Wrap and roll! Why sushi is a ‘great dining experience’

·3 min read

Cebu is right in the middle of the dry season and it’s the best time for coolers and smoothies. However, when it comes to our food, rarely do we partake of cold meals.

Our culture dictates that the rice must be served fresh off the stove (a cup or two will do), the main dish is always deep-fried (preferably pork or chicken), and hot soup must always accompany a meal (such is the norm, that local eateries already have extra soup prepared—free of charge). If there are birthdays to be celebrated, noodles make an appearance on the dining table.

Enter the Japanese culinary creation that is sushi, which requires a complete 180-degree turn in terms of what we are used to: It’s a small lump of cold rice, topped with raw fish and wrapped with seaweed. Soup? There’s miso, but we’ll have to pay for it.

That definition right there is the greatest injustice done when describing sushi. The cold truth? Enjoying sushi is one of the best dining experiences one can have. It is intricate. It is flavorful. It is varied.

It’s not cold rice—it’s cooked Japanese short-grain rice at room temperature, seasoned with a bit of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Skip the pork for once and get a taste of fresh, plump tuna or salmon that’s even healthier. The miso soup is optional but it binds the entire meal together.

How many Cebuanos eat sushi? Probably a lot. Sushi can be ordered from groceries or convenience stores. There are also some that can be had from food delivery services, if you know where to look. Buffets at hotels have them, and some restaurants in the city also serve sushi.

If sushi is still very new to you, here is a quick round-up of its basic types:

Nigiri. Nigiri sushi is pretty much what was described beforehand in this article. Take note, however, that not all nigiri sushi has raw fish on them.

Maki. Have you seen pictures of sushi that’s wrapped in dark green nori (seaweed)? This is what is usually referred to as maki. As you probably know, there are varied kinds from sweet offerings to spicy creations.

Sashimi. This is the next level. No rice. Plain raw, delicious seafood. It is worth noting that one cannot just use any type of raw fish for sushi. There are certain types and strict guidelines with regard to food handling.

Uramaki. This one is maki’s cousin (in case the name didn’t give that away yet). The rice wraps the nori, which is what wraps the filling. Sometimes, uramaki sushi can be an opportunity for chef’s to be indulgent with ingredients.

Temaki. It’s like any maki but this time, it’s rolled into a nori cone. Think of a handy-dandy, healthy happy meal.

Sushi can be daunting at first. There are many things to learn about it. After the short discovery phase, the appreciation for sushi comes naturally.

If there are some who have yet to dive deep into the beauty of sushi, the summer days make it truly a gastronomic experience.