The Art of Sushi
To the average observer sushi may simply look like a little ball of rice with a slice of raw fish on top, but there is so much more that goes into the art of sushi-making than meets the eye. In Japanese culture, sushi is considered a true art form, as its appearance is just as important as how it tastes. Sushi must have the right color, flavor, and texture. And as many have learned from documentaries such as Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it can take years, or even decades to master the craft of sushi making.
Balance is defined as “the harmonious arrangement or proportion of parts or elements.” And much like in life, achieving proper balance is absolutely critical to proper sushi making. If there is too much rice, the sushi will not fit in one’s mouth. If there is not enough rice, then the flavor will be overpowered by the fish. If the rice and fish are combined too tightly, the sushi will be hard and if it is not tight enough then the sushi will fall apart.
There are many precise steps that go into crafting the perfectly balanced sushi. Before a chef can even combine rice with fish, they first must learn how to cut the fish correctly. To properly cut the fish the chef must take a razor sharp knife and surgically cut the fillet lengthwise and then each piece is cut diagonally to make the tail end of the fish larger. Then a precise quantity of vinegar, salt, and sugar must be folded into plump Japanese shortgrain rice. Finally, wasabi is delicately applied to the rice and the slice of fish is placed on top.
This process might sound relatively simple but achieving perfect simplicity and balance is not always easy and something that every master sushi chef - and every artist - strives for. Or as sushi legend Jiro Ono has put it, “Ultimate simplicity equals purity.”