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The History of Sushi: from Buddhist Monks to Sushi bars

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The History of Sushi: from Buddhist Monks to Sushi bars
Photo Pedro Moura Pinheiro | flickr

Before becoming a global trend, sushi was born in Japan in order to satisfy one very precise need: to consume fresh, hygienic protein using only natural conservatives like vinegar and ginger, as this was before refrigeration was invented.

Even if the first sushi chefs were most likely Buddhist monks returning from China in the VII century, the technique of conserving fish between layers of rice and salt seems to be more ancient. Over time, rice vinegar was included and then fish was even cooked – resulting in today’s ubiquitous recipes found in takeaways and restaurants all over the world.

The precursor to the modern-day sushi vendors was a Tokyo establishment around 1820. While today, the term sushi includes all the prepartations based around rice and fish (from tuna to shellfish), meat, vegetables, and sauces like wasabi, it’s more commonly thought of as comprising of raw fish like nigiri and maki. Before choosing where to enjoy it, keep in mind that most places are kaiten-sushi: where the dishes are put onto motorized counter, with the plate’s colour indicating the cost of each dish.

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