Delicacies For The Masses

According to an article posted on the following website, a 71-year-old man developed extreme swelling and large blood-filled blisters, called hemorrhagic bullae, on his left hand just 12 hours after eating raw seafood.

This article created quite a sensation but it also included a link to the original report in the New England Journal of Medicine. I wonder if anyone actually clicked on the link and noticed that the article in had conveniently omitted: “He had a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension and was undergoing hemodialysis for end-stage renal disease.”

Check out the original report over here.

Nevertheless, a word of caution is still in order and there is something which I need to highlight here. A lot of raw seafood served on a plate were actually rare delicacies decades ago. I remember when I was dating in my 20s and when bringing a girl to a Japanese restaurant was guaranteed to impress her. That was the time before automatic sushi cutters were invented. Chefs back then were very particular about the source of their ingredients and the method of preparation. There could be no rush, no compromise. That was until Japanese cuisine moved from avant garde to mainstream and then from delicacy to fast food – complete with delivery service and tiny stalls dispensing machine-made sushi rolls. With the roaring demand and a tight, competitive lid on prices, sushi makers can no longer be so particular about the source of their ingredients.


Chua Lam has told us that the Japanese don’t normally make sashimi out of salmon – especially farmed salmon. We’ll never know if the sashimi ingredients used by our sushi makers are really “sashimi grade” as defined by traditional sushi chefs and food experts. One Japanese friend told me that while he loves sashimi, he can only afford to eat it at reputed establishments once in a while and he never eats it outside Japan. Some food for thought for those who want delicacies to come cheap.

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