The History of Sushi

When it comes to Sushi it has a fascinating origin that has lasted for centuries and continues to be a very popular food source today. Even though Sushi is most commonly linked to the Japanese heritage, in fact it all began in China during the 7th Century.

The History of Sushi

At that time, any fish caught had to be preserved and the only possible way to do that was by fermentation. Raw fish was cleaned, filleted, and then pressed between layers of heavy salt and usually weighted down with some type of stone. The fish would remain this way for weeks at which the stone would be removed and then replaced with some type of light cover. The fish would stay in the salt layers for a couple of months until the fermentation process was complete.

Over time, they discovered that by rolling the fish in rice that had been soaked in vinegar the fish was fermented in a matter of days rather than months. The rice was then tossed out and the fish eaten. However, with drought and a food shortage, people started consuming the rice as well as the fish and so, 'Sushi' as we know it today was born.

In the 1800s though, a very famous chef called Yohei was planning a big dinner party. Finding that he had not set out enough fish to serve his guests, he took a piece of fish from the freezer that had not been fermented and decided to take his chances in serving it. What he found was that frozen fish actually retained their flavor and any bacterium was killed. From this discovery, Yohei created two styles of Sushi - one called Edo, which began as "edomaezushi" that translates to “in front of Edo” referencing catching fish in front of the city of Edo, and the second, Osaka, for the city.

The merchants in the city of Osaka were known for making a specific type of Sushi that consisted of seasoned rice blended with other ingredients as well and then formed in a variety of decorative packages that people could eat.

In Tokyo, Japan, the sea was loaded with rich shellfish and fish. It was from this city that nigirizushi was created - it consisted of taking a small piece of the fish and serving it on a pad of the seasoned rice.

Nowadays Sushi is a multi-billion dollar industry. Starting 1970, more than 5,000 Sushi restaurants have been opened in US alone and just a few years ago, one annual sale of seaweed reached $36 million. Also, the popularity of Sushi keeps rising as people are more and more interested in healthy food that is quick and easy to make.

With such an amazing popularity as well as the health benefits of eating Sushi, it is most likely that this food will continue to be a part of everyday life for many more centuries to come.



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