It seems that everywhere you go these days you can get a spot of sushi.
Whether it’s a fancy dinner our even a boots meal deal, you’re never too far away from a California Roll. Gone are the days where the go-to Glasgow snack is a pizza crunch or chippy (well, most of the days…)
And, with everyone on a health kick these days, the Japanese go-to food is always growing.
Just following National Sushi Day, and with the whole of Scotland nursing a post-football hangover, we thought we’d take a look as to why the Japanese cuisine is getting so much love in our fair city.
“In my opinion, I think Glasgow has one of the best food scenes in the UK” says Harry Wallace, who opened Akiko in the middle of two lockdowns.
“The sushi scene in Glasgow is always growing and the competition is stiff.”
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Callum Doherty, boss at Finnieston’s Pickled Ginger, said that as more places open in Glasgow, we are overcoming our “lack of understanding” over what sushi actually is.
“The idea of eating raw fish is sort of taboo in Glasgow, but that’s not what sushi is about at all” said Callum.
“Obviously, you have your raw fish – but there are loads of other things you can try that’s still sushi but has no raw fish near it.
“Around this time is the best time to introduce sushi to other people, even if just to try it out or if you try something small like nigiri. It’s a good thing to experience what other cultures eat.”
Harry agreed, saying that having alternatives to the traditional ‘raw fish’ idea is another way people can ease themselves into the sushi scene – without giving up that authenticity by using actual sushi chefs.
“Our sushi chef’s traditional method of training is at the heart of what we do and I think it shows in our food” said Harry. “We also do our speciality rolls with chicken Katsu and vegan alternatives, as we know raw fish isn’t to everyone’s taste but we want to make sure there’s sushi for everyone”.
Callum has worked with Pickled Ginger since the start of the pandemic, in March 2020. Originally from Australia, he fostered a love of Japanese culture and cuisine – opting to learn the language while at school – and ended up staying in Glasgow while travelling South America and Europe.
While many other restaurants suffered during lockdown, Callum said the demand for sushi at home properly exploded.
“During lockdown, it was insane at how busy the restaurant got and that was my first glimpse at how things were operating here. It was unprecedented to me.
“I knew it was a busy restaurant but it just got insanely busy when the restrictions came into force. I think it’s more popular right now with people getting it at home.
“It’s a cool experience to get it at home too as its quite a personal food. Some people would rather be with family when they’re eating it, because they can be trying something new, or just trying out using chopsticks and things like that when they aren’t quite sure.”
Another plus is the healthy nature of the food. Sushi is low in calories, saturated fat, and basically all the bad things for you – but still tastes delicious.
“As we are moving towards post-covid times, people are looking for healthier alternatives. We’re actually looking at introducing kombucha and superfood cocktails to balance the nature of things.
“It’s cool to be healthy now and people are getting more interested in healthier food type. I think that the sushi scene in Glasgow is only going to get bigger and better.”