Many people, myself inlcuded, believe that fish is the most important part of sushi. That may be kind of true, but it’s not the actual secret behind one of Japan‘s most popular and traditional foods. The truth lies in the name itself. Sushi stands for sour rice. And, no, even the rice isn’t the real star. It’s vinegar, the only common ingredient across all kinds of sushi.
It began in southeast Asia as a fish preservation method. Farmers would catch fish in rice paddies during the monsoon season. The caught fish were then pickled by salting the entire fish, packing it with cooked rice and weights, and sealing it in a barrel. This method helped prevent the fish from spoiling and gave the fish umami, the savory flavor.
So, it wasn’t until this preservation method made its way to Japan, during the 8th century, did the rice began to be eaten with the fish. The people behind popular news site VOX made a whole video about the interesting history of sushi and the real secret behind it. It’s a great way to learn more about our favorite food, Asia’s influential past, and the time it all began.
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