Sushi, for some reason seems to be somewhat a taboo cuisine choice for some of our takeaway lovers, those who are familiar with it either hate it or are completely and utterly obsessed with it (of course we are in the latter group) it’s kind of like marmite in that respect. For those who are Sushi virgins, we want to try de-mist the unknown and get you acquainted with this Japanese delight, so that you can find out for yourself whether you are indeed a lover or hater.
So first things first, what exactly is Sushi? Sushi is basically vinegar infused rice that is topped (traditionally) with seafood, vegetables and tropical fruits. Although it’s not un-common to find meats and cheese amongst the popular offerings over here in the UK and other Sushi loving countries.
Sushi is intended to be eaten as fresh as possible, as the longer its exposed to air the more it loses flavour and turns sour. Although some may sport chopsticks, it was intended to be eaten with the hands, as it was originally created as a takeaway snack, served up by the fast food street food vendors in Japan. It became more ‘cosmopolitan’, shall we say, due to the earthquake of 1923, which meant the price of real estate crashed and allowed Sushi sellers to buy their own restaurants, now there is said to be over 45,000 sushi restaurants in Japan alone.
In the true Japanese art that is sushi making, it takes 10 years of practise to become a fully-fledged sushi chef and due to their high level of skill it is customary in Japan for sushi-diners to offer the sushi chef a drink upon finishing their meal, as a way of showing gratitude (usually in the form of a shot of sake, a Japanese rice wine). If the chef accepts the offer then it is expected that the customer joins them in having a drink, but if the offer is declined (which it usually is, as it may be not too wise to go OTT on the sake when handling all those sharp knifes) then the customer should instead simple offer a small bow in thanks, as it is very offensive to offer money; tipping after a meal in Japan is a no no.
Now we know some sushi-related facts, if might be handy to know what’s what on the menu. If you don’t speak Japanese looking at the menu can seem quite daunting, so to give you a helping hand (and very quick Japanese lesson) here are some of the types of sushi you are likely to come across on that Japanese restaurant takeaway menu.
Types of Sushi:
- Maki: Maki means roll, so this is basically any type of sushi (rice) with a filling and rolled in seaweed.
- Uramaki: Similar to the above, but the seaweed wraps the inside filling and the rice is on the outside.
- Hosomaki: These are small ‘maki’ rolls, which usually pack a crunch in the middle.
- Futomaki: (You may have guessed this one) this is the daddy when it comes to maki rolls, it the biggest kind.
- Temaki: Is sushi that has been rolled into a cone shape.
- Nigiri: Is a strip of rice with fish on top.
- Sashimi: This is just fish (often raw) served completely on its own, not even with rice.
We think you are almost ready to tuck in sushi warrior, all that’s left to do is browse those menus until you find something that tickles your fancy, or if you are not quite convinced sushi it’s the right dish for you, check out the other takeway options near you (you can do that here at Kukd.com).
Want more of a low down on Sushi munching? Check out the below, we love this awesome info-graphic from Lifehack.org