A late update on Akari’s Sashimi Session with chef きよた先生 (Kiyota-Sensei),
Hostelhelpers ゆう (Yuu) and me (Tobi), and Akari’s long term guest and Hollywood
director Andrew L Phillips.
We went in the early morning hours to Nagasaki’s local しんだいく(Shindaiku)- market to get the freshest fishes for our planned Sashimi Session in Nagasaki’s International Hostel Akari. Chef Kiyota-san, who also works and stays at the hostel, is a talented young ;) japanese cook, actually living in working in Vancouver. However, from time to time the quiet and laid back charm of Nagasaki draws him back. Born here, he knows the place, its people and of course its cuisine really well. Guiding us to the market, he explained the most important things Gajins should know about fish; why Nagasaki’s Sushi is among the best in Japan and how fresh fish should look, smell and taste like. In the small little fish shop we were greeted with a friendly: “Hello, good fishii!” and an spanish “Hola”, since the owner spoke no english but a bit of spanish.
We bought fresh さば (Saba-Mackerel), あじ (Aji - Horse Mackerel; right picture) and いわし (Iwashi - Sardine; right picture) for different kinds of Sashimi and stored them shortly before preparing the Session.
We learned a lot about cutting techniques, differences in japanese knives and european ones, and that fresh fish should always feel like “young ladies” not like “old women” ;)
Then Chef Kiyota-San gave us one slow example of how to start cutting the さば (leftside), before Yuu and I tried our luck. Little by little Kiyota-san explained and showed us the different steps of parting the different fishes, cooking the rice correctly (which is truly a science for itself) and finally adding a little bit of wasabi to
finish those small pieces of art. Honestly said, its truly hard work!
We learned many interesting things about fishes, sushi and japanese ladies, had a great and really うまい (umai) sashimi dinner. But above all, and that is also what Chef Kiyota-san said, the most important things is that we had loads of fun and enjoyed cooking together.