Standing sushi bar in Tokyo that foreigners should definitely try!

a photo of Isami zushi
Isami zushi, which has a long history, is as inexpensive and delicious as Conveyor belt sushi, and has the atmosphere of a traditional sushi bar.

A quick cup of coffee and off to work I go. In this case, of course, you are standing rather than sitting on a chair. But when it comes to eating, sitting on a chair is the universal practice, isn’t it? In Japan, however, many restaurants allow customers to eat standing up, such as standing buckwheat noodles.

Why do these restaurants exist?

Certainly, a businessman who does not want to waste time will not allocate elegant time for a meal. In a sense, a businessman who wastes his time on such a wasteful activity may be a dropout. That said, how about eating a meal while standing up? According to Japanese eating etiquette, it is against manners to eat while standing. In many countries, it would be called ill-mannered.

And it is impossible to eat sushi, which has a strong image as a representative of high-class Japanese cuisine, standing up is not allowed. Nigiri sushi, however, was originally a yatai food (street food) for the impatient Edo people and could be called the fast food of the time. That and the fact that the customers were allowed to eat standing up and the seller sat down to make sushi, which is impossible today, but it was the norm back then.

Here, we would like to introduce Standing sushi bars in Tokyo that we would like foreigners to visit by imagining what yatai (street food) sushi was like about 200 years ago.

Standing sushi bars have been popping up in Tokyo since around 2021. It is impossible to rapidly increase the number of customers in a high-end sushi bar where the bill is several hundred dollars. Even if they opened a second sushi bar and entrusted the management to their apprentice, they would need to charge a certain amount of money to make it viable.

Therefore, the number of “standing sushi bars” should have increased to encourage people to come to the restaurant more casually. To be honest, while the business model was still in the exploratory stage, standing sushi bar Akira was selected as a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2022. standing sushi bar is now in the limelight.

There are currently about 50 standing sushi bars in Tokyo, and among them, I would like to introduce Isami zushi, which has a long history, is as inexpensive and delicious as Conveyor belt sushi, and has the atmosphere of a traditional sushi bar.

Turn left from the east exit of Oimachi Station, turn left at the first corner, and enter the Higashikoji street that you will see immediately. Isami zushi will be on your left.

This area is a maze of narrow alleys and side streets with 60 to 70 bars and eateries that are reminiscent of the Showa period. Although not yet well known to foreigners, it is sure to attract attention as a town where one can feel the lifestyle of the people who live there.

Isami zushi has been in business for 67 years. The current owner, Masaaki Fujioka, is the third generation and has been running the restaurant for 25 years. The restaurant has an L-shaped counter and can accommodate seven people. At best, seven Japanese women can just barely fit inside. And if I may be rude, it feels even smaller than it is because of the lack of organization and placement of things.

The price per piece of nigiri sushi is 30 yen (Geso), 40 yen (Tamagoyaki), 60 yen (Ika), 80 yen (Tobiko), 100 yen (Aji, Aoyagi, Ebi, Saba, Akami, Hotate, Iwashi). , 120 yen (Tako, Kanpachi, Kohada, Hamachi), 140 yen (Torigai, Anago, Toro, Shako), 160 yen (Makimono), and up to 200 yen (Uni, Ikura).

You can order from two pieces. There are always about 20 different kinds of neta (toppings) available. Popular toppings are sometimes sold out, so it is best to get there early. Sushi rice is not too sweet and is suitable for eating sushi with a drink. Of course, sashimi is also available, so you can drink sake as well. The rice is a blend of Koshihikari and Sasanishiki, which gives the rice a delicious flavor and a flaky texture when you put it in your mouth.

How to Order

A sushi chef does not speak foreign languages. There is no English menu, so you must choose from a wooden tag with the name of the toppings written on it, or from a whiteboard with today’s recommendation. Or you can point to the fish in the glass case. Gari is not available at the counter like at conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, so please ask the sushi chef for “Gari-Kudasai” (Kudasai is a Japanese word meaning “please” in English). And regulars order three different sushi toppings at once. In any case, the hurdle may be quite high for foreigners. Even if your sushi order does not go as expected, it is inexpensive, there are no rip-offs, and it will be a memorable experience.

Why is it dramatically cheaper?

