The Time I Tried Sushi

I love work lunches. Well, I love any meal that I don’t have to pay for. During my last work lunch, I not only got a free meal, but also a new cuisine that I’ve been too scared to try for over a decade.

“Do you like sushi,” my vice president said to me.

“I haven’t tried it since I was like 10, so I’m not really sure,” I replied.

I’ve never been a fan of sushi. The idea of raw fish intimated me, so when I was younger, I would just order a California roll and call it a day. I also thought that’s all sushi was. As I got older, my friends hopped on the sushi train, while I was left at the station.

For years, friends have to altered dinner plans because “Arielle doesn’t eat sushi.” Imagine their surprise when I posted a picture of the Japanese dish.

I was taken to Yama Sushi Bar in Virginia Beach to celebrate the completion of the March Williamsburg Visitors Guide. We sat down and everyone decided to order one of the lunch boxes, so I did the same. Our server recommended that I try the Shrimp Tempura Roll and the Crazy Volcano Roll. Neither of these options had raw fish, so he thought it would be a good way to dip my toe into the sushi pool.

The Yama Lunch Box included two types of rolls, miso soup, a Yama salad and a dumpling.

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The soup came out first. This was my first time having miso soup, but at the time, I had no idea what it was. The soup was light and refreshing. I kept biting into what I thought was cubed egg whites. Turns out, it was tofu. Another first.

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The Yama Salad was pretty standard, served with a side of ginger dressing. The dressing was thicker than I anticipated since it’s made with peanuts. The peanuts did not mask the pungent ginger, giving the dressing a tangy taste.

The only familiar thing in my lunch box was the pork dumpling, otherwise known as Gyoza. Since we didn’t have forks, I maneuvered carefully trying to dip my dumpling in the soy sauce. The dough was soft as I bit into the juicy pork.

Then, came the moment I’d been waiting for—the sushi. DUN DUN DUUUNNN

I started with the Shrimp Tempura Roll. I carefully took my first bite and immediately inhaled my second. The crispy fried shrimp and sweet crab made my taste buds sing. I devoured the rest of the rolls, nearly eating the shrimp tails along with it.

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Next I tried the Crazy Volcano Rolls. Unlike the first roll, I had no idea what was in this one, just that it was fried. My motto of “I’ll eat anything as long as it’s fried” was put to the test. I’m proud to say that it still stands true.

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The deep fry on the roll gave it a nice crunch before I tasted the soft rice, crabmeat and other components I couldn’t identify at the time. Initially, I didn’t taste the heat, but after my second roll, I got a wave of spice that had me reaching for my water. After a checking the menu online, I learned that Yama’s Crazy Volcano Roll has spicy salmon, spicy tuna and crab meat.

Ordering rolls with fried seafood instead of raw was the perfect recommendation for me. I hope my friends know that they can now take me to sushi restaurants and I’ll now have options to order. Maybe next time I’ll work my way up to raw fish and sashimi.