The Seduction of Dashi

The Seduction of Dashi

This morning I received something which for years I used to perceive as a berating lecture,  but which I have long since identified as an unmitigated compliment, indeed a tribute: It has to do with being dogged, and never taking no for an answer. From one of the owners of Sushi Metsuyan, Daniel Berlin. His exact quote:  “Levana, Thanks for being persistent  …The world is a better place BH!” Boy, did I hound him! Or did I? Looking back, no more or less than I have hounded all specialty foods manufacturers and distributors all these years. No, they don’t roll their eyes when they see me now, au contraire: Since I and my family were the trailblazers in the former wasteland of upscale Kosher Dining, everyone is now happy and grateful for people like me who never stopped clamoring: “If we can use it, look into it, whatever it takes! We WANT it!” The rest of course is history: I ask you: What don’t we find in our kosher restaurants and stores nowadays? The greatest wines, cheeses, sushi, truffle, wild mushrooms, olives, you name it!

The latest member of the kosher specialty food family – and I mean “latest” quite literally: As of yesterday: A newborn- is Dashi. Also called Hondashi, it is a dessicated fish-seaweed powder: sort of like anchovies, only much more complex, and much easier to use. Health food stores carry bonito flakes, which is the exact same idea. It imparts an incredibly deep and luxurious flavor to dozens of dishes: Caesar’s Salad, Paella, Fish Soup, Miso Soup, Salmon Mousse, Fish Terrine, pasta dishes, fish sauces, to name just a few. Dashi powder is a snap to use, and instantly turns a good dish into an incredibly complex and exciting dish that will leave you and your guests begging you to spill the beans and share the secret ingredient. And the best part is, no squiggly anchovies visible anywhere (“a blessing if disguised“, as some article named them).  Dashi is 100% pure and natural, and pure Umami Heaven. You will be happy to know I am including lots of recipes using dashi in my upcoming cookbook!

Daniel Berlin, The co-owner of Sushi Metsuyan has shared all his information with me, for everyone to have. Until it’s in stores, go ahead and order directly from him: I will GLADLY walk you through all its possible uses!  So here comes:

The product name is :
Dashi (or Hondashi: interchangeable) Seafood Base
Contact: Daniel Berlin
Hoshgocha :  Vaad HaRabbanan of Baltimore / STAR K
Phone:  718 785 9737

Email :

13 replies
    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Yael I recently met owner Daniel Berlin, who mentioned he had no luck trying to retail Dashi. I’ll bet he would do better with it now that more people are familiar with it! Worth discussing with him!

    • Yael
      Yael says:

      I grew up in Asia, and many dishes I had at home used dashi as a base. After starting to keep kosher, I miss the taste so much, but have been unable to locate any kosher dashi or bonito. Would love so much to create a kosher version of my childhood dishes. Please please do update us if there are any changes. I would be so grateful.

  1. Liz S.
    Liz S. says:

    I’m STILL trying to find kosher dashi or bonito flakes, these many years later… Is it available anywhere, at all? Please!? Thank you!

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Liz I feel as frustrated as you are. But You know what, I use a few anchovies, grind them where I need to use them, or just dump them in a fish soup and let them dissolve. After all, what is dashi? Dessicated anchovies. It is a drop less convenient, but it still does the tick.

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Janine Ha, the $64.000 question.Tough to find. I used to find it more easily (at sushi restaurants that would sell a pound or two to me) I battled with quite a few merchants to have them package it for retail. In fact I will try again, with some of the food pages I am friends with. But meanwhile, whenever it is listed, you can substitute anchovies, they will disperse in the dish. In this case, just like when you use dashi, do not add any salt in the dish

  2. Yvette
    Yvette says:

    This is WONDERFUL NEWS!!! I’ve been desperately seeking kosher dashi for ages. Thanks so much for being so persistent. We could all learn from you how to use that quality of doggedness and persistence for good.
    I wish you much hatzlachah in all your endeavors!

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