Discovering Daisuki Sushi
By Tarin Fatema
Just over a decade ago, fusion food used to be huge in our local food scene. Authentic Japanese food in Dhaka was almost unheard of. The tiny cantonment area in Gazipur where I grew up had neither. But we used to travel all the way to Dhaka on special occasions like an anniversary or a promotion at work, or if any of my siblings aced an exam.
Kacchi was for Eid, birthdays, and of course, weddings. “Bangla Chinese” was for everything else. I remember going to these dimly lit restaurants with heavily clothed tables and fancy folded napkins with my family, fumbling with my knives and forks the whole time. Now a decade later, I fumble with the chopsticks despite “almost getting the hang of it” for the nth time this year as my friends take me out to eat at the top dogs of the authentic Asian cuisine scene in Dhaka, where people welcome you with a perfect 90 degree bows, and act a little flabbergasted when you ask for forks.
Blame it on nostalgia, or just the Bangali in me that craves everything lathered with multiple layers of sauce every once in a while, sometimes I miss that good old taste of “Bangla Chinese.” I am always in search of lowkey fusion food places that I can go to when the cravings hit. And that’s how I came across Daisuki Sushi.
Daisuki loosely translates to “I really like you.” Daisuki Sushi, is an online food business that delivers (fusion) sushi from their home kitchen to right at your doorstep. When you message them on Facebook, an automated message pops up in your chat box: “… I’m a student and this is just a hobby for me. Nothing commercial. That’s why…” I don’t know, it just stood out to me. While it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to turn their little hobby into successful businesses, sushi just seems like an odd choice for a student. Making it is a complex process for starters, the materials are hard to come by, you would have to go through third party sellers who import the products from East Asian countries, and this doesn’t come cheap. I was curious, so of course, that’s the first question I asked Sarah Humaira Chowdhury, the owner of Daisuki Sushi.
Because of my family. I learned to make sushi because my family loved it. Back then it used to be so expensive too. I was a student with no real earnings so getting sushi on a whim at the time was out of the question. So, what do you do as the elder sister of two younger siblings who just love sushi? You learn to make it at home.
You were probably expecting a deeply intellectual first question. I am just curious, making sushi is hard, isn’t it?
I wouldn’t say “hard” exactly, but I agree with what you said earlier. It is a complex process but when it comes to it, it can also be very therapeutic.
What would you say is the hardest part of it all?
Accepting criticism? I have to say I am not made to survive in customer service. I also think it’s because I am so used to making them for my family and friends. I mess up the silliest things. Families are more gracious of your mistakes, while randos on the internet don’t even think about the fact that they are talking to an actual human that’s on the other side of the screen. I was not prepared for that, still am not.
Yes, people can be harsh. What really pushed you to turn it into a business?
As I mentioned, I was making it for my family and friends at first, right? Then soon, before I knew it, I was making them for the neighbors and the friends of my friends. I don’t know exactly when it started, there was a “what if” in my head. But it wasn’t until 2020, when the world kind of shut itself down, it presented me with a unique opportunity to really explore that “what if.” The time to follow my “hobby” and see where it goes. With the support and encouragement of my family, I just went for it.
You started this when you were still a student, now you are a newbie at an architecture firm. How do you even manage it?
Funny you say that. On Valentine’s Day, we got so many orders that I had to take a day off from the office. I had to make it clear, I was not taking a day off to go on a date. I had sushi orders to deliver.
When I was still a student, it was like my only creative outlet. My family members help out where they can, but from taking orders to packing the orders to be dispatched, it used to be all me. I am the sole person who makes the sushi. I like being responsible for it. Now, it gets hectic from time to time, not going to lie. But at the same time, it feels fulfilling.
I think it’s also very unique that your family, despite being very active in the architecture sector – and you were also studying to become an architect – they still supported this dream of yours.
They are actually the ones who pushed me to take the initiative. I guess they didn’t want me to keep wondering about the what ifs in life. It also made me feel safe to just try, if I failed, I failed.
But you didn’t, though.
Yeah. If we are talking numbers, the sales have nearly tripled. Even with the amount of authentic Japanese restaurants available in Dhaka today, it didn’t affect the business. I guess people really like that old school fusion taste. And, the fact that they can place custom orders here for special occasions. That’s really what pulls people in.
What’s next for Daisuki Sushi?
I am OK with it being small for the time being. I want to see what I can do with my degree. I had to introduce a few new flavors earlier this year because of the demand, I intend to add a couple more later this year. And, someday when I am already a really good architect, I want to personally design a cute little corner shop for my Daisuki Sushi.
Daisuki Sushi currently offers ten different kinds of sushi rolls. From deep-fried maki called Spicy Dynamite Love to Tropical Bite roll which features shrimp tempura with hot sauce, and pineapple chunks for a tropical twist for those who prefer it, they have a bit of everything.
Daisuki Sushi offers their best-selling platters in a range of sizes, from 32 pieces to 9 pieces. The Mighty Box comes in three sizes: the 32-piece box, the 20-piece box, and the 12-piece box, which is ideal for smaller groups or a quick snack. The Uno platter has 9 pieces, compared to the Only Us platter’s 16 pieces. Finally, the smallest platter of assorted items has 8 pieces.
For a one-of-a-kind sushi experience, you should try this three-layer mini cake, topped with Daisuki Sushi’s signature Pretty Spicy Sauce. It’s perfect for sharing with a group of 5-6 people. You can customize it to your liking to make it even more special.
If you would like sushi to be a part of your big day, their Sushi Dala and Sushi Boat are the perfect choice. Serving it in front of the groom and bride will definitely add to the excitement of the event. The Dala/Boat contains 34 pieces of sushi and is sure to impress your guests with its unique presentation.
Daisuki Sushi’s Sushi Bouquet is the perfect alternative to traditional flower bouquets. Available for pickup and delivery, the sushi bouquet features a variety of sushi rolls beautifully arranged to resemble a bouquet of flowers. It’s a fun and creative gift that is sure to impress any sushi lover.
Daisuki Sushi very recently introduced onigiri in 8 different flavors! You can choose from Fiery Onigiri, Dynamite Onigiri, Teriyaki Onigiri, Tuna Onigiri, Wasabi Onigiri, Creamy Onigiri, Mushroom Onigiri, or Tofu Onigiri. One piece is enough to fill your stomach, and now they’re selling them in single pieces for the customer’s convenience.