An Eating Adventure
Red Devil roll features tempura shrimp and asparagus on the inside, with spicy tuna and salmon on the outside.
House of Hunan opened its first restaurant and sushi bar in Fairlawn in 1983. In 2000, a location opened in downtown Akron, followed by one in Medina a few years later. All three restaurants offer a gourmet Chinese menu as well as a full sushi bar, which is what our focus is today.
But before I begin describing the delicious wonders that await at House of Hunan, I want to make one thing clear: Not all sushi is raw fish. The term sushi actually refers to the rice, which is made with rice vinegar. In fact, many types of sushi are made with cooked fish or no fish at all, and if the idea of eating raw fish scares you, this can be a great way to acclimate your palate.
Enter the California roll. An “inside-out roll,” made with rice on the outside of the nori (seaweed), it contains cucumber, crab meat (imitation or real, but always cooked and cold) and avocado. The California roll is often a “gateway drug,” leading to more adventurous types of sushi. Even if you’ve tried a California roll or other sushi from the grocery store or another restaurant and didn’t like it, I urge to give House of Hunan a try. You may find that you just weren’t eating high-quality sushi before.
Though formerly fearful of sushi, I’ve become quite the sushi addict and find myself at House of Hunan’s downtown location several times a year. I’ve even successfully gotten friends and family hooked. It’s our go-to restaurant for special occasions, and now that they offer half-off sushi rolls a couple times a week, we frequent the restaurant more often without it feeling like too much of a splurge. (Call ahead for days and times, as they vary by location.)
While I’ve ordered (and enjoyed) several of the more traditional Chinese dishes on the menu, I can’t get enough of the sushi. So, if you’re ever at House of Hunan at the same time as I am, you’ll likely find one (or all) of the following items on my table:
Spicy Crabmeat Salad: Basically a pile of crabmeat in a slightly spicy sauce over a bed of cucumber slices, and sprinkled with sesame seeds on top. Eat with a fork or chopsticks—either way, it’s divine.
Tako Sunomono: This one is for the more adventurous crowd, and is a favorite of my fiance’s mother. Sunomono is a cucumber salad made with a sweet vinegar mixture and soy sauce, and tako means octopus. This one is also available with crab or shrimp, if you just can’t handle the octopus.
Salmon Skin Hand Roll: My absolute favorite, this cone-shaped roll is filled with rice, cucumber and slivers roasted salmon skin with a special sauce. It’s a little messy, and just feeds one, but is well worth it.
Tempura Shrimp Roll: Another inside-out roll, this is my next favorite. In addition to the rice and nori, this roll is filled with a lightly battered shrimp drizzled with a slightly sweet tempura dipping sauce. The roll is then cut into slices, perfect for sharing. Just make sure you order enough for everyone. This one goes fast!
Tekka Roll: A much more basic roll, the tekka is simply rice and raw tuna wrapped tightly in nori.
As I stated before, these are just some of my top picks, and House of Hunan has plenty more to offer. A few of the more elaborate specialty rolls are pictured here, and the restaurant also offers traditional nigiri, which is simply a hand-shaped ball of rice topped with a piece of fish (either raw or slightly cooked). If you’re already a sushi pro, or are just really brave, you may also like the Chirashi Sashimi Box, which is the sushi chef’s choice of fish served over seasoned rice. You never know what you’ll get!
For information about specials, hours or other details, contact the location nearest you or visit www.houseofhunan.net.