Sushi originates from the practice of preserving fish by fermenting it in rice for months, a tradition that can be traced back to China and possibly southeast Asia.

Sushi served rolled in nori (dried sheets of laver, a kind of pressed and dried alga) is called maki (rolls). Sushi made with toppings laid onto hand-formed clumps of rice is called nigiri; sushi made with toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu is called inari; and sushi made with toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice is called chirashi-zushi, or scattered sushi.

Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of very fresh raw seafoods, thinly sliced into pieces about 2.5 cm
(1 inch) wide by 4 cm (1½ inches) long by 0.5 cm (¼ inch) thick, and served with only a dipping sauce (like soy sauce with wasabi paste and thinly sliced ginger root, or ponzu), and a simple garnish like shiso and shredded daikon radish.

Sushi originates from the practice of preserving fish by fermenting it in rice for months, a tradition, which can be traced back to china and possibly south East Asia. When the fermented fish is taken out to be eaten, only the fish was eaten and the rice was discarded. The strong-tasting narezushi, which is made near Lake Biwa, resembles the traditional fermented dish.

Starting in the muromachi period (1336 to 1573) in Japan, rice vinegar was added to the mixture, which accentuated the sourness of the dish and made its life span longer, while allowing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. The following centuries saw the development of oshi-zushi in Osaka, where seafood and rice were pressed into wooden moulds, and this dish arrived in edo (present-day Tokyo) in the middle of 18th century. It was in edo that this evolved into what is known as edo-mae zushi in the early 19th century, using fish freshly caught in "edo-mae" (edo bay). At the time, it was considered a cheap meal for the common people. It is this edo-mae zushi, which is popular today throughout Japan and the world.

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