Sushi originated in ancient China and Japan when chefs would wrap their raw fish in rice as a way to preserve it. The dish evolved into the modern sushi that we know and love today. Over the years the combination of raw fish (sashimi), rice, seaweed, vegetables has not only become popular in Japanese culture, but also in other cultures around the world. There are sushi restaurants in almost every big city across the globe and sushi is loved by millions of people.
Sushi is often much more expensive than you might expect for raw fish, rice, vegetables and seaweed. You might be wondering, why is sushi so prized? What is it about this Japanese food that is so special?
The Value of Sushi
One of the reasons why sushi is so prized is because it is very labour intensive to produce. Each of the rolls must be made by hand, putting together the delicate and fresh ingredients carefully and arranging them artfully on the plate. A platter of sushi offers a visual treat as well as tasting good, so a lot of work goes into the presentation of the dish.
Also, fresh and delicious sushi requires high quality fresh ingredients. Fish that is good enough to be considered ‘sushi grade’ is very expensive and some of the finest quality fish such as tuna can cost hundreds per pound. Some of the best sushi restaurants will import their fish from local sources, as well as directly from Japan. They will not only have to factor in the cost of transportation, but also the fact that this highly sought after fish carries an enormous premium.
It is true that you can buy cheap sushi at the supermarket for a budget price, but if you are looking to taste the best quality sushi you will need to pay. Also, it is important to take into consideration the unique skills of the sushi chef. They need to have expert training and experience to be able to prepare the sushi properly. The ingredients need to be handled very carefully so that they can be served raw without posing a risk to you. These chefs take their training in Japan and they learn all of the techniques for cutting fish, preparing rice and putting together the perfect roll. It can take the better part of a decade to be considered a master sushi chef.
It’s Absolutely Worth It
Yes, a sushi meal can be pricey especially if you want to experience the best quality. However, it’s absolutely worth it. Well-prepared sushi has incredibly fresh, subtle flavours and an amazing mouth-feel that you cannot find in any other food. The various ingredients come alive and complement each other in a way that is simply mind blowing and the experience of feasting on an array of beautifully presented plates is a treat for the senses. Everyone should experience a high quality sushi meal at least once, so put it on your gastronomic bucket list!
Sebastian is a former hedge fund trader who worked only to indulge his true passion – food.
He has dined at over 240 Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, savoring culinary masterpieces and understanding the stories behind them. He now advises restaurants on menu design, decor and holistic diner experience.