When people head out on a vacation they’re usually ready for anything. Or, at least, that’s what they tell themselves. Part of the fun in seeing new sights is stepping out of one’s own comfort zone. But a lot of people heading off to areas with a vastly different diet find themselves increasingly concerned as that date approaches. It’s as true for people heading off overseas as it is for someone taking a trip to Vegas. Even people preparing to host friends who will be preparing a lot of different foods might find that concern rising. And one of the most common shapes of this fear is that of a fish. Raw seafood might well top the lists of foods that one half of the world is in love with while at the same time being feared by the other half.
But people who face their fears and learn to love raw fish will find a whole new world of tastes opening up in front of them. The first step in the process is giving some thought to where food preferences come from. The simple answer that most people give is that they like their favorite food because it tastes good. Meanwhile they’ll say that they don’t like another food because it tastes bad. They might also add that a food they don’t like is gross.
The more one examines the issue the more it’s clear that these food preferences usually have a lot to do with where someone grew up. People raised in landlocked areas simply won’t have much experience with seafood. What seafood they encounter on a day to day basis will usually be shipped out from a considerable distance. It’s little wonder that people in these environments haven’t developed much of a taste for raw fish. Raw seafood is something that until very recently wouldn’t be safe for people who aren’t near the sea.
Meanwhile people in areas where the majority of the inhabitable land is near large bodies of water will have constant exposure to seafood. A fish can go from the ocean to their plate in the blink of an eye. This has traditionally made it far safer for people in watery areas to eat seafood.
This simple fact might not seem overly significant at first. But it’s one of the most important steps to overcoming a fear of raw fish. People overcoming serious phobias have the bulk of their efforts focused on discovering the root cause of the fear. It’s usually not the fear which needs to be fought off. Those people instead are trying to fight off whatever provided those first sparks that grew into fear. Someone worried about eating raw fish is facing something similar, even if less severe. Focusing on the reason why their culture doesn’t have much experience with raw fish is the first step to approaching it in a logical manner.
Equipped with an understanding of why they have a kneejerk response to raw fish, the next step is to learn why it’s not an issue anymore. And the simple fact is that modern shipping and refrigeration techniques have made it safe for most people to eat raw fish. This has become even more true in the wake of massively improved travel options. Modern shipping systems can move fish all over the world at shockingly fast speeds. At the same time people travel from areas that enjoy raw fish to those which don’t at a pretty rapid pace as well. This creates a demand for raw fish in places where it’s never occurred before. In fact, anyone who’s noticed sushi becoming more popular in America will have improvements in rapid transit to thank for it. This also hints at a good way of easing into a real appreciation for raw fish.
Sushi can be a great way of testing the waters, so to speak. But it’s important to remember that not all sushi is created equal. Supermarket sushi, in particular, tends to be quite subpar in the states. This might actually reinforce someone’s fear of raw fish rather than squash it. Instead, it’s better to look around for a good Japanese restaurant. If there’s a Chinatown area nearby then this will be the absolute best place to look. Despite the name, in most large cities anything labeled Chinatown will usually serve as a nexus for a wide variety of Asian centered goods and services.
Going into an area where people who grew up with raw fish can be found will act as quality control. A Japanese restaurant which mostly serves people who grew up with standard American foods can usually get away with a lot. But any area with people who grew up eating raw fish will be quick to call out any establishment that begins to slack on quality.
From here it’s usually a rather simple matter. It’s understandable that one might be embarrassed to admit to some trepidation. But most servers and even chefs at these locations will be happy to help someone humbly approaching this new type of cuisine.
Someone who actually wants to learn can be a refreshing event. Simply asking what type of sushi would be a good item to begin with will usually be all that’s needed. A few more questions about what spices or flavors one enjoys will often be all it takes to get some good suggestions. From here it just requires an open mind. By the time one is ready to head off on a vacation that fear of raw fish will be a thing of the past.