A Guide to Different Types of Sushi
Do you know the different types of sushi?
Before I started working at Miku, I only knew of two types of sushi: maki and nigiri. I was then introduced by our chefs to a whole other of sushi that I never even knew existed. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of sushi that come from all areas of Japan, in a variety of shapes and sizes. The history of sushi is an interesting evolution of what started out to be a very simple dish. Originally, it was created as a way to preserve food, where the fish was placed inside rice so the fish could ferment and be kept longer. The fermentation process gave the rice a sharp, sweet taste that went perfectly with the fish. Eventually, the idea of adding vinegar to the rice developed and the flavor of a three day long process could be acheived instantly. As the popularity of sushi hit the coast, nori and other specialty ingredients were eventually added. It no longer became about food preservation, it became a culinary art form. Perhaps, the style of sushi will change again in the next 100 years but here is a simple guide to the most common types of sushi found in restaurants:
Nigiri sushi meaning ‘hand-pressed sushi’ is one of the most popular types of sushi. It consists of an oval mound of sushi rice that the chefs presses between their hand that is served with a variety of toppings. A sushi chef has to go through extensive training to make the ‘perfect nigiri,’ it is all applying the right of amount of pressure, to the perfect amount of rice. A Miku nigiri must try: Premium Aburi, Premium Nigiri and Premium Zuke.
Maki sushi or rolled sushi is a cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu. It is generally wrapped in seaweed but other ingredients can be used as well. Maki sushi can come in different forms. Another popular form of maki is hoso maki or thin rolls with nori on the outside and usually containing only one ingredient. Temaki or handroll is a large cone-shaped piece of nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A Miku maki must try: Red Wave roll, Pacific Roll and Oxford Roll.
Oshi Sushi, also known as box sushi is a pressed sushi from the Kansai Region, a favorite and specialty of Osaka. A block-shaped piece is formed using a mold, called an oshibako. The chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the toppings, covers them with sushi rice, and then presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectilinear block. The block is removed from the mold and then cut into bite-sized pieces. A Miku must try: Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi, Saba Oshi Sushi and Ebi Oshi Sushi.
Chirashi sushi translates to “scattered sushi” and is served in a sushi bowl. It consists of a bed of vinegar rice with the ingredients, most often with sashimi placed on top. A Miku must try: Kaisen Chriashi Don
Onigiri also known as omusubi or rice ball, is formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori. Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume or salted salmon. You will find various fillings and flavors being sold in almost all convenience stores in Japan.
WE Best of the City 15th Annual Reader’s Choice
Thank you Vancouverites who voted for us in the Best Japanese category in the Westender! It’s been three amazing years since our opening and we are honored to be recognized by the people of Vancouver and to be in the same category as Tojo’s and Guu. Congratulations to all of the winners! We look forward to showing you our newest project, Minami, opening this summer.
A heartfelt thank you to Vancouver and the Westender!
Valentine’s Day in Japan
Valentine’s day was first introduced to Japan in 1936 by Morozoff Ltd., a confectionery and cake company. The advertisement was originally aimed at foreigners but was eventually followed suit by everyone. In 1953, Morozoff began promoting the giving of heart shaped chocolates and by the 1960s, Valentine’s day became a popular mainstream holiday in Japan.
The main difference between the celebration of Valentine’s Day in Japan versus North America, is that the women are the ones that gives the gifts. This custom is said to have originated from a translation error of a chocolate-company executive during the initial campaigns . The gifts are divided into three types: giri choco (obligatory chocolate), honmei choco (chocolate for the man the woman is serious about) and tomo choco (chocolate for the woman’s female friends) Giri choco is given by women to their superiors at work as well as to other male co-workers. It is not unusual for a woman to buy 20 to 30 boxes of this type of chocolate for distribution around the office. The most important aspect of this holiday is about giving the right amount of chocolate to each person. Chocolate companies make half their annual sales during this time of the year.
In the 1980s the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association launched a successful campaign to make March 14 a “reply day”, where men are expected to return the favor to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day, calling it White Day. According to the official website the color white was chosen because it’s the color of purity, evoking “pure, sweet teen love”, and because it’s also the color of sugar.
Men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than the gifts they received. Not returning the gift is perceived as the man placing himself in a position of superiority, even if excuses are given. Returning a present of equal value is considered as a way to say that you are ending the relationship. Originally only chocolate was given, but now the gifts of jewelry, accessories, clothing, flowers are common. Sometimes the term sanbai gaeshi, literally translated to “triple the return” is used to describe the generally recited rule that the return gift should be two to three times the cost of the Valentine’s gift.
The typical romantic “date night” associated with Valentine’s Day in North America, is celebrated on Christmas Eve in Japan.