First, the restaurant is operated by a single sushi chef, which reduces labor costs. Second, he selects fish from the Toyosu and Ota markets, and fish arrives directly from Odawara, Nagasaki, and other areas. And because he strives to sell out the sushi topping every day. Also, he has reduced the size of his shari and sushi topping compared to previous years. These efforts are nearing their limits, so there may be a price increase soon.

How do I make a reservation?

Reservations are not available, so you will have to line up before the restaurant opens. The restaurant will be full as soon as it opens. Even if you say you will wait, you do not know what time it will be. Please be patient.

Payment Method

Credit cards are not accepted. Cash only. No table charges.

Actual Eating Report

We tried it and here is our report.

Well, we ate standing up, so we thought we could only hold out for about 30 minutes, but we didn’t mind quite a bit. Before our visit, we wanted to eat about 20 pieces as a goal. Japanese people consider someone’s feelings or wishes. In other words, if you are reporting on a sushi restaurant, you should write an article that will please the owner. I will say that this report does not have that element at all.

As soon as you enter the restaurant, a geta (sushi wooden tray) is placed in front of you and you are like, “Now what shall we nigiri? We think every sushi restaurant was like this 30 years ago. First, we ordered a beer. What a surprise, a can of beer was served. In Japanese restaurants, canned beer is rarely served. This is because cans can be drunk at home, and since the price is known, customers do not have a good feeling about it.

To start the conversation, we ask about the history of the restaurant. Then we confirm that it is okay to take pictures and will explore the most important sushi chef’s personality.

a photo of Black scraper (Umazurahagi), and Marbled rockfish (Kasago)
Black scraper (Umazurahagi) has a blurry appearance and does not look tasty, but once peeled, it reveals a clear white flesh similar to that of pufferfish.

Today’s shiromi was Hokke, Black scraper (Umazurahagi), and Marbled rockfish (Kasago). All of these sushi toppings are quite rare as shiromi. They are not served at high-end restaurants by mistake. Isami zushi uses natural fish from domestic fisheries for almost all of its topping. Because they do not use any farm-raised fish, the selection of toppings changes daily, but diners can enjoy rare local fish from all over Japan.

We ordered Umazurahagi and Kasago. The customer next to us also ordered Umazurahagi without a moment’s delay, but it was hard to miss the fact that he started making his order from ours. He does not make the nigiri sushi for the sake of efficiency. And of course, the fish is kept cold in a glass case with the skin on. This prevents oxidation of the ingredients as much as possible. And since the skin is the most delicious part of the fish, this is why we want to keep it on the meat until the very last minute. These are the basics of a sushi chef.

The liver is served on top of the Umazurahagi nigiri. Liver goes bad fast. It is meant to be alive and super fresh until a few hours ago. Its taste is often compared to that of foie gras, but it is not. Natural fish liver has a decidedly better aftertaste than foie gras. It makes you want to eat another piece. Kasago used to be a popular fish in the past, but now it is popular as a high-end fish. Sushi rice enhances the sweetness of the meat and gives it a different flavor from that of Red seabream (Tai) or Bastard halibut (Hirame).

A photo of Southern Bluefin tuna (Minami maguro)
Some sushi connoisseurs even prefer Southern Bluefin tuna (Minami maguro), as the lean meat lacks the slight acidity and faint aroma of blood that can be found in Pacific Bluefin tuna.

Next is the main dish, tuna. He insists on fresh, not frozen, tuna. He uses Mebachi and Minami-Maguro to keep the price reasonable. Today’s tuna was Minami-maguro. April to May is the time when the fat is removed from the meat of Kuro-maguro caught in coastal waters. Minami-maguro is next in rank to Kuro-maguro, but that is not true. Minami-Maguro is not widely distributed, so its richness is not well known. It also changes color quickly, which is its weak point.

Next is Geso, a specialty item at 30 yen per piece, Geso is squid’s leg. In fact, geso is not suitable for nigirizushi. The squid’s body is wrapped in a thin skin, and it is especially difficult to remove it from Geso. It is best for Tsumami when boiled or grilled. Fresh Geso, properly salted, has no fishy smell at all. The taste of the squid itself is concentrated. Try it with a dash of Nikiri shoyu.

Next is Aozakana (Blue-backed fish). These are caught in the morning and sent from the producing area. Today he has Horse mackerel (Aji) and Japanese sardine (Iwashi). The Aji is a top-quality fish from Amakusa, Kumamoto Prefecture, a famous fish producing area. The meat is thick and sweet when chewed. The ginger is used as a condiment to give it a refreshing taste. The Iwashi is in its peak of fatty season, and its light flavor was so delicate that one could hardly believe it was Iwashi.

