Why I Love Raw Fish The first time I tried sushi I thought it was strange. I remember trying to focus on the rice and just forget about the fish, seaweed and other strange stuff. To tell you the truth, I only ate it because I wanted to impress a girl. This girl was worldly and sophisticated and loved sushi. We were young and I suppose it could have been an act on her part, but now I understand why people love raw fish. It is definitely an acquired taste for a non-Asian person, but once you acquire the taste, you can never go back to days of innocence when you just thought it was weird. The reason for this is that there is no substitute for raw fish. If somebody told you you could never get another hamburger, you would find ways to indulge that craving; you could eat steak sandwiches or patty melts. If someone told you you could never eat raw fish again, how would you find a substitute? There is no other food like it. Without further ado, here are the reasons I love sushi and sashimi: It is visually artful. No other food is quite so decorative. The presentation of raw fish is quite a show. They put it on beautiful little platters adorned with ginger, herbs, sliced vegetables. You feel like you’re in Japan even if you’re in Skokie. It is texturally rich. You get the crispiness of the dried seaweed and vegetables, the grainy rice, the mushy, chewy texture of the fish. It’s everything you could ever want to put in your mouth. It is full of flavor, and you can dress it up as you please. If you like it salty, use more soy sauce. If you want it hot, dip it in some wasabi. If you like it sweet, adorn it with a pickled radish and a little ginger. Sushi can be made to taste — right at the table. It fills you up without making you feel bloated. This is one of the things I like best. When you finish a meal of raw fish, you are totally satisfied for many hours. At the same time, it doesn’t give you that gassy, bloated feeling you get after a big steak dinner. It is worldly and sophisticated. If you are on a date with a worldly and sophisticated person like the girl I referenced in the beginning of this article, you can’t go wrong with sushi, especially if you know what to order. That is basically why I like sushi. Oh, and it may have something to do with sentimentality: I ended up marrying the girl who introduced me to it.