The Raw Truth About Sushi

What is Sushi,

I love sushi. And no, I don’t eat raw food. Here’s why I said this…

A month ago, I met an old (and dear) friend for dinner. It was our monthly catching up date that usually culminates into a food-binge. We met at a fancy restaurant and on the menu was Sushi. Now, if you’ve been following me and my blog on Instagram (If not, you really should!) you will know that I have been a sushi fan for a while and more so of the Prawn Tempura Sushi variety.

Back to when I was with the friend looking at Sushi on the menu. She was skeptical in a way that I am going to order something extremely experimental and moreover raw! Something she said that I vividly remember is, “Listen, are you ordering Sushi? I won’t eat it haan. I don’t eat all this raw fish and all…I wonder how it tastes.” To this my reaction was blank, in the way that I didn’t understand where she got the idea that sushi was simply raw fish? Well, to the lack of a proper explanation I simply added, “It’s not raw. Yes, there’s fish but only in the fish variants not in all of them. And, no it doesn’t smell.”

Well, the friend was a little experimental too and eager to try it out so we went ahead and order it anyway and I assured her that it would not be bad (silently praying, it really should be good at least this one time.) The sushi arrived looking extremely tempting and my friend totally loved it so much so that she wanted more! (For the curious souls, the restaurant was 12 Union Park by Shatranj in Bandra)

This incident made me realise that many people don’t really know what Sushi is and simply think of it as raw fish served on rice hence I am taking the responsibility to give you all a little brief on this Japanese delicacy that’s taking over oriental food menus, one restaurant at a time.

What is Sushi,
Prawn Tempura Sushi at Urban Foundry, Colaba


  • Sushi is vinegared rice that is topped with other ingredients. In case of Prawn Tempura Sushi – Vinegared rice topped with Prawn tempura, which again is completely cooked.
  • Sushi DOES NOT mean RAW. Sushi means sour and has nothing to do with meat but instead is about the rice which is fermented for a peculiar flavor.
  • Sashimi on the other hand is slices of raw fish served as is. And having had this too, I might add that I am not a fan of it.
  • The black/green paper-like thing used to wrap sushi is NORI – seaweed that is washed, shredded, and then dried in molds to form the paper-like substance that binds your rolls together. If you’ve never had it before try it plain, it isn’t too bad and it’s full of good stuff.
  • Any kind of Sushi will be served along with three things – i. Soya sauce ii. Wasabi (Horseradish paste) iii. Pickled ginger.
  • Most restaurants will provide you with two kind of cutlery to eat your sushi
  1. A small bowl where you put a piece of sushi and then drop some Soy Sauce on it before putting the entire thing in your mouth
  2. Chopsticks which you can happily keep aside if you are not used to eating with them.
  • Whenever a pre-fix is added to Sushi it, it will start from ‘Z’ making it Zushi but the meaning remains primarily the same. For instance: NigiriZushi – which is another types of Sushi.
  • Japanese people don’t use Avocado for their Sushi filling and neither do they have any roll variants. These are all westernized versions of this delicacy such as the now popular California sushi roll.
  • Neither do they add any sauces / wasabi / pickled ginger to their sushi. The idea is to taste the raw ocean flavor. But of course what we eat at restaurants is a more evolved version that matches our taste buds.
  • Ideally Sushi is supposed to be bite-sized but if it’s too big, it’s alright to take two bites. Also, if you can’t find a way with the chopsticks don’t trouble yourself just use the fork and enjoy the dish.
  • There are many types of sushi with different names that particularly means different fillings such as
  1. Maki rolls or makizushi
  2. Nigiri or Nigirizushi
  3. Inarizushi
  4. Chirashi or Chirashizushi
  5. Temaki or hand rolls
  6. Oshezushi
  7. Narezushi

This is a little insight into the world of Japan’s favourite delicacy that’s been put down to give you some insight. But if you are in a restaurant and this is too confusing, just ask your waiter to suggest something and he’ll oblige. If you are still confused, ask them about the dish and what goes into it. But don’t ever fret or shy away from trying out something new. You might just be missing out on something delicious.

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