Friday, 27 October 2023, 18:00
There are countless restaurants in Andalucía's Granada province that offer a wide variety of gastronomy with dishes from all corners of the world, but there's one that stands out.
Yama Sushi, a Japanese restaurant in the centre of Granada in Calle Elvira, only has two tables inside and a waiting list of between four and five months. In charge of it is Zijian Xiong, who everyone now knows as Eric.
Originally from Shanghai, Zijian Xiong had a former work colleague called Eric who had lived in Granada for many years and was the one who introduced him to the city. "He always told me wonderful things about this place, so I decided to come here to start a new life," the Chinese chef told Ideal, SUR's sister newspaper .
Eric has been in Granada for four years now and is in awe of the city: "The bright sunshine, the fresh air, the friendliness of the people, the relaxed and cheerful quality of life... It's simply wonderful". The chef pointed out that he has always had a passion for the Japanese artisan spirit, with Jiro Ono, known as "the god of sushi", being his idol. "Under his influence I started to learn how to make sushi, constantly seeking to improve and perfect my creations," Eric said.
"I planned a fast food model but over time we improved the work processes and details to adopt the current tasting menu format," he pointed out. They started with six tables to better serve their customers. Later, due to his wife's pregnancy, they reduced the number to two tables. "Every day we serve a very limited number of customers. Now it is very difficult to book a table in our restaurant, there is a waiting list of four to five months," he added.
Yama Sushi's recipe for success is none other than to offer artisan Japanese food of the best possible quality, paying close attention to detail and to their guests. The rice for the sushi is kept at body temperature, and for the nori seaweed to maintain its texture, they recommend eating it only 10 seconds after it is served.
Their cuisine stands out for using the most delicious ingredients, including Japanese wagyu or high quality local seafood. "If you like shrimp, you will surely enjoy my sushi. And if you enjoy wagyu beef, you'll love my sushi too," Eric said.
To be a reference in Granada
Although they still have a long way to go, Eric said his aim is to "create a sushi restaurant as exceptional as Jiro Ono's". Asked whether his idea is unique in Granada, the chef said "each restaurant is unique" because it has "its own individuality". "We thank our customers for their support and encouragement, it is what drives us to work hard in this industry which is not exactly easy. We move forward every day with gratitude in our hearts."
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