I Love Sushi

By - December 30, 2005 (Updated: November 30, 2014)

One of the things I’ve been missing most, living in Everberg, is a good sushi restaurant. We’ve found our favorite Thai, Indian and Italian places here, but the sushi spot had been illusive.

I didn’t always love sushi. In fact, I was firmly entrenched in the ‘eeeewww, raw fish’ camp until I was 25 and met Sue, my food mentor.

Sue subjected introduced me to all kinds of food that I wouldn’t try before, with great success. She was determined for me to try sushi.

There was a little hole in the wall spot, in Halifax, called (ironically enough) I Love Sushi. Sue dragged me there for lunch one day while we were at the photo college.

She insisted that I wouldn’t even have to have any raw fish if I didn’t want to. So I relented.

A Bento Box

I ordered a Bento box, basically because I loved the little serving box with its removable sections. (I’m still a sucker for a cute little bento box.) I can’t remember everything that was in it now; dumplings and salad and I think there was some tempura shrimp and there was definitely a little bit of the ‘raw fish’ sushi.

I can’t say that it was love at first bite but I didn’t hate it either. The texture was a bit disturbing. Basically though I felt sushi required further investigation.

We went back to I Love Sushi for lunch quite often and I grew to actually enjoy it. Like all things, I then inflicted introduced it to my not so open-minded husband. I would say his reaction was similar to mine.

We branched out and tried a few different sushi places in Halifax until we found our favorite – Sushi Shige. The sushi itself is fantastic there, and the owner/chef is mesmerizing as he assembles your food. There are two things that make it fantastic however: his spicy sauce and the sushi pizza.

I know, I know… sushi pizza (!?!) is what you are thinking… I thought it too, but it is heaven, and really not a traditional style pizza. The crust is kind of a fried rice cake. There is a bit of sushi on top and the marvelous spicy sauce. It’s divine.

It had been quite a while since I had good sushi. We found an ok place in Amsterdam called Zushi with a sushi conveyer belt. The food was good but just not Shige.

We finally decided to risk a sushi experiment in Brussels and ended up at Yamayu Santatsu in Ixelles. It seemed to have good reviews on-line so we decided to give it a try.

When we stepped inside we found a warren of tables and a long counter with stools – and lots of Japanese people. It was a very good sign. We were directed to the top floor, to a more open room with many more non-Asian faces than downstairs.

We dove in and ordered sushi, maki and tempura. It was very good, except for one thing … the wasabi.

Anyone that knows me knows I love spicy food … the hotter the better. My best friend is the chili pepper and my spice drawer contains many variations of dried chili and cayenne.

A little bit goes a long way

Wasabi, to me, is not the same. People claim it is hot, which I guess it is. But it’s a different form of hot than chili and not one I enjoy as much.

In all of my other sushi experiences the wasabi was served on the side and you could add as much or as little as you liked. Our sushi that night was like Russian Sushi Roulette – Some pieces were fine, but some had so much wasabi hiding under the fish, it felt like your nose was on fire.

I had one piece that I thought would be my downfall. It didn’t burn my mouth the way chili does. This burn was all in my nose. I couldn’t inhale or exhale without singing nose hairs. My eyes were watering as Andrew looked on in horror.

‘If you find it this hot, it’s going to kill me,’ he stammered.

Well, it didn’t kill either of us. In fact, out of all the sushi we had (which was quite a pile) we only had about two pieces each that were overloaded with wasabi.

After we finished our food and were sitting finishing our drinks, I became mesmerized by a woman who was disassembling every piece of her sushi with her chopsticks. She would soak her fish in soy sauce and then scrape all of the wasabi off of her rice. It made me chuckle.

If you can’t take the wasabi, stay out of the sushi kitchen.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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  1. Comment by Di

    Di December 30, 2005 at 17:51

    If it made your nose burn, and Andrew looked worried well … this Kiwi has to avoid it.
    Just once I got past ‘medium’ heat at an Indian Restaurant but regressed back to ‘mild’ after a time in Turkey …
    These days, when face-saving, I present this inability to consume hot stuff with the explanation that I’m preserving my tastebuds for wine tasting … seems feasible; this spice baby likes to pretend she is a wine tasting guru (I have to have excuses for my deep and abiding passion for a good red).

  2. Comment by Sue

    Sue January 1, 2006 at 16:35

    thanks for the honorable mention in Dec.30th…..It is true that I have turned a few people on to sushi in my lifetime….Wasabi…too much can only be described as the world’s worst ice-cream headache….. interesting fact….Wasabi (possibly used to kill off salmonella in any contaminated fish) is known to remove plaque from teeth….

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