[ = = = S U S H I = = T R A F F I C = = L O N D O N = = = V I D E O = = = L E I C A - V-LUX 20 = = = HD = = = E N J O Y = = = ]
Sushi (すし、寿司, 鮨, 鮓, 寿斗, 寿し, 壽司) is a Japanese dish consisting of cooked vinegared rice which is commonly topped with other ingredients, such as fish or other seafood, or put into rolls. Sliced raw fish by itself is called sashimi, as distinct from sushi. Sushi that is served rolled inside or around nori, dried and pressed sheets of seaweed, is makizushi. Toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu is inarizushi. A bowl of sushi rice with toppings scattered over it is called chirashizushi.
Traditionally, sushi is served on minimalist Japanese-style, geometric, mono- or duo-tone wood or lacquer plates, in keeping with the aesthetic qualities of this cuisine.
Many sushi restaurants offer fixed-price sets, selected by the chef from the catch of the day. These are often graded as shō-chiku-bai (松竹梅), shō/matsu (松, pine), chiku/take (竹, bamboo) and bai/ume (梅, ume), with matsu the most expensive and ume the cheapest.
In Japan, and increasingly abroad, sushi is served kaiten zushi (sushi train) style. Color coded plates of sushi are placed on a conveyor belt; as the belt passes customers choose as they please. After finishing, the bill is tallied by counting how many plates of each color have been taken. Newer kaiten zushi restaurants use RFID tags embedded in the dishes to bill automatically and manage elapsed time after the item was prepared.
Unlike sashimi, which is almost always eaten with chopsticks, nigirizushi is traditionally eaten with the fingers, even in formal settings. While it is commonly served on a small platter with a side dish for dipping, sushi can also be served in a bento, a box with small compartments that hold the various dishes of the meal. Soy sauce may be poured into a small sauce dish. While many people dip the rice side of nigirizushi into the soy sauce, traditional etiquette suggests that the sushi is turned over so that only the topping is dipped. This prevents the loosely packed rice from falling apart. If it is difficult to turn the sushi upside-down then one can baste the sushi in soy sauce using gari (sliced ginger) as a brush. Mixing wasabi and soy sauce together in a side dish is the common practice when eating sashimi, however the traditional manner for eating sushi is to use only soy sauce to dip, because most sushi chefs include an amount of wasabi they consider to be appropriate to the sushi itself between the fish and rice. It is not uncommon for people to ignore the traditional sushi eating methods. It's quite common, but not traditional, to see people mixing large amounts of wasabi into their soy dish and dunking their rice ball straight into it. Traditional nigirizushi is made so that the entire piece can be consumed in one bite, and normally this is common method of eating it, although some chefs may include too much rice making it difficult for some people to fit an entire piece in their mouth, so that two bites or more must be taken.
Many more great information about the history, present and the future of Sushi and Japanese living can be enjoyed at the following link, enjoy, one bite at a time:
Sometimes sushi is just superb, and other times there's nothing like a great big steak. It depends where your taste buds are at the time.
--- Francesca Annis