For serious foodies, dining in a Japanese restaurant isn’t complete without an order or two (or more) of sushi. Sushi is one of the most iconic, must-have dishes that anyone eating at a Japanese cuisine restaurant should never miss out on.
But what makes sushi a staple and an all-time favorite in all Japanese restaurants?
Here are five facts about this Japanese delicacy which can explain its global popularity not just among foodies but anyone who loves to eat:
1. It is a healthy dish
Sushi offers several health benefits which include the following:
● Improves cardiovascular health
Fresh fish is one of the main ingredients of sushi. Tuna, herring, salmon, and other fishes are rich in omega-3, a healthy fatty acid. This nutrient helps promote heart health and in lowering blood pressure.
● Boosts blood circulation
Aside from omega-3 fatty acids, fish is also rich in iron. Iron plays a key role in enhancing the production of red blood cells. When the number of your blood cells is increased, your blood circulation and your body’s ability to heal will be improved.
In addition, dipping your sushi in soy sauce will also increase your iron intake since this seasoning is also high in this nutrient.
● Improves metabolism
Fish is one of the few food products that are high in protein and, at the same time, low in fat and calories. This combination is great for metabolism. This is becauselow-calorie, good quality proteins can enhance the body’s ability to function properly, create new cells, and metabolize energy, all of which will help you stay strong and healthy.
● Regulates hormones
Maki and other types of sushi are wrapped in or contain nori or thin sheets of dried seaweed. Seaweed is rich in iodine and other healthy minerals. Iodine helps promote the proper functioning of the thyroid glands by balancing the hormones and optimizing metabolic activities.
2. There are different types of sushi
Like steak, sushi comes in different forms as well. The most popular ones you can order in restaurants include:
This is the most well-known type of sushi and the most traditional as well. It is made of layered sushi rice, fish, and vegetable or sometimes, fruit. If the rice, fish, and vegetable (and/or fruit) are wrapped inside the rice, it is called uramaki. If the ingredients are wrapped inside a nori and shaped into a cone, it is called temaki.
Another staple found in sushi menus, sashimi is raw, fresh, high-quality fish sliced in a particular way and served without rice or any other ingredients. It is typically dipped in wasabi and soy sauce when eaten.
Nigiri is a type of sushi that is not rolled. A piece of thinly sliced raw or cooked fish is set atop a mound of vinegar-spiced rice. The chef will then place a small amount of wasabi or toasted seaweed between the rice and fish.
3. The fish needs to be of the highest quality
As already mentioned, fish is one of or, even the most important ingredients of sushi. Because of this, Japanese chefs only use the finest quality fish.
Since the fish is served raw, chefs sprinkle vinegar on top of the fish several hours before it gets served to remove the “fishy” smell. In case the fish is too moist, salt is usually added to reduce its moisture level.
Because of these curing processes, the fish served in the sushi is shiny, bright, and firm.However, it is not greasy or wet, and has a clean taste.
4. The sushi rice has to be prepared well
The perfect sushi contains rice that is not too sticky and dense. It should easily fall apart as soon as you put it in your mouth.
The best Japanese chefs get the right consistency by applying the right amount of pressure to the rice and making the outer layer more densely packed than the inside. This is a skill that can take years of practice, even for the most accomplished chefs to master.
5. Sushi isn’t always eaten with wasabi and soy sauce
Wasabi is typically served with sushi but not all sushi needs to be eaten with this condiment. This is because some sushi already have sauce. If they do, you don’t have to dip them in soy sauce and wasabi.
Sushi is also sometimes served with pickled ginger. The pickled ginger acts as palate cleanser between bites.
Whether you’re already a sushi fan or still learning more about this particular Japanese delicacy, knowing the facts listed above will definitely give you more reasons to love this dish.
Jenene Bronwin Batts is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Tourism Development & Investment Company or TDIC. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations, including KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.