Sushi Myths That Smell a Little Fishy

Despite certain sushi myths, the dish is more than just fresh fish bait. Let’s do a little quick myth-busting on the subject

Foreign delicacies that they are, those artistically presented bits of vegetables and seafood so common to Japanese cuisine have spawned a rather hefty set of sushi myths. But as it turns out, what you think you know may not be quite the truth. So, in the interest of fair play, let’s do some sushi myth-busting.

Myth #1: All sushi contains raw fish!

This is undoubtedly the most common myth that sushi lovers hear, and probably the one that annoys them most. Some types of sushi do contain raw fish, a.k.a. sashimi, but many don’t. Officially, sushi is just rice topped with something and often wrapped into little rolls along with seaweed.

The “something” extra can be vegetables, cooked meats or seafood, and just about anything else, raw or not. That being the case, the musubi Yours Truly munched on during my too-brief sojourn in Hawaii years back was arguably a form of sushi. Who knew?

Myth #2: I can’t eat sushi because I’m vegan!

We already busted this myth in the previous answer. If a vegan chooses carefully, he or she can indeed eat sushi. Remember, lots of sushi selections consist solely of vegetables (if you count seaweed as a veggie). And don’t forget the wasabi!

Of course, some “purists” claim that using wasabi on sushi is an insult to the chef… but why should you worry about that, any more than you’d hesitate to put ranch dressing on your salad? Wasabi’s a whole lot more interesting, both texturally and flavor-wise, than soy sauce anyway

Myth #3: You have to eat sushi with chopsticks!

Yeah, and you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day. So what? If you want to use a fork, use a fork — but frankly, you get a more authentic experience if you do use chopsticks, and they’re not so hard to use. All you have to do is stab the silly sushi with ’em and you’ve got it!

Myth #4: I can’t eat sushi because you never know what’s in there!

First of all, here’s a big hint: “sushi” is the Japanese word for rice. That’s pretty obviously the main ingredient. Then there’s the seaweed, that green stuff it’s wrapped in. Otherwise, the ingredients are usually easily visible. If you can’t tell what’s in an item, simply ask the sushi chef. Most will be happy to tell you.

The Bottom Line

If you’re skipping the sushi because you’ve heard any of these rumors, then you’re missing out on a great dish. Sure, there may be raw fish involved… but there may not be, and who knows, you may actually like sashimi. Don’t let these sushi myths hobble your enjoyment of a different, but nonetheless tasty, treat.