The most famous – and possibly the most popular – Japanese food, sushi is widely enjoyed around the world.
Sushi restaurants in Japan range from simple stand-up snack joints selling each piece for 100 yen or less, to world famous Michelin starred restaurants where a meal will set you back 30,000 yen per person.
The name sushi actually refers to the vinegared rice or shari, upon which the neta – the topping – is placed.
There are several different types of sushi:
Nigiri – where the topping is placed onto the rice, sometimes with a thin strip of nori seaweed wrapped around it. Although of course the toppings are primarily seafood, meats and vegetables can also be used.
Gunkan – where a piece of nori is wrapped around some rice, creating a ‘pocket’, which is filled with fish or other fillings. Popular types of gunkan include ikura (salmon roe) and negi-toro (fatty tuna and Japanese spring onions or scallions).
Maki-zushi – where the rice and other ingredients are rolled into a tube shape iside a sheet of nori and then cut into slices. In sushi restaurants, the two most common types of maki-zushi are tekka-maki, which uses tuna and kappa-maki, which uses cucumber.
Temaki-zushi – is similar to maki-zushi but the filled nori is hand rolled into a cone shape.
Inari-zushi – is a ‘pouch’ of fried sweet tofu normally filled with rice alone. Because of its slightly sweet taste and simple nature, inari-zushi is a popular sushi for kids.
Kaiten-zushi restaurants, where the dishes are sent out from the kitchen on a ‘conveyor-belt’ around the restaurant are a very popular and reasonably priced type of sushi restaurant although sushi purists and those looking for a high end sushi experience tend to disdain such places.