Is sushi originally made in China
The oldest type of sushi still in existence in Japan today is Funa sushi. More than a thousand years ago, the preparation of fish preserved in rice was described, which was only eaten after a fermentation period. However, this is not the origin. Contrary to popular belief, sushi does not come from Japan. A written testimony can be found as early as the 2nd century AD. from China. At that time, sushi was more of a cured fish and was used as an alternative to meat, the consumption of which was banned by Buddhism in 676 by the emperor Temmu. The monks developed the refined culinary art of sushi from this religious rule. At first the rice only had the task of getting the fermentation process going. You only ate the fish, the rice was not consumed. It is also the case that all methods of sushi-making today are based on the rice being pressed in some way.
But China doesn't seem to be the country of origin either. In various sources, Southeast Asia is mentioned in general. Here, residents of the mountain areas are said to have preserved their fish in a similar way. But also at the foot of the Himalayas there were preparation techniques that correspond to Japanese Funa-Sushi. The greater the problems with food shortages, especially in China, the more this type of preservation and with it sushi preparation declined.
In Japan, on the other hand, the preparation technique developed further. In the old style of Funa Sushi, the fish, which generally has a very short shelf life, was placed in salt, weighted down with a stone and thus preserved in a fermented form. The weight enables the fish to be hermetically sealed and fermentation to take place. Funa sushi as a representative of nare sushi is one of the oldest types. The fermentation times are said to have been between one and three years.
In the 15th century, wooden curing containers were used and rice was added to speed up the fermentation process. With this Nama-Nari-Sushi the fermentation time was already reduced to one month, so that the fish was still raw, but had already taken on the taste of the fermentation. Both the fish and the rice, which had taken on a slightly sour taste, were eaten.
In the middle of the 17th century, the doctor Matsumoto Yoshiichi probably discovered that the fermentation time could be reduced to half a day if the rice was mixed with vinegar. This is how the haya sushi arose, which is the basis of many modern sushi variations. Originally, balls made from acidified rice were topped with salted fish and weighted down in a wooden box with a stone weight. This kept the fish tender and the rice tasted better.
The nori-maki-sushi has been around since the end of the 18th century. Just like today, a bamboo roll mat was used for molding. The same applies to the Sabo sushi that is typical in Kyoto. Here, mackerel fillet slices marinated with salt and vinegar and wrapped in rice were formed either with the hands or with the bamboo roll mat. The most important sushi form is nigiri sushi, the "hand-formed sushi". It was developed in Edo (now Tokyo) in the early 19th century.
The origin of nigiri sushi is not exactly known, but it does not date back more than 160 to 170 years and was probably originally a food of the poorer sections of the population. In lore, the fishmonger Yohei Hanaya (1799-1858) is named as the inventor of nigiri sushi. He was the first owner of the Yohei-Sushi shop in Ryogoku, a district of Edo, and offered raw fish fillet on slightly acidic rice as handy canapés. However, some historical documents date the origin earlier. The shop, which existed until 1930, was without a doubt one of the oldest selling nigiri sushi.
Nigiri sushi became very popular all over Japan after World War II. At this time, the name Edomae sushi reappeared, which is still used today.
Edomae was the name given to a particular fishing ground in Tokyo Bay in the early 17th century, which was rich in particularly high-quality fish and shellfish. This bay stretched from Tokyo to Edo Castle, the present day Imperial Palace. Edomae sushi is a special kind of sushi quality. In the meantime, however, there are no more high-quality fish to be found in this fishing ground and the gastronomy is dependent on a large fishing fleet that covers the need for high-quality goods from all the world's oceans. Today the term is used again without having the original sense of quality.
Not only the shaping of the sushi requires craftsmanship, but also arranging it according to color and taste criteria is seen as a high art. In Japan, sushi is only made by men, because supposedly only the cooler men's hands are at the right temperature for making the sticky rice. A traditional Japanese sushi chef must complete at least a five-year apprenticeship. A fugu cook even has an apprenticeship period of 10 years to be able to prepare the poisonous fugu fish. The trick is not to cut out the poisonous components, but to let a very small amount of the poison into the fillet so that the tip of the tongue is a little numb when eating.
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