Gizzard shad (Kohada) has larger pieces of sushi topping and smaller pieces of sushi rice. It is coated with a brush of Nikiri shoyu, so there is no need to dip it in soy sauce. The color is glossy and the fat is wonderful when eaten. And it is the type served at long-established sushi restaurants with the sourness of vinegar.

Shellfish available today are Ark shell (Akagai) and Common scallop (Hotate). Shellfish is a material in which it is easy to tell whether the quality is good or bad. If something tastes like chewing gum that has lost its flavor, it is not good. For Akagai, the key is whether or not the aroma of the sea pervades your mouth. Of course, the shells were removed after receiving the order. This way, the aroma of the sea does not escape. At first glance, the small-sized Hotate did not seem to have much sweetness, but I was impressed by its modest and elegant sweetness.

If we dare to make a bad comment after eating here, both the sushi topping and the sushi rice are 30% smaller than they were a few years ago. But that’s no surprise. They haven’t raised their prices even though prices have skyrocketed so high. In these days of conveyor-belt sushi, the toppings are as flimsy as paper.

Today we ate 18 pieces of nigiri sushi and 1 piece of Makimono in less than 1 hour. It is not painful at all to stay standing. Sushi is served on time, so you don’t have to wait around for it. And all this for only US$30. I think you can experience nigiri sushi to the fullest.

Basic Information

Address: 5-3-13 Higashioi, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

TEL: +81-3-3474-8089

: 1 minute walk from East Exit of JR Oimachi Station

Business hours: 18:00-23:00 (closes when all toppings are gone)

Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 19, 2024

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What is Kewpie mayonnaise?

An image of Kewpie mayonnaise
Since its launch in 1925, this mayonnaise has been the most popular mayonnaise in Japan!

Find out why Mayonnaise has become a citizen on the dinner table

Japan is not a large country. Even so, fresh produce from the sea and mountains is abundant. Even without a large-scale distribution system in place, we Japanese have been able to obtain fresh ingredients in fresh conditions easily.

This is thought to have given rise to a raw food culture in which vegetables, eggs, fish, and even internal organs such as horse meat, beef, and liver are eaten raw. Since fresh ingredients are readily available, it is only natural that there is no need to make unnecessary modifications to them. For this reason, Japanese cuisine has become dominated by methods that do not require much modification of the ingredients. In Italy, the ingredients are fresh, and in China and France, cooking techniques have developed to compensate for the lack of freshness of ingredients. This is just my personal opinion.

And speaking of Japan’s unique food culture, we must not forget its rice culture. Japanese rice is japonica rice, which is light and delicate in flavor. Inevitably, the rice is not eaten by itself but is accompanied by a strong-flavored side dish.

This is likely what led to the development of flavorful seasonings in Japan. The traditional Japanese soy sauce and miso, not to mention ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, which are two of the most popular sauces in Western cuisine, along with mayonnaise, are seasonings with a very distinct flavor. Likewise, mayonnaise is a strong-flavored seasoning, so it is assumed that side dishes made with it went well with rice.

In general, the Japanese palate is said to be well suited to amino acids and the peptide umami before it becomes an amino acid, and this amino acid is found mainly in fermented foods. Japan’s mild and humid climate is ideal for the production of fermented seasonings, and it is no wonder that miso (fermented soybean paste), soy sauce, and salted fish, which are fermented foods, have developed.

Interestingly, mayonnaise also begins to mature about a week after it is made, and the protein contained in the egg yolk in mayonnaise is broken down into amino acids and peptides, resulting in the umami that the Japanese like. Mayonnaise is usually not pasteurized because it separates when heated. This phenomenon occurs because the mayonnaise is still alive after being packed in the container.

Compared to the Western type of mayonnaise, which uses whole eggs, the yolk type of mayonnaise is more common in Japan. The yolk has a higher umami of amino acids and peptides than the egg white, and this may be the reason why Japanese mayonnaise has adapted well to Japanese tastes. The combination of this taste backbone and the umami of Japanese-style mayonnaise has helped mayonnaise to firmly establish itself in Japanese food culture.


What kind of food is mayonnaise?

