We have broken down some sushi health risks to be wary of and the safest places to enjoy this crunchy, saucy, fishy treat in our 2021 Cape Town Sushi Guide.
It is commonly known that fish is a magnificent source of protein, iodine and many vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D - a rare find in foods helps maintain bones, teeth and manage insulin levels. Fish is also rich in omega-3 fats that are needed by the brain and body to function as well as fight heart disease. Fish is also known as ‘brain food’ because of its ability to lower risk of vision and memory loss in old age.
The main concern about sushi is obviously that it is made out of raw fish. According to the Food and Drug Administration, raw fish can carry parasites, bacteria and viruses. Anisakiasis is a common disease associated with consuming sushi. It is caused by a parasitic worm that attaches to your oesophagus, stomach and intestines and can result in food poisoning. Listeria is also an illness associated with sushi and smoked seafood, hence why pregnant women are advised to avoid sushi completely. Mercury poisoning can also occur if too much raw fish is consumed. All fish contain a certain level of mercury but the fish used in sushi such as sashimi, tuna, yellowtail and lobster have the highest quantities of mercury.
Our 2021 Cape Town Sushi Guide
So...should you give up eating sushi?
Here's 3 tips to consider when choosing your next sushi restaurant:
Not so fast! Before you toss away your favourite Japanese restaurant menus and cancel Friday night’s sushi date, there is still hope! Here are some tips on finding safe sushi and preventing illness:
1) Only visit reputable sushi restaurants
Properly trained Sushi chefs know how to buy, examine and store fish in order to minimize the risk of illness and parasites. These chefs are trained to easily spot anisakis larvae in raw fish and store fish in the correct flash-freezing method that destroys all parasites. The safest restaurants use fresh fish.
2) Keep it ice-cold and fresh
Always store prepared sushi below 4 degrees celsius. When shopping at grocery stores, make sure to check sell-by dates and if there is a sushi station on-site, ask them to roll you a fresh order.
3) Choose the right catch
Some freshwater fish like trout should not be eaten as sushi and you should stick to saltwater species like tuna for your sushi. A quick poll of South African sushi restaurants showed that some restaurants do pre-freeze sushi fish, and others alternate between frozen and some fresh depending on supply rather than health concerns whereas some restaurants also distinguish themselves by only using fresh fish. If you are worried about the risks make sure to ask before ordering!
Here’s a list of some of our Top sushi restaurants in Cape Town where you can enjoy fresh, excellent quality sushi - risk free:
- Obi (Town)
- Saigon (Gardens)
- Izakaya Matsuri (Greenpoint)
- Sushi Box (De Waterkant)
- Nobu Lounge (One&Only Cape Town)
- Willoughby & Co (V&A Waterfront)
- Kyoto Garden (Tamboerskloof)
And of course, our very own at Point Mall: