The differences between “traditional” sushi and “modern” sushi

Photo by Mahmoud Fawzy on Unsplash

Do you know the difference between the two?

With sushi restaurants becoming more and more common around the world, one may begin to wonder how sushi is made and served in the Western world compared to its birthplace, Japan. You may think you’re having an authentic Japanese experience – and therefore authentic Japanese sushi – but in reality, it could be very different from the “real deal”.

You’re probably wondering, “Well, how do I know that the sushi I’m eating is authentic Japanese sushi or a westernized version of sushi?” And you, my friend, you have come to the right place!

Below, we outline some key differences between “traditional” sushi and “modern” sushi. So the next time you go out for sushi, you can tell if what you’re eating is authentic to its Japanese roots or has been more modernized to suit a variety of different palates.

How traditional sushi is made versus how modern sushi is made

In Japan, sushi is generally lower in calories and fat, and this is due to the ingredients used. Only the freshest possible fish from local markets is used in the preparation of sushi, and in most cases only rice and fish are used. Of course, a few light wasabi seasonings are added to enhance the flavors of the fish, but that’s usually all.

On the other hand, Western sushi tends to include more ingredients and toppings. Most of them are usually high in fat (ie Tempura, avocado, mayonnaise, etc.). So, naturally, modern sushi contains many more calories than traditional Japanese sushi.

Another big difference between the two is in the rice. For traditional Japanese sushi, the rice is white, short and sticky. Whereas, in most modern sushi restaurants, white rice is replaced with brown rice or quinoa.

How traditional sushi is served versus how modern sushi is served

When it comes to serving sushi, traditional and modern styles vary. (No surprise there.)

With Japanese sushi, the rolls are normally wrapped in nori (seaweed) on the outside, while modern sushi rolls have nori on the inside and rice on the outside. Additionally, sushi in Japan often comes with wasabi as a garnish, along with pickled ginger and soy sauce as sides, to help cleanse the palate. But in Western sushi practices, wasabi and soy sauce are mixed together.

Now, after all that, you might be asking yourself a new question: “Is there a place where the two styles of sushi can co-exist?” Yes. Yes there is.

AT hapa-sushi, you get a marriage of traditional sushi and modern sushi. Hapa’s menu is based on the fundamentals of traditional Japanese cuisine, which are then “amplified, toned down, or blended” with a variety of different cooking styles, creating something totally new and unique.

What do you think? Are you a fan of more traditional/authentic sushi? Or do you have a preference for modern sushi? Let us know in the comments below.

Dino S. Williams