Free Trade

Friday Food Link: Sushi in Syria


fish fly to syria

The Economist asks "Can sushi lead to liberty?":

The government-owned Cham Palace has long had a go at producing Japanese cuisine, but the trend took off recently when several sushi bars appeared in rapid succession. Sake, a Lebanese chain, came first, followed by Hanabi, located in an upmarket shopping boulevard. Soon high-class restaurants were jumping on the bandwagon, adding sushi to their fusion menus. Dome, a leading restaurant in Damascus, runs a popular sushi buffet on Fridays, when customers happily pay $38 for a meal, a hefty amount, seeing that Syria's annual GDP per person is a mere $2,700.

Proud and nationalistic, modern Syria has not been known for welcoming outside influences, be they political, economic or culinary. A decade or two ago Damascus offered just a handful of restaurants serving typical Syrian cuisine. But that is changing as Syria opens up to the world. The sushi boom is partly a product of economic liberalisation, which has most visibly led to a proliferation of luxury services targeting the better-off.

But as more Syrian expatriates return, they are pushing new trends and demanding the services and cuisine they have been used to outside.

For more on fish and freedom, read my review of two books about sushi and globalization.


NEXT: Capitalism for Punks

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  1. Never was able to acquire the taste for sushi!


    1. You are missing out.

  2. Can Sushi be Halal? What has to happen for it to be Halal?

    1. As far as I know, the only thing that would make raw fish not Halal is if the sushi chef said “Namu Amida Butsu” (or something of that sort) as he prepared the food.

    2. All fish are considered Halal as long as the blood is removed.

    3. Of course sushi can be Halal… It’s just vinegared rice. Unless there’s something about vinegar that I don’t know about…

  3. i was in Jordan last year for work and Amman has gone nuts for sushi (its not very good thought)

  4. I used to live in an area of Montclair, NJ that was only a few blocks away from an excellent, relatively inexpensive Japanese restaurant called Dai Kichi. It always had delicious weekly specials and a very authentic environment. Japanese is probably my favorite cuisine.

  5. In my experience, sushi leads to the bathroom.

    1. Either you are alergic to fish or not eating at the right place.

    2. In my experience it simply leads to poverty.

      I love good sushi, but it is incredibly overpriced, in my opinion. It takes considerably less time, effort, and ingredients to make than most other foods, yet it costs its own weight in gold.

      1. A lot of it is that you have to use decent cuts – you can’t use the subpar ‘triangle fish’ and dress is up with spices and grilling/frying that makes up the bulk of retail seafood.
        Plus the species of fish generally used to make sushi are a bit less common than your hadock/salmon mainstays

        1. It’s not even the fish: its the shipping! The fish get brain spiked and tossed into an icewater/salt slurry right on the boat.

          Then they’ve got 10days max to get it to the table if it’s going to be served as sushi.

          Your common fishstick fish gets flashfrozen right on the boat so it can take it’s sweet time getting to someone’s plate.

          1. Doesn’t the Constitution guarantee us all a right to Sushi? Why about poor families who can’t afford sushi insurance?

        2. But the higher price of sushi fish should be balanced out by the fact that so little of it is actually used in a serving of sushi, compared to a normal fish dish.

  6. This is far out! When the Syrians push the Jews into the sea, they can claim that they’re not trying to drown them they’re only putting them to work finding sushi.

    And the clowns at “Reason” would buy such an explanation.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

    1. You embarrass me.

  7. I love sushi, It taste good.

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