It’s All in the Rice
The executive chef of Sushi Masataka, Masa-san delivers one of the most exquisite, and most expensive, omakase experiences in Hong Kong. A serious man and master of his trade, Masa-san does not entertain his guests, unlike many modern sushi chefs, preferr
Every high-end sushiya uses the same seasonal ingredients, and the chef’s way of crafting sushi may be similar. So, when it comes to sushi, the rice and rice vinegar used are what determines whether the sushi is delicious.
I’m picky when it comes to rice. I use Haenuki rice from Yamagata prefecture instead of Hokkaido rice from my hometown. Although the latter is very well known, Haenuki rice is smaller but more aromatic and viscous in texture, making it ideal for sushi. Because each grain of rice is rounded, fluffy, just moist enough and has perfect viscosity, once it’s pressed into a ball, it will never fall loose and will gently loosen only in the mouth.
When I came to Hong Kong, I began to grind the grains finely and cook them with spring water from Shizuoka in a traditional kettle, so the heat distribution is even, guaranteeing the quality of the rice.
The rice-to-vinegar ratio can vary and is very important. A different proportion will bring a different taste, aroma and level of satisfaction. Sashimi and vinegared rice will always complement each other and make each other more delicious.
I make my vinegar myself. Traditionally, the Japanese love richer, thicker red vinegar, and foreigners enjoy white vinegar. I blend four types of red vinegar with two types of white vinegar and age it for four months. I then adjust the seasoning in my vinegar blend with the rice in a wooden barrel.
Although traditional Edomae sushi does not include sugar, I add a little sugar to the rice. Osaka’s Kansai sushi masters love adding sugar. I’ve adopted this method and guests love it. Every piece of sushi only has six grams of rice. If guests like to drink, I’ll use even less rice to prevent them from getting too full.