His quest for sustainability
Turns out, one tool for banishing them could be a pair of chopsticks.
At Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, Connecticut, Chef Bun Lai has taken the next step in his quest for sustainability: He’s tackling the party crashers of the sea by crafting inventive dishes from what’s available and abundant locally — and that includes plenty of invasive species.
My mother showed us how to find and prepare different types of seaweed and taught me it should never be washed off in fresh water. Seaweed is rinsed in the ocean then gently dried under the sun to lock in all the flavors of the sea.
My brother and I enjoyed flipping over rocks to see what was living under them. There were always green crabs, sandworms, brine shrimp and steamers, occasionally a baby eel or a clam.
I began to think about how serving invasive species could help curb their dominance in the ecosystem while also reducing the stress on more commonly served fish.
We also have a massive vegetarian sushi menu of all original recipes, which also helps to take pressure off of the oceans.
But it isn’t just about fish. We don't want to be sustainable in one way but not another. So we use only organic produce, compostable take-out containers and reusable metal chopsticks. And we have a “Sushi for the Masses” menu — our answer to the "Value Meal" — to show that sustainable and affordable are not mutually exclusive concepts.
Every step of the way Miya’s has been helped by countless people and organizations like The Nature Conservancy that are working to protect the lands and waters that grow our food.
Being sustainable is about being aware that what you choose to eat has an impact on life on Earth. Food was once a living organism. It's important for us to be mindful and appreciative of that.
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