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Fry King

Back in the day we had a Japanese confectionary and mochi store named Sagamiya. Before WWII Sagamiya was a virtual hub of the JA community in the old Japan Town part of Seattle. Although they closed down in 1978, I had the opportunity to work there for many years throughout the seventies. My gig at the legendary family owned mochi factory was only during the month of December when the New Year’s orders really ramped up. From the middle of the month until New Year’s Eve, I would wash over five thousand pounds of sweet rice per week which was soaked in cold water and cooked for mochi. To this day, it seems pretty easy to wash enough for a dinner for two. It took about a decade after working there that I could eat the stuff again.

When my mochi making days were over, I spent a few years making fish cakes AKA satsumage before I became a full time musician. I was taught how to make the specialty food by a fish cake expert from Japan who had learned the trade at Kibun Kamaboko. Kibun is the world’s foremost fish cake factory. We had two five gallon deep fryers on site and cooked over one thousand pounds a day of satsumage. There were days when we would do two or three times this amount. Needless to say, it was a long time before I could eat and enjoy fried fish cakes as well.

At home these days, we are always entertaining friends with seafood gumbo, BBQ, and cocktails. However, one of my favorites during the summer is doing a Louisiana fish fry. I’ll do some veggies, lumpia, or prawns but the true cod fillets are out of this world good. My past experience as a deep fry expert and having continued this pastime has recently earned me the moniker of Fry King. I wear it well my friends.

Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at deemst@deemsmusic.com.