Tuesday, 3 April 2007

All the honourable raw fish you can handle

I lived in Japan for 3 years and took to the cuisine like a fish to water, so I get sushi cravings from time to time. The Japanese like to give an honorific "O" prefix to important (honoured) aspects and things in their culture and hence you have "O-ka san" (honourable mother) "O-yu" (honourable hot water - it makes sense when you go to a Japanese hot-springs resort) and of course the honourable "O-sushi". This pretty much sums up the way I feel about sushi.

After Japan I worked in Thailand for two years and finding good sushi in Bangkok was easy, and -This is Thailand! - quite cheap. But being back in Brighton, Britain, for a few months last year was a shock. My 15 pounds an hour English teacher wage would get me about 8-10 pieces of (Yo!) sushi, which would make me about one quarter full. And most of the sushi I ate in "Brighton-by-the-sea" did not look fresh and did not taste right. I didn't go often.

I'm now living in Dalian, North China. It's a city famed for its seafood throughout the land but the Chinese, by and large, do not do raw fish. Maybe it's too Japanese and would stick in a nationalist's craw. Maybe it's because the average Chinese still doesn't like to stray outside of the Chinese kitchen that often. But a few do, and there are also a lot of Japanese living and working here, so sushi can be hunted down. The high end Japanese restaurants in Dalian serve the real McCoy, but still and all they are aimed at Japanese businessmen so they bump up the price...why not? But compared to Britain they are more than reasonable.

It took me a while to find the cheap and cheerful sushi places around town and the best find, without doubt, is on the fifth floor foodcourt (why can't Britain do foodcourts?) at NewMart. It's welcoming, clean, does very decent sushi, and between the hours of 5 and 9 it has an "All you can eat" (tabehodai) sushi buffet for 58 yuan . That's 4 British pounds, and my hourly wage here is 8 pounds an hour.

So you can see that Dalian well and truly trounces Brighton on the "quality-of-living-as- measured-by-a-bellyful-of-O-sushi" benchmark and is just another point to prove how richly deserved is the tag of "Rip-off Britain".

That's all for now honourable reader.

With Respect



Chris said...

Looks good man. Keep the posts coming.


seanthepenman said...

Good to read your seemingly matter-of-fact prose. The trencherman has brought his palate and taste buds to light(en) up another corner of this cold world. keep those words coming.

ChinaLawBlog said...

I think this is probably the best (or at least most relevant for me) cost of living measure yet.

pandapassport said...

Give this place a go:

伊势岛 Yishidao
aka, the place on Huanghe Lu with the big fish out front.

ph: 84620088
address: 580 Huanghe Lu, 黄河路 580号

all you can eat buffet hours:
11am-2pm: 130rmb/person
5pm-10pm: 150rmb/person