International Sushi Day
What did Sushi A say to Sushi B? Wasabi!
Today is International Sushi Day and we’re rolling with excitement! Although a far cry from the sushi we enjoy today, this combination of rice and fish has been evolving for a surprisingly long time. With the holiday in mind, we did some research on where this creative cuisine came from.
The origin of sushi is surrounded by fun stories and mysteries. One famous tale tells of a woman who hid her rice pots in osprey nests in fear of thieves stealing them. Eventually, she collected her pots and found that the rice had begun to ferment. She also found fish scraps from the osprey’s meals leftover in the rice. The mixture was delicious, and the woman discovered that the rice had actually worked as a method of preserving the fish.
Everyone loves the cute fables, but the actual history of sushi is more unclear. It was likely introduced in Japan in the 19th century, becoming popular alongside the spread of Buddhism. Part of practicing Buddhism means abstaining from meat, turning many to become big fans of fish. The Japanese themselves are credited with being the first to enjoy sushi as a complete meal, combining the fermented rice with the preserved fish. This combination is known as nare-zushi or “aged fish.”
Following its rise in popularity in Japan, sushi was introduced to America by way of Los Angeles. In 1966, Noritoshi Kanai and his business partner Harry Wolff, opened Kawafuku Restaurant in Little Tokyo. Kawafuku was the first to sell nigri sushi to American patrons. In 1970, Osho, the first sushi bar outside of Little Tokyo, opened in Hollywood and catered to celebrities. Soon after, sushi bars and restaurants popped up in Chicago and New York, allowing for a rise in popularity across the country.
You don’t have to go far to notice the impressive evolution of sushi over time. A dish that originated in Japan in now more prevalent than ever in the United States. With the endless variations of tastes and styles, there’s something for everyone. Fresh sushi is available in select stores: enjoy some today at your nearest Price Chopper or Market 32 with a fresh sushi counter!