10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sushi

  1. ‘The word “sushi” doesn’t refer to fish at all—it refers to rice that has been seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  2. Today’s sushi began as a type of fast food—the 19th-century Japanese equivalent of a McDonald’s drive-thru. It was originally served as a cheap, quick snack to eat with the hands while enjoying a theater performance. Forget the popcorn, pass the sushi!
  3. The knives used by sushi chefs are the direct descendants of samurai swords, and the blades must be sharpened and reshaped every day.
  4. The California roll, or the inside-out roll, was the first American-born type of sushi. Inside-out rolls are the mainstay of sushi in the United States —and are an American invention. They didn’t exist in Japan until recently, when they were imported from the United States.
  5. The priciest ingredient of modern sushi—bluefin tuna belly—was once so despised by the Japanese that it was only used as cat food.
  6. Sushi is supposed to be eaten with the hands. True to its origins as a simple fast food, the correct way to eat sushi is with your fingers. Chopsticks are typically only used to eat sashimi — raw slices of fish.
  7. Even fresh sushi Is frozen first. The United States Food and Drug Administration stipulates that all fish to be eaten raw (with the exception of tuna) must be frozen first, in order to kill parasites.
  8. Maki-zushi isn’t always rolled in seaweed. Although we are most familiar with sushi wrapped in black nori (seaweed), maki-zushi is sometimes wrapped in soy paper, cucumber, or egg in Japan.
  9. Originally, sushi rice was never eaten. Sour, fermenting rice was wrapped around aged fish only to aid in the process of creating umami — a unique, sour taste. Once the fermentation process was complete, the rice was discarded and only the fish was consumed.
  10. The oldest type of sushi in Japan tastes like cheese. Near Lake Biwa in Southern Japan, they still follow old-school, pre-refrigeration sushi techniques of filleting carp, packing those fillets in vinegar rice, and leaving them to age for up to three years. The result is a fermented local delicacy called funazushi that our expert said tastes similar to a pungent cheese.

Now that you’ve learned more about sushi and it’s humble beginnings, be sure to try our sushi offered at a la carte locations on campus. Yes, it’s even available at King Cafe for finals week! Share your favorites with us on any of our social media accounts.



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