From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The main idea in the preparation of sushi is the preservation and fermentation
of fish with salt and rice, a process that has been traced back to
Southeast Asia where fish and rice fermentation dishes still exist today.
The science behind the fermentation of fish in rice is that the vinegar produced
from the fermenting rice breaks the fish down into
This results in one of the five basic tastes, called
The oldest form of sushi in Japan, Narezushi still very closely resembles
this process. In Japan, Narezushi evolved into Oshizushi and ultimately Edomae
nigirizushi, which is what the world today knows as "sushi".
Modern Japanese sushi has little resemblance to the traditional
lacto-fermented rice dish. Originally, when
fermented fish was taken out of the rice, only the fish was consumed and the
fermented rice was discarded. The strong-tasting and -smelling funazushi,
a kind of narezushi made near
in Japan, resembles the traditional fermented dish.
Beginning in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) of Japan,
added to the mixture for better taste and for preservation. The vinegar
accentuated the rice's sourness, and was known to increase its life span,
allowing the fermentation process to be shortened
and eventually abandoned. In the following centuries, sushi in
into oshi-zushi, the seafood and the rice were pressed using wooden
(usually bamboo) molds. By the mid 18th century, this form of sushi had reached
The contemporary version, internationally known as "sushi," was invented by
Yohei (華屋与兵衛; 1799–1858) at the end of
in Edo. The sushi
invented by Hanaya was an early form of fast food that was not fermented (it was
therefore prepared quickly) and could be eaten with one's hands roadside or in a
Originally, this sushi was known as Edomae zushi, because it used freshly
caught fish in the Edo-mae (Edo Bay or
Though the fish used in modern sushi no longer usually comes from Tokyo Bay, it
is still formally known as Edomae nigirizushi.