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Discover Sushi: A Guide

By HannahFriday 19th June 2015

Sample some sushi favourites onboard at Izumi. Sample some sushi favourites onboard at Izumi.

Sushi is enjoyed by people all over the world and for many, it’s their favourite cuisine. At Royal Caribbean we love sushi, whether we’re eating onboard at Izumi or sampling Japanese delights during an Asian cruise excursion. If you’ve never eaten sushi before, or you simply want to know more about your favourite food, read on for our guide to sushi.

History

Although most people associate sushi with Japan, its origins lie in Southeast Asia where fermented rice was used as a way of preserving fish. Fermented rice would be used to stop the fish from spoiling, and would be thrown away once the fish was eaten. According to the history books, this early form of sushi spread through southern China before being introduced to Japan sometime around the 8th century. It was here in Japan that the idea of consuming both the fish and the rice was first conceived. Over the centuries, sushi has evolved to such an extent that the sushi we eat today bares little resemblance to early forms of the same dish, but the original concept of combining rice and raw fish remains the same, and we think it’s delicious. In Japan, becoming an itamae (sushi chef) requires years of studying and training. In Japan, becoming an itamae (sushi chef) requires years of studying and training.

Makizushi

Makizushi (rolled sushi) is the general name given to any type of sushi that is rolled using a bamboo rolling mat, called a makisu. Nori – flattened and dried seaweed – is placed on the mat, and is then layered with sushi rice and whatever filling is being used for that particular makizushi. There are lots of fillings available for makizushi, including grilled eel, tuna, avocado, cucumber and salmon. The mat is used to roll the layers into a cylindrical shape, which is then cut in to bite-sized pieces. In some cases, omelette or soy paper is used as a substitute for nori.

Temaki

Unlike makizushi, temaki (hand roll) is rolled by hand and is shaped like a cone. It still includes a filling surrounded by sushi rice, but the main difference lies in the nori casing. While makizushi nori becomes soft from the moisture in the rice, temaki is supposed to be eaten soon after preparation so that the nori remains crisp. In order to maintain this crispness, takeaway temaki restaurants often separate the nori from the rice and filling, allowing diners to assemble their temaki once they’re ready to eat. Uramaki (inside-out roll) is a western creation that is now featured on many sushi menus outside of Japan. Uramaki (inside-out roll) is a western creation that is now featured on many sushi menus outside of Japan.

Nigirizushi

Nigirzushi (hand-pressed sushi) consists of a carefully shaped rectangle of sushi rice, that’s sometimes combined with wasabi and a fish topping known as neta. As with every type of sushi, it is important that the rice is prepared correctly. Short-grained Japanese rice is mixed with rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and sometimes sake, and is then left to cool at room temperature. Typical neta include octopus, sea urchin and tamago (sweet egg), and sometimes toppings are bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori.

Uramaki

When translated to English, uramaki means ‘inside-out roll’ and its appearance is exactly as its name suggests. While makizushi is characterised by its nori coating, uramaki has rice on the outside and nori on the inside. To add an extra element of taste and texture, the rice is sometimes coated in toasted sesame seeds or fish roe. Uramaki is a western invention and, as a result, is rarely found at restaurants within Japan. Sushi sharing platters are great for groups of friends and family. Sushi sharing platters are great for groups of friends and family.

Condiments

Sushi is always served with shōyu (soy sauce), wasabi (a green paste that’s used to add heat) and gari (pickled ginger). Wasabi is sometimes included inside the sushi itself, but both shōyu and gari are added afterwards. Some people may add shōyu, gari and wasabi, but you might prefer to keep it mild and leave out the wasabi. It’s up to you!  

Can’t wait to sample some sushi? Book any cruise to enjoy delicious sushi onboard or book an Asian cruise to enjoy sushi in Japan.

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