Globalization and the cultural diversity of Southern California have brought once ‘exotic’ art, music, food and ideas into mainstream America.
A prime example of this is sushi, a Japanese dish consisting of rice and vinegar, topped with various garnishes, the most popular being fish. While many enjoy this dish, few know about its origin and history.
When sushi was first developed, it was mostly meant to preserve fish. Raw fish was salted and covered, fermenting for months before it was ready for consumption. This original style of sushi is called ‘narezushi’ and can be found in some restaurants in Tokyo.
In the 16th century, during the Edo period, fish, rice and vinegar were combined to create the modern form of sushi.
Since being brought to the United States, various Americanized forms of sushi have become popular, such as the California roll, which is sometimes not even considered real sushi, and the crunchy roll.
The most common ingredients of sushi include raw or cooked fish or seafood, the most common types being salmon, tuna and eel.
One modern form of sushi is ‘nigirizushi,’ which consists of rice topped with a slice of sashimi, or fresh, raw seafood without the rice.
Another well-known kind is ‘makizushi,’ which is made by rolling sushi in a sheet of nori (dried seaweed) and then cutting it up, such as a California roll. In addition, there are different kinds of makizushi, such as ‘hosomaki,’ a thinly-rolled sushi using one filling such as tuna or cucumber. There is also ‘futomaki,’ similar to hosomaki, except that it uses multiple ingredients to make a larger roll.
Then there’s ‘temaki,’ or the hand roll, made by filling a piece of nori with sushi and rolling it into a cone shape. This is then eaten with hands rather than chopsticks.
A less common form of sushi is the ‘chirashizushi,’ in which the vinegar rice is put in a bowl and the seafood and vegetables are placed on top.
In addition to sushi itself, many also use soy sauce and ‘wasabi,’ a green horseradish paste, to add a little extra flavor. However, it is good to use the least amount of wasabi and soy sauce possible, so as to keep the flavor of the sushi clear.
As one can see, there are numerous types of sushi, and more exist which have not been mentioned here.
With so many different sushi restaurants in Irvine, these various kinds are easily accessible and can be found in almost every shopping center.
Students on campus generally agree that sushi is indeed a unique and enjoyable food. Vincent Tran, a third-year social ecology major and an avid patron of sushi restaurants, recommends California Beach in Newport Beach.
‘If you’re really hungry, you can go there for all-you-can-eat for about $20, but if you want to try samples of different things, you can also pick individual sushi and the chefs can make it any way you want,’ Tran said.
Tran also suggested Benihana’s for a more affordable experience.
‘You can get hand rolls for a dollar or two on Friday or Saturday,’ Tran said.
Other students however, are not such big fans of the popular dish. Michelle Arcilla, a second-year English major, was disgusted at the thought of sushi.
‘It’s gross, I can’t stand it