Sushi - delicacy and health
For me sushi is always a culinary highlight when eating in Japan. And it is not only good - it is also healthy. It is pleasing to the eye, a real sushi chef creates not only a delicious meal but also a work of art in terms of harmony and balance on the plate.
Sushi has today done an incredible success throughout the world, sushi bars and sushi restaurants have increased in all countries, which just show that sushi is something for all palates.
Traced back to the 4th century
Sushi is cooked vinegared rice (shari) combined with ingredients (neta), usually raw fish or other seafood. The origin of sushi can be traced back to the 4th century BC in Southeast Asia. As a preserved food, the salted fish, fermented with rice, was an important source of protein. The cleaned and gutted fish were kept in rice so that the natural fermentation of the rice helped preserve the fish. This type of sushi is called nare-zushi in Japan.
In the Heian period (8th century), sushi was introduced into Japan. In the end of the Muromachi period (1337-1573) the Japanese preferred to eat partly raw fish together with rice and it was named seisei-zushi. Now sushi became a cuisine and not longer a way to preserve fish.
In the late Edo the contemporary version of "sushi", was created by a creative sushi chef, Hanaya Yohei (17991858), in the Tokyo Bay area. This was an early form of fast food conveniently eaten with one's hands and with the rice mixed with vinegar and combined not only with fish but also with various vegetables. As the fish was freshly caught in the Edo-mae (Edo Bay or Tokyo Bay) this sushi was known as Edomae nigiri zushi.
The breakthrough in Japan
Sushi had for centuries primarily been in the Tokyo. In 1923 nigiri zushi was spread over Japan after the big earthquake in the Kanto region. This catastrophe left many unemployed chefs in Edo / Tokyo why they became established throughout Japan.
The most common types of sushi
Nigiri-zushi (hand formed sushi),
An oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands. The neta (topping) are mostly fish as salmon, tuna or other seafood.
Maki-zushi (rolled sushi)
A cylindrical roll wrapped in noro (seaweed) and cut into six or eight pieces. The maki is formed with help of a maki (bamboo mat).
Chirashi-zushi (scattered sushi)
A bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of raw fish.
You do not need to go to Japan to get a good sushi but do you want that little extra, Japan is not only an obvious choice it is a must.
Leif Almo, Hon. Consul General of Japan in Sweden
Vocabulary when you are in a sushi bar in Japan
Chakin-zushi Vinegared rice wrapped in a thin egg crepe
Chirashi(-zushi) Assorted raw fish and vegetables over rice
Domo Thank you
Edomae-zushi Same as nigiri-zushi
Gari Vinegared ginger.
Inari-zushi Vinegared rice and vegetables wrapped in a bag of fried tofu.
Itamae-san The Sushi Chef.
Kanpai The Japanese equivalent of cheers,
Konbanwa Good evening
Murasaki Soy sauce
Neta Sushi topping
Nigiri(-zushi) Pieces of raw fish over vinegared rice balls
Nori The sea vegetable used with rolled sushi
Oaiso The check
Okanjo The check
Oshibori Rolled up hot towel
Oshinko- Japanese pickles
Oyasumi nasai Good night
Sabinuki No wasabi
Sashimi Raw fish served without rice
Shamoji Sushi rice paddle
Shari Vinegared rice ball
Shoyu Soy sauce
Sumimasen Excuse me
Tataki Pounded, almost raw fish
Tekka-don Pieces of raw tuna over rice
Uchiwa Fan, used for fanning sushi rice
Wasabi Japanese horseradish