There is growing interest in Japanese food around the world, but sushi is probably the most popular one. However, it is difficult to understand how best to eat. You may often be confused about whether to use chopsticks or hands, or how to add soy sauce, etc. This article is to introduce the eating methods and etiquette that you should know in order to enjoy sushi even more deliciously.
History of sushi
Sushi is a typical Japanese dish, however, its roots are not in Japan. The origin dates back to Southeast Asia around the 4th century BC. It is said that the prototype is "Narezushi", which was fermented by people in mountainous areas by soaking fish in rice and salt to preserve the fish for a long time. This preservation technology was introduced to Japan along with the introduction of rice cultivation through China. At that time, people ate only fish and discarded rice.
This Narezushi style lasted quite a long time. In the Heian period, it is recorded that Narezushi made from locally caught sweetfish, crucian carp, salmon, etc. was used as a method to pay taxes. Funazushi in the Omi region, Heshikozushi in Fukui, and Hatahatazushi in Akita are some of the Narezushi that still remain as local dishes.
It was during the Edo period that sushi approached its current style. "Nigiri sushi", which is made by putting fish caught in the greater Tokyo Bay on vinegared rice, has spread widely as a local dish of Edo. Nigiri sushi in the Edo period was much larger than it is now, and was the size of a tennis ball. Also, since there was no refrigerator, raw fish were not used and soaked in soy sauce, vinegared, and boiled.
It was not until the Meiji era that raw fish was used for sushi ingredients. Advances in fishing methods and distribution have made it possible to chill the ingredients with ice and store them, eliminating the need to season them. Then, you can add soy sauce just before eating. In the Taisho era, when electric refrigerators appeared, the types of fish increased and the size became smaller.
How to eat sushi
By hand or with chopsticks?
It doesn't matter if you eat it by hand or use chopsticks. Choose a method that is easy for you to eat. However, be sure to use chopsticks when eating ginger.
Fish and rice together
Nigiri sushi is for enjoying the harmony of fish and sushi rice. It is taboo to eat fish and sushi rice separately, or to cut them with chopsticks. Let's eat one piece with a bite.
How to apply soy sauce
When adding soy sauce to sushi, it is the correct etiquette to add soy sauce to the fish, not the rice. Hold the sushi sideways and add a small amount of soy sauce only to the fish. For sushi that is difficult to apply soy sauce, you can use gingers like a brush. Be careful not to add too much soy sauce, as it will spoil the original taste of fish.
Avoid the background odor
If you want to enjoy the delicate taste and aroma of sushi, don't wear too much perfume. You should also pay attention to the residual scent of tobacco.
Important sushi enhancers
Wasabi is a spice native to Japan, and is characterized by its pungent taste and refreshing scent. It eliminates the fishy smell of sushi and gives an accent to the taste. It also has a bactericidal effect, so it makes sense to add it to raw fish. It also acts like a glue that sticks the fish and rice together.
Gari is ginger pickled in sweet and sour sauce. It eliminates the smell of fish and refreshes your mouth. It also has a bactericidal effect and can be expected to play a role in preventing food poisoning.
Catechin, an astringent ingredient of green tea, has a deodorant effect. Like wasabi and gari, it has the function of removing the fishy odor and resetting the taste in the mouth. After eating sushi, wash away the greasiness in your mouth with hot green tea, and you will be able to fully enjoy the taste of each ingredient.
Sushi has some rules to make it more delicious. However, you don't have to be too particular about the format. We hope that you will enjoy the history of sushi and the manners of eating it, while keeping it in the corner of your head.