Sushi (寿司) is type of Japanese cuisine. It is one of the most well known types of Japanese food, and one of the most versatile. Its key ingredient is vinegar seasoned rice, though most sushi is wrapped in seaweed and it is often filled with vegetables, seafood (especially raw seafood), eggs and many other ingredients.
What most of the world known as Sushi is actually considered a type of “fast food” and was invented in the 1700’s. The original sushi bears almost no resemblance to the current variety.
Sushi has a very long history. The first sign of a food with the Sushi name dates back to the early 2nd century, where the Chinese had a meal that many believe was salt picked fish. Eventually it became minced fish and pork as well, but it did not consist of rice at the time. The meals were pickled in rice, but they were not eaten with rice.
Its introduction to Japan has been dated back as early as 718 AD, and went by a different name (雑鮨五斗, pronounced Zakonosushi). Slowly over the next 800 years, sushi began to evolve. The Japanese started to both boil their rice and created rice vinegar. They began to ferment their fish in rice vinegar. Then, over time, they began to eat rice with the fish. Somewhere between the 1300’s and 1500’s they stopped fermenting the fish and used vinegar in its place.
After a few more variations, a man named Hanaya Yohei invented a fast food form of sushi that had no fermentation process, can be quickly made using rice and whatever additional ingredients you may want to add, is wrapped by hand and can include raw fish, vegetables, eggs, meats and whatever else the cook wants to place in the wrap.
Sushi can come wrapped or not wrapped. When sushi is wrapped, it tends to come in a type of seaweed known as “Nori.”