As a Japanese freelance photographer, I find myself traveling between Toronto and Tokyo a lot.
When I fly back to Tokyo, I go to my favorite Sushi restaurants, the Sukiyabasi Jiro in Nihonbashi.
Or the Uogashi Standing Sushi bar near Kanda station.
At the end of a busy day, I grab a to-go Sushi at Daimaru department store, inside the Tokyo station.
While I’m in Toronto, Taro’s Fish “Sushi Special” is my go to. The sushi is in a small to go container, but I like it a lot. Here is what I happened to talk with Taro about “taste” of Sushi.
“I’ve been in the fish market business for over twenty years, but making Sushi is new to me. When we first moved here near Bessarion station, we gave out samples of our Sushi to introduce our quality Sashimi. Sushi is a familiar food to Canadian people, and they loved it. When people think about quality fish, Japanese fish might come into their mind, and I don’t fault them for it. But quality fish can be obtained from all over the world.
I opened my eyes to the world around me and started to explore and discovered tasty fish from many different countries. The environment is constantly changing so it’s a very difficult task but I find it extremely rewarding. I don’t choose fish by brand but taste. This is what I’ve been doing and that’s my style.”
When I was standing in the back room of his store, I realized that his fish is coming from B.C., Halifax, Portugal, Greek, Boston, Mexico, Hawaii and even New Zealand. They all arrive within 48 hours from the fishing boat to this store.
Thanks to global logistics, the world is becoming smaller and much quicker to reach. Sashimi grade fish now comes from all over the world, every day, year round.
When the fish arrives, Taro inspects the size, the colour of the eyes, the thickness of the body, briefly touches the surface of the fish and closes the box.
“Doing less is good for the fish. I keep only the best.”
After his inspection, the fish is labeled and is allowed to go into the walk-in fridge. He takes only the best of the season, which means that sometimes the box is sent back.
Sushi is a combination of “Neta(fish)” and “Shari(rice)”. Taro also uses the best available rice in North America.
“There are so many different skills that are required to making quality sushi. Those same skills are required even if you are making sushi for a small to-go container.”
This passion goes into the $20 to-go Sushi. No compromising with the quality of both fish and rice. Taro’s “Sushi Special” is in the small container but it tastes right.
They put all their skill and hard work into a small container to bring the freshest ingredients to customers every time. I believe these are the secrets to his Sushi.
By Makoto – Staff photographer/writer