Bluefin Sushi & Japanese Restaurant | The Origins of Sushi
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The Origins of Sushi

The Origins of Sushi

Although Sushi is most commonly linked to the Japanese heritage, it actually began in the area where people make their living by both rice cultivation and fishing, could be considered as the birth place of the ‘original sushi’, and it disseminated to the south part of China, and Japan consequently.

We can trace sushi’s origin back to the 4th century BC in Southeast Asia. At that time, any fish caught had to be preserved.  The only method possible was by fermentation.  The cleaned and gutted fish were kept in rice so that the natural fermentation of the rice helped preserve the fish.  The rice was then tossed out and the fish eaten.  This type of sushi is called nare-zushi.  Therefore, we can say that origin of sushi is to preserve fish by fermentation when there were no refrigerators.

Around the 8th century AD, in the Heian period, it was introduced into Japan. Since Japanese preferred to eat rice together with fish, the sushi, called seisei-zushi, became popular at the end of Muromachi period.  This type of sushi was consumed while the fish was still partly raw and the rice had not lost its flavor.  In this way, sushi became more of a cuisine rather than a way to preserve food.

 

Today, each region of Japan still preserves its own unique taste by utilizing local products in making different kinds of sushi that have been passed on for generations.

 

Later in Edo era, Japanese began making haya-zushi, which was created as a way to eat both rice and fish; this dish was unique to Japanese culture. Instead of being only used for fermentation, rice was mixed with vinegar and combined not only with fish but also with various vegetables and dried preserved foods. Today, each region of Japan still preserves its own unique taste by utilizing local products in making different kinds of sushi that have been passed on for generations.

At the beginning of the 19th century, sushi called nigiri was invented by Yohei Hana in 1818 in Edo area.. It was originally prepared for Kabuki viewers to eat during intermission. Even though there are many different types of sushi in each different reasons of Japan, nigiri sushi is currently the most popular type of sushi in Japan.

More recently, in the wake of increased health consciousness and business trade with Japan, sushi has gotten much more attention. Sushi has become a popular dish in North America. However, sushi in North America is very different than sushi in Japan. American-style sushi represents what Americans like: large servings and bold flavors. Chefs are creating new rolls specifically designed to suit the American palate. Many of the rolls such as the California roll, spicy tuna roll, spider roll and dragon roll while very popular in the US is practically nonexistent in the Japan.

While Bluefin provides authentic sushi made out of seasonal fish, both local and shipped from Japan, we also provide hand-crafted, creative rolls to satisfy the American palate.