History of Sushi
Over 2000 years ago, the first sushi was created. Of course, it was quite different back then. The original “sushi” was created in Southeast Asia, simply as a way to preserve fish in fermented rice. The process of creating this original sushi, called narezushi, involved having salted fish wrapped in fermented rice for months and the rice would be thrown out when the fish was consumed.
When this became popular in Japan, the Japanese created a new dish, namanare, which involved eating both the fish and rice. The fish was consumed before it changed flavor.
Finally, a third type of sushi was created. Haya-zushi is the form of sushi we are most familiar with. The fish and rice were assembled to be eaten at the same time and the rice was not used for fermentation.
Our modern sushi was created by Hanaya Yohei as an early form of fast food.
Proper Way To Eat Sushi
1) Do not rub wooden chopsticks together before use. This may insult your host by saying their chopsticks are cheap.
2) Don’t feel pressured to use your chopsticks. It is also common to eat sushi using your hands.
3) Sushi is meant to be consumed in one bite.
4) Only a light amount of soy sauce should be used, otherwise you may insult the chef by indicating that the sushi did not have enough flavor.
5) The fish portion of the sushi should be dipped into the soy sauce and your sushi should be consumed “rice up.”
6) Although popular in America, wasabi is not supposed to be mixed into the soy sauce.
7) Use the back end of your chopsticks to grab sushi from a communal plate.
8) Do not place the ginger on your sushi pieces. Ginger is meant to be eaten between different pieces of sushi to cleanse your palette for the next taste.
Different Types of Sushi
Cylinder-shaped sushi that is rolled up with a bamboo matt and typically wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) and cut into pieces. There are various types of Makizuki, depending on the ingredients inside as well as the size of the roll.
Another form of Makizuki, but it doesn’t quite look like the other variations. Instead of a cylinder shape, it is created with nori in a cone shape and stuffed with ingredients.
Uramaki is a Western-style of sushi, which has rice on the outside and nori/other ingredients on the inside. This was created in the United States as a way of visually hiding the seaweed.
Nigiri is hand formed. It is a mound of rice with a slice of fish/seafood placed on top.
Raw fish served without rice.
An oval mound of rice wrapped in nori and topped with soft, loose, or fine-chopped ingredients.
“World’s Best Sushi Restaurant”
Tokyo’s famed restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, is said to have the best sushi in the world. The restaurant is owned and operated by 88-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, who is the very first sushi chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars. The sushi gathered so much attention that it became the focus of a 2011 documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.
Reservations must be made months in advance and customers must be prepared to dish out quite a bit of money. The 20-course “Chef’s Recommended Special Course” is about $300. While that’s a lot of money for one meal, customers always seem satisfied. They argue that the meal is an experience and an art.