Would the real sushi please stand up
Originally, sushi was fermented fish with rice, preserved in salt and a staple dish in Japan for thousands of years. The word “sushi” actually means “it’s sour” reflecting back to its origins of being preserved in salt. In the Western world, we have assumed that sushi means raw fish, but in fact it is rice, topped with vinegar and then other ingredients are added. Sashimi for example, which is slices of raw fish, is not a sushi dish as it is not served with rice. Today sushi has become a type of fast food, very popular across the world and probably the most well-known Japanese dish.
Sushi in Japan
Sushi in Japan is very simple and usually only contains one type of fish or one type of vegetable. In Japan, they don’t have the kinds of rolls that are popular at American sushi establishments. When using condiments, the Japanese keep it simple. For example, they don’t’ mix wasabi in the soy sauce. If they want more wasabi, they simply dab a bit on the sushi. They also don’t put sauces on their sushi; to experience sushi as a purist, your aim should be to taste the fresh ocean flavour of the fish, not drown it with soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, or other sauces. Each sushi piece is supposed to be bite-size, but if the piece of sushi is too big, it’s fine to take two bites.
Popular Types of Sushi
- Nigiri or nigirizushi are oblongs of vinegary rice pressed between the palms of the hands, with a little bit of wasabi on top, and a single topping (a vegetable, a slice of egg omelette or a slice of raw fish) added to that. These are meant to be eaten with your fingers and are delicious dipped in in the soy sauce
- Maki rolls or makizushi are cylindrical pieces of vinegary rice and other ingredients wrapped around nori (seaweed sheets,) thin slices of cucumber, soy paper, or thin omelette skin. They are made by rolling the ingredients with a bamboo sushi mat and then slicing the pipe-shaped roll into cylindrical pieces. These are also eaten with your fingers. When the rice is on the outside, like an inside-out roll, this is called uramaki.
- Inarizushi is a pouch of fried tofu filled with rice, which can also be eaten with your fingers.
- Chirashi or chirashizushi means ‘scattered sushi’ and is also made from a bowl of vinegary rice and choice of mixed ingredients according to your taste and eaten with chopsticks.
- Temaki, or hand roll is a cone-shaped piece with nori on the outside and vinegary rice and other ingredients on the inside. Eaten with the fingers.
Other types of sushi
The above sushi types are generally found in most countries. However there are some delicious sushi dishes that you probably will only be able to enjoy in Japan. These include:
- Oshizushi is made from vinegary rice and ingredients shaped into a block with a wooden mould. This is then cut into bite-sized pieces and eaten with chopsticks.
- Narezushi is the closest to the original form of sushi. Narezushi is fermented fish with rice and salt, which is preserved for a few months before being eaten. The rice is discarded after the fermentation process and only the fish is eaten.
Sushi at Tenkaichi
Customers at Tenkaichi love our selection of traditional Japanese Nigiri sushi dishes as they can try single dishes as a starter or side dish or have a complete sushi meal with our chef’s mixed nigiri sushi dish.
To see our full sushi range, click here or call us today to make a reservation on the number below: