Though some people still remain wary of sushi, there is more to this traditional Japanese dish than meets the eye. Following are 10 things most westerners don’t know about sushi.
It is Not All Raw Fish
One truly popular type of sushi is tamago, which is a slice of thick, sweet omelet. Other sushi ingredients include grilled sea eel and the roe of salmon and sea urchins.
There are Different Types of Sushi
Nigiri-zushi, or hand shaped sushi, is the one where the slice of fish or other food is placed over the finger of rice. Oshi-zushi is made of rice pressed into a mold and covered with marinated or boiled fish. When the loaf is unfolded, it is cut into slices. Maki-zushi is the famous nori-roll, which does not need fish or any other type of animal product. One of the more famous types of nori-roll is kappa-maki, which is made from rice and Japanese cucumbers. Chiarashi-zushi is seafood, shredded omelet and vegetables scattered on top of a bowl of vinegared rice.
Chefs Study for Years Before Perfecting the Art of Making Sushi
A chef can study with a master for years before being allowed to make sushi for the restaurant’s patrons. Even the famous Chinese-American Ming Tsai claimed he was not even allowed to handle the fatty, toro tuna that goes into the highest quality sushi when he studied under a master chef in Japan.
Because Even Making the Rice Fingers is an Art Form
Molding the rice fingers is an exacting skill. Ideally, when the finger is properly made all the kernels of rice face the same way. They are not squeezed into wads but coaxed to cling together with a firm but gentle pressure.
Good Sushi is Extremely Expensive
Those plastic clamshell platters that are offered in some supermarkets don’t make the grade in many ways, even if they are delicious. A shopper can tell not just because they’ve been sitting there all day long, but because even the expensive platters are much too cheap. In a good sushi restaurant, two exquisitely prepared fingers take a good bit of a person’s take home pay.
It Should Be Eaten in One Bite
A finger or roll should be eaten in one bite. Though chopsticks are offered in restaurants, the best and easiest way to eat is with the fingers.
Dip It Fish Side Down
The finger should be dipped fish or topping side down in the bowl of soy sauce that is provided. If it is dipped in rice side down, it will break up.
Speaking of Soy Sauce
In high end restaurants, people don’t ask for soy sauce but “purple.” Every good sushi restaurant has its own version of “purple.”
Oysters Are Not Used as Sushi
Though oysters feature in other Japanese dishes, they are to used for sushi. Their taste doesn’t go with the vinegared rice, and they are too fragile for a topping.
It Started as a Preservative
Sushi began as a way to preserve a type of carp called funa. The fish was salted, placed on a bed of vinegared rice and allowed to mature. After that, the rice was thrown out. This kept happening until someone discovered that the rice and fish combination was delectable.
Christopher is a food lover and always seeking new healthy ways to live stronger and better both physically and mentally. Sushi has become a delicious weapon in his current fight for a healthier mind and body.