5 things you didn’t know about sushi

10 Jan 2018 in Food Culture

How long do sushi chefs train? Why was sushi rice once thrown away? And what’s the best way to eat sushi? Discover all!


1 – Becoming a sushi chef can take over 10 years
Apprentices start off doing the dishes before being granted the honour of preparing rice for the sushi chef (itamae).

Sushi rice method

Those who master this art may then be promoted to wakiita and earn the right to slice ginger, make wasabi or even prepare fish.

Wakiita sushi chef

Many years later, they may finally become an itamae in their own right!

2 – Know your norimaki from your uramaki?
Sushi is a generic word for rice prepared with sushi vinegar and then combined with different ingredients.

Sashimi with chopsticks

Sashimi isn’t a sushi as there’s no rice. Nigiri is sushi rice with a topping (often raw fish).

Norimaki rolls with fish

Norimaki is a roll of rice and other ingredients wrapped in nori seaweed, while uramaki is the same but with the rice on the outside.

Uramaki sushi

3 – Westerners have adapted sushi to their tastes
Looking for your favourite avocado maki in Japan?

California rolls

You may have to look for a while, as it’s a Western creation and is much less common in Japan. Just like the California roll – which was invented in North America.

4 – Sushi rice wasn’t originally intended to be eaten
The origins of sushi can be traced back well over 1000 years when fish was wrapped in fermented rice as a way of preserving it.

Best rice for sushi

When the time came to eat the fish, the rice was simply thrown away.

5 – Nigiri is meant to be eaten upside down
The best way to enjoy nigiri is to put it in your mouth fish-side first.

Sushi set

That way, the fish will be directly against your tongue and you can savour all the subtleties of that fresh fish flavour.

Looking for more sushi surprises? Book yourself into HOSHINOYA Tokyo, where chef Hamada’s menu provides a creative take on sushi classics.

Famous Japanese chef

As a bonus, you’ll be a short way from Tsukiji fish market, home to some of Japan’s finest sushi restaurants.

Food market in Japan


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