Before we delve into the origin of many of the fish used in the creation of delicious handmade sushi around the world, let’s get a few things straight. It is a common misnomer that the term sushi refers to raw fish. It doesn’t. The literal translation of the term sushi is ‘sour-tasting’, and this refers to the soured, fermenting rice, or the vinegared rice which is commonly used today.
Sushi can often be prepared with raw seafood, but it can also be served with cooked ingredients or vegetables. The raw fish which is sliced and served without rice is called ‘sashimi’ and it is the fish used to make sashimi that we will be referring to in this post.
The contemporary version of sushi
Sushi as we know it today was created in Japan in the 1820s. It was created as an early form of fast food that could be quickly and easily eaten by hand. At this time, the sushi was known as Edomae sushi because it was made using fresh fish caught in the Edo-mae, which is now know as Tokyo Bay.
At this time, Tokyo Bay had a rich supply of seafood including tuna, halibut, bonito, sea eel and shellfish to name but a few.
As technology has improved, it has allowed fish to be flash frozen at sea. This has made it possible for sushi delivery restaurants like YouMeSushi to access the best fish from halfway around the world, and make choices based purely on freshness and taste.
The importance of provenance
If your definition of a fantastic meal includes beautifully cut raw pieces of sashimi (just like this), then it’s important to know where your local sushi home delivery restaurant is sourcing its fish. Many fish stocks around the world have been severely depleted, and the recent earthquake in Japan has exposed fish caught from traditional areas like Tokyo Bay to higher levels of contamination.
To help you eat handmade sushi with a clear conscience, here’s our guide to the origins of the fish most commonly served in sushi dishes.
Salmon – In the 1970s, Japan did not import a single piece of fish, and did not use salmon in sushi. That all changed in the 1980s, when a seafood delegation from Norway introduced Japan to Norwegian salmon.
Norwegian salmon is now served in sushi restaurants around the world. Many UK sushi restaurants also source their salmon from Scotland where it is farmed in high-quality sea lochs dotted around the coast.
Tuna – Bluefin tuna has been greatly overfished using unsustainable techniques, resulting in a steep decline in numbers. The vast majority of UK sushi delivery restaurants will not sell Bluefin tuna.
Instead, many serve Yellowfin tuna caught in the seas off Sri Lanka or the Maldives using sustainable line or pole fishing methods.
Other popular choices – Salmon and tuna are the most popular sashimi choices in the UK; however, there are also a host of other fish which are commonly served in sushi dishes. This includes:
- Mackerel – commonly caught in the UK
- Squid – the Falklands and Canada
- Eel – Indonesia
- Crab – the UK
- Scallops – the UK
- Crayfish – China