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The closet non-sushi eater

Jenna Shevel realises that the obsession with raw fish is here to stay and she'll be 'sushi-shamed' if she doesn't convert soon.

by: Jenna Shevel | 14 Sep 2007

It has recently come to my attention that I am the new social outcast.

Why I ask you? No, I do not smell or have any weird habits and I have been told that I am a rather entertaining dinner guest. It seems the problem is I do not eat sushi, shock of horrors.

Since the sushi craze has swept South Africa, life has become somewhat difficult. In the early days, when people were just getting into sushi, the secret was quite safe with many people still being scared by 'raw fish'. In the last few years anyone who's anyone it seems, is obsessed with the stuff.

For a non-sushi eater it seems that everyone out there is on an eternal search for the best or cheapest sushi. Sushi culture has taken over. It always comes up in conversations, where do you get the best sushi, where is the best special, the debate about high vs. low sodium soy, salmon roses with caviar or sesame seeds or whether Japanese mayonnaise is actually traditional fare?

Sushi Shamed
Now when the typical "lets go for sushi tonight" comes up, I have found myself uttering "sure, that sounds great", forgetting to mention the fact that I do not eat it.

Yes, I was ashamed. What is life coming to when people are being sushi shamed?
Well here it is, it's not that I am scared of raw fish or that I do not like fish. I am big fan of all things ocean-related. Prawns, calamari, mussels, smoked salmon is so delicious. I even eat anchovy paste and tarmasolata, you cannot get anymore fishy than that. I simply do not like the taste of nori and am not an avocado fan at all.

I have tried it and did not enjoy the experience, and believe you me I have tried to like it. I am rather fond of other Japanese delicacies, beef tepanyaki, miso soup, noodles, spring rolls, prawn tempura... all absolutely delicious!

It may seem overboard to feel like a social-outcast because I am not a slave to sushi, but it can make life quite tricky. I cannot ever attend sushi and wine evenings (well I could but just get horribly drunk) or the "girls making their own sushi night", my gastronomic outings are now sushi motivated. I have now become labelled a "difficult eater" (which by other non-sushi related counts I am not at all) and my one dear friend even went as far to call me a philistine, the cheek!

When choosing a restaurant to eat at, I often feel that I am a hindrance as we have to go somewhere that serves other foods besides sushi to the annoyance of some people. I have felt the condescension of the sushi chefs behind the sushi conveyor belt (called a Kaiten) looking at me and wondering what is wrong with this girl, why is she not eating the sushi delicacies.

It seems the sushi obsession is here to stay but so either I just get on the "Kaiten" or stand my ground. Either way this will be my crossed chopsticks to bear.

- None


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