Taking an advantage of being in the United States, I am exploring all kinds of restaurants in town. Last week I dined at a Japanese restaurant called Miyako Sushi and Steak House on Richmond Road. I ordered Miso Soup, Vegetable Tempura, and Sushi Deluxe. I was impressed by the simpleness of the dish, the quality of ingredients, and the presentation of the cuisine.
First, I started the dinner with a bowl of Miso soup. Miso soup consists of tofu and edible kelp, mixing into the softened miso paste. (I know kelp may not sound so palatable, but it tastes really good if you stop thinking that it is kelp!) Although there were not many ingredients in the soup, I still enjoyed the Miso soup and found it delicious. The Miso soup reflects a unique aspect of the profound Japanese culture.
For instance, Japanese culture is impinged by simpleness. This goes back to Chan-Buddhism and to Chinese aesthetics of the Song dynasty which prefers “dan,” meaning plainness. Japan lies to the east of China. Because of the adjacent geographical location, Japan in the ancient time was under the great influence of Chinese culture. Therefore, as an important part of the Japanese culture, food has to be simple. At the same time, based on Chan-Buddhism, food should speak of universal truth and have philosophical depth, which are simpleness and emptiness.
After finishing the Miso soup, the waiter served the Vegetable Tempura, which was made of seasonal vegetables. The tempura I had consists of eggplant, pumpkin, carrots and pepper. The vegetables were lightly battered and deep fried, offering a tender and crispy texture. The waiter served the dish with the tempura dipping sauce, which gave the vegetables more flavor. Moreover, Japanese cuisine is known for its freshness. Had the vegetables not been fresh, the texture and flavor of the dish would have been completely different. In addition to the taste of the dish, I was also impressed by its perfect visual composition. Various kinds of vegetables with different colors all blended together, offering a visual feast.
The main dish that I ordered was Sushi Deluxe. It had eight pieces of nigiri sushi on the right side of the dish and a special roll on the left, with wasabi and pink ginger at the end of the plate.
The nigiri sushi is a small clump of rice with a piece of raw fish on top. For nigiri sushi, adding right elements to the sushi and presenting them beautifully is an important part of the making process. In the Sushi Deluxe, the nigiri sushi had an artistic arrangement, which consisted of two pieces of orange salmon, pink tuna, shrimp sushi, and whitefish sushi, offering a vivid, colorful combination.
The special roll in the dish is called Dancing Tuna Roll, with tuna and cucumber wrapped inside the seaweed, and rice and tuna laying on the outside. Sharing similar features with Chinese cuisine, the ingredients of Japanese dishes have to be arranged according to yin and yang, emphasizing a healthy balance between two opposites. For instance, tuna is considered yang food and cucumber is regarded as yin food. Therefore, the combination of yin and yang is fully reflected in sushi.
I enjoyed the Japanese dinner at Miyako and experienced similarities between Japanese and Chinese cuisine, such as the emphasis on yin and yang in the dish. The philosophical meaning of the dish, the quality of ingredients, and the unique arrangement of the Japanese cuisine made a deep impression on me.
I look forward to exploring more restaurants in Lexington!