Arguably the healthiest fast food around, sushi long predates the whole raw food movement that’s so in vogue today. While it has now become a global hit, sushi is still synonymous with Japan, and Tokyo is its rightful birthplace. But the sushi that we know today – fresh, clean and delicious all in one bite – didn’t start out this way. In fact, back in the day, sushi referred to fish fermented in rice and salt (a variation of this still exists today, known as narezushi).
The large-scale modernisation of Tokyo, or Edo as it was called back then, began in the 1600s and set about the evolution of sushi. Busy urbanites demanded quick and easy food they could eat on the go, and a one-bite raw-fish-on-rice dish fitted the bill. Plus, the later invention of refrigeration and vinegar meant that fish could be kept fresh, while the latter added flavour to rice. The world’s first fast food was born.
Sushi continues to evolve, and today you’ll find a wide variety of styles here in Tokyo – everything from the ubiquitous conveyor-belt sushi haunts to culinary temples which elevate the cuisine with a sacred set of rules, codes and etiquette. But before you go to town on sushi, get to know the different types of this bite-sized cuisine so that you can order like a local.
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