The Way In Which Tiki Is Like Sushi

I love sushi.

Seattle has a lot of great sushi. When I lived there, I knew which places were good, which places were okay, and which ones I wouldn’t try again.

Then I moved to Los Angeles. The land of sushi! I couldn’t wait to try some of the fantastic sushi I would surely find in Los Angeles.

Only that’s not what happened. In Los Angeles, you see, sushi is everywhere. Los Angeles is a vast territory, and with sushi places on seemingly every block, finding great sushi proved a tall order. Heck, finding sushi I actually wanted to eat was a tall order. My god, half the sushi places I saw had burritos on the menu. Burritos. And nary of person of Japanese descent in sight.

My quest for great sushi in Los Angeles largely proved fruitless. Asking friends didn’t work… too often, I’d hear something along the lines of “Oh, I just love sushi! There’s this great place that has an all-you-can-eat special for only 10 bucks!” One place I tried on a reccomendation served me a piece of tuna that looked just like a pale pink kitchen sponge. I found mentions of great sushi places online, but they all seemed to entail a 45 minute drive, a 45 minute wait, and a $450 bill. Water, water, all around, nor any drop to drink!

Just when I was about to give up, I found a teeny little sushi place, in a dull little strip mall, above a Pizza Hut, just a mile from my apartment. The hastily-posted warning sign on the door told me everything I needed to know… “No California Rolls.” I was in heaven. It wasn’t as good as my favorite places in Seattle, but finally, it was at least in the ballpark.

I guess I’m a sushi snob. I’m not by Seattle standards, but I guess I am one, and that’s okay.

I love tiki.

Over the past year or two, tiki has seemed a bit like sushi. There’s still great, fabulous, wonderful tiki out there — but it’s drowning in a sea of soulless tiki crap. Now, I’ll admit, I like a California Roll now & then, and occasionally a modern, mass produced tiki is just the thing for me, but really now — a California Roll isn’t sushi, and a lot of modern-tiki stuff ain’t got no soul.

I guess I’m a tiki snob. Not by the standards of a few years ago, but I guess I am one, and that’s okay.

I’m still seeing great tiki stuff that’s new to me, all the time. It’s still there — there’s actually more these days. It’s just getting a little haystack-y out there. Which makes Humu Kon Tiki that much more an important effort — there’s got to be something that makes it easier to find the signal in all that noise out there. But I’d be lying if I said it was easy — by the time I find something cool I think I want to post, I’m out of time, and have to work on other things.

I’m going to get better about that — I’ve got a great backlog of cool stuff to post. But I realize it’s time to recruit others’ help in the search for great tiki. With that in mind, I’ve added a Suggest an Item feature to Humu Kon Tiki — now you can suggest potential posts for Humu Kon Tiki, in amazing Form-O-Vision. What have you found out there that you think is really great? I’d love to hear about it, and the Humu Kon Tiki readers might like it, too.

[Humuhumu here, writing in 2015. Big changes since I wrote this in 2007. Humu Kon Tiki is now Critiki News. That Suggest an Item form was an idea worth trying, but 99% of what came in was from people trying to promote their own stuff. Now, if you have something GOOD to show me—and I love you, but you are not the best judge of whether your OWN stuff is good, so please don’t contact me asking to promote your own thing—send me an email at humuhumu@critiki.com.]

Hopefully, with my continued diligence and a little help from my lovely readers, I’ll be able to keep bringing you the really great Polynesian Pop info, with only the occasional California Roll sneaking in.

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