Expanding your palette by sampling rare and exotic cuisine is the preferred pastime for many adventurous eaters. Sushi, which was once considered strange, is now as common as pizza for many diners. However, sushi which is a method of rolling fish, rice, and other ingredients together has many different variations. Some of these sushi combinations are beyond weird and may even venture into the dangerous category.
One of these variations is sashimi. A piece of fish served raw, pickled, or cooked accompanied by an assortment of shiso, daikon, and wasabi. Now, most sushi lovers are used to their sashimi filled with yellowfin tuna or shrimp, but chefs have recently upped the ante.
In Japan, many sushi restaurants are serving chicken sashimi, and the chicken is only cooked for 5-10 seconds. This method of “flash cooking” requires cooking an item for a very short period over high heat. Chicken sashimi chefs usually flash-boil the meat for a few seconds in a flavored broth before serving it to guests. The risqué food is fairly popular in Japan and is gaining some traction in the United States. Eateries in New York and California like Ippuku already have the dish available on their menus.
The main question most people have about chicken sashimi is its safety. The US Gov. Food Safety Agency recommends cooking chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 Celsius) before eating. The Japanese Ministry of Health also warns against raw chicken, suggesting poultry should be cooked to 75 degrees Celsius before consumption. The flash cooking method does not fully cook the meat to the recommended temperature. This process increases the risk of salmonella poisoning.
Chefs have tried to offset salmonella concern by using a specific cut of meat. Apparently, the risk of salmonella poisoning is high in chicken, but certain areas are less likely to cause poisoning. Some researchers believe that the chicken breast carries less contamination risk than other parts of the chicken, so sashimi chefs end to use the cut for their dishes.
However, some chefs are getting experimental and using chicken thigh and leg meat which carries a higher risk of food poisoning. Nonetheless, doctors recommend diners exercise caution before eating chicken sashimi. They urge customers to inquire about the chicken’s origins (farming, delivery) and preparation before being served.
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