Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sushi Day

Hmmmm... sushi sushi... nomnomnoooommm)))))))
When I hear the word nothing else in the world matters:)
I am a huge sushi fan and "Wasabi" seems to have it all. Of course I'm not saying that my experience at this restaurant was one worth writing a review for, but I've spent quiet a good time there what I can not deny.
So, before everything else I just would like to mention a piece of history,which,certainly is really important and good for all of us, sushi maniacs to know.
The history of Sushi actually dates back to 7th Century China.  As a way of preserving fish, the Chinese people started making Sushi but without modern day refrigerators, they used the natural process of fermentation.  To complete the Sushi-making process, only rice and salt were needed.  The result was delicious fish, causing Sushi to grow in popularity.
In the 1800s, Sushi was made using a process that involved pressing fish in between layers of salt and leaving it for months to ferment.  This process is known as narezushi, or “edomaezushi”, which is still used in some restaurants in Japan.  The name narezushi was originally called “Edomae” and shortened to Edo. This name translates to “in front of Edo” which is a reference to fish caught in front of Edo city and used for the making of Sushi.  Unlike the Sushi eaten today, Edo was formed in a ball of rice with a slice of the fish.  When it came time to eat narezushi, the rice ball was thrown out and only the fish eaten. Today, narezushi is very difficult to find outside of Japan in that it has a unique taste not usually appreciated by Westerners. 
As time passed and many of the Japanese and Chinese cultures crossed, Sushi became a popular food choice in both countries.  Throughout the cities, you would find food stands where various types of Sushi were sold.  In fact, during intermission at the various theaters, Sushi was sold as a snack much like the popcorn sold in today’s theaters.  Since Sushi was easy and quick to make, it became a staple for most households in the 19th Century to accommodate the busy lifestyles of the Japanese people. 
Sushi could be thought of as the Japanese equivalent of the Western sandwich––portable, easy-to-eat, available in many varieties and a staple.

For me it was such a huge fun to  get acquainted with the proper methods for eating sushi. It's really great when you put your knowledge to use everytime you  enjoy that delicious treat. 

What about the etiquette?

Let's form some steps and move forward:) 

Step 1.

Say "Itadaki Masu"! There is no English equivalent to saying “itadaki masu,” as it is a combination of “looks great!” and “OK, I am now commencing my meal.”
That is the word equivalent.

Step 2. 

Eat your sushi in one bite. Two bites is acceptable, however, don't put the sushi back on the plate if you bit it in half already. Once you pick it up, eat all of it and keep uneaten parts in the chopsticks ready to be consumed.

Step 3.

Go easy on the soy sauce. Soaking your sushi in soy sauce is disrespectful because it implies that the original flavors are not good without soy sauce. Use light amounts only, to enhance the flavor.

(Always place your "nigiri-sushi" upside-down in the soy sauce and eat it "rice-side up." Don't pinch it too hard, and place it so the fish touches your tongue.)

Step 4.

Feel free to use your fingers as utensils, instead of chopsticks. Even though most people use chopsticks, sushi is traditionally a finger food and it is completely acceptable to eat it that way. Try not to ask for forks or knives. Sushi is not steak. Some restaurants are more forgiving of this request than others though, and may have a few forks and knives available. Other people may think you're a little rude for not trying though, so it's considerate to apologize for your incapacity.

  • Nigiri-sushi (hand-shaped sushi), is usually eaten with the hands. It is not over-compressed, meaning that it could fall apart before reaching your mouth if you use chopsticks.
  • Cone sushi or hand rolls are eaten with the fingers.
  • Rolled sushi and inside-out rolled sushi are eaten with the fingers or chopsticks.
  • Chirashi-zushi (scattered sushi) is eaten with chopsticks. You might also use a fork if the establishment permits.

Step 5.

Finish your meal with, "Gochi-so-sama-deshi-ta."

Saying “gochi so sama deshita” is the equivalent of saying “Wow, what a feast that was!” Although we wouldn’t deliver such a compliment unless truly deserved, it is standard protocol to say so after every meal in Japan.
Say it to your sushi chef and he will likely bow to you.

                                      Ordering etiquette

Knowing the difference between different types of sushi is important. Sushi etiquette includes having an understanding of what it is you're consuming. The types of Sushi are: 

  • Nigiri: pieces of fish, shellfish, or fish roe over rice balls
  • Maki-zushi: rolled in seaweed, sometimes just called "maki". These are large sushi rolls, made by hand. The filling is enclosed in nori-wrapped rice and can be known as nori maki. (Nori means seaweed.)
  • Futomaki-zushi: thick sushi rolls, using a full sized sheet of nori spread with vinegared rice, fillings and possibly a dab of wasabi. It's a very versatile form of sushi.
  • Hosomaki-zushi: thin sushi rolls using half a sheet of nori, less rice and only a single filling.
  • Inside-out California roll: the rice is on the outside and can be decorated with fish roe, sesame seeds or tempura flakes.
  • Molded sushi: this is made using a Japanese mold.
  • Temaki: hand rolls or cone sushi. This is shaped like a cone or a log. It is usually made by the person who is going to eat it.
  • Sashimi: sliced/chilled raw fish without rice; and
  • Chirashi-zushi: "scattered sushi", sliced/chilled raw fish served like sashimi but over a bed of rice. A mixture of vegetables is also common. This is the easiest form of sushi to put together.
  • Wrapper sushi: sushi wrapped in something other than nori, such as tofu pouches (inari-zushi).

                                Drinking etiquette

  • If there is tea available, drink it with one hand holding it, and the other hand supporting it from underneath, using two hands to hold the cup.
  • If there is sake for drinking, it is boorish to pour sake for yourself. Pour some into cups for others, and let your companions pour sake for you.
  • If soup is served as part of the sushi menu, lift the lid from the bowl and sip directly from the bowl.

Here are some more interesting facts about Sushi that I'd like to share with you while enjoying my  Sushi.

  • Like a samurai, the blade of a professional sushi  chef's  knoves must be re-sharped every day. This is especially important when working with sashimi - raw, thinly sliced fish.
  • Almost 80% of all the bluefin tuna caught in the world is used for sushi and sashimi.
  • In Japanese food terminology, the word "sushi"  actually refers to vinegar rice, and not fish, whish the word "sashimi" means pierced flesh.
  • The highest price ever paid for a sushi grade Bluefin Tuna was a whopping $396,000 for a 754 pound fish, at an auction January 4th, 2011 at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. The lucky winners spent nearly $526 per pound on the giant tuna.
  • Sushi aficionados never look at a menu, seldom use chopsticks, and avoid soy sauce and extra wasabi.

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