Sushi is soooooo good. So since today is International Sushi Day, we’re celebrating our fave fishy food. Here are 10 facts you may or may not know about sushi:
1. Sushi was originally a cheap fast food.
During the 1800s in Tokyo, sushi was a “fast food.” It actually was originally meant to eat with your hands while at the theater. Kind of like popcorn! Except it was already marinated in soy sauce or lightly cooked to prevent the fish from going bad. Eventually, this was outlawed by the government so they had to take it inside, which led to sushi restaurants.
2. You’re eating fake wasabi!
Wasabi comes from the root of the wasabia japonica plant. The spicy flavor comes from the natural antimicrobial chemicals found in the plant. This is the perfect complement for consuming raw seafood, which may contain parasites (gross). Well unfortunately, this plant is too expensive, so instead to mass produce “wasabi,” restaurants use horseradish and mustard powder. And to turn it green, they use artificial dye. Oops, try not to think about it next time you put wasabi in your soy sauce.
3. People used to never eat sushi rice.
Sushi rice is made with rice and vinegar. The sour fermenting rice is wrapped around fermenting fish in order to aid in the process of creating umami, which translates to “pleasant savory taste.” When sushi was first invented in Japan, people would throw out the rice once this process was over and only consumer the fish.
4. Don’t eat puffer fish!
Puffer fish contain lethal amounts of poison in their organs and glands and if a chef scrapes one with a knife, you’re dunzo! You have to be certified to work with sashimi. Chefs in Japan must undergo a rigorous training and certification process. They even have to eat their own finish product! Yes, there have been deaths! Who knew chopping up fish could be so hard!?
5. Even fresh sushi is frozen first.
Food regulations in the U.S. and Europe require that fish is frozen at -4 degrees for at least 24 hours so it is enough time for any parasites to die. Even the freshest sushi has been frozen, which apparently damages the texture and original taste. Imagine how good it would taste if it wasn’t frozen?!
6. You have bad form.
Apparently leaving left over soy sauce with floating rice and remnants of your meal is horrible form. Wasting soy sauce is frowned upon, so next time pour the smallest amount of soy sauce into the sushi cup and refill it as necessary.
7. Salmon sushi wasn’t invented until the 1980s.
Salmon isn’t native to Japan! Makes sense. It was introduced to the country in the early 1980s, when Norwegians first brought it over.
8. ‘Inside-Out Rolls’ aren’t a thing in Japan.
Ichiro Masahita (possibly the inventor of California rolls) created the “inside-out” for Americans who were grossed out by seeing and chewing the seaweed on the outside. Most rolls in Japan are made with seaweed on the outside, sushi rice, then the fish.
10. You’re dipping all wrong.
When you dip your sushi into soy sauce, you’re not supposed to drown it. Have you ever notice it falls apart after that happens? Yes! That’s because you’re only supposed to dip the fish part and not the rice. Otherwise, the rice falls apart and you’re left with a pond of soy sauce rice.