If you hear the term “Japanese food,” chances are high that sushi is the first thing that comes to your mind. This is due primarily to the dish’s growing popularity in America over the past couple of decades. According to Post Bubble Culture, a blog site from the College of William & Mary in Virginia dedicated to studying contemporary Japan, the number of sushi bars and restaurants in the U.S. increased five-fold between 1988 and 1998. Sushi has become so ubiquitous that you can see the dish virtually everywhere—even memorialized in nonedible forms like clothing, earrings, and fridge magnets.
Since it first caught the public’s eye during the 1970s, sushi has become a status symbol of sorts owing to its exotic origins. Much has changed since then, however, as many sushi variants are no longer authentically Japanese but rather derivatives of original recipes designed to satiate the American palate. Sushi’s appeal in the Sacramento area in particular is mostly thanks to the efforts of top-rated Roseville restaurants like Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar.
Before you try out a popular sushi restaurant, though, you may want to educate yourself a bit on the history behind sushi. Most America-based sushi restaurants serve uramaki-style sushi, a method involving wrapping sticky rice around the meat. The more traditional nigiri method features a ball of rice topped with a single piece of raw fish, and is more commonly seen in Japan. American sushi tends to be a lot more complex, as it includes ingredients like cucumber and cream cheese, which the Japanese may find a bit exotic.
The fresh ingredients used in sushi are also beneficial to health, as they are great sources of protein, omega-3, isothiocyanates, and other nutrients. With the addition of gluten-free ingredients like wasabi and ginger, sushi is also one of the best-tasting food options for those with celiac disease.
Lately, things have come full circle as various types of Western sushi – most notably California rolls – are beginning to be noticed in Japan as well. Here in the states, the wide array of fusion twists to the more classic Japanese rolls can make for an interesting night out with friends at Japanese restaurants in Roseville, CA.
Given the kind of impression this particular style left in the U.S., there’s no question that sushi will remain a staple in America’s culinary consciousness.
(Source: Kaitenzushi: Sushi makes the rounds from Japan to America to Japan again, Post Bubble Culture, March 27, 2011)