› 選擇地區
三藩市
紐約
洛杉磯
其他美國地區
香港 台灣 北美
 
2018年04月16日

【飲食籽】一吃傾情

【飲食籽:追源尋味】
連續八年獲東京米芝蓮三星的齋藤孝司,在香港開了第一間分店,哄動食壇。香港飲食作家little meg小瑪姬因為熱愛壽司移居日本,由2011年迄今已光顧過鮨さいとう48次,她會一連五天用文字描寫這位新一代壽司之神。

我跟壽司大師齋藤孝司(Saito)的關係,由2011年9月首趟日本覓食之旅開始。我以前遊日本總愛一飽口福,但不會認認真真規劃覓食行程。中學時代,我在日本當了半年交流生,只會流連燒肉店、咖啡店等尋常食店,因為年輕時總想把零用錢花來買衫,手工壽司上不了我的朝聖名單。
直至2003年我遷往紐約工作,從此對美食不能自拔。我以前已愛佳餚美酒,如今再染上紐約人的覓食態度。美食變成我的生活重點,連旅行都是先訂好覓食行程,才計劃看附近景點。我每周在曼克頓光顧日本餐廳,尤其不會錯過壽司店,漸漸發現自己對壽司的渴求真是無日無之。
2011年初,我從紐約回港,方發現這兒的日本菜根本無法滿足我。
那年我初次正式去東京覓食,要在鮨さいとう(Sushi Saito)訂位不難,只須出發前一個月透過酒店禮賓部留位。當年我未有facebook、沒有Google Map,也無iPhone,只好按着打印好的地圖比訂枱時間早到30分鐘,誰知迷失在赤坂街頭,要由一位友善的日本人把我帶到位處停車場裏的Sushi Saito。慶幸我準時趕至,打開壽司店趟門一刻,眼前正是當晚為我掌廚的壽司師傅齋藤先生,他笑意盈盈向我問好。
他是齋藤孝司,是米芝蓮三星餐廳的壽司大師。那個笑容、那句問好,教我一世難忘。
店員確定我的預約名字後,安排我坐在面朝齋藤先生的中央位置,我分不清那刻是驚是喜,也許是驚喜交集吧,最初還有點顫抖。我當時的日文馬馬虎虎,嘗試聆聽齋藤先生跟其他食客的對話,又觀看他的一舉一動。他雙手長着粗壯十指,把是日海鮮一一切好,但總是掛着一臉微笑,溫暖得讓我就坐不久便安下心來,慢慢等待第一道菜。
首先上桌的是一小碗灑了丁點柚皮的三文魚子,我還記得他把金屬削器上的柚子皮末輕輕掃在三文魚子上,原來這就是壽司店的料理方法。
我嘗試從玻璃小碗中挾起一顆顆晶瀅通透飽滿圓潤的三文魚子,但有點事倍功半,我頓時有點尷尬,因為齋藤先生和壽司枱其他食客的眼光似乎都投了過來。
然後他做了一個飲酒手勢,示意我把鮭魚卵一灌而下。
噢,他果然看着我!我曉得自己出醜了,但隨他提示把玻璃小碗一灌而下。天啊!冰涼、微鹹,綻放出鮮甜四溢的汁液,我覺得像滔滔江水在舌上翻騰,簡直不可思議!那柚皮多麼清新芳香,天啊,原來柚子有如此本色。
這就是齋藤孝司。
鮑魚、章魚、車海老、鰹魚和燒紅喉,無一不是美味絕倫。我把第一片鰹魚夾進唇邊,惟有閉起雙眼才感受到銳利的醬油醃料、明亮的葱和薑,像鏗魚這種樸實食材的滑溜質感。我這刻方知,自己從未嚐過真正的鰹魚。
燒得剛好的太刀魚,只要讓筷子輕輕一握即滲出油香,而魚肉卻是如此鮮甜,連上一衣酥脆的薄皮。佐碟的蘿蔔茸讓人一新口腔,即使嚐盡高脂肥美的鮮魚也無半點飽滯感。
一切如斯完美無瑕。
當齋藤先生開始準備醋飯上的魚生,是另一番令人嘆為觀止的風景。他把鮮魚一尾尾置好,以長刀切成薄片,他一絲不苟的目光,掌管着在魚身前後進進出出的刀鋒,那種翻來覆去幾乎有種治癒作用。待魚生切好,一道彩虹呈現我的眼前,是由醋飯上的魚生組成的一道彩虹,從三色鮪魚的粉紅至深紅漸變、比目魚的半透明白、烏賊的翡翠白到小鰶魚的銀。從此,齋藤先生這道彩虹成為我每次來訪的快樂泉源。
我在Sushi Saito的高潮總是在握壽司環節。每當他開始獻技,我便覺得天旋地轉,甚至天崩地裂。他搖曳雙臂、舞動十指將壽司搓搓揑揑,那姿態如此似有還無、漫不經心、行雲流水、賞心悅目,我知道背後是日積月累的工夫,既是多年苦功,對齋藤先生而言也是天賦才華。
我的握壽司置於他遷到六本木便沿用的托盤上。在老店時,托盤是樸實的橄欖色調,每個的角度、形狀和弧度一樣,都是我眼中的藝術品,教人肅然起敬,有幾個叫我起雞皮疙瘩。
爽脆彈牙的墨烏賊灑上精準的鹽和酢橘;極甜的車海老鮮嫩多汁,肉質剛熟緊緻,充滿鮮蝦的「旨味」;鰺的獨特魚油縈繞舌上而不膩,那雙海膽壽司是我至今嚐過最完美的紫海膽,還有來自北海道利尻島最豐腴清甜的馬糞海膽。有一剎那,我的腦海一片空白,因為所有味道太勢不可擋,我從未登上如此味道高峯。
末了我離開餐廳時,覺得剛從天國歸來,每種味道都不可思議,是真有其事嗎?我曉得千真萬確,卻又難以置信。我那次旅程也拜訪了其他著名壽司店,卻沒有一間給我相同的感受震撼。我明白了,這是一咬傾情,在Sushi Saito。
明天,我會着墨於齋藤先生帶給我的感受細節。我熱戀了。

