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This Is Not Your Mama’s Sushi

DSCN0584-300x2251As the title of the blog post says “this is not your Mama’s sushi, even though Miya’s Sushi Restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut was started by Bun Lai’s Mama in 1982. First of all who writes a near 60 page menu? Not only are all the dishes printed that are served here, but there are many stories and letters that have been written to and about this restaurant. There is a chapter included called “Overheard While Sipping Sake.” That is much a riot. Sake of course being Japanese wine made from rice. Bun, the environmentalist, has quite a sense of humor, you should be on your toes at all times if you meet him. The menu by the way is done on 100% post human waste paper.

Bun is warm and friendly and hugs everybody who comes into the place. He’s all about the conversation, he wants to talk to everyone, he is an information gatherer and these people are fascinating, at least I’d like to think so, because that’s what I do. You learn from something from everyone and anything you do and it allows you to grow as a person. Bun who is Japanese and Chinese has cornered the market on the thinking of all races and has taken what he has learned and turned it into food.

So, what’s on the menu? Well the ideas that have spilled out of Bun’s brain onto the plates include Kwanzaa Bananzaa, it’s a nod to soul food. It’s a coconut covered roll of farmed freshwater prawns, avocado, cream cheese, papaya, with hot sauce.

I had this amazing feast with my friend Karen Bussen, an author and events planner from New York City, we both left the place thinking, what did we just ingest and how fast can we get back there. The greens for the salad comes from nearby Yale University’s Sustainable Food Project Farm. I’m tellin you this simple salad was like a dessert, when the server took the plate away I remember being sad.

Oh and sake, well he bottles his own, all are results of his experiments. We tried Sumac, pine needle and hot pepper…all amazing and served up in small mis-matched glasses that were bought second hand.
Bun is all about sustainability and he doesn’t just talk the talk, he well you know “walks” it too. He knows what is being over fished so he tries to find new species that are edible and they become his ingredients.

He has helped countless organizations and non-profits from Aids Project New Haven to the Salvation Army, to the YMCA and probably one hundred others in between.

He understands that generosity is what should be practiced day in and day out. Bun is is gaining national celebrity. He was just written up on Huffington Post which has lead to even more adventures and he is soon speaking to the guys at Google, that’s just a smattering of what is going on with him.

He says no matter what, New Haven, Connecticut is where his heart is, he loves the people with which he grew up and wants to continue to help the city. That doesn’t mean he’ll stand still for one minute.

I asked him about the restaurant and to describe himself, and in true Bun fashion he was busy thanking others.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Ann Nyberg


  1. Posted October 30, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    So glad you did a post on Bun and Miya’s Sushi. I first met him a few months ago when we had a sushi tweetup (“Twushi”?) at Miya’s. Bun rolled out the red carpet for us, and treated us to a special sampling of some of his most interesting menu items.
    They say now it’s not who you know, but who knows you! And I’m very proud to say that Bun knows my name when I walk in the door.
    I’m feeling a weekend Twushi there soon, Ann… what do you think?

  2. Helen
    Posted October 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Words to live by: You learn something from everyone and anything you do and it allows you to grow as a person.

    And great story on Bun too! (says the vegetarian!)

  3. Tammy Ward
    Posted October 31, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Anne -We probably just missed each at Miya’s it seems. This is a wonderful piece and his concept is the best. Amazing salad as you say!


    • Annie Mame
      Posted October 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Tammy, I wish I had seen you there!