Have you ever had a strong desire for sushi but decided against it because a good platter can be somewhat costly? Don’t worry; almost everyone who isn’t a sushi chef believes that sushi is prohibitively pricey.
We’re talking about genuine, tasty sushi. We’re not talking about the knock-offs found in supermarkets; those are within most people’s budgets.
So, let’s have a look at why sushi is so pricey!
Sushi is pricey.
Why is sushi so costly?
Sushi is pricey because a decent roll of sushi requires a high level of ability from the chef. Apart from that, sushi ingredients are frequently of high quality and must sometimes be imported.
A real, live person is rolling the sushi, preparing the rice and fish, and giving it to you. Because it’s an ancient Japanese dish, expect the cooks to take considerable delight in their work.
In fact, knowing the (brief) history of how sushi came to be will help us put things in context and comprehend things better.
Sushi’s brief history
The sushi we know and love today is developed from a cuisine known as narezushi, which dates back to the Bronze Age. It was made using raw fish and fermented rice. For weeks or months at a time, the rice would keep the fish alive. Meat preservation was critical in the absence of refrigerators. Only the fish was eaten in this rendition, not the rice. But that’s how the concept of sushi was born.
The recipe evolved through time to include vinegar-infused rice wrapped around thinly sliced raw fish. This eliminated the requirement for fermented rice, allowing the rice to be consumed with the dish.
Sushi became both delicious and convenient thanks to the use of vinegar, which ensured that the fish would not expire for a few days or weeks (if properly stored).
The seaweed sheet became more of a decoration as time went on, rather than a necessary wrapper to keep everything contained. As a result of the chefs’ experiments, we now have uramaki (inside-out sushi), the California roll, rainbow sushi, salmon sushi, and so on.
Let’s take a look at why sushi is so pricey. We got a peek of it in this history part, and you’ll note that both explanations are inextricably linked.
Sushi preparation necessitates an extraordinary level of skill.
When preparing sushi, a chef or cook must possess a variety of talents, all of which must be at a high level. From handling seafood to preparing rice, rolling and folding sushi properly, adding just enough wasabi, and selecting which flavors go well, there’s a lot to learn.
That’s no easy task, especially when you consider they have to be extremely exact and have incredible knife skills. Have you ever seen a sushi chef slice fresh salmon so thinly? We couldn’t do much more than roughly chop it into cubes, much less slice it!
What is this nonsense about ‘oh come on, boiling rice isn’t difficult’? Boiling rice isn’t difficult at all.
But steaming rice to perfection (yes, it’s not the same as boiling) and then adding the right amounts of sugar and vinegar into the cooled rice is an art. Even if it’s often neglected, lousy rice equals bad sushi.
Sushi rice, although still having each grain intact, is sticky and moist, rather than wet. The rice holds the roll together and protects the fish from falling out.
The nori (seaweed) prevents the sushi from sticking to the bamboo rolling mats, which are essential. They’re the most common way to make sushi.
And yes, you are correct, uramaki rolls are quite tough to create. In a nutshell, the chef’s work is incredible.
Sushi ingredients are typically costly.
Ingredients are one thing, but skills are another. Although a good chef can work with any components, the ultimate, delectable sushi roll can only be produced using premium ingredients. It’s the same as any other food.
So, what exactly goes into or is served with a sushi roll? Take a look at the following:
The seaweed layer that is either within or outside the sushi is known as nori.
sticky white rice is the type of rice I’m talking about.
vinegar made from rice
a smidgeon of sugar
any type of seafood
cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese are examples of add-ins.
toppings such as sesame seeds, roe, and fried onions
For the courageous, there’s wasabi.
To cleanse the palette between sushi kinds, pickled ginger is used.
on the side, soy sauce
For a variety of reasons, the ingredients must frequently be imported. Even in Asian marketplaces, the correct type of rice and nori may be difficult to come by outside of Japan.
