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Text and photographs Christie Keulder
Windhoek has a new sushi bar. Located at Square Park in Ludwigsdorf, Daisho Sushi and Wine Bar opened its doors to the eating public on 2 September with proper pomp and ceremony.
The man behind the food at Daisho is Chef Makhosi Mhlanga, who – after plying his craft at Sushi and Teppanyaki Grill and sushi@nice restaurant and bar – decided to go his own way.
The sushi at Daisho Sushi and Wine Bar is contemporary and modern – proof that sushi has evolved into a truly global and African phenomenon.
Sushi, as we know it, dates back to around the 1820s when a young fast-food entrepreneur, Hanaya Yonhei, opened his first (sushi) stall in the city of Edo (modern-day Tokyo).
Yonhei is credited with developing two of the cornerstones of contemporary sushi: the ‘rapid-fermentation’ technique whereby rice vinegar and salt are added to freshly cooked rice; and the method of ‘hand-pressing’, whereby a fermented rice ball is first shaped by hand and then draped with a piece of fresh, raw fish or seafood. Yonhei’s methods signalled a radical departure from the traditional nare-zushi (aged sushi) and mama-nare sushi (raw nare-zushi). Both these methods required fish to be fermented in rice for at least a month or more. Yohei’s technique became known as nigiri, and is still the standard method for preparing sushi today.
Sushi developed into a truly global food after the 1960s when the first sushi restaurants opened in the USA and a bit later in Europe. In next to no time, sushi chefs started to add western ingredients such as cream cheese and spicy mayonnaise that had no links with the Chinese and Japanese sushi roots. Sushi also became part of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and fishless dishes such as the Californian Roll rapidly became a menu staple for any self-respecting sushi restaurant.
Patrons at the opening were treated to assorted platters of delicious sushi that included variations with salmon, tuna, crab and prawns.
Sushi chefs have no place to hide, especially when the house is filled to the brim with hungry patrons. With only a few fresh, raw ingredients to work with, no heat and no elaborate sauces to hide behind, the sushi chef’s successes and failures are laid bare for everyone to see. On opening night there were no failures; the arrival of each elaborate platter caused a mini stampede and this continued well into the night. It is evident that Chef Makhosi has built up a loyal following of sushi aficionados since his arrival in Windhoek in 2007. So expect the place to be busy.
In addition to a wide variety of platters and plated dishes, Daisho Sushi and Wine Bar also offers takeaway meals and home deliveries. For bookings and orders call Chef Makhosi on 081-431 8434. The establishment is open Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 till 22:00. Takeaway orders are provided from 12:00 till 20:00.
This article was first published in the Summer 2014/15 issue of Travel News Namibia.