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Sushi, a staple meal in Japan, has been growing in popularity across the East and West. It is considered exotic by many people, and it is the dish that first pops into most people’s minds for special occasions. It has become so popular that many people are even ordering takeout sushi.
But why is sushi so popular, and why do people eat it considering that it comprises raw fish? Well, there are several answers to that question:
- It is delicious
- It is nutritious
- It is fun to eat
- It is easy to prepare
- The variety is mind-boggling
- It is a work of art
Here is a more in-depth look into some of the top reasons why people around the world love eating sushi.
Why Sushi is so Popular
An Exotic, Delicious Taste
Westerners were originally wary of sushi primarily because its main ingredient is raw fish. However, its exotic taste and texture got many people to overcome their fears.
It is impossible to put the taste and texture of sushi into words. Besides, there are many varieties of sushi and each has a unique taste. However, you should know that it doesn’t taste anything like raw fish. It is mildly flavored and much of the recognizable taste comes from the common side dishes and condiments that include wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger. Overall, the taste is exotic and feels somewhat new every time.
Sushi is Nutritious
Sushi is highly nutritious. It (Nori) is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and is even considered a good natural supplement for fatty acids – most Western diets lack in fatty acids and in many
Additionally, the sea vegetables often served with sushi are rich in a variety of nutrients including a variety of vitamins and minerals. Combined, these minerals contribute to the body’s overall wellbeing by strengthening immunity and supporting organ and bone growth. For instance, Kombu, a popular kind of seaweed served with sushi, has been proven to increase blood levels and suppress anemia and other conditions.
Sushi Comes in a Wild Variety of Dishes
The variety of sushi is so bewildering that you will be spoilt for choice. There are numerous ingredients, vegetables, and types of fishes to work with. For instance, there are dozens of ways to prepare fish for sushi. There are also varieties of shrimp used in making sushi. There are also different creative ways of making rolls. What’s more, you can always ask the chef to come up with something new and you will be surprised every time.
Sushi is a Work of Art
Sure: any dish can be considered a work of art as long as it is prepared and plated well. However, sushi is an exception – it is a true work of art that has been practiced by the Japanese for millennia.
It begins with harvesting – there are specific lagoons and regions where fish and seaweed should be harvested to make the different varieties of sushi perfect. Preservation is also important as different types of fish demand different conditions to stay fresh and in good shape. Preparation also takes a lot of skills and passion or else the final dish will become more repulsive than delicious. The different types of fish and sea vegetables are prepared in different manners depending on the type of sushi you want – some are prepared raw while others are cooked in different methods.
Finally, everything comes down to the dish itself. Usually sushi dishes look too delicate to eat. In many cases they involve rolls of rice and seaweed with pieces of fish placed on top. However, each dish is unique in appearance, and in all cases most diners would opt to leave it untouched owing to its picturesque appearance.
It also goes without saying that watching the chef work is mesmerizing. Overall everything about sushi is a work of art.
Sushi is Fun to Eat
Eating is a necessity for everyone, but when it comes to sushi fun comes into the equation. For starters, the very idea of eating raw fish is exciting for first-timers, and the excitement doesn’t die no matter how many times you have sushi.
The manner in which sushi is taken is also fun and depends on the specific type of sushi dish. In most cases, diners are advised to use chopsticks, and although it is challenging to some people it is also fun. In other cases, it is more convenient (and fun) to do it the good old way: with your bare hands. Finally, discerning the flavors and textures is also fun albeit a bit challenging especially if you are new to it. You can have a look for more sushi eating etiquette
Preparing Sushi is Easy, Quick, and Fun
Most of the common sushi dishes are easy and quick to prepare. However, don’t get carried away – not all types of sushi are easy to prepare, but anyone can do it with the correct recipe and right attitude.
All the ingredients you would need to prepare sushi are easily available. Recipes are also widely available and easy to follow – in most cases, you don’t need to do much but complex dishes require a more hands-on approach. However, you will hardly feel inconvenienced as it is exciting to see the different pieces fit together and the eventual dish materialize. In fact, the process is so immersive and engaging that it is almost therapeutic.
The Proper Manner of Eating Sushi
Sushi is certainly popular and a favorite for many people across the world. However, most Westerners do sushi a great disservice by not following the proper protocol when eating – in fact, the do themselves a great disservice too as the protocol is there to bring out the best in sushi’s flavor and texture. So, which is the proper way of eating sushi and why does it matter?
For starters, it is advisable not to use chopsticks when eating sushi – your hands will work just fine. As mentioned, sushi dishes are delicate and you risk ruining their structure if you handle them wrong. Chopsticks may make you squeeze the sushi too hard and ruin the rice rolls, thus ruining the whole dish. However, you get better control when using your hands (and it is also more fun).
Wasabi and soy sauce go a long way in spicing up sushi, but they can also ruin the texture and flavor. You shouldn’t use too much sauce or else it will drown out the unique flavor and texture, both of which make the essence of sushi. Additionally, it is advisable to dip only a tiny part of the fish in the sauce – dipping the rice in the sauce also works but you risk soaking too much of the rice and ruining the roll, not to mention its flavor and texture.
Another big mistake that most first-timers make is mixing the soy sauce with wasabi. This is wrong in many ways and it ruins the overall flavor of the sauce as well as the sushi. If wasabi is on the menu use it by putting it on top of the roll and not directly on the part dipped in the soy sauce.
Sushi should always be eaten whole in one bite – this is why they are served in such a picturesque manner. The pieces are small enough to fit into the mouth whole, so don’t be shy. Besides, it is difficult to take a bite off sushi without ruining the roll or getting your teeth stuck in the fish – it is also embarrassing.
Finally, always eat some pickled ginger like this to cleanse your palate after you are done eating the sushi. It is also polite to thank the chef, and if you can buy him a glass of sake to express your appreciation – tipping is not commonplace in traditional Japanese restaurants.
Q: Is sushi safe to eat?
A: Yes, sushi is safe to eat. This is a common question owing to the fact that most sushi dishes comprise raw fish. However, the dish is completely safe to eat and it has been a staple for the Japanese for millennia – it is also nutritious, delicious, and healthy.
Q: Does Japanese sushi differ from Western sushi?
A: Sushi in the West is inspired by traditional Japanese sushi. However, there are some differences in preparation and taste. This is because Westerners have inhibitions about raw fish and seaweed. For instance, the California roll (see recipe) is quite different from any Japanese sushi as it comprises cooked crab meat. However, it all depends on where you eat your sushi. For more information: Difference Between Japanese Sushi And American Sushi
Q: Which is the best place to eat sushi?
A: There are numerous restaurants that serve sushi today. However, the quality of sushi varies from one restaurant to another. To this end, the best place to eat sushi would be at a traditional Japanese restaurant like this where the chefs prepare sushi in the traditional Japanese way.