Go to a Japanese restaurant, order sashimi and the price always seems disproportionate to the amount of raw seafood that you get. Why is sashimi so expensive? To start with, good quality seafood is expensive. Restaurants also put a premium on the skills of the chefs who prepare the sashimi. Add to that the dining costs and the price of sashimi soars.
If, like us, you like your sashimi and the small servings in restaurants leave you wanting more, there’s a way to enjoy more sashimi without burning a hole in your wallet. The key is to find good quality raw seafood. Don’t go to the supermarket. And don’t buy pre-packed and chilled fish. Chilled and frozen seafood is okay if you’re going to cook them. But if you’re serving the fish raw, you really want something truly fresh.
I like going to Farmer’s Market in Cubao for fresh tuna and salmon. I choose the fish, I have it weighed, if it’s too large, I just tell the vendor how much I want. I tell him where to cut and what I intend to do with the fish. I ask him to fillet the fish and to cut off the skin. But I don’t ask him to slice the fish for me. I simply instruct him to place the fish in trays and I bring home the fish fillets whole.
When we get back to the house, the fish goes into the freezer for about thirty minutes to firm it up a bit. Then, the fish is sliced. Speedy usually does this but, last night, Sam did the slicing. Let me show you the plate of tuna and salmon sashimi again.
The salmon is less than half of a 500 gram fillet. The tuna is about two-thirds of a 500 gram fillet. Half a kilo of tuna cost P140.00 (about US$3.20); half a kilo of salmon cost P180.00 (about US$4.10). How much will a sashimi plate of that size cost in a restaurant? More than the combined cost of the half-kilo fillets of tuna and salmon.
So, if you have access to fresh salmon and tuna, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy sashimi at home — inexpensively.