The word "Sushi" comes from the Japanese word "Su" (酢) meaning vinegar, and "Meshi" (飯), meaning rice.
Sushi is made with specially prepared rice, called sumeshi (酢飯). The rice is mixed with vinegar, salt, and sugar. Sushi is known for having raw or cooked seafood in it, but it sometimes has non-fish foods such as vegetables. Some sushi is wrapped in a sheet of seaweed called nori (海苔).
There are many different kinds of sushi. The most common sushi in Japan is nigirizushi (握り寿司): fish meat that is placed on top of a small portion of sumeshi. Sometimes you may find other ingredients on top of the sumeshi, such as roe (fish eggs), and sea urchin meat, instead of fish. Another type of sushi, makizushi (巻き寿司), consists of sumeshi rolled around fish and/or vegetables. In the US, makizushi is more popular than nigirizushi. Another type is known as temaki (手巻き) or a hand roll. This kind of sushi comes in a cone-shape, created by the nori wrapped around the ingredients inside. They are usually filled with a mixture of sumeshi, fish, and vegetables.
Sushi is eaten with your bare hands or chopsticks. Soy sauce and wasabi are commonly eaten with sushi. Gari (sweet, pickled ginger) can often be found alongside a plate of sushi and also a little bit of wasabi, used as a palate cleanser.
In Japan, sushi is sometimes sold in "conveyor-belt shops" called kaiten zushi (回転寿司), where plates of sushi are put on a moving belt that passes by the customers. People freely take the sushi they want as it passes. The color of the plate shows the price of the sushi. This way of serving sushi is becoming more popular in other countries as well.
As with most foods, eating sushi has some health risks. However, most can be minimized with proper preparation. Some large fish, such as tuna (especially bluefin), can contain high levels of mercury. Tuna can cause mercury poisoning when consumed in very large quantities over time. Parasite infection by raw fish is not common in the modern world (less than 40 cases per year in the US). Infections can generally be avoided by boiling, burning, preserving in salt or vinegar, or freezing to a certain temperature. Although nigirizushi will almost always appear in a raw form, often much of the fish has been previously frozen to specific temperatures to prevent parasites.
Eating sushi the traditional wayEdit
Although many people from the West think that sushi is supposed to be eaten with chopsticks, sushi is actually supposed to be eaten by hand. However, some Japanese people, especially women or polite people, use chopsticks to eat sushi.
Wasabi and soy sauce are not required, but they are eaten with the sushi traditionally. You do not normally mix them together.
The types and ingredients of the sushiEdit
There are many different types of sushi. There are also many ingredients to put in the sushi.
Types of sushiEdit
- Nigirizushi (握り寿司) is a type of sushi, with the ingredient placed on top of sumeshi. It is sometimes wrapped in a thin rectangular piece of nori.
- Makizushi (巻き寿司) is nori wrapped around sumeshi and the ingredient.
- Futomaki (太巻き) is makizushi but it is bigger; It has more sumeshi and ingredients, and it has a bigger piece of nori wrapped around it.
- Gunkanmaki (軍艦巻き), meaning "Warship Roll", is a type of makizushi, but it has sumeshi wrapped in a big piece of nori (usually bigger than the Sumeshi), with the ingredient placed on top of it. It usually has ingredients that are easy to collapse, such as ikura or sea urchin. It was named this because the sushi looks like a warship.
- Oshizushi (押し寿司) is sushi with the sumeshi and ingredients strongly pressed together, in a box.
- Temarizushi (手毬寿司) are balls of sumeshi with the ingredient topped on top of it. It is sometimes wrapped in a plastic wrap. It was called this because it resembles old Japanese ball toys, called temari.
- Chirashizushi (ちらし寿司) is a box or bowl of sumeshi with different ingredients on top of it.
- Inarizushi (稲荷寿司) is sumeshi stuffed inside of sweetly boiled abura-age. It ususally does not have ingredients other than abura-age and sumeshi.
- Narizushi (なりずし) is a type of fermented sushi, with fish stuffed with salt is placed in a barrel, and doused (pour over) with salt, and then weighed down with a heavy stone. Then it is left for 6 months, and finally it can be eaten.
Sushi in other countriesEdit
- Gimbap (Hangul: 김밥) is a South Korean sushi similar to makizushi, and it is a popular take-out food. It is wrapped in Gim, which is nori flavored with sesame oil and salt.
- Uramaki (裏巻) is a type of sushi similar to makizushi. Uramaki has ingredients wrapped in nori, then sumeshi wrapped around the nori. Small ingredients like sesame and roe (fish eggs) are usually sprinkled on the rice. "Ura" in Japanese can mean "Inside-out".
- Since eating sushi by hand is the traditional way, uramakizushi is not ususally eaten in Japan, because the sticky rice is hard to handle.
Ingredients of sushiEdit
Although sushi generally contains the ingredients below, virtually anything can be used in sushi, even chocolate or chicken.
There are many types of fish and other meat used in sushi, such as:
Other meat, such as roe (fish eggs), is also used in sushi.
Like the meat, there are many types of vegetables used in sushi, such as:
Popular sushi chain stores in JapanEdit
- Kappa Zushi (かっぱ寿司)
- Sushirō (スシロー)
- Kurazushi (くら寿司)
- Hamazushi (はま寿司)
- Choushimaru (銚子丸)