Nothing gets our mouths watering more than a delicious roll (or two!) of sushi. With fresh, delicate cuts of the finest seafood and vegetables rolled up within perfect balls of rice, sushi is surely a gift from the heavens. But where did it come from? How did the combination of rice and seafood ever come to be? And for goodness’ sake, what exactly is sashimi?
We have all the answers to these questions and more! Check out these 7 fun facts about sushi (and a couple of cool Japanese dining pro-tips) below!
- Sushi Originated Outside of Japan – Japan may be given a lot of the credit (and for good reason, but we’ll get to that later), but sushi originally came from Southeast Asia – probably along the Mekong River – as a way of preserving food. Fish was placed within rice and was given time to ferment, which helped keep fish fresh for some time. The rice was then discarded whenever the fish was ready to be eaten. This method made its way to Japan, but the Japanese took it a step further and began eating the rice with the fish!
- Modern-Day Sushi Appeared in the Mid-1800s – Love today’s sushi? You can thank Hanaya Yohei of Japan for coming up with the idea around the end of the Edo period! Instead of wrapping fish in rice, Yohei placed a piece of fresh fish on top of rolled seasoned rice, which is what we call “nigari sushi” (finger sushi).
- Sushi Was Once Served as Fast Food – Long ago, sushi was served in stalls on the street as a quick, cheap snack to enjoy with your hands. This style of sushi became incredibly popular and spread rapidly throughout Japan.
- The Earthquake of 1923 Brought Sushi Indoors – Although sushi was served just as a street food, the great earthquake of 1923 destroyed so much of Tokyo that real estate prices dropped. This allowed sushi chefs to create brick-and-mortar restaurants, giving them an indoor space to create their edible masterpieces. After World War II, the stalls shut down and moved indoors permanently to more sanitary conditions. At that moment, sushi changed from fast food to an exquisite dining experience.
- Salmon Is Actually a White Fish – But it looks orange, so what gives? Salmon looks orange because it dines on crustaceans (that is, before YOU dine on IT!).
- Sashimi Makes Perfect Sense – So what the heck is sashimi? It’s sliced raw fish served without rice. The translation from Japanese is quite literal, too – “sashi” means “cut” and “mi” means “body.” If you’re curious about the names of a few other dishes, “nigiri” consists of a thin slice of raw or cooked fish layered on top of a small mound of sushi rice. If you’ve seen the word “maki” and weren’t sure what it is, it’s pretty much a traditional sushi roll!
- Miso Wasn’t Always Included with Sushi – Actually, miso is considered to be more of a breakfast food in Japan! Instead, tamago, a Japanese-style omelet, was served before the sushi. A chef’s tamago was usually used as a benchmark to measure his or her skills.
Oh, and in case you want to get more into the Japanese spirit while you’re dining on delicious sushi, here are a few basic pro-tips:
- Before you begin your meal, say “Itadakimasu” (pronounced “EE-tah-dah-key-MAHS”). This means, “I humbly receive” or simply, “Let’s eat!”
- Try cleaning your plate when you eat, including every grain of rice. This is considered to be proper Japanese dining etiquette since the Japanese frown on wasting food. It can also be seen as a tip of the hat to the chef!
- Once you’re finished with your meal, say “Gochisosama” (pronounced “GO-chee-soh-SAH-mah) as a way to say thanks for the meal.
Now get ready to show off all your sushi knowledge to your family and friends the next time you head over to Baiku Sushi Lounge. Get your appetite ready by checking out our menu online at www.baikustl.com. We look forward to seeing you soon!BaiKu 0