I said mayonnaise is a food, but many people may think of it as a condiment. Mayonnaise, as you know, is made from vinegar, oil, and eggs. In Europe, where it originated, it was made from lemon juice, wine vinegar, olive oil, and eggs. However, in modern Europe, mayonnaise seems to be made at home, unlike in the United States or Japan.

Mayonnaise has some notable characteristics. First, the oil in mayonnaise has the effect of masking the bitterness of the food. Furthermore, the oiliness of mayonnaise is reduced by emulsification, making it very easy to eat. The bitterness of vegetables is sometimes unacceptable, but mayonnaise envelops it. Meat marinated in mayonnaise becomes tender. It has the effect of softening the hardened tissues of meat. Mayonnaise quickly removes the odor of raw fish. The sour vinegar flavor overcomes the unpleasant smell of raw fish, and when it is eliminated, it has so many positive aspects that there is no end to it.

Japanese mayonnaise is restricted by JAS standards for consumer safety. Incidentally, JAS is based on the standards of the U.S. FDA. According to the standard, mayonnaise contains 65% or more edible vegetable oil, vinegar and citrus juice, egg yolk and egg white, salt, sugar, spices, chemical seasonings, acidifiers, and citric acid. In Japan, mayonnaise may not contain any preservatives, emulsion stabilizers, food coloring, or soy protein. Yellow mayonnaise is just made with lots of eggs. This is why the JAS standard does not allow the use of food coloring that misleads people into thinking that there are lots of eggs in the product.


Why doesn’t commercial mayonnaise go bad?

Japanese standards for mayonnaise prohibit the use of any preservatives or food coloring. It is natural to ask the question, then, why mayonnaise does not spoil when it is made from egg yolks.

Simply put, think of pickles pickled in vinegar. Depending on the method of production, they can be stored for a year or more. The reason for this is that the acetic acid in vinegar has powerful bactericidal properties.

According to mayonnaise standards, at least 65% of the edible vegetable oil does not go rancid. The sterilizing power depends on how much acetic acid and salt are present in the remaining 35% of the ingredients.

Homemade mayonnaise made at home or in a restaurant is used up quickly, so there is no need to think about shelf life, just make it to your own taste. However, this is not the case with store-bought mayonnaise. And since mayonnaise is not heat sterilized, its composition is very important to prevent it from spoiling in its raw state. Of course, it is also important to manufacture it hygienically in a factory. The combination is determined by considering factors such as the fact that it must not separate during transportation and that it must have a taste preferred by the consumer.

According to actual bacterial test data, Escherichia coli is killed in 6 hours in mayonnaise. Staphylococcus and salmonella, which cause food poisoning, are killed in 24 hours. Even the yeast Hansenula anomala, which is relatively acid-resistant, dies in about 8 days.

As a general guideline, raw food is considered hygienic if it contains less than 100,000 live bacteria per gram. Frozen food that is heated and eaten meets the criteria of the Food Sanitation Law with a count of 3 million live bacteria or less per gram. Normally, it is considered that even if there are 100,000 bacteria per gram of food, the food will not spoil, but if the bacteria count exceeds that level, the food will gradually start to spoil or go rancid. In other words, most bacteria die in mayonnaise. Therefore, it is safe to assume that commercial mayonnaise is first of all free of bacteria.


Why is vinegar good for your health?

The answer is simple. It is because vinegar lubricates the citric acid cycle. In 1953, Dr. Hans Krebs of England won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the pathway of tissue respiration in the human body. This is called the citric acid cycle, which is the only mechanism that produces the energy necessary for life, and without this cycle, organisms cannot live!

The problem here is that during strenuous exercise or illness, large amounts of glucose are burned, creating an abnormally high amount of pyruvate, which is further converted into lactic acid. That lactic acid makes body fluids and blood acidic, causing so-called Acidosis. In addition, lactic acid combines with proteins in body tissues to form lactic acid protein, which causes stiff shoulders and muscle pain, as well as increased deposition of cholesterol, leading to arteriosclerosis and hypertension.

At this time, it is explained that when vinegar is eaten with salads, the organic acids contained in vinegar, such as acetic acid, malic acid, and citric acid, can smoothly advance the citric acid cycle and bring lactic acid back into the cycle. In other words, vinegar has been elucidated to act as a lubricant for the Citric acid cycle.

