The idea of conveyor belt sushi is still novel to me. I think I like it because it’s Pacman for adults. But lately I’ve been wondering if it’s wise to eat as much raw fish as I do. Especially since I’ve seen the same sorry piece of ebi circling for hours with no takers. I asked owner of Nanawi Sushi Hudson Chang to explain the truth about sushi to me. “Locals love salmon,” he said (the first page of his menu is entirely salmon). “Occasionally they’ll pick out a soft-shell crab roll, but it is usually plates and plates of raw salmon. Americans looove tuna. “I once saw an American order 16 pieces of tuna,” he says. They also love their California rolls, spicy tuna and crabsticks. He warns if you are dining on the cheap stuff, know what you are getting into. “You must remember, it’s still eating raw fish.” There are different grades of fish. One of the lowest grades available for legal human consumption is where wholesalers cut out worms and other nasties from the flesh before selling it. This is perfectly fine for cooked dishes but questionable when eating it raw. So when you see an all-you-can-eat sushi special for $88, hmmm… He also said Tue and Fri nights are the best nights to have sushi as that is when Japan makes its shipments. “All those places that say they have fish flown in daily from Japan are lying,” he claims. Chang says unless you are paying for an economy class seat to fly that fish over, you are not getting the jet-fresh stuff. And raw fish is not something you want to go cheap on. The most striking fish on the belt must be the ruby red ahi tuna. Ruby red not from nature, but from nitrogen which is used in the defrosting process. Many restaurants insist their raw fish is indeed flown fresh from Japan or other ports of call, but such is not the case for some of the less high-profile sushi restaurants. But what every sushi eater must understand is that much of the fish at sushi restaurants is frozen (some for over two years at 70 degrees below) to ensure that all parasites are dead. Also no one wants to hear that their favorite sushi is out of season. A belly of tuna is very expensive, so it is common practice when an order of chu-toro comes in, the chef will saw a portion from a half-frozen fish and hand-warm it to produce a dewy piece of fish. After defrosting, it is injected with a cocktail dye called “watermelon ice” for a fleshy pink coloring. Tuna by nature is just not that red. A good tuna steak might have a deep blood red tone, but it usually doesn’t glow. But we like our food to look a certain way and that is what is delivered.