Sushi 101

BASIC SUSHI TERMS:

  • Nori – Seaweed dried and roasted used in maki or onigiri applications
  • Sake – Salmon
  • Ebi – Shrimp
  • Maguro - Tuna
  • Neta – Thin cut fish for Nigiri Sushi
  • Sashimi – Thick cut fish often for Chirashi bowls or Sashimi plates
  • Goma – Sesame Seeds
  • Shoyu – Soy Sauce
  • Sushisu – Sushi Rice Vinegar seasoning. Usually a mixed solution of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, mirin or rice wine (Sake)
  • Sushimeshi – Sushi rice once cooked.  Rice is called Kome
  • Wasabi – Made from the root of the Japanese wasabi plant and commonly used as a condiment for raw fish, similar in taste to horseradish
  • Pickled Ginger – Brined ginger root, thinly sliced, served alongside sushi meals and eaten to cleanse the palette in between bites

TYPES OF SUSHI:

  • Maki Sushi (Makizushi) – Nori wrapped and rolled sushi with filling inside.
  • Nigiri Sushi (Nigirizushi) – Hand formed single bite sushi typically with fish on top.
  • Sashimi – Thicker cut of fish about one centimetre thick for eating without rice.
  • Inari Sushi (Inarizushi) – Fried and marinated tofu with rice inside.
  • Temaki – Cone shaped, directly translated as ‘hand roll’ – large enough to be held in the palm of your hand.
  • Chirashi (Chirashizushi) – A bowl of rice topped with a variety of sashimi and other related items.
  • Oshizushi (Hakozushi)– Pressed box sushi that is rectangular in shape, with rice on the bottom and fish on top.

MODERN SUSHI STYLE:

  • Fried Sushi – Maki rolls coated with panko and deep fried to add a new texture.
  • Ball Sushi – Smaller than nigiri, round ball with fish on top to present a unique shape.
  • Boomaki (stick sushi like a buritto) – maki that is left uncut.
  • Sushi Sandwich – Japanese-style sandwich where bread is replaced by flattened rice.
  • BBQ Sushi – Rice is covered with miso or soy and either grilled or roasted. Between layers stuffing is added.

TYPICAL SUSHI EQUIPMENT:

  • Suihanki – Japanese electrical rice cooker.
  • Hangiri – Traditionally a wooden bowl for mixing and cooling hot cooked rice with its seasoning vinegar.
  • Shamoji – A paddle or flat spoon used to mix rice in the hangiri, or to scoop the rice from the suihanki.
  • Hocho – Knife. There are many types of knives in Japan, each for a different purpose.
  • Makisu – Bamboo rice mat for rolling maki.
  • Hashi – Chopsticks.
  • Ryoribashi – Chopsticks for cooking with, usually longer than the eating hashi.

History of sushi

Year

  1. 400 - 3rd century

    Rice was introduced to Japan in the early days around the 3rd century.

  2. 600 - Early Asuka Period

    Rice cultivation began to become more popular in the early Nara period. Rice was often used as a source of fermentation, and helped to form the basis of Sake, Soy Sauce, and Miso.

  3. 800 - Early Heian Period

    The art of sushi began during the Nara period as Narezushi (fermented sushi), where rice was cooked and packed with fish and fermented for over a 2 to 3 year period. The rich, umami filled fish would be eaten as a delicacy. This preservation process dates back to the 8th century, but is alive and well today. Often its smell is related to a strong blue cheese.

  4. 1400 - Mid Muromachi Period

    During the late Muromachi period, to shorten production times, the fermentation process would be cut short and the fish would be eaten before fully ripening – this type of sushi is called Namanarezushi. The fish would be slightly more raw, and the rice portion would be eaten instead of discarded as it was with the Narezushi.

  5. 1500

    As the popularity and demand of sushi grew, a need to speed production took place. So instead of fermenting fish and rice, the taste would be replicated with the use of vinegar. Oshizushi, a pressed sushi using vinegar rice and fish, is still very popular in the Kansai region.

  6. 1800 - Mid Edo Period

    In the late 1820’s, Hanaya Yohei is credited with the development of modern Nigirizushi (nigiri), where he combined the vinegar rice with raw fish. This style was developed in the city of Edo (Tokyo).

  7. 1900 - 19th and 20th century

    The 19th and 20th century brought about the greatest change and innovation in sushi, one that was driven not by need, but rather creativity and taste.

    Nori seaweed in the dry sheet form developed using traditional paper making techniques in the early 1900’s. This brought about the common maki (roll) sushi.

    This brings us to the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. At this time, sushi was introduced to the mainstream in California when a few restaurants in New York and California began producing a new wave of North American style sushi. To this day, we see a wide global range of raw, cooked, non-seafood and dessert sushi becoming popular across the globe – for example, frozen sushi is very popular in Scandinavia, as is dessert sushi in South America.

  8. 2000 - Current

    Founded in 1996, Bento Sushi is a company that understands the rich traditions of sushi, but is also committed to producing high quality and innovative sushi for the masses. So go check out your local Bento store, and see how far the history of sushi has come!

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