Food20 October 2020
It is interesting that in times when intercultural relations are so intense, countries are often associated with a single food or a specialty. Although the culinary culture of each country is rich, a special flavor definitely comes to the fore and becomes famous. Sushi in Japan, pizza in Italy, kebab in Turkey… This general acceptance also hides the fact that all these dishes have more unknown aspects than their known features. Let's take a look at sushi, which is an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine and one of the most famous foods in the world, and its unknown sides.
1- Sushi is not actually a dish originating in Japan.
Although it is mostly identified with Japan today, sushi is actually a food originating from Southeast Asia. It is thought to have emerged 4,000 years ago on the banks of the Mekong River, which flows through countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and China. It is thought that the name of sushi, which is thought to have passed to China and then to Japan in the 8th century, is mentioned for the first time in Chinese records. It happened in the 2nd century. The inventor of the modern sushi we know today is Japanese chef Hanaya Yohei, who lived in Tokyo in the first half of the 19th century. After this discovery by Yohei, sushi began to be sold on the counters in the Edo District, today's Tokyo. Later, when the West discovered this flavor, it spread to the world.
2-Sushi is actually eaten with hands.
Almost all dishes of Far Eastern origin are eaten with chopsticks. This is what makes Asian cuisine so special. You feel like you belong to another culture, another group. But this is not always the case in these countries. For example, there is a general belief that sushi is eaten with chopsticks (hashi). However, sushi is a hand-held dish in Japan. Chopsticks are only used when eating sashimi, that is, pieces of meat. The piece of fish called nigiri, which comes on top of the rice, is also eaten by hand, not with chopsticks. The tip for nigiri is to turn it upside down and make sure that the fresh meat part is on the tongue, as this is a very fine and important detail so that you can enjoy the taste more clearly.
3- It Takes Years for Traditional Japanese Masters to Become Chefs.
The whole world knows how devoted the Japanese are to their traditions. The situation is no different in their kitchens. Here is an example of this situation. In the past, the training required for a sushi master to become a chef, that is, to be able to prepare his own sushi, was 10 years. Yes, exactly 10 years. Today, this period has decreased to 2 years, but it is still quite a long time. The fact that this period is so long reveals the attention, care and artistry at every stage of sushi. Because the presentation of sushi is very important in Japan, as well as different cooking methods and materials used. In other words, there are many points to be considered in Japanese cuisine, from the careful selection of fish to the masters who can make sushi meticulously. It is possible to see the sensitivity of the Japanese, who protect their cultural assets and adhere to their traditions, in the kitchen.
4- The One Thing The Emperor Is Forbidden To Eat: Fungu
The most famous type of sashimi in the world is fungu, a meat obtained from puffer fish. This type of sashimi is probably the most written and videotaped on. Because this fish species contains a large amount of poison and avoiding that poison requires great skill. To become a fungu master, you have to go through extensive training and licensing in Japan, as well as eating the food you've prepared. For centuries, the only food forbidden to Japanese emperors has been fungu because of the poison it contains. Emperors cannot eat this dish even on their birthdays. It must be a sad situation for them.