True wasabi is difficult to come by; most of the time, it’s merely horseradish that’s been colored green, or a ‘preparation’ that only contains a small amount of wasabi. As a result, it must be imported from Japan. Wasabi resembles horseradish in appearance, but it has a distinct flavor.
The rest of the ingredients (save the seafood, which we’ll discuss individually) are more expensive than typical food products because they’re more niche than mainstream.
It’s not just any fish; it’s premium seafood.
The seafood, oh my. Sushi’s love and hate relationship. Let’s be honest: good sushi will make you forget you’re eating raw fish. There’s no reason to be unpleasant about it unless you have a fish or shellfish allergy
.In any case, seafood is already quite pricey. If you’ve ever gazed at a slab of fresh salmon or scallops, you know what I’m talking about. Shrimp are the cheapest, and crabmeat can occasionally be seen in sushi.
Anything else will be costly, partially due to the fact that it is seafood, and partly due to the fact that it is extremely fresh and high grade seafood.
Take, for example, fresh tuna. Deep red in color (much like beef), with a slightly sweet and meaty flavor. Fresh salmon is equally delicious, but it’s nearly as pricey as tuna. Sushi alternatives such as mackerel, halibut, squid, sea urchin, freshwater eel, jellyfish (really! ), and albacore may both entice and repel you.
The more “exotic” varieties, such as jellyfish or sea urchin, will, of course, cost a little more because they require more skill and preparation.
Some sushi varieties, such as ura maki, are less expensive.
Not all sushi is created equal. Because they need more skill and employ more expensive ingredients, some sushi styles are naturally more expensive.
The maki (normal, seaweed-wrapped rolls) with cucumber, avocado, or cream cheese, for example, will be the cheapest. The same type with tuna and avocado will be more expensive.
The uramaki containing nori will be more expensive. It always contains a wonderful meat on the inside, such as tuna, salmon, or mackerel, demands more expertise, and has some nice toppings on top, such as roe or sesame.
Then there’s nigiri, which is a type of sushi. The most simple, but in terms of flavor, the cleanest. It’s just rice, a smidgeon of wasabi, and a hunk of beef on top. On top of the rice, the meat is spread out like a thin blanket.
Because the focus of this sushi is on each distinct flavor, only the finest ingredients are used. Because there’s no sesame or cream cheese to mask a terrible shrimp flavor, the chef must be skilled.
Is it cheaper to buy sushi or make it yourself?
Making your own sushi is undoubtedly more cost effective. Although the components are more expensive, you can prepare large batches of sushi with them. When you split the cost of each roll by the number of servings, it’s less expensive than store-bought rolls.
However. Most individuals don’t have the talent to prepare sushi, and you probably don’t either. As a result, when compared to sushi prepared by a chef, the overall quality of your sushi will be missing.
If you love sushi and want to make your own, this is a great way to get some practice. After all, the chefs had to learn how to prepare them, and you can too. There are guides on how to create each variety of sushi, including what ingredients to use, how much to use, and so on, all over the internet.
In a nutshell, it’s a mixed bag. You can make sushi at home for less money, but you’ll need to master some major skills and invest in high-quality materials if you want to enjoy truly delicious sushi.
When it comes to sushi, how long does it last?
Sushi made with raw fish lasts roughly 24 hours, but cooked seafood sushi lasts about 3-4 days. If you’re creating your own sushi, you should be aware that the vinegar in the rice is intended to keep the fish from spoiling. Sushi with fish on the inside will last longer since the fish will not spoil as quickly.
That being said, eating sushi right after you finish making it is always a smart idea. Otherwise, the fish would lose its flavor.
If you have a lot of food and need to keep it, make sure you use an airtight container. If necessary, wrap it with clingfilm, but make sure it’s airtight. Keep it in the refrigerator’s back corner; don’t touch the back panel or it may freeze.
You should check the ‘best by’ date on store-bought sushi rolls. It generally takes two weeks, however we strongly advise you to eat the sushi much sooner. Keep sushi in the fridge at all times, whether it’s fresh or leftover!