One of the things that I was a little disappointed about when arriving to Korea is the lack of cheap, quality sushi. I know, I know, this is Korea, not Japan, two very different countries with very different culinary traditions. An abundance of cheap sushi must have been simply wishful thinking on my part. It also just occurred to me that this is probably very typical, ignorant, American thinking. Woops.
Anyway, I haven’t eaten much sushi here. While there are sushi restaurants, they’re usually more expensive and less tasty than I’m used to eating in California. Sushi used to be one of my favorite foods to eat out. And, while Korean kimbap initially resembled sushi to me, and I do like it, it’s really very different. So, last night I went with a friend to this “American Sushi” restaurant in Gagnam, Seoul, called Raw. It was advertised on the Korean Tourism website, as well as described on a Seoul food website, SeoulGrub.com.
I was curious to see what Korea’s take on American sushi would be like. And, the blog claimed that this sushi restaurant had FORTY different kinds of California rolls. Being from California, I was obviously impressed, and also curios about how one could possible create forty variations on the California roll (imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado).
After some confusion over the directions (typical), my friend and I finally found the restaurant just a little bit off of the main street in Gagnam. I scanned the menu, and while I did see a couple different “California rolls,” I didn’t see forty. Maybe they realized that this was just plain excessive.
Most of the sushi I saw looked familiar; the caterpillar roll, volcano roll, various sashimi, etc. There were also some very strange, very “American” sounding rolls that I have definitely never heard of, and highly doubt that we would ever serve in America. For example, a couple contained nacho-cheese, and the “Charlie Brown” roll was topped with peanut butter and hot-sauce. I mean, what is more American than nacho cheese, peanut butter, and hot sauce?
We ordered the caterpillar roll, because there aren't many opportunities to eat avocado here, and the Charlie Brown roll, just so we could say we tried it. They were both good, even the Charlie Brown roll. The portion sizes were also very large. America, represent! Would I go back? Yes. Although, I’ve had much better in Japan Town, San Francisco. But, I’ll take what I can get. Moral of the story, living in Korea, one must learn to embrace the full spectrum of their country’s stereotypes, even if this involves eating peanut-butter sushi.