The Search for Good Sushi in Delhi

I thought of starting this post with a quick review of my week but as I sat down to jot down my top moments, I drew up blanks. I genuinely didn’t remember what I had been up to, since the wedding. I literally had to check my work calendar, which might just be a sign that days are blending in to a point that I may not want them to. I do sense a burn out on the horizon but the confirmation of a 10 day trip to Greece at the end of this month gives me hope that I will be able to make it. 


The one other thing that I believe is helping with reducing the overall busyness in my life is taking out one day for no work and unstructured time. Unlike in college, where structured time needed to be carved in order to be efficient, a corporate setting boxes you enough that sometimes being a noodle and just going with the flow is needed. If you follow the blog, you might notice that every month of this year has been focused on one specific ingredient or cuisine such as the sesame series or the Italian month. This whole month was spent thinking about Asian food - specifically ramen and sushi. While I still don’t think the ramen offerings in Delhi are all that great (primarily because they lack true pork bone broths), sushi is on rise. Now I know that well known hotels in the city have sushi, but I never associate hotels with the city. I think of them more like embassies— foreign property servicing a specific section of society and the cultural fabric of the space they occupy. 

Being landlocked and constantly hot, with a questionable cold food storage infrastructure makes Delhi one of those cities where finding good fish is a constant conundrum. It was for this reason that I never wanted to search for sushi. However, with an increasing expatriate population and every restaurant targeting their ads towards my demographic on social media, there was a surge of hope that maybe Delhi does have good raw fish. For this expedition, I took along my favorite pescetarian and fancy food aficionado, Megha. There were three sushi places that we found defined the sushi experience in the city: Yum Yum Cha, Guppy, and Kofuku. 

Yum Yum Cha is one of the most popular places in the city. It has the feel of a New York Style sushi restaurant: it's all about turnover. Its fast food with a sit down feel. Essentially, you are invited to sit down and have a great meal, but the moment you’re done, you want to leave the brightly lit room and that’s totally fine because Yum Yum focuses a lot more on the food and presentation rather than ambience. I really liked some of the dishes. The takoyaki was great, as were the cuts of sashimi, and what stood out for me the most were the mochi ice creams. They had traditional flavors but also had paan and rocky road- both of which were surprisingly delicious. 

Guppy was outright beautiful. There was a significant investment in making you feel special, from the hospitality, the exposed brick walls, and table mats with origami instructions. Instructions was a big motif throughout the meal. Everything was explained well with a target demographic in mind: confused (somewhat unaware), wealthy Indians. The menu was small but everything on it looked exciting with an equal focus on drinks. The sushi was great with room to explore. They had the classic California roll but also options with eel, salmon, and the ever so popular— shrimp tempura. After rounds of sushi, a bowl of garlic fried rice, and multiple cocktails later, we were done. Tipsy, content, and most importantly— satisfied that we found sushi. Edit: good sushi.  

I shared my findings with foodie friends at work and they suggested Kofuku. Nestled in what used to be one of the most happening malls of the 90s, Kofuku changed what we defined as good sushi in Delhi. Megha and I went last weekend with our newfound critiquing rubric and melted just looking at the decor. Private room tables made of bamboo and walls with silk/satin tapestry hooked us in. We ordered sake and edamame, followed by cherry blossom sushi— a mix of prime tuna muscle with salty fish roe and a mild wasabi that was hand pounded to retain pungent granules of the undissolved root. This was the first time, I felt there to be a difference in the wasabi, which is important to note. So, the wasabi flavor is notoriously similar to horseradish and most restaurants usually serve colored horseradish than the real deal. After 90 mils of sake, two other drinks, some Japanese style pork stir fry, and shrimp fried rice, we concluded our unscheduled meal. Four hours, thousands of calories, and the best sushi ever.