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Israelis Like it Raw

More than happy to ignori (forgive me) the recurring warnings about mercury-laden fish, Israel has blossomed into a veritable sushi Eden. The 100th sushi restaurant opened its doors in Tel Aviv this past week, which makes the seaside city the … Read More

By / January 28, 2008

More than happy to ignori (forgive me) the recurring warnings about mercury-laden fish, Israel has blossomed into a veritable sushi Eden. The 100th sushi restaurant opened its doors in Tel Aviv this past week, which makes the seaside city the "world's 3rd largest sushi market in per capita terms," behind only Tokyo and New York. According to Israeli restaurant review site 2EAT, approximately 20% of Tel Aviv's sushi spots are kosher, and "one out of every 10 Tel Avivians eats sushi at least once a month." The tourist version of 2EAT, which is in English, lets you see that Israeli sushi roll.

When the Japanese cuisine first appeared in Israel, many people thought it was "disgusting." Adventurous Israelis struggled with chopsticks, and some befuddled customers even requested that bread be served alongside the fish and rice: Imagine stuffing your tuna sushi into a pita pocket. In the past fifteen or so years, though, sushi has become a favorite ethnic cuisine in Israel. Not only that, but Israelis have begun to make their own mark on the cuisine, adding ingredients like mango, roast chicken, and even liver.

Something is fishy, though: The popular provisions might be threatened by a government mandate that would "expel all Asian employees at ethnic restaurants in order to make room for Israeli workers" by next January–a move that could potentially mean doom for a number of restaurants.

Have you had sushi in Israel? If so, tell us about it: sake to me in comments. (Surely you knew that was coming. I mean, really–I'm not just here for the halibut).

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