Sushi History

From its ancient origins in Asia to our Issaquah Japanese restaurant, the history of sushi is a long and interesting one. It is believed that sushi can trace its origins back to the eastern regions of Asia, where fish was packed in rice as nothing more than a means to preserve the meat. After a fish was cleaned, it would be stuffed with uncooked rice and doused with sake in order to ferment the meat. This rice would actually be thrown out before the meat was eaten.

It was eventually discovered that the fermentation of the fish could be sped up with the adding of vinegar to the rice. This is where we get the term “sushi”, which is an archaic word which translated to “vinegar rice”. After this, sometime during the early nineteenth century, vendors in Edo first came up with the idea of pairing the raw fish of sashimi with the vinegar rice that used to get discarded. They sold this dish in the streets, where it quickly became popular as a sort of urban “fast food”. This was the first Edo-style sushi.

Sushi remained more or less the same until it was introduced to the US in the 1970’s. In an effort to appeal to American sensibilities, sushi chefs began to get creative and brought whole new innovations to their craft. This was the start of inside-out maki sushi, the introduction of foreign ingredients like avocado, and the start of using more than one main ingredient in a single piece of sushi. You can join in on this ever-developing history today with Aji Sushi and Grill!