Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Weekend Platter: Is Sushi Japanese, Korean, or Chinese?
IFP Bureau | First Published: February 28, 2020 16:19:40 pm
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Is Sushi truly a Japanese dish? Or is it Korean or Chinese food? Take a good look at the sushi on your plate. It may surprise you. The sushi on your plate may not be what you think it is. This flavourful dish, loved by many, is a complex food with a delightful history. Although sushi is popularly considered a Japanese traditional food, a dig into its history throws up some surprising and fascinating facts. It may even be harmful for your health!

Today’s sushi is most often associated with Japanese culture, but the many variations of sushi can actually be traced to numerous countries and cultures, including Korean and Chinese. The sushi on your platter may not be a Japanese dish!

The long history of Sushi

Throughout several Asian countries, sushi has a place in culinary history as early as the second century CE. Although the Japanese get full credit for what we call sushi today, the inspiration for sushi is thought to have started in Southeast Asia.

Narezushi, fermented fish wrapped in sour rice, originated somewhere around the Mekong River before spreading to China and later Japan.

In Japan, a more modern version of sushi emerged when raw fish was wrapped with sticky rice, becoming especially popular between the mid-1300s and the 1500s.  Eventually, the Edo period in Japan brought about a version of sushi that combined fish, rice, vegetables, and various dried ingredients to produce a flavorful and delicious dish.

Sushi has taken on a variety of forms in different cultures, with the most distinct versions emerging from the Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. The variations between each contribute to the dynamic, creative role that sushi plays in the culinary world.

Different country, different sushi

Korean sushi swaps the traditional wasabi for gochujang, a fermented red pepper sauce with a spicy kick. Korean sushi also eliminates pickled ginger in favor of kimchi, and crunchy ingredients are often added as toppings for texture and flavour.

Chinese sushi historically resembled a food quite different from the raw, fresh fish dishes of Japan. The Chinese version of sushi used pickled fish or fermented meat in the dish.

Japanese sushi is widely considered the most popular take on sushi, particularly for American diners. It relies on fresh, high-quality ingredients, perfectly-cooked rice, and prepared meticulously and assembled. The tradition of sushi is highly respected in the Japanese culture, and Japanese sushi chefs place great value on the ritual of sushi preparation.

Hazards associated with eating sushi

Mercury poisoning

“All fish contain some level of mercury, but most of the fish that is used in sushi rolls and sashimi are large fish, such as tuna, yellowtail, bluefin, sea bass and lobster, and they have the highest amounts of mercury,” according to a research.

Parasites or tapeworms

A parasitic tapeworm is probably one of the most nightmarish things you could ever find in your sushi — and yet there have been several cases of people getting tapeworms from consuming raw fish.


Listeria — a serious infection caused by contaminated food — is often found in both smoked and raw fish, and can be especially dangerous for pregnant women.

Salmonella poisoning

Salmonella is another foodborne illness often found in raw fish and meat that’s not properly prepared.

Scombroid food poisoning

Scombroid food poisoning is another food-borne illness caused by histamine that forms when fish are not kept cold enough and start to decay.

Exposure to man-made toxins

As the pollution level rises, fish are exposed to more chemical and other toxins. And there is a high chance that seafood are frequently exposed to manmade toxins.

The bottom line, is know your sushi. Sushi can come from different region and in different version. It is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting compounds. However, some types are high in refined carbs, salt, and unhealthy fats. Still, if you’re judicious about how you eat it, sushi can make a great addition to a balanced diet.

-Produced by Bishworjit Mandengbam

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