Sushi is often considered as the “Japanese Diet”. Sushi and sashimi is not only tasty, but it’s also very good for you. It is wonderful to be able to eat the food you love without paying the price for your indulgence.
Many claims have been made for the health benefits of the traditional Japanese diet of fish and rice, including sushi, sashimi and norimaki dishes. A possible indicator is the average life expectancy for both women and men in Japan. It is one of the highest in the world.
Sushi and sashimi is high in omega-3 fatty acids and many beneficial minerals. Even the nori (black seaweed wrap), the wasabi (green horseradish) and the gari (pickeled ginger) is renowned for its health benefits.
Sushi, sashimi & norimaki – do you know the difference?
Most often the word “sushi” is used for a range of dishes with subtle differences:
- By definition, sushi is cooked vinegar rice with raw fish on top
- You have only sliced raw fish on your plate – that’s sashimi
- Norimaki is fish or vegetables enveloped by seaweed
In Ireland, the word sushi is used for all three types above. Often, people think of norimaki when they say “sushi”. Therefore, we simply use the word sushi in the text below. However, when you read our menus, you will need to know the difference between the three types.
Nori, Wasabi and Gari
There are a few other ingredients, which are worth knowing.
The rice in norimaki (sushi) needs to be wrapped to hold it together. Nori is the black layer that keeps norimaki rolls together. Nori is dried seaweed and is known for its vast health benefits: It’s high in many vitamins and minerals including iodine; zinc; calcium; vitamins A, E, C, and K; fibre; and protein.
This hot green paste is Japanese horseradish and is usually served alongside sashimi. For those who like it spicy, wasabi is a healthy condiment. It may prevent platelets from forming blood clots, asthma and cavities, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t “clear the sinuses.” But many know the feeling in the nose when you got too much wasabi in one go.
You have seen it: Pickeled ginger next to the sushi. It is called gari and is served in a natural-looking beige or in a tinted pink colour. Gari is sweet, thinly sliced young ginger that has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar.
Ginger is a healthy sushi side dish, used to cleanse the palate after each piece of sushi. Ginger contains the compounds gingerols and shogaols. These oils are very good for you and stimulate digestive juices and neutralise stomach acids. Ginger can also lower cholesterol levels and limit blood clots in the same way aspirin works in the body.