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Sushi is a popular type of food that people around the world enjoy. Bits of fish wrapped in rice and seaweed, sushi is a fast and enjoyable snack or meal that you might love. Sushi has an interesting history, and there are several different types of sushi and preparation methods.


Sushi originated in southeast Asia as a way to increase the shelf life of fish by placing it in fermenting rice. A 4th-century Chinese dictionary contains a character that means pickled fish with rice and salt. People discovered that when they placed salted fish into fermenting rice, the fish were preserved by a pickling process. This was the earliest type of sushi. When cooked rice begins its fermentation process, lactic acid bacilli are released. The bacilli interact with the salt to pickle the fish.


Sushi is made of small pieces of raw fish that are wrapped in rice and seaweed. The seaweed, called nori, is collected with submerged bamboo nets. While some sushi is mass-produced using robots, the best sushi is made by hand. The sushi rolls are prepared by selecting certain types of fish that meet the highest standards for fat content, color and taste. The sushi chef chops off small bits of the fish and combines them with spices such as ginger root. Wasabi and soy sauce are commonly used to flavor sushi rolls. The chefs use a type of vinegar that is made from fermented rice to flavor the rice that is used to surround the fish and spices. Finally, the roll is wrapped up with some of the nori.

  • Ngiri – A topping of fish served on top of sushi rice
  • Maki – Fish encircled by rice and surrounded by seaweed
  • Uramaki – Fish that is enwrapped by seaweed with rice on the outside
  • Temaki – Hand-rolled sushi in cone shapes
  • Sashimi – Fish that is served by itself without rice or seaweed


If you are new to sushi, you might be more comfortable starting out with cooked types. There are some types of sushi that are cooked. For instance, a California roll contains imitation crab that is cooked along with avocado and cucumber. If you order sushi that is made from eel, it is always cooked.


It is possible to get sick from sushi because of contamination by bacteria or viruses. In the U.S., it is unlikely that you will be sickened from a parasite in the fish. Fish that is used in sushi carries the same risk of bacterial contamination as do other types of meat.


There isn’t a standard regarding the use of the label ‘sushi-grade fish’. When this label is used in a store, it simply means that the fish is of the highest quality and that you can feel comfortable with eating it raw. Fish are flash-frozen on the boat after they are caught, which kills any parasites that they might contain.
Sushi has a wonderful history and is a very tasty dish that many people enjoy. You can sample the sushi that is offered at your local restaurant, starting with what you are most comfortable with before branching out to try new types. If you are a daring sort, you might also try purchasing high-quality sushi-grade fish, some rice vinegar, rice and seaweed wraps to try to make your own.