20 October 2020

Fun Facts about Sushi

It is curious why countries are associated with a single dish or a single feature in a time of intense inter-cultural relations. Even though the cuisine culture is pretty rich in all countries and cultures around the world, there is always that one special delicacy that becomes famous. Sushi in Japan, pizza in Italy, kebab in Turkey... This general view and acceptance also hides the fact that there are more unknown sides to these dishes than known. Let us discover the unknown facts about world-renown Japanese delicacy, Sushi.


1- Sushi is not native to Japan

Even though today Sushi is mostly associated with Japan, it actually originated from Southeast Asia. It is thought that the first Sushi was prepared about 4 thousand years ago in the riverside lands of Mekong River flowing through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and China. Moving on these lands, Sushi was first recorded in China in 2nd Century BC. It then moved on to Japan in the 8th Century. The inventor of the modern Sushi as we know it today is the Japanese cook Hanaya Yohei, who lived in Tokyo during the first half of the 19th Century.

2- You need to use your hands while eating Sushi

Almost all the dishes from the Far East are eaten with chopsticks. This is what mostly differentiates the Asian cuisine from the rest. You feel as if you belong to another culture, with another group. But this is not always the case in Asian countries. Japanese people mostly use their hands to eat Sushi. Chopsticks are only used to eat “sashimi” (pieces of meat). Pieces of fish served on rice and called “nigiri” are also eaten by hand instead of chopsticks. The most important tip for eating “nigiri” is turning it upside down, so that the fresh meat is directly on your tongue. You are expected to be delicate when it comes to taste.

3- It takes years for traditional Japanese cooks to become chefs

Japanese are known for their devotion to their traditions and peculiarities. The case is the same when it comes to their cuisine culture. A Sushi master needed 10 years of training before becoming a chef and preparing his own Sushi. You read that right, exactly 10 years. Today, they are only trained for 2 years, which is still a long time but proves the source of carefulness, diligence, and artisanship in every step of preparing Sushi. In addition to different cooking methods and various ingredients, Japanese also pay great attention to how Sushi is presented.

4-Fungu is the only thing the Emperor is prohibited to eat

The most famous type of sashimi is “Fungu”, the meat of puffer fish. This is probably the most written about and taped sashimi type. Puffer fishes are extremely poisonous, and it requires a certain level of expertise to avoid that poison. You need to go through an intense training and a licensing process in Japan to become a fungu master. You also need to eat the fungu you have prepared. The only food that the Japanese emperors were not allowed to eat for thousands of years was fungu because of the high risk. Emperors cannot eat this food, even on their birthdays. That must be upsetting for them.