I’ve moved up to Washington from Texas and have been here for a few months now. Having left the land of Bar-B-Que I’ve developed a bit of a taste for sushi. I’m certainly not hardcore by any means…I haven’t quite worked my way up to eating all the raw stuff yet, but I have developed a taste for more than the standard “beginners” sushi.So far I enjoy the California Rolls (I’m guessing these are the “Zinfandel” of the sushi world), the Bellingham Rolls (similar to California Rolls but have cream cheese in them), and the Halibut Tempura Roll. I’ve also enjoyed the Spider Roll which is a sushi roll that has an entire soft shell crab stuffed inside of it.
Here’s a brief little tidbit nobody thought to mention to me: when eating edamame, just eat the bean and not the entire pod. Edamame is a dish of boiled soybeans (that are still in the pods) that are often salted and served at sushi restaurants as an appetizer. The way you eat these (and maybe I’m the only blockhead that didn’t know this) is to place the pod in your mouth and work the beans out of the pod with your teeth while you slide the pod out of your mouth. When I first tried edamame I ate the whole thing. I felt a bit like Gerald Ford eating Tamales. I got stares and laughs from people.
Going to China and Back
If Bellingham, WA were analogous to the safest of realms in the world of sushi (California Rolls and Bellingham Rolls) and Seattle, WA is a bit more adventurous (Spider Rolls), then I would venture to guess that tobi-tama might be as far out there as China, and that’s where I went one evening.
Tobi-tama are tiny, bright orange fish eggs wrapped in nori (seaweed paper) and topped with a raw quail egg. My wife and I have a friend who just loves these things so I decided to give it a go, however I didn’t want to go “whole hog” just yet so I decided I’d play it safe and just order the quail eggs. Apparently ordering just the quail eggs is a bit like ordering ketchup without the fries. Within a few minutes the waitress came back to our table and asked if I wanted the quail eggs on something because they usually come on something. At this point I was all in…I ordered the flying fish eggs with a quail egg on top.
I was delivered two of the tobi-tama rolls and did pretty well with the first one. I bit down into the tiny, crunchy fish eggs and it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t all that great either. My real hang up was trying to get the quail egg down. The quail egg was just like you might expect, slimy in texture, not really chewable and, in my opinion, not much on taste either. Two bites and with a minimal gag reflex I had succeeded in eating my first flying fish egg with a quail egg on top. Happy to be done with one of the tobi-tama and feeling like I had accomplished a major feat, I looked down at the second one and moved in. I had a bit of trouble handling the second one. Picking the thing up with my chop sticks the quail egg fell off the top. I then proceeded to try and pick up a raw quail egg with chopsticks. After a good bit of struggle I got the thing back on, and ate the second tobi-tama.
Since that evening, I’ve returned to what I like, but have ventured toward a couple of the raw varieties of sushi such as nama-shake (salmon) and tuna rolls. I may try the tobi-tama again, but it won’t be for quite awhile.