Sushi (寿司) is undoubtedly the most popular Japanese dish internationally as well as inside Japan (日本) itself. Reason for its popularity is most likely the wide variety of flavors there are. There are not many dishes where you can experience that.
Sushi wasn’t always quite like it is today. In the old Edo Period (1603-1868) there was no rice involved. It was basically like Sashimi (刺身), preserved in vinegar.
Coming back to the variety sushi offers, let me present you the 5 main types of sushi you can find:
This is likely the most iconic one, classic ball of rice with either raw fish, egg, vegetables or other seafood on top.
This is the rolled type. The main ingredient is in the middle surrounded by rice and seaweed (most of the time). Many of these come with vegetables only so you can enjoy them as a vegetarian or vegan as well.
Simple rice-filled tofu bags which are deep fried.
Dried seaweed builds a small cup where seafood is put in. Most varieties consist of fish eggs.
Temaki is the slightly bigger hand roll where all kinds of ingredients can be put in. The roll itself is of course again built with seaweed.
Another reason to its popularity is the accessibility. In every bigger German city, there are multiple sushi restaurants available. And it’s the same for a lot of countries including Japan of course. Also, there are many budget sushi places out there, making it pretty affordable.
If you’re looking to splurge a big sum of money on an exquisite Michelin star sushi meal, you can do so at a couple of places. In Tokyo (東京), you’re best of looking into the districts Ginza (銀座) and Roppongi (六本木), as they have a high concentration of expensive restaurants.
How to eat sushi
Enjoying some sushi is really no rocket science. You have the option to eat it with chopsticks or with your hand if you’re not confident in your chopstick abilities (to be frank it can be quite hard especially with bigger pieces).
If you don’t like either of those options, you can most likely eat it with fork and knife, although I have not seen anyone do that yet.
After you successfully managed to grab a piece of sushi with your utensil, dip it into soy sauce and that’s it! If you want to add a little spice, you can add a little bit of wasabi to your soy sauce.
Where to eat sushi
You can generally say there are 3 different types of sushi restaurants. First, there is the usual one that is not all-you-can-eat and rather order based. You choose from a variety of plates and order one, like in any other restaurant.
Next, you have a mixture of a normal one and one with a conveyer belt. You still order your meals normally, but piece-by-piece. The chefs will place sushi items on the conveyer belt for anyone to grab.
There are many different price categories in these kinds of restaurants, usually ranging from 100-500 Yen (0,81€-4,03€/$0.92-$4.59). After you’ve finished eating, staff will count your plates and calculate the total cost.
Lastly, there is the full-on conveyer belt restaurant, where all of your orders will come to where you sit. You place your order with a tablet at your table. Again, you will also have food items that are not specifically meant for anybody but are ready to be grabbed.
Be careful not to take other people’s orders though. You will usually hear some kind of sound when your order is about to arrive at your place (or it just stops there).
The calculation at the end works the same as the second type.
Sushi is easily the most famous Japanese dish that people from around the world love and enjoy.
Its vide variety and accessibility allow you to get a flavorful journey pretty much anywhere.
That’s it for sushi! Stay tuned for more Japanese food related posts in the future!
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The next post is going to be about Kansai International Airport!
See you there!