The temperature of sushi rice is very important. If it is too warm it won't be in harmony with the neta (which should typically be at room temperature, although this varies), and if it is too cool it will taste too salty and lose its vinegary flavor. Cold sushi rice tastes horrible and should never be served. Ideally, shari should be served at body temperature. A small wooden ohitsu container (such as the one picture above) made from Japanese cypress is used to control the temperature of the rice. Not only does it keep rice at a perfect temperature for several hours, but it also absorbs excess moisture and has antibiotic properties that help preserve the rice. The ohitsu is typically covered by a cloth and wood lid. If further insulation or temperature control is needed, the ohitsu can be placed inside a woven straw container called a warabitsu.
At SushiGo, we use our expertise and resources to ensure that the sushi rice are properly maintained
A good sushi chef will always procure live shrimp, and will prepare it only moments before it is served in order to maximize freshness and flavor. Kuruma ebi can be served raw (odori), but it is most often boiled. The chef will skewer the shrimp using a wooden stick, and quickly boil it in water that contains salt and vinegar. Just as the ebi starts turning red, it is removed from the water and chilled. The head (and sometimes tail) is then removed and the shell peeled. The shrimp's liver (ebi miso) is placed between the prawn and rice as it is rich in umami and adds a lovely creaminess to the bite. The resulting piece is really wonderful. Served slightly warm, the ebi's firm flesh contrasts well with the liver's soft texture, and the taste is richly sweet and full of umami.
At SushiGo, our chefs ensures that they procure live shrimps and prepare it only when there are orders
The very best tuna comes from the waters of the Tsugaru Straight off the coast of Oma in northeastern Aomori and fetches very high prices. Because of its scarcity, a shop's ability to regularly secure Oma tuna is an indicator or the shop's status in the sushi hierarchy. Tuna was not always a prized catch in Japan, as a matter of fact it was considered a throwaway fish during much of the Edo period. Akami wasn't popular until the 1800's, and toro didn't gain popularity as a sushi neta until well into the twentieth century, partially due to technological advancements in refrigeration. Yoshino Sushi Honten in Nihonbashi (tabelog link) was the first sushiya to regularly serve toro sushi in the 1920's or 30's. Before then, toro was thrown away or used as cat food! It wasn't until the 1960's - when refrigeration had become widespread - that tuna really caught on in Japan. Akami is often served raw or using the more traditional zuké marinade preparation, while toro is almost always served raw (although some shops do offer it aburi). Regardless of the cut, tuna is typically aged for a few days or more to allow for the meat to develop its best characteristics, including wonderful umami flavors. SushiGo has our own personal suppliers that ensure that our ingredients and products are of high quality