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A rendezvous with Sushi

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Sushi’? If it’s a roll of sticky rice stuffed with an assortment of vegetables and meat, then you are probably on the right track. However, most people believe sushi to be a bowl full of raw fish. This incorrect belief makes most people feel intimidated by the word ‘Sushi’ itself and it is probably the last thing on the menu that they’d want to savor. The point to be noted here is that sushi doesn't even have to contain fish at all. It can be filled with cheese, meat, vegetables and anything else under the sun that you can think of. However, this dish has a detailed history of its own and has some unusual myths and facts associated with it. Below is a collection of some pointers that range from interesting to downright bizarre. Read on to increase your Sushi quotient.

• The word “sushi” doesn’t refer to fish at all—it refers to rice that has been seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt.

• Sushi traditionalists say the fish should never be raw—nor should it be completely fresh.

• Sushi aficionados never look at a menu, seldom use chopsticks, and avoid soy sauce and extra wasabi.

• A key flavor component of sushi served both in the U.S. and Japan is a form of MSG—which was invented not in China, but in Japan, by Japanese scientists studying seaweed.

• In Japan, an apprentice sushi chef spends two years learning to cook and season the rice, and another three learning to prepare fish, before he is allowed to work behind the sushi bar.

• Sushi chefs do far more cooking behind the scenes than most customers realize. At the sushi bar, the chef must be not only a master of kitchen skills, but a savvy performer as well.

• The knives used by sushi chefs are the direct descendants of samurai swords, and the blades must be sharpened and reshaped every day.

• The priciest ingredient of modern sushi—bluefin tuna belly—was once so despised by the Japanese that they considered it unfit for human consumption.

• Among sushi toppings, clams actually have more flavor than any of the fish. At the sushi bars of old Tokyo, customers often preferred boiled clams over raw slices of fish.

• One of the favorite sushi fishes—yellowtail—is factory farmed like veal and fattened until its muscles disintegrate while it’s still alive.

• The best sushi chefs prepare octopus by giving the animal a lengthy, full-body massage—while the creature is still moving!

We’re sure that this has made you realize that Sushi is more than a plain addition on the menu. It may not be incorrect to say that you experience sushi rather than just eat it. Come experience some of the best sushi that you’ll ever lay your hands on at Shiro’s , where extra care is taken to make sure that every bite transports you directly to the Land of the Rising Sun!

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