Sushi FAQs

Origination of Sushi

In 1966, Los Angeles was the first city in America to successfully embrace sushi. A man named Noritoshi Kanai and his business partner, Harry Wolff, opened Kawafuku Restaurant in Little Tokyo. It was the first place to offer traditional nigiri sushi to Americans. In 1970, the first sushi bar outside of Little Tokyo, Osho, opened in Hollywood and catered to celebrities. Soon after, several sushi bars opened in both New York and Chicago, helping the dish spread throughout the U.S.

It is believed sushi had its roots in Southeast Asia. Records of where fish and meat were salted and fermented where first recorded and seen in 2nd century Chinese scriptures. This was later documented in Japan in the 7th century.

Between 1827–1829 sushi and raw fish were first combined. This is the sushi widely known to the world today. It was created to be a fast food in the streets of Edo.

Sushi Identification

Ebi
Shrimp on top of rice. Varieties can include a drizzle of hot sauce or mayonnaise or shrimp tied to the rice with seaweed.
Salmon
Raw salmon on top of rice. Varieties can include a drizzle of hot sauce or mayonnaise or shrimp tied to the rice with seaweed.
Tako
This is octopus on top of rice, it is generally cooked.
Tamago
This is a rectangular piece of egg that is on top of rice that is held together by a band of seaweed.
Tuna
Generally raw tuna on top of rice, there are a few variations of this kind of sushi. Varieties can include a drizzle of hot sauce or mayonnaise or tuna is tied with seaweed.
Tuna Roll
This is rice that is rolled with a seaweed container, the middle of it is cooked tuna.
California Roll
There are a ton of variations of this kind of sushi. The most common one to this name has crab, avocado and cucumber in the center of rice that is wrapped in seaweed however.
Cucumber Roll
This is rice that is rolled with a seaweed container, the middle of it is cut cucumber pieces. It is almost always three pieces cut into triangles. Commonly known as Kappa Maki.
Unagi
This is eel cooked in some form of sauce- usually either teriyaki or oyster sauce. It is then put on top of rice.
Inari
Fried tofu pouches that are sweet, it is filled with rice that is also sweet.
Ika
This is a slice of squid on top of rice. It can be served both cooked and raw. Varieties can include squid tied to the rice with seaweed.
Uramaki
Also known as the ‘Inside out roll’. This has no seaweed wrapper and is usually filled with two types of fish, and two of the following: cucumber, avocado or egg. Occasionally, the rice holding it together has sesame seeds sprinkled on the outside.

Fun Facts

  • Plastic grass in takeout sushi had a historical purpose: Actual leaves were once used instead of the now-ubiquitous plastic grass. The leaves were used for decoration and dividing food, but also offered antibacterial properties to help fish stay fresh longer. Source: Thrillist
  • The California roll, or the inside-out roll, was the first American-born type of sushi. Source: Fact Retriever
  • Live scallops aren't actually alive: That's just the natural resiliency of the fibers in the scallop that cause it to contract and expand, making it look like it's moving. Source: Thrillist
  • June 18 is International Sushi Day. Source: Fact Retriever
  • A California Roll Is Not Real Sushi: It is real sushi. The word sushi refers simply to short-grain rice that has been seasoned in a certain way with vinegar and, nowadays, a little sugar and a little salt. So in Japan, anything that is made with rice and seasoned that way—no matter what shape or size (there are many many regional styles of sushi)—is called sushi. So that makes a California roll 100%, authentic sushi. Source: First We Feast
  • “Sushi Monster” is a popular game created by Scholastic. It helps students practice addition and multiplication fluency. In the game, kids feed the monster numbered plates of sushi. Feeding the monster the wrong sushi causes him to have a temper tantrum. Source: Fact Retriever
  • Sushi isn’t just about flavor. It is about the balance of flavor. The fish must complement the rice and vice versa. If sushi lacks balance, it is not good sushi. Source: Fact Retriever
  • Ginger is a garnish for sushi: Ginger is meant to be a palate cleanser, like a sorbet between courses in Western cuisine. It is designed to have a bite of between different pieces of fish to cleanse the palate and prepare the tongue for the flavors of the next fish that the chef is going to serve. Source: First We Feast
  • Sushi should be eaten from light to dark, as dark sushi has a more heavy taste. Source: Fact Retriever
  • The apprentice Japanese sushi chef will spend at least five to ten years training before being allowed to work behind a sushi bar. Two of those years alone will be learning the art of preparing and seasoning the rice. American sushi chefs generally get only a few months of training. Source: Daily Holiday Blog
  • Sushi represents a “fifth taste” after salt, sweet, sour, and bitter. This fifth taste, or umami, is also found in asparagus, tomatoes, cheese, meat, and kelp. Source: Fact Retriever