In this era of increasing globalization we see more and more cases of foods jumping across cultural boundaries and changing in the process. Japan is no different with foods like pizza topped with scallops, curry which tastes sweet as pudding, and ramen burgers.
And of course this culinary door swings both ways such as the United States’ take on sushi in creations like the California roll. However, now we are seeing an interesting twist in the migration of sushi with New Port Sushi located in Okinawa. Here American style sushi can be enjoyed in Japan. After our reporter Nakano was finished vomiting up his glass of root beer, we sent him in to check it out.
■ New Port Sushi
Nakano headed down to the town of Chatan where he could find New Port Sushi. From outside the restaurant, the place had a quaint welcoming vibe. However, upon entering, the sound of a needle scratching across a record raced through his mind when he realized he was the only Japanese person among all the American customers.
Thumbing through the menu Nakano found many strange items which both intrigued and frightened him such as “Rainbow Rolls,” “Diablo,” and of course the “Super California Rolls.” There were also some more traditional sounding items like salmon, tuna, and eel available in rolls or nigirizushi. He wasn’t here to eat plain old Japanese sushi though. He was here for something like the Diablo which contained octopus, shrimp, potato tempura and hot sauce.
■ Japanese quality with American flavor
New Port Sushi had only recently opened and is run by a Japanese sushi chef. Trained in his home country he took his talents to open a shop in California. Now back in Japan he has brought with him an array of American palate-pleasing taste ideas.
But underneath all the avocado, fried potato, and hot sauce lie the fundamentals of Japanese sushi creation. The fish is all locally caught and served fresh and the craftsmanship is at a level that this can undeniably be called “sushi.”
■ Best in show: Sashimi Roll
Interestingly, Nakano’s favorite dish of the night was the least orthodox take on sushi: the Sashimi Roll. This raw-fish-filled roll doesn’t use any vinegared rice which is considered the cornerstone of sushi and replaces it instead with chopped up imitation crab meat smothered in mayonnaise. Also, in the place of seaweed, they are wrapped in tofu skin (yuba).
Despite the weirdness of the ingredients these rolls had a rich and delicious taste like amplified sashimi.
As Nakano sat there munching on his rolls and smelling some burning incense wafting in from the distance while sipping on Wilkinson carbonated water (a brand started in Japan by a British person). He sat there enjoying this truly unique moment because there probably isn’t another place like New Port Sushi in Japan or America.
New Port Sushi
614-16 Kuwae, Chatan, Nakagami, Okinawa
Hours: 4:00pm – 10:00pm
Open Seven Days a Week
Original article by Nakano
▼ The interior had a warm feeling.
▼ The wasabi was served differently, Nakano wondered if it was American style.
▼ The fresh Okinawa tuna was fantastic!
▼ Super California Rolls
▼ Diablo: potato tempura, squid, and octopus with chili sauce
▼ Rainbow Rolls
▼ Sashimi Rolls
▼ There were a wide variety of dishes on the menu