Vegetarian Sushi Exists
Osaka sushi mix
Why the label called this an Osaka sushi mix, I'm not sure. I suppose these types of sushi originated in Osaka. Did you know that in the Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, etc.) and in the Kanto area (Tokyo, etc.) they use different kanji, or Chinese characters, for the word sushi? I learned that from a sushi chef in Tsukiji fish market.
Anyhow, this pack is from the local supermarket. It was 30% off of 730yen. I only like to get sushi from the supermarket when it's discounted because sushi doesn't seem like much food. Actually it is. I wonder how the price in Japan compares to the price in Los Angeles because I loved getting these types of sushi in LA. They were perfect for ovo-lacto-vegetarian me. Let's take a closer look (MouseOver picture above)!
Inari, or football sushi, or cone sushi, is simply sushi rice tucked into fried tofu skin that has been cooked in a shoyu-sugar-mirin-sake-dashi-type marinade. It becomes sweet and juicy! Inari was my first favorite sushi--if you don't count wrapping plain white rice with flavored nori--from when I was little and my grandma would make her yummy homestyle ones without the bits of mushroom in the rice, just for picky ol' me. There is a big difference between homemade juicy inari skins and the ones used for supermarket inari. Can you tell from the picture that supermarket inari skins are thin, stiff and extra sweet? Well they are. That's exactly how they are in LA too, and while I hoped they would be better in Japan I came to realize just how special my grandma's inari were!
gourd rolls and cucumber roll
Aren't they cute, they're stuck together! Kanpyo can be translated as gourd, you know, that funny bulbous vegetable that makes good liquid holders or percussion instruments once its been cleaned out? I often see kanpyo sold dried (it's almost white) so that to eat it you must soak it in water for a long time first. After soaking, you cook it in tasty stuff and it turns brown. By then it is quite mushy too. I also learned about kanpyo at Tsukiji!
Futomaki means fat roll and it's another kind my grandma would make. I'm not sure if Japanese people call it futomaki or norimaki or just makizushi. This one's got egg, kanpyo, cucumber, shiitake and crumbly pink fish-sugar in it.
Last but not least, the elegant tamago sushi. This is not just any fried egg, it's sweetened and soft. One more tidbit of information from Tsukiji (where a wide selection of tamagoyaki frying pans are sold): making tamagoyaki is really hard. The teacher I was with at Tsukiji bought an egg loaf from a fancy tamagoyaki shop to take home and serve her family for dinner. I was surprised she would buy it and not make it herself but I'd never thought about how to make it myself and apparently it is tedious work that takes delicate skill! To this day I don't know exactly how tamagoyaki is made except that a rectangular frying pan is used.
Seize the food, for Japan is time-service only! In other words, this blog is to preserve, share, and make the most of my six months left living in Japan. Yes, I am obsessed with food. Cheap food!