Sushi – essentially, the combination of steamed or cooked rice, vegetables, and raw fish – has been around since at least the 4th century. It originated in Southeast Asia, where it served to preserve freshwater fish in the Mekong River basin of Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. It may have been the original “fast-food,” as it required very little advance preparation and provided a healthy, nourishing snack at a very low cost.
Sushi’s rise to becoming a staple in the Western world began in the 1960s and 1970s when Norwegian “aquaculture” pioneered the raising of huge quantities of parasite-free salmon in massive fish pens. These were exported to the United States – particularly the West Coast – and the sushi craze took off.
It was only a matter of time until Israel also caught on to the sushi phenomenon, in the 1990s, and it has since become a very popular dish here. Not only have sushi restaurants popped up throughout the country, it has become fashionable to have a “sushi kiddush” at synagogue on Shabbat, or to serve sushi at a post-wedding sheva berachot party. Fish-less sushi platters for vegetarians and vegans are now de rigueur at parties of all types.
Getting sushi at Mushi Mushi
Tucked away in one of Ra’anana’s oldest neighborhoods is Mushi Mushi, a cozy little sushi bar that offers more than 25 different varieties of sushi and a host of other dishes.
Mushi Mushi is run by upbeat and congenial founder Mor Giladi along with her team of local and oriental help. Having supplied numerous caterers with their sushi needs for upwards of a dozen years, Mor decided several months ago to open her own establishment. She welcomed us warmly as we sat down to sample her ware.
We began with cocktails; my partner had a Raspberry Gin Mule (NIS 38), made with ginger and Mandarin liqueur, and I had a Cherry Whisky Sour (NIS 42) with Scottish whiskey, pineapple, and lime. For starters, we shared orders of spring rolls with chicken, avocado, cucumber, and green onion (NIS 37); crispy Panko-coated chicken wings (NIS 39); and skewers of Yakitori salmon (NIS 39). All were delicious.
For the entree, I chose the stir-fried egg noodles with salmon and vegetables in a teriyaki sauce (NIS 55). My companion was tempted to order the fish and chips but opted instead for the “Tom” sushi roll (Mor names her sushi rolls after her best friends) that included salmon tempura and sweet potato wrapped in an avocado envelope crowned with julienned toasted almonds that added a surprising crunch (NIS 49).
The food is remarkably fresh – a must for any restaurant, especially one that features sushi – and the portions are more than filling. For dessert, we had the chocolate “sushi” cake (NIS 30) which was just the right sweet treat.
Mushi Mushi has a great selection of vegetarian, vegan, and non-gluten choices and even provides specially-made sushi that is safe for pregnant mothers. There is also a kids’ menu of schnitzel, noodles, and chips. Parties of up to 20 can be hosted on-site at the restaurant. A small playground adjoins the restaurant and there is ample free parking. The cost of sushi platters starts at a very reasonable NIS 220.
The word sushi is said to derive from the Japanese word for savory. That fits. You’ll savor the relaxed, friendly atmosphere at Mushi Mushi, not to mention the great food.
Mushi MushiHatikva 16, Ra’anana; 077-212-5154Open Sun-Thu 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., until 2 p.m.; Sat. closed.Kashrut: Ra’anana Rabbinate
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.