Costa Rica Sashimi – You Can Not Get It Fresher Than This

One of the bad things about growing up in a beach community and fishing since you can remember, you know what fresh fish is. So when a friend invited me to this new trendy sushi place in San Diego that boasted it had the freshest fish in town, I balked. She continued saying, “The Ahi (or Yellowfin) is flown in daily, and the sashimi is out of this world!”

FRESH! – I chuckled. She and the restaurant probably had no clue of what fresh is all about.

Like making ceviche, one of the keys to buy “as-fresh-as-possible-fish” from the market is to look for bright, clear and glassy eyes. The eyes are the window to a truly fresh fish, for they fade quickly into gray dullness. If the eyes are clouded over, that fish has been dead for a while and a big NO NO for sashimi.

But getting back, and to set the record right, the moment the fish dies it starts to decay –  with decay, the fishy smell starts. Fresh fish does not smell fishy. Packing a fish in ice as soon as it lands on board a boat just delays the decay. The time it gets to a dinner plate … well I rest my case on this issue of how fresh is that fish.

Bloody Fish

OK - this may turn a few stomachs to some, but bleeding a fish is a must if you want good Sashimi

Here is the catch (no pun intended) – tuna is known as a bloody fish so the process of decay starts a lot faster. However, if you catch a nice one, like a 10-15lb yellowfin, once that fish hits the deck, you take a very sharp knife and slit the throat and let it bleed as it flops around on the deck. A bit bloody (not for the weak stomach), and a bit of a mess to clean up,  but the reward is the taste.

The second catch is to forget the glorified Sushi Chef – I’ll take a good deckhand who knows how to cut fish while the boat is rocking to the swells as it is cruising and/or trolling any day.

Once that fish is done flopping, the deckhand starts carving and fine-tuning it into perfect, mega pieces and not the typical, four onion peel bits one gets at some overly-priced chic restaurant.

But back to Costa Rica, nowadays most of the sportsfishing boats in Costa Rica carry a bottle of Soy Sauce and a squeeze tube of wasabi  as they would fishing tackle. An added treat to those fishermen who love to gorge themselves on the freshest sashimi one can get. You can not get it fresher!!

As far as it being served on a fancy plate with colorful garnishments – screw that!

Are you going for the pricey gourmet look or taste?

All you need is some container lined with aluminum foil, bottom third of a plastic soda bottle cut off to hold the soy sauce and a tube of wasabi at reaching distance. Forget the chopped sticks, your utensils are saltwater seasoned fingers and paper towels to wipe the soy sauce off dripping fingers.

Now add some roasted chicken warmed over the diesel engines, slices of fresh fruit, a few cans of Imperial, some good friends, and it does not get better than that.


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  1. I have been in Central America for over 10 years and the Sushi is Sub-standard. Ahi Tuna is the lowest grade of tuna on the market, I should know I worked on a fishing boat off the California Coast, I also hve been eating raw fish for over 40 years and have eaten in Sushi Like Ginga Shusi-KO in Berverly Hills at $300.00 + per person without any Booze.Ahi Tuna An't no Bluefin and it sure an't Bluefin Toro. Once in a while here in Costa Rica I get lucky and find a fresh peice of Ahi at the Auto Macardo, but real lucky they had some fresh Salmon at the Mas X Minis, it came in on a boat that must have bronken down from Chile. Five weeks later they are still selling the same shipment in frozen from. I paid $11.00 for that first Kilo nd ate it raw. That's Omega 3 at it's best. they have a place in Santana call Product C that has the best fresh fish in Csta Rica, in fact they supply a lot of fresh fish to restaurants. 
    I am at your service
    Panama JAck
    editor of the Panama Visitors Guide

  2. Yum.

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