The origin of sushi is not Japan. It is said that sushi was introduced into Japan in the 7th century from China. People began making sushi to preserve fish by fermentation when there were no refrigerators.
Sushi is low in fat and is a very nutritious food. A typical setting of 7 to 9 pieces contains about 300-450 calories. The fish in sushi provides protein and can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Seaweed is rich in iodine as well as other vitamins, and rice provides complex carbs.
Kinds of Sushi
Nigiri-zushi (finger roll sushi) – hand-pressed mounds of rice with a dab of wasabi and a slice of raw fish/shellfish/other ingredients on top. Popular nigiri-zushi are Maguro (tuna), Toro (belly of tuna), Hamachi (yellowtail), Ebi (shrimp), Tamago (omlet), Anago (grilled sea-eel), Uni (sea urchin), Ikura (salmon roe), Ika (squid), tako (boiled octopus), hotategai (scallop), and so on.
Maki-zushi (sushi) – sushi rolls wrapped by seaweed (nori). This is also called norimaki. There are many kind of sushi roll: Tekkamaki – raw tuna roll, Kappamaki – cucumber, Futomaki (fat roll sushi) – 4-8 ingredients (Includes kampyo (seasoned gourd strips), oboro or denbu sweet powder, tamago sweet omelet, and shiitake mushrooms).
Inari-zushi (sushi) – aburaage – deep-fried tofu pouches- stuffed with sushi rice).
This sushi is brown and oval-shaped. It has a sweet taste.
Chirashi-zushi (mixed sushi) – spread different ingredients (includes raw fish, shiitake mushroom, omlet, seaweed, and more) over seasoned rice on a dish.
Elements of Sushi: Whats on the side
The important seasonings are soy sauce, and Wasabi (Japanese horseradish). Soy sauce is used as dipping sauce. Wasabi is put in Nigiri-zushi or is mixed with soy sauce for dipping. The most important side ingredient of sushi is ginger. Pickled ginger is called gari and is served with sushi. Gari is eaten between bites of sushi to refresh the mouth for each new taste. You can purchase pickled ginger at Asian markets or you can make it yourself.
How the Japanese Eat Sushi
In Japanese homes, sushi is often eaten when celebrating a special occasion. Chirashii-zushi, maki-zushi, inari-zushi are commonly cooked at home following family recipes. Sushi delivery is also commmon. Japanese people order sushi for special occasions, and there is a proper way to eat sushi for them.
In real sushi restaurants, sushi is very expensive since they select the best ingredients. It can cost nearly US$100 per person, depending on what you eat. But, there are places called kaiten-zushi, where the sushi plates circle around the eating area on a conveyor belt. This is a kind of sushi “fast-food” restaurant in Japan and is inexpensive. It’s very popular in Japan, so you can find kaiten-zushi restaurants everywhere.
When you go to kaiten-zushi, you wait until your favorite sushi comes near you, then you pick up the plates from the moving table. If your favorite is not moving on the table, you can order it. The type of plate the sushi pieces are on will indicate the price of each sushi. If you want to save money, you can avoid picking up expensive sushi.