Tuesday 7 January 2014


Over the past few years when hosting a party I have invariably ordered in sushi from Waitrose Entertaining, excepting one occasion when a guest promised and indeed brought along a tray from Costco which was just as delicious.

Initially I was surprised at Brits chowing down on Nipponese cuisine, but every single occasion the sushi platter has been wiped clean. There has been in England's cities an inexorable rise in Japanese eateries, be it sushi restaurants or noodle bars. (Whilst I am a big fan of Italian pasta, I adore all kinds of Japanese-style noodles - easy to cook and served with a quick broth or just soy sauce.)

The English do not generally like their food raw - it is only in the past few years I discovered I may have my steak bleu or blue which is rarer than rare and absolutely delicious! So what has turned residents of a fishing nation to raw fish and seafood? Perhaps the multitude of cookery programmes (programs) on the television has alerted and educated folk to be more adventurous. Perhaps as British cuisine has ameliorated the more we travel and discover that foodstuffs can be cooked differently and taste so much better, and so our collective palate has altered.

What I do know is that sushi is a perfect finger-food. It can be eaten unadorned in one gulp or garnished with ginger or dipped in sauce or sprinkled with wasabi. Quite simply it can be adapted to a plethora of tastes and thus folk. Of the host, it requires little more than opening and placing on the table. Thus the need to constantly return to the oven to check on those adorable little canapés that burn the instant one turns one's back, interrupting conversations with one's guests, is completely avoided. It reduces stress for the host - a good thing at any party!

Having just given a party large enough to require more than three kilos of sushi (I estimate approximately 100g per guest - some pick, some gorge), I thought I would try to determine which of my regular orders is most popular.

Taiko Traditional Sushi Platter 1.2kg cost £26.00, £2.17/100g
courtesy & © Waitrose

Taiko Sushi Canapé Platter 1kg cost £26.00, £2.60/100g
courtesy & © Waitrose
Taiko Vegetarian Sushi Platter 760g cost £16.00, £2.11/100g
courtesy & © Waitrose

I thought for ease of reference I should place them in the order in which they were devoured - well except the veggie one, the remnants of which were taken away by a couple of guests for their brunch! I consider the second platter the most impressive visually, but oddly enough folk left the edamame beans. However, once a Hong Kong guest demonstrated, I was more than happy to nosh on them. I also got to sample the Arctic [surf] clam (Hokkigai) Nigiri for the first time ever: a tad chewy but delicious!

To my mind - and only sampled on my guests of course - the Taiko Traditional Sushi Platter offered the best value for money, especially given it was the most popular. The veggie option proved to be less popular… But don't take my word, try them out for yourselves! %PPP

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