Update: 29 December 2016
Sushi is popular both in Japan and abroad. Here you will find the best way to eat sushi so that you can have a delicious experience.
What is Sushi?
Sushi is a popular Japanese dish made by placing raw seafood on top of vinegared rice. Neta, seafood like fish, shellfish, and so forth, are placed on top of the shari, which is rice molded into a barrel-shape, then it is dipped in soy sauce to your liking, and finally eaten. Since the seasons are very distinct in Japan, different fish will be readily available depending on the time of year, so savor the delicious neta of the moment.
The History of Sushi
The predecessor of sushi is called narezushi, which is a preserved food made by fermenting the fish with rice. Nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi) as we know it today first started to emerge during the latter years of the Edo period (1818 to 1830), and was initially sold in food carts. However, because of sanitary concerns, there are very few stores offering sushi in food carts.
Kinds of Sushi
Aside from the common nigiri type of sushi, there are also kinds of makizushi (sushi roll), like hosomaki (thin sushi roll), futomaki (thick sushi roll), and temaki (cone-shaped sushi roll), and there are also types like chirashizushi (sushi in a bowl with sushi rice), where the neta is not rolled. In addition, aside from using raw fish, there are some types that use lightly grilled fish like aburizushi (partially grilled nigirizushi), and others that are wrapped in various vegetables like salad maki (salad sushi roll). Finally, there is also sushi that uses roe and eel, which are briefly cooked with fire. This is so that people who can't eat raw fish can still enjoy eating sushi.
In sushi restaurants, a small dish called shoyu sashi is placed on the table. You have to put soy sauce in the shoyu sashi first before eating the sushi. When eating with your bare hands, you have to directly dip the sushi in soy sauce. When doing so, try to only dip the neta in the sauce, since the soy sauce will be absorbed by the rice if you directly dip the shari. You can ask the restaurant workers for sushi with or without wasabi.
The Tokyo Way of Eating
Since the Edo period, it was considered correct to eat sushi using gari, which is thinly sliced ginger with sweet vinegar. Gari is dipped in soy sauce then placed on top of the neta. With this method, you can prevent over-dipping the sushi in soy sauce. You can either eat the soy sauce-covered gari together with the sushi, or you can place it back on its original plate to eat later. Ginger is used to remove odor, and it can be eaten with any neta to freshen your mouth.
Various Sushi Stores
In this day and age, we can eat sushi in a variety of places: on a restaurant counter top, at a kaitenzushi where sushi plates move on a belt inside the store, with demaezushi which provides home delivery of sushi, and in many other enjoyable forms.
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.