The first thing everyone should know is that a true sushi experience is unforgettable. Masters in Japan make each bite a ride of color, texture, taste, and presentation.
Take a look at some of the most interesting facts about sushi that will make you even more excited about your next experience!
- The sushi inspiration have started from outside of Japan
Even though the Japanese get full credit for what we call sushi today, the inspiration for sushi is believed to have begun in Southeast Asia. Nare-zushi, fermented fish wrapped in sour rice, originated somewhere around the Mekong River before spreading into China and eventually Japan.
- Initially, sushi rice wasn’t eaten
Sour, fermenting rice was wrapped around fermenting fish just to help in the process of creating umami - a unique, sour taste. Once the fermentation process was complete, the rice was put aside and only the fish was eaten.
- Nori has some filthy, weird origins
Nori, the seaweed used to wrap sushi, is known to be once scraped off of wooden pier legs, even boats, and then pressed into sheets and dried in the sun. However, nowadays, nori is cultivated and farmed.
- Maki rolls are a real work of art
The ingredients for maki-zushi - sushi rolls - are chosen by masters in a way that taste, texture, and even the colors would complement each other. The maki rolls are served already sliced into disks so that customers can admire the artistic work inside while savoring the delicious meal.
- Maki-zushi gets its name from the mat
The bamboo mat that gives sushi rolls their cylindrical shape is called a makisu in Japanese. While sushi rolls are the most popular form of sushi in the West, the Japanese typically prefer nigiri - a piece of fish pressed on top of a strip of rice by hand.
- Maki-zushi isn’t rolled only in seaweed
Even though we are mostly familiar with sushi wrapped in seaweed, in Japan sometimes maki-zushi is wrapped in soy paper, cucumber, or egg.
- Sushi is supposed to be eaten with the hands
The actual, correct way to eat sushi is with your fingers - chopsticks are generally only used to eat sashimi - raw slices of fish.
- Fresh sushi is frozen first, too
Food safety regulations in the US and Europe require that raw fish would be frozen for a certain amount of time in order to kill parasites.
Also, Japanese sushi masters are trained to identify possible problems like flukes and parasites in fish and avoid serving them.
- Sushi doesn’t only have to be seasoned with rice vinegar
One can also use citrus like lemon juice or orange juice to flavor the rice. Some Japanese mountainous regions use the Yuzu fruit to season sushi.
- Wasting soy sauce is bad form
It is known that wasting valuable soy sauce has always been frowned upon. Therefore, to enjoy sushi the Japanese way, pour the smallest amount of soy sauce possible into the sushi cup and refill it as needed.
- You should not dip sushi rice
In case you do have to dip nigiri into your soy sauce, you should turn it over and lightly dip only the fish. Great pride and effort is put into creating sushi rice with the correct texture. So, saturating the rice until it falls apart in your cup is considered very amateurish.
To completely appreciate an authentic sushi experience, avoid drowning every piece with soy sauce. But, you have the option to 'brush' additional wasabi onto each piece, just in case you would like them to be spicier than provided.
- You may buy the chef a drink
If you’d like, at the end of a genuine sushi experience, you may offer to buy the chef a shot of sake in gratitude. In case he accepts, you should have one with him. However, aside from the shot, it is advisable to avoid distracting the chef with small talk or questions about the food, as he needs to focus on his art and the sharp knife he’s working with.
Oh and, in Japanese dictionary, 'Sushi' in fact means sour rice, opposite to the accepted belief that it means raw fish.
Also, you may not know this, but the blade of a professional Sushi chef is sharpened every day like the Samurai. This Sushi fact that people may not know is specifically done to prepare sashimi - to slice thin, raw fish.
Do you know any other sushi facts? We really would like to know, so please share with us in the comments below.