“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who don’t like sushi, and those that pretend to.”
I don’t know where the quote came from or what the exact words are, but it’s how I felt about sushi for a long time. I’m not going to get into how Westerners have completely bastardized the cuisine and the culture around proper sushi. I just didn’t care for it.
When The Man first started dragging me out to sushi places, I put up token resistance. His family loves sushi and I couldn’t NOT go. He started shoving sushi at me with the same results as when you try to make a cat take a pill. Fortunately I was persuaded to try wakame salad early on, or I’m sure there would have been bloodshed and tears eventually.
Ironically, wakame is a kelp/sea weed type of plant, and is in the top 100 of the list of the world’s most invasive species. Sea farmers have been cultivating it for hundreds of years, but it’s now showing up in waterways around the world that it should not be in, and it’s freaking hard to get rid of. I guess we’re supposed to eat our way out of this dilemma. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, but also high in sodium. Many Japanese and Korean dishes incorporate wakame, and it’s commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Wakame salad is a very loose term for almost anything combined with wakame. It usually has a dressing involving soy sauce, sesame oil, and/or rice wine vinegar. But again, with the bastardization of traditional sushi and the homogenization of ‘Asian cuisine’, wakame salad can include kale, cucumbers, scallions, ginger, garlic, shallots, carrots, and on and on and on.
I love the simplest version possible, so I prefer getting it at Ichiban [pictured] or Chopstix. Summer rolls, wakame salad, and miso soup makes a simple yet delicious meal in itself. Finish it off with inarizushi, a pocket of fried tofu stuffed with slightly sweet rice. Mmmmmmm.
The Man is a pescetarian (yes, this is a real word), so our sushi dinners are where he goes a bit crazy with the fish. Vegetarian sushi isn’t quite as exciting to me, but I have found I crave the wakame salad incessantly. Crispy, crunchy, slightly sweet-tart-salty. And bright green like you’ve never seen.
I’m still not a sushi addict, but I don’t fight it like I used to. Mostly because The Man is a match for my stubborn streak, and also quite convincing about getting me to try crazy foods. So he won the war with wakame salad.