Have you ever heard somebody talk about “sushi rice”? Indeed, not just any old rice can go into the sushi here at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant. Traditional sushi-style rice is a mixture of rice and vinegar, which serves to give sushi its flavor and consistency. Technically, this rice is a more fundamental part of sushi than the fish itself, as the word “sushi” literally translates to “vinegar rice”.
The practice of packing fish in vinegared rice goes back hundreds of years. For a long time, fish was packed with rice in order to preserve it, with vinegar later being added when it was discovered that it could hasten the pickling process. This rice was actually discarded when the fish was eaten, and was only coupled with the fish as a dish during the Edo period when traditional, Edo-style sushi first came about.