From Virtual Japan

Jump to: navigation, search

Sushi (寿司) is type of Japanese cuisine. It is one of the most well known types of Japanese food, and one of the most versatile. Its key ingredient is vinegar seasoned rice, though most sushi is wrapped in seaweed and it is often filled with vegetables, seafood (especially raw seafood), eggs and many other ingredients.

What most of the world known as Sushi is actually considered a type of “fast food” and was invented in the 1700’s. The original sushi bears almost no resemblance to the current variety.


Sushi has a very long history. The first sign of a food with the Sushi name dates back to the early 2nd century, where the Chinese had a meal that many believe was salt picked fish. Eventually it became minced fish and pork as well, but it did not consist of rice at the time. The meals were pickled in rice, but they were not eaten with rice.

Its introduction to Japan has been dated back as early as 718 AD, and went by a different name (雑鮨五斗, pronounced Zakonosushi). Slowly over the next 800 years, sushi began to evolve. The Japanese started to both boil their rice and created rice vinegar. They began to ferment their fish in rice vinegar. Then, over time, they began to eat rice with the fish. Somewhere between the 1300’s and 1500’s they stopped fermenting the fish and used vinegar in its place.

After a few more variations, a man named Hanaya Yohei invented a fast food form of sushi that had no fermentation process, can be quickly made using rice and whatever additional ingredients you may want to add, is wrapped by hand and can include raw fish, vegetables, eggs, meats and whatever else the cook wants to place in the wrap.

Sushi Types

Sushi can come wrapped or not wrapped. When sushi is wrapped, it tends to come in a type of seaweed known as “Nori.”

  • Nigiri-zushi – This is the most well known sushi type. Sushi rice is rolled up with other ingredients placed inside. A dash of wasabi and a small sliver of neta (fish) are served with it. A small wrap of seaweed is placed around it to hold it in place. These often look as though they will fall apart at any moment. There is also Gunkan-maki which resembles Nigiri-zushi but is often wrapped with slightly more seaweed to hold in wetter ingredients.
  • Makizushi – Also a well known type of sushi roll, where the rice is rolled into a cylindrical role and wrapped completely with seaweed. Several ingredients are held inside and once the roll is complete, it is cut up into same sized slices, usually about an inch or two in width. Though Nigiri-zushi is more common, Makizushi is the type of sushi with the most famous dishes, including the spider roll, dynamite roll and many other types of rolls.
  • Other – There are far more less common types of sushi as well. Oshizushi is block shaped and created using a mold designed specifically for that sushi type. Chirashizushi is essentially rice with other ingredients and no particular roll or shape. Narezushi which resembles the historical sushi with fermented fish. And Temarizushi, which is an uncommon sushi to see in stores but a very common sushi to cook at home, as it involves rolling it into a ball and putting the ball in a cone of Nori.

External Links

Pop culture / Travel / Forum / Gallery / FAQ/Help / Submit

Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.