Fried sushi. Another new-ish phenomenon, more than likely created by Americans seeking to assimilate the already popular sushi obsession into American culture. How do we do this? By embracing a foreign culture’s food, known for being light and healthy, and destroying everything it stands for by popping it into a pan of hot oil.

What brought on this new rave? My recent experience ordering sushi from the Knoxville-based Thai and Japanese cuisine restaurant, Jai Dee. I in no way hold them accountable for what I hope is an unfortunate sushi fad, created to make the raw fish more palatable to those who cannot tolerate the interesting texture of uncooked seafood, and thereby, extending the sushi ingest-ers in America to half a fa-fillion, to a whole fa-fillion (These are clearly very scientific terms, bear with me.). From previous readings, you will be aware that creating things for the sake of making money with no concern for the damage you might be doing to individuals and society, in general, is one of biggest pet peeves. First this thing with the sushi burritos, then the water cups that trick your brains into tasting something flavored, now this. Of course, sushi burritos are probably super tasty, not that I’d know, since there is probably no place in this unfortunate city that sells them, but that is not the point of this particular post.

Why are we destroying one of the few American obsessions that served as an ode to healthier eating? As great as it would be to have more black friends who ate sushi, I don’t want to achieve them by destroying the fresh and clean taste of that raw sushi that brings the taste of centuries of Japanese tradition soaring across the taste buds.

Is fried sushi defeating the whole point of eating raw food by making it into another fried and greasy snack?
photo swiped from

Let me backtrack a little. My order from Jai Dee was not my first time trying fried sushi. I’m pretty sure my first time was at an Osaka in Memphis, Tennessee (I recommend them. They’re fabulous.) But anyways, during the anxiety of a first date with a long time friend (always an awkward sort of situation), I was coerced into trying some fried sushi in my role as a sweet and open-minded woman exploring a possible romance. I admit that it was pretty good. It tasted of true intentions being destroyed by hot oil, and health being sacrificed for financial gain, and possibly (and more understandably), culinary experimentation.

So, when I placed my order with Jai Dee, it was with an attitude of “why the hell not?” and accompanied by  a hopeful shrug. I was willing to try more fried sushi in spite of my previous experience with the slightly sinister, greasy little stomach killers. Though all of my raw sushi was satisfying-ly fabulous, the fried sushi did not restore strength to any of my hopes and dreams and gave me a somewhat uneasy feeling in my stomach.

You may be asking why I would even try something again that I claim to not have enjoyed overly much the first time. I am one of those people who likes to give new things a couple of tries (assuming they aren’t life-threatening activities sure to take me out with anxiety attacks before I can smash my head on the ground during a failed bungee-jumping outing). So, I was feeling open to trying something out of the norm for me, for a second time, to really solidify my opinion of it (“it” being fried sushi).

My last sushi order definitely killed all future desire to try fried sushi ever again. I repeat, for anyone who happens to be in Knoxville, Jai Dee has some pretty good sushi (and also Thai food, which I haven’t tried just yet, so I can’t speak on that) and you should definitely order from them.

Let’s recap:

  1. Fried sushi is evil and makes my tummy uneasy
  2. Fried sushi is sinister and destroys all health benefits associated with eating sushi
  3. Fried sushi is a terrible way to Americanize a Japanese food
  4. The creation of fried sushi has spawned a new separation between raw sushi snobs and fried-sushi-eating Cultural-Food-Annihilators (CFA for short)
  5. Fried sushi is just another example of how people change cultural foods to Americanize (aka, water down) the eating experience

In conclusion, I am going to stick to my thug-it-out and choke-it-down method of trying new (and cultural) foods the way I have done in the past. This is not me saying that I have not enjoyed trying new foods, but part of the experience is eating those foods the way they are supposed to be.

*Notes: none of this post is based in research but in my personal thoughts and beliefs. Feel free to contest anything I’ve said, I welcome the conversation and varying viewpoints. Leave me some comments and let’s get chatting.

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