Sushi is attracting more fans every day. But this famous dish isn’t new to the world. It’s actually been around for centuries, and its origin may surprise you. Read on to learn more about the history of sushi.
It comes as no surprise that sushi is an international delicacy. The many colorful flavor combinations are both appealing and delicious. Yet not everyone knows where sushi comes from and how it became so popular.
If you’ve yet to try sushi, maybe a brief history of its origin will whet your appetite.
Which Country Did Sushi Come From?
The earliest sushi dish, called ‘narezushi,’ dates back to the 2nd century BC, to the rice fields of China.
Narezushi consisted of salted fish wrapped in fermented rice. It was a practical dish for when refrigeration wasn’t an option. The fermented rice was used to preserve the fish, and was then thrown out.
In the 8th century, early versions of sushi spread from China to Japan, where it slowly began to take on a different form.
The Japanese continued to ferment the rice, but only after boiling it first, and decided to cook the fish instead of eating it raw.
By the middle of the 18th century, three famous sushi restaurants – Matsunozushi, Kenukizushi, and Yoheizushi – were the first of thousands to open their doors all around Japan.
But still, the sushi from the 18th century didn’t quite look like the sushi we dine on today.
The world of sushi was transformed when a Japanese chef by the name of Hanaya Yohei discovered that tossing the rice in just a bit of vinegar, topping it with a small sliver of fish and cutting it into bite-sized pieces, would make a delicious portable treat.
That’s how nigiri was born – and ‘modern’ sushi was introduced to the world.
When Did Sushi Become Popular in America?
In the early 1900s, people from Japan began immigrating to America after the Meiji Restoration. At this time, sushi became popular among the upper-class. However, by the late 1900s, Japanese immigration steadily declined, which led to less sushi being made in the USA.
After World War II, when Japan re-opened for international trade, business and tourism, sushi became popular in the United States once again, though this time among the middle-class as well.
By the late 1960s, new sushi restaurants began to pop up all across the U.S.
At first, many Americans were uneasy about eating raw fish wrapped in seaweed — as uncooked food is something many people try to avoid. So, to help diners get used to the idea of eating sushi, chefs created new taste combinations and sushi rolls to appeal to those who preferred cooked fish.
That’s how the ever-popular ‘California Roll’ was invented. This inside-out sushi roll contains cucumber, avocado and cooked crab (or imitation crab) meat, all wrapped in white rice.
Eventually, sushi-lovers began to try more traditional dishes like sashimi and nigiri — which contain raw fish — and sushi became a trending food around the country.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of sushi-combinations to choose from, appealing to every kind of palate. This ancient dish has become an internationally sought-after delicacy.
Has this brief history piqued your sushi interest? Stop by Mamilla Sushi to find your favorite sushi combinations, or visit our website to see what our sushi chefs have to offer!
Sushi Mamilla is conveniently located in the heart of Jerusalem, just a 7 minute walk from the David Citadel Hotel. Our menu features a wide selection of freshly prepared sushi rolls, as well as other satisfying Japanese dishes that will have you coming back for more!