How well do you know your sushi? Ahead of International Sushi Day on June 18, an expert decodes some interesting facts about this delicacy. Plus, our guide to grabbing a plate in town
What is the difference between maki and uramaki? Are chopsticks necessary to eat sushi? How to associate sushi with the three strange condiments served as an accompaniment? We hear you. Eating and ordering sushi can get slightly daunting, thanks to a very different palate and lingo, though that doesn’t stop us from rolling with it. As International Sushi Day approaches, Harry Hakuei Kosato, Founder of Sushi & More and Brand Ambassador for Kikkoman India, shares some interesting facts you should know about this much-loved Japanese delicacy.
1 Sushi, though synonymous with Japan today, originated in the Mekong Valley as a method of preserving fish and increasing its shelf life. Fermented rice was used to wrap the fish, so it would last longer, Kosato shares. “Back then, however, they ate the fish – narezushi – not the rice. From there, people started consuming fresh fish with vinegar rice in Japan, an archipelago with abundant fresh seafood; this led to the modern version we now call sushi,” he tells us.
2 Sushi is derived from the Japanese word sui, which means sour, and the character su (also Japanese), while -shi is used with adjectival verbs ending in i. There’s a misconception that sushi isn’t vegetarian, but it refers to vinegar rice and can have any type of topping or filling, Kosato points out. For example, cucumber sushi or kappa-maki, very popular in Japan.
Harry Hakuei Kosato
3 The key ingredient in sushi is vinegar rice, while the blackish coating you may have noticed on the inside or outside of sushi rolls is nori or seaweed. It is served with shoyu (soy sauce), gari (pickled ginger) and wasabi (Japanese horseradish), shares the sushi preservative. There are several ways to eat sushi. “Take a pinch of wasabi and put it on your sushi; then dip it in soy sauce. Or you can take wasabi and put it in soy sauce. Dip the sushi in this wasabi-infused soy sauce. Gari is actually meant to be a palate cleanser,” he explains.
4 The next time you have trouble using chopsticks, remember that in Japan, sushi is also eaten with your hands.
5 There are different types of sushi, the most popular being maki roll, uramaki, nigiri, temaki, temari and chirashi. While maki is rolled with nori on the outside, uramaki is when the nori is on the inside, Kosato explains. Temaki, on the other hand, is hand-rolled sushi that’s a quarter the size of a nori; it can have different combinations of fillings. “Temari is a ball-shaped sushi; nigiri is when rice is molded by the fist of the hand, topped with fish or any other garnish; and chirashi is a bed of rice with a scattering of sushi toppings,” he adds.
shisoto charcoal tempura; (right) Sushi and cocktail
On the sushi trail
Find a variety of sushi at these restaurants in town:
. Not sure which sushi you want? Try a handful of each with Sushi and More’s specialty platters.
LOGIN TO prospernow.in
. Check out the truffle Philadelphia roll and chilli tempura sushi at Zenmai, in addition to unique open sushi.
AT Savoy Chambers, Unit 2, Linking Road, Santacruz West.
. Taki Taki launches a new menu of sushi and cocktails. Pair maki rolls, temari or kudamono poke bowls with yuzu basil cobbler, salty rosemary paloma and Japanese ginger martini.
June 18-30 At World Crest, Unit 1A & 1B, Lower Parel.
. Dig into a hearty Peruvian lobster roll, Nikkei shrimp tempura uramaki or shisoto charcoal tempura, among a host of options at Foo.
In Andheri, Bandra, BKC, Lower Parel and Churchgate.
. Try Kyma’s special vegetarian tempura, California roll or peri-peri-corn sushi with crispy corn, sriracha mayonnaise and lettuce.
AT Plot C-66, One, G Block, BKC.
. Crispy Korean prawns, nigiri and uramaki with Manipuri black rice are waiting for you
At 9 years old, classic Raheja, Andheri West.