The History and Etiquette of Sushi: From China to the World

TLDR Sushi originated as a method of preserving fish in China or Southeast Asia and has evolved over time to become a global culinary phenomenon. From its early days of lightly cooked or marinated fish to the modern Nagiri Sushi we know today, sushi has a rich history and is now a multi-billion dollar industry. When dining at a sushi restaurant, it is recommended to sit at the bar, try omakase if available, and look for quality indicators such as fresh ingredients and unique offerings.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Sushi originated in China or Southeast Asia as a technique for preserving fish during the rainy season.
02:41 The modern form of sushi, known as Nagiri Sushi, was developed in 1820 by a Tokyo chef named Hanaya Yohei, but there were several major differences from the sushi we know today.
04:51 In the early 19th century, the fish in sushi was lightly cooked or marinated due to the lack of refrigeration, and sushi referred to the vinegar-infused rice rather than the fish itself.
06:53 Sushi was brought to the rest of the world by Japanese immigrants, with the first recorded sushi restaurant in the US opening in Los Angeles in 1906, and it became popular in the United States during the early 20th century before declining due to immigration restrictions and the closure of Japanese restaurants during World War II.
08:47 Sushi has become a huge global business, with the industry estimated to be close to $100 billion, and there are certain quirks and etiquette rules, such as the licensing required to serve fugu and the debate over whether to use chopsticks or hands when eating sushi.
10:48 When visiting a sushi restaurant, it is recommended to sit at the bar, order omakase if the chef is good, and look for quality indicators such as sweet shrimp, monkfish liver, and the option of serving tobiko or ikura with a raw quail egg.
12:49 If you find yourself in Tokyo, it is recommended to visit the Toyosu Fish Market for a unique experience and the opportunity to have some of the freshest breakfast sushi in the world.
Categories: History Education

Browse more History