現附上英文版原文:
Love at first bite
My relationship with Saito san started in September 2011 when I visited Japan for the first time just for food. Food has always been part of my Japan trips since I was small, but until then I had never planned too much on where I would visit for food in Japan. When I worked in Japan for half a year as an intern during college, I always visited casual eateries such as yakiniku, cafes, and the young me always wanted to save money for fashion and hence artisanal sushi was not a necessity in my book.
When I started working and living in New York in 2003, it was when I became very serious about food. I have always loved to have good food but New Yorkers’ food attitude at that time had changed me into one of them. Food had turned into a major part of my life - when I traveled I planned my activities around where I wanted to eat, not the other around. I visited Japanese restaurants and particularly sushi restaurants every week in Manhattan. I started to realize, I wanted sushi, all the time.
I returned to Hong Kong from New York at the beginning of 2011, and I realized, Japanese food in Hong Kong was not enough to satisfy me.
It was not too hard for me to reserve Sushi Saito in my first official culinary trip in Tokyo back in 2011. Only a month before my visit, I was able to score a seat by hotel concierge. At that time I had no Facebook, no google map, no iPhone. I printed my map and arrived 30 minutes before reservation and still found myself completely lost in the neighborhood of Akasaka until a kind Japanese led me to find Sushi Saito inside a carpark. Luckily I was on time, and when I opened the sliding door of Sushi Saito, I saw Saito san, the master who would be making my sushis that night, greeting me with a big smile.
This was Takashi Saito. The sushi chef of a 3 Michelin star restaurant.
That smile, the first greeting, was the face that I would never forget.
After confirming that I was Ma-ga-re-to La-mu san, I was instructed to sit right at the center seat facing Saito san. I wasn’t sure if I was happy or nervous at that time but I think it was both but more of the latter at the beginning. Using my limited Japanese skills at that time, I tried to listen to what Saito san said during the meal with other customers and tried to focus and watch him move. His two hands with thick fingers slicing all the seafood for today. His face though, always carrying a smile. A smile that put me at ease very soon after I sat down and awaited for my first dish to come.
I was first served a small bowl of Ikura (salmon roes) with tiny bits of yuzu zest. I still remember how he grated the yuzu skin of a whole yuzu on the small metal plate, and then brushed the grated zest left on the surface of the metal plate onto the Ikura. Ah, that is how they do it in a sushi shop.
I tried to pick up the pearls of Ikura inside the small glass bowl, but not very successful. I felt a little embarrassed because I could sense, Saito san was looking at me, as well as every customer at the counter.
He finally signaled me and told me that I could drink it “like a shot” with a body gesture of drinking.
OK, he saw! Now I knew I really embarrassed myself. But I picked up the small glass bowl like he suggested, and slurped.
Wow! It was cold, briny, bursting with juice that was so filled with savory umami. I felt like the o ocean water was flowing in my mouth. It was unbelievable.
