Monday, May 26, 2008

A list of sushi by seasons : Whats in Season Now

Well all it's getting close to actually being summer here in calgary even though it feels like Vancouver these days. So with the change of weather, the wanting to go out and the students actually having money I thought it would be a good idea to let you all know whats in season. And no I'm not just going to tell you whats available over the summer but all the seasons. Here it goes.

Whats Available all year?

Toro (Tuna)
Bincho (albacore)
Chu-Toro (Medium tuna)
Akami maguro (Red meat tuna)
Karei (Halibut, lemon sole, type of flounder) Rare
Aji (Horse mackerel) Type of small/shiny fish
Ebi (Black tiger shrimp) Cooked
Botan ebi (Spot prawn)
Ama ebi(Sweet shrimp)
Hotategai (Scallop)
Ankimo (Monkfish liver) Easy to aquire but might not be on the menu. Ask your chef about it.
Unagi (Fresh water eel bbq)
Ika (squid)
Uni (Sea urchin) Spiky fish that only the ovaries are edible
Tako (Octopus)
Inari (Tofu pouch filled with rice)
Ikura (salmon roe) Because of the pickling process it's available outside of the salmons summer mating season.
Tamago (Light sweet omelete)
Tobbiko, Tobioo-noko (Flying fish roe)
Masay (Smelt Roe)

The pieces that I've just listed make up the majority of what I usually see on the menu in Calgary. Don't let that get you down though, always remember that even if you don't see it on the menu it never hurts to ask the chef about it.

Summer (June - August)
Kan Pachi (Amberjack)
Shima Aji (Yellow jack)
Suzuki (Sea Bass)
Hiramasa (King fish) This piece is very similar to yellowtail thats best in the winter months
Kohada (Gizzard shad)
Shakko (Mantis shrimp) This is a rare piece. If you manage to find it over the summer you will be happy because they will be filled with eggs.
Anago (Sea eel, Canger eel)

Next, Fall (September - November)
Shine Saba (Pickled makerel) Fall - Winter months
Tairagai (Razor Clam) Also good in spring
Sake (Salmon)

Winter (December - February)
Otoro (Really fatty tuna) the cold makes these fish fattier than normal
Hamachi, buti, inada ( Yellowtail) available all year but best in the winter
Madai (Red snapper) Winter to spring months
Hirame (Sole/flounder) Winter to spring months fatter and bigger though hard to find
Akagai (red clam) winter to spring
Hokkigai (Surf Clam) Winter to spring
Torigay (Cockle) Winter to spring
Matsubaguni, zuwai gani (Snow Crab) If your having a california roll this is probably the type of crab used (If not imitation)
Kuzunoko (Herring roe)

Spring (March-May)
Mirugai(Geoduck, horse neck clam or giant clam) February to June
Katsuo (Bonito) Easier to find on the west coast outside of Japan. Also best from February to June

Tarako (cod,pollock roe) Looks like a tongue and is not very popular outside of japan.
Komochi konbu, kazunoko konbu, komo chi wakame (Herring roe on kelp and seaweed) Delicacy in japan but rare in North America
Soft shell or blue crab. This type of crab is hard to find outside of North America
Dungeness Crab. Mainly found on the Pacific coast of North America
Awabi (Abalone) Protected shellfish thats cultured. This is the type of clam that produces pearls.

There you go. Hope this helps you on your quest of expanding your sushi experience.
Mata ne!

Information found in this post was published.
Sources Sited

Suetsugu, Bobby. Samurai Sushi:A Field Guide To Identifying And Appreciating The World's 4Most Unique Wraps, Rolls, And Sashimi. becker&mayer! Books. Washington. 2005

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sushi Hikari Calgary 320 16th Avenue NW

I almost hesitate to let such an awesome new restaurant be truly discovered. But it's the least I could do for the exemplary service and beautiful fresh array of foods. Hikari is located on 16th ave and 2nd st NW in Calgary, Where Mamas Italian restaurant used to reside. The interior transformation makes for an odd fusion. Classic pillars and fireplaces, European cabinets and stone floors right beside rice paper doors, katana swords and lanterns. More impressive than their use of the space is their huge menu. Their menu is comprised of a multitude of both Japanese and Korean dishes. For a new restaurant I was surprised to see how large their menu was.

I was again shocked when we were served a marvelous arrangement of appetizers, free of charge. There was a little starter bonito broth and rice noodles, mashed potatoes, fried fish in sauce and sesame seeds, potato pancakes and lightly boiled kelp with spicy sauce. It was all amazing. The mashed was light and chunky with vegetables. The Broth was also very light but tasty none the less, it was a nice balance between soy, bonito and kelp. The seaweed was a little rubbery but I didn't mind it, the spicy sauce that went with it also gave a real zing.

Lately I have been compiling lists of what is in season when and I ask when I go out if they have some of these specialty items. The reason for this is sometimes the special pieces aren't on the menu and you have to ask the chef for it. Remember though when asking do not ask what is freshest, ask what is in season or what is the specialty. Asking about freshness implies that it's not all fresh and thats an insult. Sadly I haven't been able to find most of what I'm looking for. Instead we went with some red maguru (red medium fatty tuna) Hamachi(yellow tail) a piece of tamago for myself and a tuna roll. Their tamago was surprisingly good. It was nearly gray which is weird because most places have the off yellow tamago. It also was not overly sweet which was nice. As a bonus I didn't have to ask for wasabi on my pieces.

To mix it up a little we figured we would try their signature roll called the Hibiki Roll. It was a layered delicacy with flying fish roe on top of thinly sliced avocado with shrimp tempura and cucumber in the middle. The mix between crunchy, poppy and smooth worked out very well. The textures flowed well from one to the next. This was also the first time I had a crunchy unagi maki which is simply bbq eel with cucumber and sesame seeds on the outside. The bbq sauced eel was very tasty and not overpowered by cucumber nor by the seeds.

And when we were stuffed and near finished we were suprised yet again by desert! Can you believe it? It was a simple orange, fancyfully cut and presented. We ate it up happily.

To just reiterate quickly. Amazing service, bonus dishes, great food, awesome atmosphere, good location, unbeatable selection, very agreeable pricing ,etc. I can't actually think of any complaints for this place so I'm going to give Sushi Hikari a straight 10 out of 10!

I hope you enjoyed this, Mata ne! Keep those chop sticks sharp!