Sushi is a hugely popular food in the world today. Although it is often associated with fine dining experiences and modern cuisines, most people will be surprised at its humble beginnings. (Spoiler alert! Sushi did not originate in Japan!) Let’s take a look at the history of sushi.
As a way to preserve raw fish, the very first sushi was created in Southeast Asia. The narezushi was the first version of sushi. It involved salting raw fish, then putting it in fermented rice barrels. This allowed the fish to go through fermentation. The rice was thrown away and the only thing that was eaten was the fermented fish. Despite it being described as unpleasant, this method allowed fish to be kept for up to a year without spoiling. According to food historians, this type of sushi was created in Southeast Asia around the 5th-3rd centuries BCE. This predates refrigeration by more than a millennium.
Narezushi had spread to China by the 2nd Century AD. It was also included in a Chinese dictionary under the character sa (Zha, pickled fish with salt, rice and rice). It became popular in Japan by the 8th century. The dish has slowly changed over the years. It took the Japanese a month to ferment fish using vinegar instead of taking at least half a year. The Japanese improved the recipe and developed faster methods for fermentation. They were able to cure fish in just weeks, days, or hours. Because the fermentation process was quicker, the flavor of the rice didn’t change much. They began to experiment with different methods of seasoning the rice with sugar and vinegar.
Hanaya Yohei invented the first modern sushi dish in the 1800s in Edo, Tokyo. He used fresh fish and served them slices over vinegared rice balls. These were an early form for fast food. Modern sushi is a dish made with vinegar-seasoned rice. It has spread rapidly across Japan and its restaurants.
Modern sushi was introduced to America in the 1920s by Japanese immigrants. However, it wasn’t until two decades later that American people started to enjoy it. Restaurants began to experiment with new flavors and rolls such as the California Roll, which is now a standard in sushi. The popularity of sushi is growing worldwide and Western chefs are adding their unique twists to an old dish. Sushi burritos and sushi bowls are very common. However, many Western sushi rolls are quite foreign to Japan where sushi is more traditional and simpler.
Sushi has been a long-standing staple of Japanese cuisine, and now it is a popular foodie favorite. We continue to see and eat new and innovative sushi dishes as chefs continue to innovate and experiment. The history of sushi is being built on everyday making it new and creating staples for years to come. Every day, new and more delicious versions of sushi are created. Enjoy the deliciousness of sushi with us!
Sushi Inc. is a vibrant restaurant that offers what is considered the best sushi in St Pete. Opening its doors in 2013 and becoming a local staple by offering live music, traditional hand-rolled sushi and a friendly atmosphere, our guests always have a top notch experience. Customers love our award-winning, fresh and creative Sushi rolls, Nigiri, and Sashimi. With a larger selection of tempura, non-Sushi, japanese, and teriyaki options, we can accommodate every taste in downtown St Petersburg Fl. Contact us today to set your reservation or if you have any questions. When setting any reservations, please inform us of any allergies you might have and ask for alternative options. Check out our menu and daily specials that are sure to join the history of sushi, you won’t be disappointed with our #1 voted and reviewed sushi in the Bay area.