Ever wondered why it is that any of the sushi condiments you’ve come to know and love exists as it does? Ever questioned why these specific accompaniments are always served with sushi above and beyond all others?
From home delivery sushi to the most expensive sushi restaurants in the world, the same condiments always make an appearance. Here’s a quick introduction to what makes each so crucial to the overall experience:
Sushi Rice Vinegar
Sushi vinegar is used in the preparation of the rice and plays a role in keeping it safe. It has antibacterial properties and also helps to keep the hands both moist and hygienic when rolling the sushi – the fact that it also adds a distinct and important note of flavour is technically a bonus!
Perhaps the most characteristic flavour of all that accompanies sushi is wasabi – the distinctly hot green paste made from Japanese horseradish. Other than blowing your head off with amazing flavour though, wasabi is also used to make the raw fish in the sushi safe, thanks to its antibacterial and germicidal properties. In addition, wasabi also promotes a fresher smell than the raw fish, stimulates the appetite and aids digestion.
Along with adding massive flavour and a distinct saltiness to all kinds of sushi, soy sauce is again known to be an effective sterilising product that can significantly reduce the risk of a diner contracting food poisoning whenever it is used. Soy sauce can be used for dipping or dressing prepared sushi, though is often also used as a marinade for raw fish, meat and vegetables.
It’s a taste that isn’t favoured by everyone to say the least, but ginger is nonetheless one of the most common and important accompaniments to sushi. Known as a powerful booster of the immune system, ginger is also a powerful sterilising agent and therefore has the potential to make food much safer to eat. Along with adding wonderful flavour to the sushi, ginger is also a good palate cleanser and works wonders for refreshing the mouth ready for the next taste. And with its wonderful pink colouring, it’s also rather pretty to look at!
And if you find your sushi being served with green tea, it’s far from a coincidence. Green tea contains anti-bacterial agents which actively prevent the growth and spread of bacteria in the body. In addition, it is known to be a strong neutraliser of both tastes and smells, making it a wonderful choice for refreshing the mouth after eating sushi.
Everybody will of course have their own likes and dislikes when it comes to sushi condiments, along with their own unique rituals for eating them. Some put the ginger inside the rolls, some enjoy gallons of wasabi and others won’t go near soy sauce. There’s really no right or wrong way as such, just as long as you enjoy what you eat and appreciate the specifics as to why each condiment is as important as the last.
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