Learn all about history of Japanese sushi, sushi preparation, different types of sushi & sashimi, sake, authentic sushi ingredients like nori, wasabi, sushi grade seafood and sushi rice, sushi bars and sushi restaurants, sustainable sushi, and learn about the culture of sushi appreciation here at Sushi PRO! Be sure to check out our sushi blog as well, we regularly update it with articles about trends in sushi, profiles of people in the sushi world, important issues like sushi & health and sustainable seafood, sushi restaurant reviews and much more.
Sushi, 寿司 is a food of Japanese origin made from vinegared rice and various toppings, which are most commonly seafood but can also include meat, vegetables, and egg. Sushi toppings may be raw, cooked, or marinated. Sushi is popular throughout the world, although originating in Japan, and can now be found in many upscale restaurants in most countries.
In Western cultures the word sushi is often misunderstood to mean only rice topped with raw fish, or to refer to other raw seafood dishes like sashimi. But in Japan there is an abundant variety as each seasonal change brings new ingredients into the mix. Certain times of the year young fish will be plentiful and used in sushi dishes, in later seasons the adult fish brings a different taste to the fare.
There are actually many different types of sushi. Sushi served rolled in nori is called maki (rolls), sushi made with toppings laid onto hand-formed clumps of rice is called nigiri, sushi made with toppings stuffed into a small pouch made of fried tofu is called inarizushi, and sushi made with the toppings artfully arranged over a bowl of sushi rice is called chirashi-zushi, or scattered sushi. When sushi is discussed, most people think of nigiri sushi or sushi rolls, despite the fact that many different types of sushi exist.
Sushi is typically prepared by a sushi chef, or itamae (板前). In Japan the sushi chefs are licensed and considered skilled masters. A good sushi chef will personally choose the fish to purchase from the local market in order to provide the freshest and best quality seafood for his customers. The sushi chef displays his skill in both the quality of ingredients he selects, and in the mastery of preparation of delicate items, like tamago infused with the gentle flavor of sweet sake.
Part of sushi's mystique is the skillful preparation by the sushi chef. Also impressive is the careful and artful presentation typically found in nicer sushi restaurants. For westerners, there is an educational component that goes along with frequenting sushi bars that rewards the true sushi lover. Try all the various Japanese ingredients, you'll be surprised how many distinctive sushi tastes you discover - even if you find a few you don't like as well!