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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Sushi perhaps the best known internationally of all Japanese specialities, consists essentially of ‘fingers’ of vinegared rice with pieces of very fresh fish or other seafood laid along them, served with thin slices of vinegared ginger (gari) and hot green tea. However, in this, the best-known form and the one which belongs to Tokyo, sushi is really an abbreviation for nigiri-zushi, the full name. There are other sorts of sushi, with names indicating whether the product is, for example, pressed in a mould (oshizushi, from Osaka), wrapped in a piece of toasted nori seaweed (makizushi), or even just a formless bed of vinegared rice with pieces of seafood scattered on top (chirashizushi). This last item calls for no special skill, but the art of making nigiri-zushi is deceptively difficult and calls for a long apprenticeship.