Have you ever had a shiso leaf in a sashimi salad and wondered exactly what it was? Well, Shiso leaves, also known as perilla, grow in a number of Asian cultures, and their uses are myriad within the regional cuisines there because of its pungent aroma and bold flavors. It’s not surprising that there are various types of leaves within the family, each slightly different and unique.
The Korean version is called either deulkkae or tŭlkkae, which means “wild sesame” or “sesame leaf,” even though it has no relation to sesame whatsoever, according to Wikipedia.
This leaf grows in spring and summer, and you can find it planted in a herb bed in front of Godai Sushi Bar, 11203 West Ave.
Owner and sushi master William “Goro” Pitchford takes one of the just-picked large leaves and sits its bottom half in tempura batter before deep-frying it. Then he arranges a little bite of sashimi and some roe on top of each, creating a special treat that is as fresh as it gets. The shiso has a slight mint quality and freshness that is perfect for the seafood. The array of leaves on the platter is also a real eye-catcher.
So, go to Godai while the shiso leaves last and enjoy this one-of-a-kind treat.
For more information on Godai, click here.