Fish taco flashback | A short diary of the Nobu launch party in Beijing

fish taco story photo tickle me fish tacos
Not a Nobu fish taco. Photo: Tickle Me Fish Tacos

I wasn’t invited to the Nobu launch party five years ago today even though I had been writing about the project for 18 months, longer than anyone else. Maybe it was because I posted about the company’s missed deadlines and poorly executed website, one that still features typos and awkward writing.

Or because I simply wasn’t Nobu material. But it denied guests like Jackie Chan the chance to experience my sparkling wit.

Investor Robert De Niro, who many hoped would be there, did not make it either. While some speculated that he and I had opted for half-price pizzas at The Den, I was instead writing a diary about what I imagined the party to be like, a party that created social media buzz due to Nobu’s supposedly delicious fish tacos.


Ate a fish taco: It felt as though the essence of the Pacific Ocean exploded in my mouth — minus the radiation from Japan, of course.


Ate a second fish taco. This time I felt a bit more Atlantic. Multi-ocean flavor explosions. Brilliant.


Met a half-dozen women I know from my pilates class. I kissed each on both cheeks, which equals twelve cheeks in less than 30 seconds. This party is already awesome / the event of the year / full of beautiful people, including me (it’s all relative, they say).


My third fish taco. These are a hit. It is as though someone took a hundred fish, extracted the most delicious part of each, and used those to construct the most epic taco of all time. Imagine a master Swiss watchmaker painstakingly handcrafting a fine timepiece from a thousand tiny parts. Except the watches are tacos and they keep slipping off your wrists.


Ran into Lee Mack and Blake Stone-Banks from City Weekend. They double-kissed me. Cheeky buggers. They told me they just made a deal to extend their track suit line to include an outfit called The Nobu with pockets that perfectly fit a fish taco.


That fourth fish taco was so delicious that I’d eat it again even if that meant every panda in China exploded and left behind a crater the size of Wuhan. That’s how utterly incredibly inexplicably delicious it was.


Chef and namesake Matsuhisa Nobuyuki was just a mere two meters from me. I wanted to tell him that I changed the name of my pet goldfish from Finding Nemo to Finding Nobu in honor of a certain you-know-who but I lack the nerve. I just stood still and breathed deep and I tell you—the man emits a special odor. It wafts cuisine. He is the master taco-maker. And he smells like it.


Mmm fish tacos. The kitchen team has perfected the art of food orgasms for our mouths. Someone near me excitedly said, “They should call this taco The Nobukkake.”


Spilled some of that last fish taco on my burgundy cashmere smoking jacket. I will never wash it again.


I still can’t believe it: I SMELLED NOBU!


Jackie Chan glanced my way. I said, “You lookin’ at me?” He giggled at my Robert DeNiro reference. I asked where DeNiro is and, after faking a few Raging Bull-like punches to my chest and giving me a double kiss, he said, “Probably at The Den. You know him and half-price pizza.” We sighed.


No fights yet. Interesting…


I’ve double-kissed over 120 people so far. Exotic given most hail from countries where it isn’t even the custom. I break out my third Chapstick.


Spotted executive chef Oyvind Naesheim. I approached and said, “Hey, we’re Facebook friends!” He ignored me and returned to a heated argument about puffer fish.


Oops, just got an SMS. Only 45 minutes left for happy hour at Flamme. Gotta run and get some of those RMB25 Vespers…

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