And the yuzu zest, the refreshing yet elegant fragrance. Oh wow. Ikura can be like this.
This was Sushi Saito.
The abalone, octopus, mantis shrimps, to katuso (鰹 bonito) and grilled nodoguro, everything was stunningly delicious. When I put the the first of the two pieces of katsuo in my mouth, I thought, I really had to close my eyes to savor the sharp soy sauce marinade, the bright scallions and ginger, and that smooth texture of such a pristine, flavorful katsuo. I realized, I had never had a real katsuo before.
The grilled tachiuo太刀魚, so perfectly done, with the oil oozing out as soon as the chopsticks went in. The flesh was so luscious, the skin so thin with a light crisp. The grated daikon on the side refreshed your palate and you would not feel an ounce of heaviness even having such a fatty, heavenly piece of fish.
How can everything be so perfect.
When Saito san started to prepare neta (the fish and seafood topping for sushi), that was another mind blowing moment for me. He took out fillets of fish one by one and sliced the fish with his long knife, his face was so focused, and that repetitive motion of his knife going in and out front to back and again was almost therapeutic. In the end when all the fish was sliced, I saw a rainbow in front of me, the rainbow of neta from pink to red gradation of maguro trio, translucent white hirame, jade white sumi ika, silver kohada. From then on, this rainbow at Sushi Saito is what cheer me up in every visit.
The climax for me at Sushi Saito every time was the nigiri session. When he started making his sushi, it was the moment when I thought my world being shaken. Shaken hard. His body movements with his arms swung and his fingers motions turning and pressing the sushi, it looked so effortless, so casually done, so automatic, so mesmerizing. Yet I know behind all these was years and years of accumulated practice and execution; it was all efforts, and for Saito san it was also talent.
My nigiri sushis were placed on the tray which he had changed from the old time since he moved to Roppongi area. In the old shop the tray was in a rustic olive hue. One piece by one piece, all in the same angle, all in same shape, and and curve 弧度. Each piece to me was a piece of art. I was head to toe in awe, but a few pieces made me have goosebumps.
The crunchy and bouncy sumiika (墨烏賊 squid) with the most precise “dots” of salt and sudachi. The intensely sweet kuruma ebi (車海老 shrimp) which was so moist and full of oceanic crustacean flavor. The aji (鯵 horse mackerel) with exceptional fish oil taste that lingered but not cloying. And the two uni sushi, the most perfect murasaki uni that I ever had even up to today and the creamiest and sweetest bafun uni from Rishiki Island in Hokkaido. I had moments which I could not think anymore, because the flavors were just so astoundingly “powerful”, I had never had this level of deliciousness before.
At the end I walked out feeling like I just walked out of heaven. Everything tasted so unreal. Was it real? I know it was but just couldn’t believe it. I visited other very famous sushi places in the same trip and none of them gave the same impact and sensation. And I know, this was love at first bite, at Sushi Saito.
And tomorrow I will focus on the specifics of Saito san’t sushi that made me feel, I was in love.

ig:little_meg_siu_meg

撰文:小瑪姬
編輯:謝慧珊

精挑細味 籽想好食,即like「籽想好食」FB專頁!
返回最頂
壹傳媒: 香港 台灣 | 私隱聲明 服務條款 刊登廣告 聯絡我們 招聘
© 2019 AD Internet Limited. All rights reserved. 版權所有 不得轉載