Sushi can be said to be the national food of Japan. Its one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Also, sushi is the most famous Japanese food all over the world.
Sushi is based on seafood like tuna, shrimp, eel, squid or octopus, and rice. Norimaki sushi has dried seaweed nori. Some sushi also has ingredients of fried egg, deep fried tofu, mushrooms, vegetables.
Sushi kits have got famous around the world and one can cook sushi at home as well. In Japan nowadays, sushi has became a delicacy.
History of Sushi
In 2nd Centry AD, a Chinese dictionary said that sushi, written by Chinese characters is:
"the food where the fish is pickled by rice and salt".
It is said that actual sushi's origins are in 4th century BC, somewhere in South East Asia. That version of sushi included alot of proteins from the fish and was very important food at that time.
That time there was no fridgerators around so people had to develop other means to preserve the food. Therefore the fish was salted and fermentation process was used to preserve rice. This was called as nare-zushi. This detail about improving the preservation of the food was probably one that developed sushi to be as it currently is.
A little is known of origins of sushi in Japan, except that 8th century AD, in the Heian period, it seemed to arrive Japan. Historical writings and art indicate that during that time, it became popular food. Durin Muromachi period, sushi developed into a form called seisei-zushi. This was a first version of sushi that seemed a delicacy rather than preserved food.
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The Edo era introduced haya-zushi which introduced a new way of enjoying white rice and fish together. Now, rice was mixed with vinegar. Haya-zushi introduced also vegetables and other additional flavors. Through this path, nigiri-zushi, a nouveau style sushi, was born.
Yohei Hanaya can be said to be the father of nigiri-zushi. He was born in the Echizen-country (At present it is known as Fukui Prefecture) and moved to Edo when he was nine year-old. Times were hard during that time and he had try other jobs, but finally he started his own shop Yohei-zushi and it did well. Japanese accepted his idea of a new sushi that was not fermented. There, modern sushi was born. Nigiri-zushi was also sometimes called edomae-zushi, since the seaweed nori was collected from Tokyo Bay.
The Sushi in Present Day
In the postwar Japan, sushi was a delicacy that sometimes couldn't be afforded. In the 1980's sushi become popular again when there was "health-boom". Sushi is known as one of most healthiest foods in Japan. That time sushi bars and restaurants were spreaded through the globe. Sushi got international fame. Soon sushi machines were developed and those conveyor-belt sushi restaurants opened.
There are various types of Sushi.
The most famous here in Europe is the Norimaki sushi. It includes seafood and rice, rolled in a sheets of nori. Actually Norimaki sushi is not so famous in Japan but has formed into a some kind of stereotype of sushi. It is hardly the only type of sushi.
Perhaps the most traditional sushi would be the nigiri sushi. A small riceballs topped with fish. There are a lot of varieties and some include eel, squid and octopus.
Temaki is the rolled sushi that include a lot of nori, seafood and vegetables. Oshizushi is a pressed, flat sushi, and Inari is the sushi covered with deep fried tofu. Inari and different versions of it can be easily found all around Japan. Chirashi is dish which includes lot of typically colourful vegetables on top.