The Sushi Anthony Bourdain Avoided At All Costs

Sushi is one of those dishes you want to enjoy as fresh as possible. Whether you're in a land-locked state or sprinting home from the office, nailing the perfect sushi order can be the difference between a delicious meal and a questionable experience. And if anyone knew how to spot dodgy ingredients (regardless of location), Anthony Bourdain would top that list. Bourdain, who was no stranger to sampling meals in street markets and hidden alleys, gave unambiguous instructions when picking up sushi packages to take home to enjoy. 

As tempting as it might be to reach for sushi that has been discounted, Bourdain said this was the line hungry shoppers should never cross. "I can't imagine a better example of 'Things To Be Wary Of' in the food department than bargain sushi," he told People Magazine in 2018. And this certainly isn't to say Bourdain advised against eating sushi, just those kinds that might be sold at a reduced price.

Choosing sushi meals carefully

Bourdain loved the stuff, and even told The Guardian his choice for a last meal would be sushi from Tokyo's Sukiyabashi Jiro, raving that "The rice is always perfect, the seaweed the right consistency and not soggy and the fish at the carefully regulated, preferred temperatures," in other words, the way sushi is intended to be eaten.

The way it's not intended to be eaten is the next day or even the next hour in some cases. And there's really no other reason why sushi would be on sale other than it's getting old — perhaps still safe and edible, but past its eating prime. You should (in every case) scope out the grocery store's sushi bar before choosing and note the cleanliness of the area in which the sushi is being prepared. But particularly in the cases of something that is more than a few hours old, check sushi packages for any discoloration or sliminess. Steer clear of discount stickers with anything raw, and, if you must browse the bargain bin, consider the rolls of cooked fish, veggies, or imitation crab. If balling on a budget is your style, you're much better off trying your hand at making sushi yourself.