I really don't know how many Japanese restaurants are open today in Lebanon, do you? More than 15 years ago, a couple of sushi places popped out and since then things have gotten out of control. There are more Sushi restaurants in Lebanon than local Shawarma spots. Although most of these so-called Sushi restaurants serve nothing that tastes like real Sushi, many Lebanese continue to eat whatever they are served ... Searching for the less expensive without caring much about the quality. But this is a whole different post to what I want to say here...
Anyway, back to the important point: The first restaurants to open, places like Tokyo, Yabani and the Sushi Bar, brought-in a concept that was booming around the world. By traveling overseas, learning, copying and importing premium products for the local customers' satisfaction. Many others then followed by just copying them.
Copying the good and the bad without knowing how and worse, not adding their special touch to it or taking the concept a step further...One such horrible trend are the green plastic leaves used on sushi platters... this is something that really disgusts me. It is used in abundance in almost all Japanese restaurants except for few like Ginger&Co. hoping that others will follow.
These inedible leaves called "baran", are used for decoration. Decoration?! If the Japanese knew how we are massacring their food, they will surely ban us from importing their goods. Presentation is really important in Japanese food, even when you're dealing with cheap supermarket sushi. The plastic leaves were used, dozens of years ago, before even the refrigeration existed to keep Sushi pieces fresh. Back then, real bamboo leaves were used. Now that we have refrigeration, though, plastic baran are sometimes nothing but a reminder of old traditions.
Here in Lebanon, they are over used for many other reasons as well:
- Deceiving the customers into seeing their plate is generously filled
- Decorating salads? Come on! The cheapest idea ever
- Cover-up on the bad wrappings
- Use less plates to condense all rolls into one serving container mixing all kinds of fish together
- Using them just because others do without truly understanding the concept
Please be professional:
- Train your staff to roll better so they don't have to be hidden behind these plastic papers
- Use more serving plates making food more appetizing
- Be creative and don't copy others
This is a call of distress, from customers to restaurant owners: STOP using these disgusting things and search for other alternatives.
What are the other possibilities?
- Go to Damour and get banana leaves. We have plenty of them around. They are green, fresh, natural and better looking
Please it's time for an ugly trend change. Do something about it!