Sushi is one of America’s favorite cuisines, and now, you can celebrate International Sushi Day (June 18) with Benihana’s guide to ordering sushi.
Sushi is about more than just food, it is an art form enjoyed for its taste as well as its presentation.
Delicious, fresh sushi can be enjoyed as a meal or as a tasty appetizer option. But, ordering these bright and flavorful rolls can be a bit intimating for some people.
Benihana’s Ordering Sushi 101
Sushi uses Japanese sticky rice seasoned with a sweet rice vinegar (a mixture of sugar and rice vinegar) as it is cooled and then adorned with raw fish, vegetables, Japanese omelet, or even barbequed eel (anago or unagi). The most popular types of sushi include:
Maki: Sliced rolls
Futomaki: thick (2-2 ½ inch wide) sliced rolls with many ingredients inside
Hosomaki: thin (1 inch wide) sliced rolls with seaweed on the outside
Uramaki: Inside-out rolls (rice on the outside, seaweed on the inside)
Nigiri: Finger sushi, pieces of fish on top of rice
Sashimi: Beautifully arranged slice fish only (no rice or vegetables)
Temaki: Cone-shaped hand rolls, meant to be eaten like an ice cream cone
Wasabi commonly accompanies sushi rolls. It is a Japanese horseradish made from an olive-green root with bumpy skin. True wasabi is grinded on a shark’s skin board. Ordinary graters will cause the wasabi to lose its heat and take on a chunkier, rather than smooth consistency. Since wasabi can have a strong sensation, only try a small amount at a time, until you know the amount your body can handle.
Sushi is meant to be eaten in one bite and designed to be picked up by chopsticks. It is important to only dip the fish side of the sushi into the sauce since dipping the rice side of the sushi into the sauce usually makes it fall apart.
Saké is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, containing about 16 percent alcohol. Like wine, saké has many different varieties and is evaluated by its quality and grade. There are more than 10,000 different brands of saké that can be distinguished by subtle differences in ingredients and the specific brewing process. There is one type of saké, called amazake, or “sweet saké,” which is non-alcoholic.
Photos courtesy of Benihana
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Written by Gianna Brighton