Sushi, sushi, sushi. Some say it is an acquired taste. While the idea of eating raw fish may make some people feel squeamish, some people get past that mental barrier and come to love eating sushi altogether.
Most of us think that sushi originated in Japan. But in fact, sushi came from China. In the beginning, making sushi was invented as a means of preserving food, specifically fish. Fish would be placed in rice, which then allows it to ferment. This makes the fish last a lot longer and makes it more edible. After which, the rice would be thrown away and the fish would be eaten as and when one wishes.
By the 7th century, this method of preservation spread throughout Southeast Asia. The original form of sushi, also known as Narezushi, took the region by storm but it wasn’t until the 8th century when it made its way to Japan. Since then, the Japanese across different regions developed their own versions and the rest is history. Sushi has truly come a long way since its humble beginnings.
Different Types of Sushi
There is not just one type of sushi – there is an endless array of varieties and types in the spectrum. The ones that we are probably most familiar with is maki – rice and filling carefully wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed; nigiri – hand-pressed rice topped with ingredients, usually fish; temaki – a coned-shaped nori seaweed sheet filled with rice and toppings on the inside; and finally, sashimi, which is fish served on its own.
But beyond the ones that we already know, there is so much more. For sashimi alone, there are already more than 20 types! Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try different types of sushi that you may have never tried before and are less common. If you’re feeling adventurous, give uni (sea urchin) a try.
One may think that making sushi is as easy and simple as using a bamboo rolling mat and putting seaweed on it and topping it all off with your favourite toppings. But in Japan, it takes years to master the craft of making sushi. This art requires absolute finesse and precision.
In Japan, one cannot simply decide he wants to become one of the finest and most successful sushi chefs in the country – you have to go through a training course. Japanese sushi chef and teacher, Kazuki Shimoyama, mentions that “the best students take at least two years before they can do this properly”. You don’t just delve immediately into putting toppings together into sheets of nori seaweed; you first have to master the art of cutting fish. From mackerel to tuna to salmon, hopefuls must learn how to master this craft before anything else. It just goes to show that a lot of work really goes into sushi making.
While enjoying sushi is now commonly seen as casual dining, it is also an artful and tasteful dining experience. In some restaurants in Japan, the experience is not just high-class, but also enlightening as you learn from the sushi masters as they prepare your meal.
Sushi is a staple enjoyed in Japan, as well as in the Southeast and East Asia region. But sushi made its way to the west in the 1960s and the California Maki, or California Roll was born in a little restaurant in Little Tokyo, in Los Angeles. Since then, many westerners alike have tried their take on traditional Japanese sushi and making their own spin.
Cooking, or making sushi is often seen as a simple and uncomplicated thing to do. But making sushi is truly more than just cooking, but an art.