I know I have told you enough about the tantrums world throws on a vegetarian; but eating a spoonful of wasabi was just the beginning.
Japan is a country I admire for things like perseverance, technology and innovation. One thing about Japan that makes me show a ‘monkey–face’ is food. When I say ‘Japanese Food’, what comes to you mind?
When I landed in a foreign country, I had a very open mind, free of inhibitions. My friends were alike which made it all the more fun. We were a ‘foodie-gang’ who never hesitated to travel miles and miles to get a nice cup of coffee and banana bread. The German Bakery was one such. It wasn’t limited to coffee though; we wanted to try that one thing which people go gaga over, that one thing which is so popular around the world – Sushi.
I was not certain there is a vegetarian version of Sushi until one of my friends mentioned it. She was so excited to tell me about Sushi and its health benefits and how yummy it tasted. She also mentioned that it is the best food for those who are trying to cut down on calories. Hmmm!!! I was nailed that very moment, so typical of me. I wanted to be a Sushi girl!
|The Sushi Girl|
I was excited. Versha - my friend and I went to the Central park after work. It is a lovely place to hang out and shrug off the day’s stress and stretch a little. We usually go to Gloria Jeans near the park and get some coffee. That particular day, we were starving and we decided to go to a restaurant. We went ahead to taste the ultimate Japanese food, for the first time ever. It was a Sushi restaurant, the name I don't quite remember which is conveniently located next to the Central Park. A very popular place among the Japanese in Sydney, I reckoned.
The place was different, to say the least. It didn’t have any tables or chairs like the usual restaurants. It had a single-high-round-rotating table. Interesting, we thought and gaily went and sat on the bar stools next to the table. The aroma was not something I had imagined. We saw people religiously eating the tiny, round, cylindrical stuff. I asked Versha if someone would wait on us. But then, when I zoomed in my focus on the dishes that were moving around, the idea looked precarious. I immediately called out “Excuse me?! “.
Picture Source : Google Images
Out came 3 neatly dressed Japanese chefs. One started molding the rice, the other stuffed some pinkish stuff inside the rice and the next wrapped the sides with a blackish cover and cut it into small pieces all even in size. They offered 3 perfectly round sushi’s to me. I held my both my hands out in front, in a reflex and said “no, no, I want vegetarian”. As usual, they looked puzzled. I said “only veggies… hmm... No meat…no ‘m e a t’ please“. I swallowed some air and continued “no fish”. One of them nodded, “ah ha..! Vegetharien?!! Okey”. Finally, they got it. I sank on the stool and waited for the disaster to happen. They started rolling and stuffing and molding again, in a perfect fashion. This time, they spared just the pink stuff. Instead of that, they added a mashed green thingy, I had no idea what that was. I asked them what it was and they told me it was vegetarian sushi made with rice and avocado. I asked “What is that black thing you wrap it with?” They were exhausted answering my questions. One of them was clearly irritated; he answered “sea weed, very good… very vegetarian”.
Picture Source : Google Images
Relieved, I took the sushi near my mouth. The pungent smell of the sea weed was nauseating. I stopped short of biting it. Versha asked me to take the sea weed off and have the rice and avocado. I undressed the sushi and ate a spoonful of rice and avocado. I was tired and my tummy was growling. Versha being a meat eater herself couldn’t stand the smell of Sushi. So, we both decided to have a mushroom soup after all this and left the place happily.
I had 3 Café mochas that day to make up for this Sushi catastrophe and I learnt I’d make my own food wherever I live.
Thank you Sydney, for the experience and also for teaching me how to eat with Chop Sticks!
Next in the series will be a post with pictures of some of the places I visited in Sydney.