Sushi Appreciation

It started out as a casual invitation to get together with a few people and eat some sushi -- presented by Dr. Leslie Tay of ieatishootipost. But to my pleasant surprise, it was not so casual after all. Instead, Chef Thomas Kok of Hokkaido Sushi in Singapore’s M Hotel moved to the front of the room with a cooler full of nothing less than the best sushi in Singapore.
Armed with little more than a thick cutting board and an exceedingly sharp knife, Chef Kok explained the art of sushi, the different qualities of fish and the proper way to kill, cut and, of course, eat his wonders of the sea. He sliced to our hearts' and stomachs' delight. His cuts were flawless, the fish so fresh it had a near-crunchy texture to it, delivering clean, by-the-sea flavors with every chew. The amount of fish that Chef Kok had was staggering; whole fish, cut at the tail, but not severed, white fish, red fish, shellfish and even $500 slabs of tuna glistened on his cutting board. In all he prepared twenty-eight dishes, carefully explaining the subtle yet significant differences between such tastes as Hamachi and Kampachi, and Hon Chu Toro versus Hon O Toro. The list went on and on and each bite -- starting with sashimi, through sushi and into lightly cooked items -- got better and better.

The depth of sushi knowledge shared was expansive; not just how to cut fish precisely and make perfectly sticky yet surprisingly light rice, but even the flavor and texture variations between specific parts of the anatomy. And not just of Chef Kok but also of Leslie, who was fully conversant on the topic.

And at the end of the session, as if to acknowledge the evolution of ancient fish dragging themselves from the wet, primordial ooze, Chef Kok strayed from the sea onto dry land with remarkable Japanese Wagyu beef. Licked for mere seconds by the flames of a blowtorch and dashed with crushed black pepper, the meat was so comprehensively marbled and rich that it radiated with shiny flavor. But keeping to his genesis, Chef Kok served it as sushi -- cut perfectly and laid atop his own magical rice.

And thus ended a memorable day of sushi that would have sated even the gustatory cravings of Poseidon.