This new ‘Mosaic Sushi’ craze from Japan has really put me in the mood to tuck into some nice, fresh and healthy seafood. Like many of the great things in life, the concept is wonderfully simple. The pieces of sushi are arranged together in rows and columns in a wooden box, with their brilliant, natural colors combining to really excite your lips and tease your eyes. Just have a look at these 19 mouthwatering example of this new fine art:
We can trace the beginnings of the sushi phenomenon right back to the 2nd century A.D., in southeast Asia. In those days, people lacked adequate means of refrigerating meat or fish. Thus, through necessity, a curing and wrapping process was developed.
The meat and fish were left to ferment with rice for months and months, helping them remain preserved for a very long time. Although the rice was simply thrown away, the meat and fish were eaten with other fresh items.
This technique of preservation traveled across China into Japan, where fish was much more common than meat. In Japan, they used rice wine, now known as sake, to ferment the fish.
Some 1,000 years later, vinegar was added to the mix. This also helped the process of fermentation. The speed gained by vinegar meant sushi could be enjoyed without waiting months and months.
In the early 19th Century, Edo-sushi started to take over. This sushi used raw fish, and is now what we think of when we refer to sushi.
In the early 20th Century, Tokyo saw the beginning of the familiar nigiri-sushi. This is when a ball of rice lies below the fish. This type of food was sold by street stalls as hand-held snack food.
Though street stalls began to die out after WWII, with sushi becoming a decorous indoor treat, people still clung to the tradition of eating nigiri-sushi.
In recent decades, sushi has become one of the most well-known international foods. Rather like pizza and Indian curry, it has taken on a life of its own. One of the more popular variations of sushi, the California roll, is often viewed with scorn in some parts of Japan, due to its high fatty content.
However, it is a perfectly normal thing that people make small adaptations to new things. Raw fish is a little unusual (and not without risk) to many non-Japanese people. Therefore, replacing the fish with cucumber and avocado, is quite sensible, though inauthentic.
However you enjoy your sushi, you should remember that this style of food has been evolving and changing ever since it was born. Now we are seeing the Japanese really embracing this evolution with these wonderfully beautiful ‘mosaic sushi’ designs.