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Review: The Sushi Economy

The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg

I like books about the restaurant business and I'm interested in the sea and the history of commerce and commodities, and I like sushi, so that's why I grabbed the book off the library's new book shelves. I finished it in two days because it's pretty well written.

It takes you on a meandering tour of the sushi world, focusing on bluefin tuna, from the point of view of restauranteurs, auction houses, fishmongers, tuna ranchers (I certainly didn't know there was any such thing) and more. Each chapter introduces a specific person and describes what that person does in the global market.

I will keep the little Seafood Watch card in my wallet (which says I should avoid bluefin tuna anyway - which is fine because apparently it never comes near my local sushi joints, nor could I afford it if it did). But I will never imagine again that I can know where any fish came from.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 6th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
When we were in Tokyo, we visited the main fish markets one morning. It was completely overwhelming, the scale of the place and realising that that's how much fish is being sold every single day, in one place. It wasn't hard to imagine overfishing there.
Sep. 6th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
There was a chapter about the Tokyo fish market in the book. Some of the fish sold there gets shipped from the US to the Tokyo fish market and then back to the US.
Sep. 6th, 2007 11:35 am (UTC)
Somehow that doesn't entirely surprise me. Sigh.
Sep. 6th, 2007 10:53 am (UTC)
I didn't realize that there were tuna ranches, either; I've read that it can't be farmed. (Though I guess a farm is different from a ranch, or what's a Western for.)
Sep. 6th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, the book says that in ranching, they catch 20 kilo tuna, bring them to the ranch, and feed them until they turn into 80 kilo tuna. It's expensive to feed them, so it wouldn't be worth the money to raise them from eggs.

However, there are people experimenting with farming them, too. When the wild tuna are depleted and prices go way up, those people might be sitting pretty.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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