Light and summery chirashi -- Japanese for "scattered sushi" -- is a seafood salad composed of rice topped with assorted chopped vegetables, raw fish and roe. Pungent wasabi is added to taste. The whole business is tossed together and in goes the chopsticks.
Seoul native Sonya Kwon, owner of Pusan Sushi in Fairfax, makes a terrific Korean-style version she calls spicy chirashi ($8.99).
"A lot of people say it's their diet food," says Kwon, whose sushi-to-go operation is part of the food court inside Super H Mart, one of the largest Asian supermarkets in the Washington area.
On a bed of shaved daikon that has the consistency of thin noodles, Kwon arranges a tangle of sliced red-leaf lettuce and mint-like sesame leaf, then adds strips of cucumber and wedges of avocado. The greens form a nest for portions of salmon, tuna, flounder and squid sashimi. Crab-like surimi and herring roe give the dish even more color and texture. White rice as well as a spicy dressing are served in separate containers so you can add as much of each as you prefer.
Kwon's sushi chef, Seungkil Lee, makes the fairly fiery chirashi sauce with red pepper paste, garlic, lemon juice and a touch of honey.
"Everybody talks about Mr. Lee's great sauce from his own recipe," says Kwon as she savors its taste. "He knows exactly how much garlic and honey to add. It's on the sweet side but not too spicy. Just right."
Also: Pusan makes attractive sushi and sashimi party platters ($35 to $100). A 60-piece platter is $50.
Pusan Sushi, 10780 Lee Hwy. (inside Super H Mart), Fairfax. Call 703-352-0227. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
-- Walter Nicholls