Japanese sushi bars are the new fast food outlets.
There was a time when Japanese food was considered too exotic for the mainstream palate. This has become a thing of the past, though, because now you can find sushi bars and Japanese restaurants in every major city around the world. People have come to love Japanese food such as nigiri sushi, makimono (rolled) sushi, sashimi and tempura irrespective of where they live.
This is the inside of a typical Japanese Sushi Bar. The food is served on small plates that are placed on a moving conveyor belt by the sushi chefs (on the inside), and the customers just grabs what they want as the belt moves past them.
When the customer has had enough to eat, the number of plates taken by the customer are counted up and the price calculated. In most places the cost per plate depends on the colour of the plate and what was on it. Just a different way of providing fast food. Note that the moving belt is not refrigerated and therefore the plated food must be removed and consumed quickly.
Special orders are catered for by the customer telling the sushi chef what they want, and if they can then they will make it for them. As you can see from the photo the expected rolled sushi (makimono) roll is not the norm in Japan.
When most people think of a Japanese sushi bar, they expect to sit down at a table and be served a platter of sushi selections as shown below. This is normally only done in a Japanese restaurant and not a sushi bar.
Most sushi bars outside Japan are owned and operated by other Asian nationalities such as Thai, Chinese and Korean.
The above photo was taken in a USA version of the original Japanese sushi bar. Note that the State Health and Safety requirements mandated all the extra coverings, but it is still basically the same layout. The aim of the Sushi Bar is to get as many people as possible through on each available seat in order to maximise profits. By anyone's definition this is a fast food operation.
Different types of sushi.
There are many kinds of sushi such as nigiri sushi and makimono sushi (this is the common sushi in a nori roll). Nigiri sushi is a hand formed oblong of vinegared rice swabbed with wasabi paste and topped with raw fresh seafood such as those used for sashimi, cooked seafood such as eel and octopus, or other ingredients such as scrambled egg. Nigiri sushi sometimes comes with a thin strip of nori (seaweed) tying up the bundle or with a ribbon of nori to hold in loose toppings such as fish roe, sea urchin and oysters. Those who are not brave enough to try raw fresh seafood can opt for the cooked toppings. They are just as delicious. Nigiri sushi is a popular dish in most places around the world.
With makimono (rolled) sushi, you don’t get toppings but fillings instead which are rolled into the vinegared rice with a sheet of nori to help keep the shape. A bamboo mat is used for rolling. The resulting cylinder is then cut with a very sharp knife into thick disks. One cylinder usually yields six to eight pieces. Makimono sushi is usually filled with raw fresh seafood or cooked seafood or other mixtures such as mango, avocado, cucumber, carrot slivers and mayonnaise. Of course, a swab of wasabi is always included in the mix. Sometimes, makimono sushi is rolled into a cone held by the sheet of nori and is eaten whole, not sliced. This variant is called temaki. Both types of makimono sushi are readily available in sushi bars and Japanese restaurants in most places.
Sashimi and Tempura
People who are not very familiar with Japanese food may find it strange to try sushi and sashimi at once. They will surely love tempura, though. Tempura is most often made of various types of seafood and vegetables that are coated with a special batter and fried to an airy crispness. Seafood used are usually prawns, shrimps, fish fillet, squid, scallops and crabmeat while the vegetables most commonly used are sweet potato, eggplant, bell pepper, yam, okra, green beans, carrots, mushrooms and squash. The fried tempura is dipped into a mildly sweet and savory sauce made from dashi (broth), mirin (rice wine), shoyu (soy sauce) and finely grated ginger before eating. Some people prefer to add a dab of spicy wasabi paste to the sauce.
Sashimi is an acquired taste that usually develops into a constant craving. Sashimi is raw fresh seafood dipped in soy sauce with wasabi paste. The typical seafood used are salmon, tuna, mackerel and yellowtail but shrimp, squid, sea urchin and scallops are also served this way. The dish may seem daunting to the uninitiated but the taste of sweet fresh seafood will definitely haunt those who have tried it. Salmon is particularly delicious as it melts in your mouth.
It is comforting to know that whenever you have a craving for nigiri sushi, makimono sushi, sashimi and tempura, as well as other types of Japanese food, you can easily find an authentic sushi bar or Japanese restaurant almost anywhere.
You still should take your own jar of Namida Wasabi Powder with you though as it is extremely unlikely that the Sushi Bar will have True Wasabi Powder available.
You can purchase 100% Pure Wasabia japonica rhizome powder here. This powder is freeze dried to retain all the ITC content and contains no additives.
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