A Message From the Miku Team…
Three years ago, owner Seigo Nakamura brought his family restaurant business of nearly six decades across the globe from Miyazaki, Japan to Vancouver. In 2008, Miku restaurant opened the doors to the public specializing in Aburi or flame-seared sushi. Now, just a few short years later, we are very grateful to have earned a reputation amongst Vancouverites as ‘the place to go for Aburi sushi.’ We have grown and developed from a small organization to a company with over 50 employees, including a small corporate team to handle our back-end operations. Our success since opening has been a dream come true and we have all of you to thank for it.
Expansion was never an ‘if’ but only a matter of when and where. When the opportunity of a spot in Yaletown arose, we knew it was the right place and time. We are honored to take over the lease at Goldfish Seafood and Chops, a place that was well loved by many Vancouverites. Bud Kanke has been nothing but supportive and his guidance and advice has proved invaluable to the team.
Miku’s new sister restaurant, Minami, is scheduled to open early this Summer. Minami is the name of Seigo’s youngest daughter and when written in Japanese; Minami symbolically means ‘a beautiful wave.’ This is to follow the footsteps of his first venture in North America, Miku which is the name of his eldest daughter, meaning ‘a beautiful sky.’ Minami will be the younger, more relaxed sister of Miku while still focusing on our Aburi brand.
Our corporate philosophy, ningenmi, is a term to describe the belief that success can only be achieved when it is built upon the passion and pride from each individual embracing it at heart. What we keep in mind on a daily basis is the philosophy that ‘to bring joy into someone’s life, joy will follow in our life.’ Our goal is to offer a great dining experience to each of our guests and we do this with our whole heart everyday.
We are honored to be a part of such a vibrant neighborhood and are excited to showcase our love for Aburi style cuisine and most importantly, our passion for great service and people to the Yaletown community. Seigo believes when surrounded by the right people and environment the world will present itself with limitless opportunities. Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to open Minami Restaurant, we look forward to celebrating with you on opening day.
For any updates on the progress of Minami, keep checking back on our blog!
Will you be our Valentine?
Valentine’s Day Dinner $110 per couple
First Course > Kaisen Platter For Two
spot prawn with uni aemono
hirame carpaccio, yuzu strawberry sauce
fresh oyster, ikura oroshi ponzu
maguro and kanpachi sashimi
Second Course > Sushi Platter For Two
aburi salmon oshi sushi, oxford roll, aburi ebi oshi sushi, hamachi aburi, saba aburi (10 pieces)
Entree > Yasai Maki Sablefish
pan seared sablefish stuffed with shrimp, shiitake mushrooms and asparagus, creamed spinach, shrimp bisque sauce, yuzu miso foam
Soy Braised Beef Short Rib and Aburi Kobe Beef Duo
yukon gold potato purée, sautéed kale, wasabi brown butter soy
Dessert > Red Berry Tart For Two
cookie crust, dark chocolate and toasted coconut cream, strawberry pâté, chocolate sauce served with house made raspberry sorbet
Minami To Open This Summer
Miku’s Sister Restaurant to arrive in Yaletown this Summer; Goldfish Seafood & Chops says goodbye
Goldfish thanks diners for years of loyal patronage
Vancouver, BC – Aburi Restaurants Canada Ltd, operating as Miku Restaurant, announces it will take over the lease of Goldfish Seafood & Chops, located at 1118 Mainland Street. A new restaurant with a different concept, named Minami, is expected to open in Summer 2012. Goldfish’s last day is Sunday, February 5, 2012, after completion of Dine Out Vancouver.
Miku is a celebrated Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, and is popular with both residents and tourists visiting the city. It is known for innovating the Aburi or sear-flamed style of sushi, which is the act of applying fire directly on the fish to enhance the natural flavours. This technique, paired with specialty sauces and non-traditional Japanese ingredients make the perfect complement to the unique taste of fish.
“We look forward to expanding the Miku brand in one of Vancouver’s most vibrant neighbourhoods and bringing Aburi to the Yaletown community in Summer of this year,” explains Takuya Motohashi, Vice President and Executive Chef of Aburi Restaurants Canada Ltd. “Bud Kanke is a legend in the restaurant business. It has been a pleasure working with him on finalizing the details.”
Kanke Seafood Restaurants has founded, opened, and operated 11 restaurants in the past 40 years. Kanke, who is now 72, is contemplating retirement. To assist staff and management with as smooth a transition as possible, the company is providing employees with a generous severance allowance.
“We wish to thank our many diners who have enjoyed their guest experience and supported and frequented Goldfish over the years,” says Bud Kanke, Proprietor of Kanke Seafood Restaurants Ltd. “I am very proud of our Goldfish Team and what we have achieved when we first introduced Yaletown to West Coast seafood cuisine with Pacific Rim flavours in 2007. It has been a great run.”
Kanke adds, “It is time to turn over the reins to the young passionate restaurateurs who can take the Vancouver restaurant experience to the next level. Mr. Motohashi is such a person. I wish him and Miku the ultimate of success in Yaletown.”
