The Artful World of Sushi

寿司1Sushi is indisputably the most famous of Japanese foods the world over. Everyone’s got an opinion on eating raw fish, but sushi doesn’t have to be raw. It also doesn’t have to be a slice of fish on a rice ball. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be something you can pick up with your fingers! Welcome to the wide, wide world of sushi.

What is most often referred to as simply “sushi” abroad is technically “nigiri sushi,” which refers to how chefs ball the rice in their palms. On top of the rice ball, a carefully cut piece of fish is adorned. If the cut is too thick, the piece becomes too much of a mouthful. Too thin, and dissatisfaction reins. Naturally, the kind of and then part of the fish used for sushi is of paramount importance. Fillets are always used, with care taken to make sure there is an even texture and no chewiness.

An alternate style of sushi is the “gunkan,” which takes a similarly sized and formed rice ball, then wraps around the edges a piece of dried seaweed, or “nori.” Doing this creates a vessel with rice at the bottom and nori forming the walls. Delectable delicacies such as ikura (salmon roe) or uni (sea urchin) at gently nestled, making for a handy way to eat seafood that does not slice well.

Sushi rolls have gained prominence is recent years, and have also evolved with the times. There are cut rolls and hand rolls (the latter known as “temaki“) into which all kinds of seafood and vegetables may be laid. Outside of Japan, and especially in America, the granddaddy of all these rolls is the “California Roll,” which is crab, cucumber, and avocado, all rolled up in rice with a nori lining. Recently, all times of innovative rolls have been appearing on foreign shores, including things like dairy products, meat, spicy sauces, and everything else running the gamut. However, in Japan tradition has kept that spread of these “foreign style” rolls mostly at the periphery.

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Looking to try Sushi in Tokyo?
Japan Gourmetpedia recommends using our sister site, Tokyo Dinner Ticket, to find the perfect restaurant.

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Sushi at restaurant Sushi Ken in Asakusa

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