All About Japanese Sushi: From Conveyor Belt Sushi to Traditional Sushi

 

Sushi has long been embedded in the culinary culture of Japan. This dish has been passed down through many generations and has evolved through the years. The fusion of rice, fish, and other rich ingredients is truly a great culinary invention that many tourists would want to take a bite of. 

 

Throughout the years, new ways of making sushi have been developed. But traditional ways of creating this Japanese dish have still been preserved. That is why eating sushi in Japan is a must-try for tourists as it is an amalgamation of the modern and traditional Japanese culinary experience. 

 

When in Japan, here are some of the different types of sushi you should try: 

 

1. Conveyor Belt Sushi

 

 

If you are looking for an affordable way to eat a good amount of sushi, then a kaitenzushi or conveyor belt sushi is the best option for you. This way of eating sushi uses a conveyor to carry plates of sushi to the customers around the restaurant. The customers are usually seated in front of the conveyor for easy access to the sushi. Some of the most popular types of sushi in a kaitenzushi are uni, temaki, and ikura, among others.

 

The price of each plate can range from 100 yen to 500 yen, which contains one or two pieces of sushi. The plates have different colors which indicate the price of the sushi dish. This is an economical way to try an array of sushi as this is more affordable than a sushi-ya or restaurants that specialize in sushi.

 

Another great thing about kaitenzushi restaurants is that they do not only serve standard sushi items. They also serve sushi using seasonal ingredients like tuna and shrimp.

 

Conveyor belt sushi is so popular that even Filipino actor and host Robi Domingo tried dining in one restaurant when he visited Japan.

 

 2. Sasami Zushi (Niigata)

 

 

If you want to further take your Japanese culinary adventure to the next level, there is this unique kind of sushi that you should try in Niigata Prefecture. Using bamboo leaves, sasami zushi is a local sushi that can be found in the Myoko area.

 

When sasami zushi are made, a bamboo leaf is stuffed with rice and folded into a basket-like shape. The rice is flattened using a spoon when stuffing it in the leaf. By doing this, it will be more convenient to put the toppings such as tuna, flaked salmon, white fish flakes, and vegetables on the rice. Usually, just a small amount of rice is put inside the bamboo leaf for aesthetic purposes. Pushing the rice and the ingredients back against the leaf also further enhances the appearance of this sushi. 

 

When eating sasami zushi, it is best to pair it with miso soup.

 

3. Edomae Sushi (Tokyo)

 

 

Edomae sushi, which was invented in Tokyo, is a type of sushi that uses marinated fish. Red vinegar is usually used to marinate the fish as the strong flavor and aroma of this type of vinegar are great agents to balance the flavor of the fish.

 

Preparation time for the ingredients is vital when chefs make Edomae sushi. Additional steps like pre-cooking or broiling the seafood are being done to further enhance the flavor of this sushi. 

 

When eating Edomae sushi, it is recommended that you eat it immediately as soon as the chef places the sushi on the plate. This is because the fish's temperature and rice's consistency are at its best right after it has been served. You can eat Edomae sushi with your hands and in just one bite to savor its rich flavor. 

 

Originating in Tokyo in 1800, the name Edomae sushi was derived from the word "Edo," which is the old name for Tokyo. This sushi became so popular since it was created and today, there are lots of restaurants in Tokyo that serve it. 

 

4. Iwakuni Zushi (Yamaguchi)

 

 

Iwakuni zushi is a traditional pressed sushi created by layering sushi rice and the ingredients such as fish, lotus roots, fried egg, and vegetables. Originating in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, this type of sushi is prepared in large amounts and is pressed into a wooden mold before being cut into bite-sized pieces when served. 

 

It is also called "sushi of a Feudal Master” because it is said that this sushi was created at Iwakuni Castle as a preserved meal for soldiers during battles in the past. 

 

Iwakuni zushi is a regular staple in celebrations and special occasions because it is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. It is available in various restaurants in Iwakuni City. Popular spots to find this sushi are the restaurants around the Kintaikyo Bridge.

 

5. Hitan Sushi (Oita)

 

 

Another unique sushi that you can try when visiting Japan is the Hitan sushi. Unlike the others, this sushi that can be found in Oita Prefecture is distinct because it uses vegetables and fresh fruits instead of fish. 

 

The fusion of vegetables and fruits is not only a great combination to satisfy your gastronomical desires but is also very pleasing to the eyes. Hitan sushi looks colorful because of the combined fruits and vegetables. 

 

Vegetables and fruits that are used for this type of sushi include cabbage, tomato, onion, and fig, among others. Locals also use mushrooms as an ingredient for this sushi. The ingredients are usually locally sourced since Oita is close to the mountains. 

 

If you want to try this unique sushi, then head to Oita where many restaurants serve this dish.

 

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