Imaginary Sushi: Miya’s in New Haven

July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013
Spent a day on the water with Bun Lai, whose restaurant, Miya’s Sushi, was nominated for a James Beard Award, earlier this year. After flipping some rocks and gathering periwinkles, green crabs, and Asian shore crabs, we went out and grabbed some dead man’s fingers, Codium fragile, off of Bun’s boat.

Ate them all on an outcrop in Long Island Sound. I had no idea that Codium could be so tasty–Bun turned this invader into “marine bruschetta.” A memorable invasive feast, with writer Rowen Jacobsen, photographer Andrew Hetherington, and anthropologist Annie Claus, among others.

October 8, 2012
Returned to Miya’s Sushi last week. New to Bun Lai’s menu was lionfish, Pterois volitans, the rapidly expanding invader now found from Rhode Island to Venezuela. The sashimi was pearly white and firm, lightly seasoned with Kiribati sea salt.

Bun was preparing to cater the wedding of James Prosek (the artist and angler) and making arrangements to have a vocational school come out to the restaurant. At one point, he sat down at his usual table. His girlfriend complained about the salad dressing. His mom told him, in Japanese, that his food wasn’t very good. His womenfolk set a very high bar.

Thanks to Bun Lai for a delicious, inspiring night!

November 28, 2011
We visited Miya’s Sushi in New Haven this weekend.  It was a culinary highlight of the year.  Having spent a few years studying the intertidal zone of New England, I never thought there was anything you could do about the Asian shore crab, a tiny new invader to the East Coast.  How wrong I was.

Bun Lai creates imaginary sushi, much of his fifty-two page menu is pure fantasy, never having been prepared.  (I thought of Jorge Luis Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings or Dictionary of the Khazars.) But what he does make is inspired and sustainable. No shrimp or toro served here.

Here is how he describes his Asian shore crab creation. As much a work of art, with the crabs perched atop the rolls like pirates, as a dinner plate.

KANIBABA
A roll of asian shore crab, hand-caught and well-seasoned, dungeness crab, spinach, all stuffed in potato skin infused with asian shore crab stock and topped with toasted havarti cheese and a lemon dill sauce

“Asian Shore Crabs are an invasive species of crab that migrated to North America in the ballasts of ships in the 1980’s. They are aggressive predators that are disliked by fishermen for voraciously consuming the larvae of shellfish. I have designed the Kanibaba to resemble one of Connecticut’s many craggy sea shores that the Asian Shore Crab inhabits today. This dish is served on a locally collected volcanic ocean rock. Sip the ocean flavored Ultra Violet Kisses Sake while experiencing this dish, and you will be able to imagine yourself as an Asian Shore Crab.”

To learn more about Bun, check out his website, Call Me Bun. Read an excerpt of his invasive species menu here.

Kanibaba: Bun Lai serves up Asian shore crabs in New Haven.

    Leave a Comment

    Land

    800px-ChenopodiumAlbum001

    Lamb’s Quarters

    Lamb’s quarters was a popular spring tonic in the South—an early season edible green—but its leaves are good throughout the summer.       Chenopodium album Native range: Described by Linnaeus in 1753, this European native has been transferred throughout much of the world. Because its spread was rarely recorded, C. album‘s native and invasive [...]


      EAT ME!
      fennel01-l

      Wild Fennel

        Foeniculum vulgare Native range: Mediterranean, from Turkey west to Spain and Morocco Invasive range: Much of North and South America, South Africa, and parts of Oceania and the British Isles. Check out the USDA Plants Database to see if it’s found near you. Habitat: Roadsides, pastures, along the edge of wild habitats. Rocky shores [...]


        EAT ME!
        GarlicMustard1

        Garlic Mustard

          Alliaria petiolata Native range: Europe, Asia, Northwest Africa Invasive range: Much of the Lower 48, Alaska, and Canada. (See map.) Habitat: Moist, shaded soil of floodplains, forests, roadsides, edges of woods, and forest openings. Often dominant in disturbed areas. Description: Biennial herb. First-year plant has a rosette of green leaves close to the ground. [...]


          EAT ME!
          Wild_boar

          Wild Boar

          Did the domestic ancestors of today’s feral pigs streak off De Soto’s ship into the Florida scrub of their own accord in 1539? Or did they have to be urged to go find something to eat? All you need to…


            EAT ME!
            burdoc87-l

            Burdock

            Native to the Old World, burdock’s introduction to North America was noted in 1672 by John Josselyn, a sharp-eyed English visitor, who used Gerard’s Herbal: The Historie of Plants of 1597 as a field guide. . . .


