Sushi is an acquired taste for some people and a lifelong passion for others. The Japanese began perfecting the technique of packing fish with rice in the seventh century. Throughout the centuries, the Japanese have worked to improve sushi by coming up with many other variations of the finger food. In the seventeenth century vinegar was introduced as a way to revolutionize sushi. The use of rice vinegar in the sushi gave it a tartness it had never possessed before.
In the 1820’s Tokyo resident Hanaya Yohei introduced sushi to the world, as we know it today. During WWII he served sushi to the public from his sushi bar, which was the predecessor to today’s sushi bars. By the 1970’s sushi had become very popular in the United States.
The most common forms of sushi are Oshi-sushi, which is pressed sushi, Nigri-sushi, which is hand shaped sushi, Maki-sushi, which is rolled sushi, and Churashi-sushi, which is scattered sushi. The differences in the types of sushi are the ingredients used and the environment in which they are created.
There are several health benefits to eating sushi. A low calorie food, red snapper and sea bass sushi offers less than 100 calories per 3.5 oz. serving. Even richer fishes, such as eel and mackerel are just less than 200 calories per 3.5 oz. serving. Fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines can help prevent strokes, arthritis and heart disease. The white rice used to make sushi is a great source of protein as well as carbohydrates, and is also safe for anyone who is allergic to wheat. The rice vinegar used in sushi, in addition to preserving the food, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and helps the body to digest food. Used in hand rolls, seaweed is very nutritious and is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as protein.
When ordering sushi at a restaurant, certain things need to be kept in mind. Anyone wanting to watch his or her sushi being made should ask to be seated at the restaurant’s sushi bar. In Japanese, the sushi chef is referred to as itamae. If unsure about what kind of sushi to order ask the itamae what he or she would recommend. Do not ask him or her if the sushi is fresh, because they may find the question insulting. The itamae is only present to make sushi. Any thing else that needs to be ordered should be ordered from the waiter or waitress. Do not order sushi without intending to finish it, as that would be an insult to the itamae. Sitting at the sushi bar implies that a tip will be given to the itamae on completion of the meal. Anyone dining on sushi in Japan will see that the tip is built into the bill. However, that is not the case in the United States.
Sushi can be a healthy food choice for many people and is gaining popularity in the U.S. every day.