• Germany's news in English

Sustainable sushi: Looking for another fish in the sea

6 Sep 2011, 07:11

Published: 06 Sep 2011 07:11 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The original concept of sushi was to serve fresh protein in a hygienic way using the natural preservatives of vinegar and ginger. It all began in the harbour of Tokyo, where the fish was served up fresh just after it had been caught in the bay. But now due to refrigeration, modern fishing techniques and popularity, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.

If you go out to a restaurant for sushi, it's unlikely that you're thinking about overfishing and just how far that piece of tuna has travelled to get to your plate. But a Berlin-based interdisciplinary performing arts collective called post theater, is trying to change the situation – one hungry customer at a time - through their sustainable sushi project.

"Sushi as we know it is a complete ecological disaster. So the only way is to re-think the very concept and have ingredients that are maybe not even fish, but that are fresh, that are wonderful, that are tasty and that have the same preciousness that sushi has," said Max Schumacher from the group.

Schumacher and Hiroko Tanahashi have created both an ethical restaurant called "nekkko" and a performance. Almost all the ingredients are certified organic and sourced locally from Brandenburg, the eastern German state surrounding Berlin. However there are a couple of exceptions that are sourced elsewhere within Europe.

Schumacher explained that because there is no rice grown in Germany, they have to get that part of the sushi from Italy. The one ingredient they do have to import from Japan is nori – the seaweed – because they can't get it anywhere else.

Schumacher and Tanahashi collaborated with Berlin-based chef, Ulli Krauss to develop the recipes.

It's sushi – but not as you've ever tasted it. Krauss explained that the recipes are a fusion of sushi fundamentals like rice and nori, combined with European ingredients and seasoning.

Same, but different

The Galloway beef tartar maki is done in the classic French-style with capers and mustard. But people seemed a little hesitant to try this bright red morsel bursting out of its nori wrap.

The deer nigiri looks a little more laid back. A thin slice is draped over rice, accompanied by mirin and horseradish, and topped with cranberries. The deer comes from the Brandenburg forest.

"This is one of my favourites because we season the things like in the European kitchen. It is cooked, but rare inside – the consistency is like sushi – like raw fish," explained Krauss.

Vegetarian options include tomato filets on rocket pesto (that look convincingly like tuna); beetroot with balsamic vinegar and honey; and carrot mousse with saffron, ginger and lime.

Krauss is particularly proud of the soy sauce they created. The base is beef stock and it’s a mix of all the cooking juices, combined with honey, ginger and herbs.

While some customers liked it, others would have preferred real soy sauce – or a vegetarian option. Everyone appreciated the concept of sustainable sushi, but one customer argued against having any meat on the menu.

Despite post theater's focus on the ethics of fishing, Schumacher is adamant that they are not activists.

"We are artists and we have certain preferences and we have made a choice to be selective omnivores. In other words we try to avoid industrial produced meats and we don't want to be guilty of overfishing, but it doesn't mean we want to not eat any animal whatsoever,” said Schumacher. “We accept it as a position, but we don't promote it ourselves."

Sustainable Sushi was presented as a part of the recent Über Lebenskunst Festival at the House of World Cultures in Berlin.

For Max, a 30-year-old Berlin student, the Matjes Herring Maki was a clear favourite, while Lisa from Virginia preferred the pike with lemon and the taste-sensation of the bacon maki.

Schumacher from post theater hopes to inspire people to create their own sustainable sushi recipes and to take the mobile restaurant on the road.

"The dream is to tour internationally and to explore different regional solutions to the same question, because if we go to say another city in Germany or Europe, or anywhere in the world, we would have to ask ourselves about regional food there,” said Schumacher.

Story continues below…

“What's slow food there? What is the regional answer to our sustainable sushi question?"

If you're keen on trying Sustainable Sushi, head over to Radialsystem V from 8–13 September where they're taking part in the Asia Pacific Weeks in Berlin.

At Asien Pazifik-Wochen - Japan Fokus - Radialsystem V

Holzmarktstr. 33, 10243 Berlin

8–13 September from 6 pm

11 September from 11:00 am

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

07:56 September 6, 2011 by marimay
Leave it to the Germans to turn great food into a mess on a plate.
08:17 September 6, 2011 by So36
You complain about the Germans like you're German yourself. Congratulations! You've finally arrived.
08:26 September 6, 2011 by marimay
Yes, I blame my German blood.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd