Question: you’ve caught a big salmon and you’d like to cut it up as sashimi. Upon cutting it open, you see that it is infested with worms. Can you still eat it? Does the answer seem obvious?

Eating raw fish is a delicacy, and preparing it is an art. Sushi chefs spend many years training in art of choosing the proper fish to be served raw. And as sushi restaurants have exploded in the U.S. and Europe, more an more untrained individuals are opening sushi restaurants. This can be a problem.

Not every fish is suitable to be eaten raw–many amateurs don’t know this. Many forms of seafood can cause illness if not prepared properly. Take, for instance, baby crabs. “Fake” sushi restaurants often serve them raw. Bad idea. But deep fried baby crabs are suitable for consumption. And how about salmon? Salmon is prone to parasitic infection, therefore, it should never be eaten raw. Salmon should always be cooked, marinated, or frozen before being consumed.

Heh! Who knew? That’s why sushi chefs get paid the big bucks. I’ve always had an inherent respect for sushi chefs, and I personally would never eat in a sushi restaurant that isn’t run by a top-quality, highly-trained sushi chef. But it wasn’t until I saw this great piece on 60 Minutes on the tuna trade that I really developed respect for people who make fish purchases and preparation their life’s work–just fascinating.

Here’s the bottom line: Do your research. Find sushi restaurants with properly trained artisans preparing the goods. Steer clear of fly-by-night operations attempting to capitalize on the popularity of this exotic delicacy. And never–and I mean never–prepare raw fish on your own, because “it must be easy to do.” It isn’t. If it were, would it take as long to master?

As far as the opening question is concerned: Yeah, you can eat it–throw away the infected parts and cook the rest.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.