We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to Bud Kanke and entire Goldfish Seafood & Chops team. Bud’s support and guidance through out the process has been invaluable.
A heart felt thank you goes out to all our valued guests for your continued patronage, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you. For frequent updates about our new project be sure to keep checking our blog!
A Dish That Tells our Story: Chicken Nanban
Lightly coated and fried chicken breast dipped in nanban vinegar, house made tartar sauce, organic cabbage salad, basil dressing.
Every dish on our menu tells a story but there is one in particular that is the most significant in our hearts. Chicken Nanban is a dish that has been on our menu since our doors first opened to the public in 2008. The recipe and presentation has remained untouched through out the years. As well as being one of the most ordered items on our menu, it is also our general manager, Tony Albertson’s all time favorite dish.
What’s so special about this dish, is the connection it has to Miku’s roots and history. Our sister company, Tora Corporation (which currently operates 8 restaurants) is located in Miyazaki Japan, the second largest poultry raising prefecture in the nation. Chicken Nanban is a dish that originated in Miyazaki prefecture in the southern island of Kyushu back in the 1950s. It loosely translates to “Southern Barbarian” referring to the history of this dish, which was adapted from the Portuguese escabeche, where fried fish were pickled in vinegar for long sea voyages. Early Portuguese sailors brought this to Japan and nanban-zuke, a method of preserving horse mackerel become popular. Eventually, the technique was modified by using chicken and the dish was born. Chicken Nanban is Miyazaki’s culinary claim to fame and if you ever visit the city, you MUST try this dish. It is the soul food of Miyazaki and a taste of comfort for a lot of Miku team members, especially owner, Seigo Nakamura. Bringing this dish from his hometown and introducing it on the Miku menu was a dream come true. It symbolizes his first expansion from Japan and his passion for food and his own culture. Not only does this dish hold a lot of meaning, it is a culinary creation that is truly delicious.
**Special thanks to Sherman of http://www.shermansfoodadventures.com for the picture of Chicken Nanban.
From Server to Actor: Amy Hall-Cummings
Most of our guests are familiar with one of our servers, Amy Hall-Cummings but probably don’t know much about her other talent — acting. She’s been actively and passionately pursuing her acting career since she was a little girl and is now truly living her dream (we are so proud of her!). From now until December 31st, Amy is playing part of Gateway Theater’s production of The Sound of Music and tickets are still available, so make sure to get them here. We thought we would share with you a few Q&A’s about her journey into acting.
> When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?
I think I’ve always known that I wanted to be an actor. I was that kid who wandered around the house singing and putting on shows for my family to watch. I’m very lucky that my family has always been supportive of my dreams. Acting is really the only thing that I ever saw myself doing.
What was the first show you ever did?
The first “show” I was involved in was a Christmas pageant at the local church. I played an angel in the angel chorus, we sang a few songs. That was my grand acting debut. My first large, serious role came at the end of high school when I played Maria in “West Side Story”. It was one of those special productions that don’t come along very often where everyone truly loves the show and works together beautifully. That was the production that solidified in my mind that I wanted to be an actor.
> Tell me about your role in Sound of Music.
In The Sound of Music I play the role of Elsa Schraeder, the Baroness. She’s the millionairess from Vienna who is set to marry the Captain until he meets and falls in love with Maria. It’s an interesting character to play. She acts as a kind of foil in the play against the Captain and Maria’s relationship. She’s also not the most loveable character, but interestingly enough she’s not as nasty as she is in the movie. In the movie she’s the one who drives Maria away from the house, she also mentions sending the kids to boarding school. None of that happens in the play. She’s not the most likeable character and as an audience member you know that the Captain and Maria should end up together, but I think the audience genuinely feels for Elsa when she leaves at the end brokenhearted and alone. It’s been an interesting journey to discover who this woman is.
> What do you love about theatre work?
There is something truly amazing about standing out vulnerable in front of an audience with no cameras or cuts or editing rooms in between you and having that pure connection. If you screw something up onstage you have to deal with it, there are no take-backs. I love that the audience is just as much a part of the performance as you are and every night the show is a new living breathing organism. It’s an incredible feeling sharing that intimacy.
> What would be your dream role?
That is a really hard question. I’m lucky enough to have played one of them already, which is Maria in West Side Story. I would love to play her again though being a little older and with more training under my belt. Other roles I would love to play would be Portia in “Julius Caesar”. Her monologue “is Brutus sick” crushes me. I love it to pieces, I sincerely hope that someday I’ll be able to play her. Also, I would love to play Ophelia or Gertrude in “Hamlet”, mostly because I love that play incredibly and if I lived my life as an actor without being in it I would feel unfulfilled. And other than that I’m just excited to explore the characters that lie in wait for someone to pick them up off the page and bring them to life.