by itself. It is also a very rich source of Folic acid.

Classic Dishes Flavored by Seaweeds

Enjoy Japan’s popular seaweeds in your classic favorites at Aji Sushi, your Japanese restaurant in Issaquah. Have seaweed in our salads, sushi and miso soup and look no further than Aji Sushi.

The Terrific Bluefin Tuna

A Million Dollar Fish: Pacific Bluefin Tuna

The terrific bluefin tuna is an apex predator from the moment of hatching, feeding on salmon, mackerel, swordfish, saury, sharks, squid, anchovies and other tunas as well. Built for speed and agility, adult bluefins are just too big and fast for killer whales and sharks to catch; bursting at 30mph speed. They roam the Pacific Ocean from East Asia over to the Northwest coast of the U.S., actually thriving in temperate zones, being somewhat warm-blooded. They can regulate their body temperatures to suit the surrounding waters, hence, they are far-reaching and can survive in both cold and warm open seas. Hunting by sight, they have one of the sharpest vision of any bony fish.

The Pacific bluefin is large and torpedo-shaped with retractable side fins, many reaching 10 feet and weighing 1,000 pounds. Considered mature at 5 years of age, some can live 25 years but averaging 15. They spawn in the area near the south of Japan and the Philippines from April to June, and commercially fished from May to October. They migrate over 6,000 nautical miles to the eastern Pacific, eventually returning to their birth waters to spawn. Highly prized for their meat, about 80% of Pacific bluefins caught worldwide is destined for the sushi restaurants of Japan.

Eaten raw, the bluefin is very tasty due to its high fat content. However, it is not advisable to cook it as it leaves a fishy taste and odor. There is no canned tuna, except for albacore and yellowfin tuna as all bluefin tunas are mainly caught for the sashimi and sushi market. Annually, at auction markets, bigtime restaurateurs pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the first catch of the season, for publicity and good luck.

Prime Sashimi or Sushi Bluefin in Issaquah

You will love our fresh and delicious bluefin tuna – as only our esteemed chef can prepare for you. Visit us at Aji Sushi, your Issaquah sushi restaurant, and experience true Japanese classics in casual atmosphere.

Facts You Probably didn’t know about Japanese Food

Japanese etiquette, chopsticks, and more…

The popularity of Japanese dishes embraces the whole known world and the cuisine is not only praised for its beautiful presentations, but also its unique flavors and tastes. A few exciting facts about Japanese food make for great conversation at the table. Aji Sushi spills a few for your delights.

Ever heard of the Japanese slurping their food while dining? It’s not bad manners to them at all. It’s a sign that you appreciate the food served to you, if you slurp. Besides, you want to cool down some hot foods before you start eating them. Another similar tidbit is this: do not leave your chopsticks straight and upright in your rice bowl. It’s not good manners. They only do that if it is in memory of a deceased loved one or is a sign of impending doom.

Did you know that you’ll find the world’s most expensive fish in Japan? Almost 80% of bluefin tuna caught in the world is used in sushi and sashimi, especially in exotic dishes. Someone paid a hefty $1.7million for the first catch of the season last 2013, the highest ever. Now as far as seafoods go, Japan is the world’s largest market for fresh, frozen, and processed seafood selling over 700,000 tonnes of seafood each year. Topping it all, the country’s food has been adjudged as one of the Top 3 best cuisines in the world by the United Nations cultural organization. The principles of preparation and eating of Japanese dishes have proved vital to the survival of Japan’s traditional culture and holistic way of life.

Sushi and Sashimi Cravings in Issaquah

When you come visit our Issaquah sushi restaurant, know that we only serve some of the finest and authentic Japanese delicacies this side of Washington. We keep tradition well amid a casual, comfortable setting, one of the best ways to enjoy sushi and sashimi is Issaquah.

The Forgotten Rules of Sushi

Are you making any mistakes in your sushi-eating routine?  The answer may surprise you.  Even if you’re a veteran of the sushi menu at our Issaquah Japanese restaurant, try reading through this list of simple sushi-eating pointers to see if there’s some way to enhance your dining experience:

  • Sushi is a finger-food!  A lot of people feel more comfortable using chopsticks or even a fork, particularly with some of the messier fusion-style rolls, but it’s perfectly okay to eat sushi with your hands.

  • It’s best to eat an entire piece of sushi in one bite.  This is a good way to enjoy the full combination of flavors in the sushi, and also a good way to keep the sushi from falling apart in your hands.

  • Sushi generally comes with a side of thinly sliced ginger.  Some make the mistake of using this as a condiment, but it is actually there to cleanse the palate between sushi.

  • If you’re eating nigiri sushi, put it into your mouth upside-down so that your tongue is touching the fish instead of the rice.

  • Go easy on the soy sauce!  This can dissolve the sushi rice that is holding your sushi together, and it can also be seen as an insult to your chef.  If you’re eating nigiri sushi, remember to dip the fish in the sauce, and not the rice.

  • Be careful with your wasabi!  It can easily overpower the rest of the sushi.

What is Uni?

When you visit our Issaquah sushi restaurant, you have the opportunity of trying the fine delicacy that the Japanese know as uni sushi. This is a type of nigiri sushi made from the edible part of the sea urchin. Fans of this sushi love its creamy consistency and the light, sweet taste, which has made uni a high-demand dish throughout the globe.

The meat on uni sushi is often identified as the sea urchin’s roe, or eggs. However, it is actually the organs that produce the eggs or milt. Because of this, some people consider uni sushi to be an aphrodisiac. Though there may not be much scientific support for this claim, it stands that uni is a rare and delightful treat for the avid sushi lover. Try it out for yourself at Aji Sushi!

What Does it Take to Prepare Sashimi?

Many people don’t think that there is much to sashimi. After all, isn’t it just a small, uncooked piece of fish? It may seem like anyone could prepare such a dish, but the art of making sashimi is one that itamae need to practice for a long time before they can do it properly.

The challenge with sashimi is that it needs to be cut with exact precision. It’s simple enough to cut a normal-sized fish fillet, but the tender fish flesh can break easily on a smaller scale. It takes a lot of training for an itamae to apply a knife with the delicate touch it takes to cut the fish in a visually-appealing fashion.

On top of this, it takes training for an itamae to select a proper cut of fish for the sashimi, and know how to best bring out its flavor. For example, certain parts of the tuna fish are best cut in thick pieces, while the more powerful tuna belly should generally be cut thinner.

If you would like to experience the subtle art of sashimi for yourself, come and visit us at Aji Sushi in Issaquah. We have a long list of sashimi favorites to choose from!

Will Miso Raise My Blood Pressure?

Japan’s distinctive miso boasts a long list of health benefits. The country’s heavy consumption of the dish may play a big part in much of their strong health record. The only real drawback in many people’s minds is the high levels of sodium found in this fermented soy product. A single teaspoon of miso could have between 200 and 300 milligrams of this element, known to raise blood pressure and increase one’s risk of heart disease. So, should you avoid miso?

Surprisingly enough, it would seem that miso does not have the effect on your health that its high sodium levels would indicate. In a study, researchers gave miso to one group of test animals, feeding another group an amount of salt with an equal concentration of sodium. It was found that the animals that ate the miso did not exhibit an increase in blood pressure. Later studies on humans demonstrated a similar effect, finding that people who regularly consume miso actually enjoy superior cardiovascular health.

It’s hard to know why this is the case, but the results cannot be argued with. Come and try some of our miso at our sushi restaurant in Issaquah today!