              EAT ME!

              Sea

              Pterois volitans

              Lionfish

              Some say it started in 1992 in Miami when Hurricane Andrew smashed an aquarium tank. Don’t blame the weather, others say; in the mid-nineties, disappointed yet softhearted hobbyists…


                EAT ME!
                chuka wakame

                Wakame

                  Undaria pinnatifida Native range: Japan Sea Invasive range: Southern California, San Francisco Bay, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Argentina Habitat: Opportunistic seaweed, can be found on hard substrates including rocky reefs, pylons, buoys, boat hulls, and abalone and bivalve shells. Description: Golden brown seaweed, growing up to nine feet. Forms thick canopy. Reproductive sporophyll in [...]


                  EAT ME!
                  Hemigrapsus_sanguineus_big

                  Asian Shore Crab

                  The first sighting of the Asian shore crab in the United States was at Townsend Inlet, Cape May County, New Jersey, in 1988. Though the source is unknown . . .


                    EAT ME!
                    Periwinkles

                    Periwinkle

                    The common periwinkle, which first appeared in New England in the 1860s, is now found along the coast wherever there’s hard substrate–rocks, riprap, broken concrete, or docks–from Labrador to . . .


                      EAT ME!
                      Kleiner_Taschenkrebs_(Carcinus_maenas)

                      Green Crab

                      Since the green crab was first recorded off southern Massachusetts in 1817, it has been hard to ignore. A few minutes of rock-flipping in Maine can turn up dozens of them, brandishing their claws as they retreat…


                        EAT ME!

                        Fresh

                        Procambarus_clarkii_tank

                        Blue Plate Special: Red Swamp Crawfish

                        Spring is here, and it’s time for invasivores to think about our next culinary adventure. Get your 40-quart pots ready for a crawfish boil.


                          EAT ME!
                          bullfrog

                          Bullfrog

                          “They live in a wide variety of habitats, colonize new ones readily, and eat everything that fits into their mouths,” says Dr. Peter Moyle of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC-Davis…


                            EAT ME!
                            Distinguishing _ Channa argus

                            Northern Snakehead

                            His sister was ailing, and the man in Maryland remembered that, back home in Hong Kong, there was a fish that was considered a delicacy and a restorative. He would make a fish soup…


                              EAT ME!
                              Picture 1

                              Common Carp

                              For a bottom-feeder, what is the good life? The common carp isn’t very demanding: any body of water that’s sluggish and murky will do. One catching sewage or…


                                EAT ME!
                                nutria-mugshot

                                Nutria

                                Nutria, also known as coypu and river rat, is native to temperate and subtropical South America. It has been introduced to Europe, Asia, and Africa, mainly for fur farming. These voracious. . .


                                  EAT ME!

                                  Field Notes

                                  flickr-wayne_marshall-knotweed-20140402

                                  Invasive Cuisine

                                  Joe Roman talks with Jane Lindholm of Vermont Public Radio about his mission to change what’s on our dinner plates. Listen here.


                                    EAT ME!
                                    lai-roman_fe1

                                    The Gourmet Invasivore’s Dilemma

                                    “The invasivore movement has caught fire. Some of the worst invaders, like gypsy moths and Asian long-horned beetles, will not grace lunch counters anytime soon, yet where perniciousness meets deliciousness, there is hope.” Rowan Jacobsen writes about Bun Lai and Joe Roman in April’s Outside Magazine.


                                      EAT ME!
                                      hi-green-crab-20120925

                                      New Green Crab Fishery in Canada

                                      Fisheries and Oceans Canada wants to create a commercial green crab fishery on Prince Edward Island. Read more about it here.


                                        EAT ME!
                                        Screenshot 2014-02-17 11.02.17

                                        Invader vs. Invader

                                        Crazy ants may soon displace fire ants from much of the southeastern U.S. and become the new ecologically dominant invasive ant species. Read more here.


                                          EAT ME!
                                          capybara1

                                          Eat the Invaders in Brazil

                                          Fala portugués? Eat the Invaders has been covered by Brazil’s Época magazine. Roast capybara, anyone? Coma as Invasores


                                            EAT ME!

                                            “During days of happiness, the world is edible.”

                                            Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie

                                            Previous post:

                                            Next post: