Unequivocally, sushi is one of the most auspicious and audacious foods to ever be invented. Mesmerizing pallets and taste buds around the world, it is a complex dining delight rarely overlooked by true food enthusiasts. One of the most difficult and delicate meals to prepare, finding it done well is hard to do. A flavorful and masterful combination of wrapped rice and fish, sushi is one dish cherished by seafood lovers and food connoisseurs.
Coming in an almost endless amount of varieties and qualities, it is the type of food that can easily fluctuate due to such factors as location, price, chef, style, ingredients, ambiance and technique. Sushi is a food group that encourages creativity and thrives on the exceptional. Eating sushi to most, is not merely a chance for nourishment but an opportunity to revel in the many wondrous tastes of the sea.
Originating out of Southeast Asia, sushi (literally translated – sour tasting) is heavily influenced by Japanese culture and practice. Glorious in its presentation and mouth-watering to the mind there are few foods on earth more vivacious than sushi.
Enjoying sushi is the easy part. Getting acquainted with and deciphering all of the terms and traditions associated with the craft is another type of challenge. Just a few of the sushi menu options you may encounter are Chirashizushi (rice bowl topped with garnishes), Inarizushi (filled pouch of fried tofu), Makizushi (cylindrical roll of ingredients), Narezushi (heavily fermented sushi), Nigirizushi (rice shaped box), Oshizushi (pressed sushi) and Western-style sushi (i.e. the California roll, the Philadelphia roll or the Seattle roll).
Making it an even more diverse subject are the wide array of ingredients that also come into play such as Shari (a Japanese rice mixture), Nori (seaweed wraps – rice paper is also used), Neta (almost any type of high quality raw fish imaginable) and condiments like shÅyu, soy sauce, chili paste, mint, wasabi, Gari, caviar and mecha (premium green tea). If you think you might want to try making sushi at home, you may want to think twice. Needed cooking utensils may include a Hangiri (rice barrel), Hocho (knives), a Makisu (bamboo rolling mat), Ryoribashi (cooking chopsticks), a Shamoji (wooden rice paddle), a Makiyakinabe (rectangular omelette pan) and a Oshizushihako (mold) just to name a few.
On any sushi outing you will first want to take notice of the rice. Seasonings such as rice vinegar, sea salt, Kombu (kelp), sugar and sake should all be incorporated eloquently. The presented rice patties, plates and rolled platters should all easily fall apart.
Like ribs falling off the bone, sushi rice should easily crumble under the succulent sensations of your mouth. Rice plays a major role in the sushi process and high quality well washed and cycled rice can make all the difference.
As important as the rice is, so is the fish. Since we are dealing in raw fish we must be careful to seek out only the freshest and most cared for of product. You will be coming across such exotic raw fish as mackerel, red snapper, yellow tail, squid, octopus, fluke, sea bream, needle fish, salmon, tuna, urchin, eel and many others so discretion and knowledge is a must. The best are from the seas of Japan and flown in fresh. Finally etiquette plays a minor role in your sushi sashay. It is important to keep in mind that most sushi elitists eat sushi exactly as it is served and without sauces or sides. This is a compliment to the chef and the food showing a trust that it was prepared with a dedication and deliciousness that stands out on its own.
Sushi is an amazing use of what the earth has given us to fuel our bodies. Spirited more in the art and opulence of food delivery sushi is a unique and rare chance to indulge in seafood excellence.