The vinegar in mayonnaise does more than just accentuate the delicious taste; it also helps to clear away fatigue. The Citric acid cycle explains why the blood and body fluids of healthy people are slightly alkaline and become acidic when tired or ill. It also depends on the diet. Eating only acidic foods, i.e., meat and seafood, will cause the blood and body fluids to become more acidic, and cholesterol will be deposited in the blood vessels more easily. The diet must be well-balanced. This is where vinegar comes into play. Vinegar is burned efficiently in the body and is incorporated into the metabolic mechanism to act as an alkaline food. Other effects include increasing appetite and aiding digestion, and it is also very effective in cleaning the body and activating the body’s internal energy.

Where does mayonnaise’s good taste come from?

Mayonnaise is an oil-rich food. Oil stimulates the brain to release hormones that make us want to eat again. However, oil does not remain in its original state, but is scattered throughout the food, creating a richness. Humans respond to this richness with a sense of deliciousness. In other words, mayonnaise is a synergy between the richness created by the oil mixed and dispersed in the egg and the richness of the egg yolk itself.

What makes mayonnaise different from other seasonings is that it contains the egg itself, rather than food extracts or essences. We believe that mayonnaise itself may be regarded as an independent food or dish, beyond the framework of a mere sauce.

Isn’t too much mayonnaise bad for you?

One of the main components of mayonnaise is egg, a food high in cholesterol. However, since mayonnaise is a food high in cholesterol, it is too early to assume that it is bad for you.

The main functions of cholesterol include “making cell membranes,” “making bile acids,” and “being a raw material for sex hormones and adrenal corticosteroids. The production of cell membranes is the basic building block of the human body, without which the human body would not exist. Bile acids are necessary for digestion, and without normal amounts of bile acids in the body, digestion would be out of balance. The same is true for hormones. Without a certain amount of cholesterol in the body, the human body cannot function normally.

The term “cholesterol” refers to both HDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is necessary for the body, and most of the cholesterol contained in egg yolks is HDL cholesterol. On the other hand, LDL cholesterol, which is said to cause arteriosclerosis, is not in itself bad. It is believed that oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is created when LDL cholesterol is oxidized by active oxygen, damages the vascular wall, causing inflammation and arteriosclerosis.

Cholesterol is not only ingested through diet. About 70% of the cholesterol needed by the body is synthesized in the body, and the remaining 30% is taken in by the diet. Incidentally, the amount of cholesterol synthesized by the body is 600~700mg per day. On the other hand, a 50 g egg contains about 235 mg of cholesterol. The proportion of egg in Mayonnaise is lower than it appears, and the amount of cholesterol contained in a tablespoon (15g) is only 24mg. This is not an amount to be concerned about.

The human body is well designed to maintain balance by reducing the amount of cholesterol synthesized in the body when the amount of cholesterol in the diet is too high. In addition, cholesterol is transported from the liver to each tissue, and conversely, cholesterol is collected from each tissue to the liver, thereby keeping the amount of cholesterol in the blood at a constant level. The problem is not the intake of cholesterol itself, but the imbalance of cholesterol in the blood.

And an experiment has been conducted with surprising results. Healthy subjects and hyperlipidemic subjects were given 15 g of Kewpie mayonnaise per day for 12 weeks in addition to their conventional diet, and the lipid levels in their blood were measured. The total cholesterol concentration in the blood of the healthy subjects was slightly decreased. The hyperlipidemic subjects also showed a decreasing trend. It would seem that a constant intake of mayonnaise would increase the amount of cholesterol, but in the experiment, there was no trend toward an increase. In addition, there was no change in body weight after 12 weeks of mayonnaise consumption, a result that defies the conventional wisdom about mayonnaise. Similar experiments have been conducted elsewhere with the same results.

New Possibilities for Eggs

The amount of choline needed per day is said to be around 450 mg. 1 egg weighing 60~70 g contains 1000 mg of choline. 1 tablespoon of 15 g of mayonnaise contains about 110 mg of choline, which is 1/4 of the daily requirement. One-quarter of the daily requirement of choline can be obtained from a 15 g spoonful of mayonnaise. Incidentally, 200 cc of milk contains 28 mg, and a tablespoon of butter contains 20.4 mg, so eggs are by far the most efficient way to eat.

Mayonnaise contains a lot of salt

Mayonnaise is a sour and salty food, and while one may worry about too much salt if one eats too much, it is much less salty than one would generally imagine. The saltiness is due to the seasonings and spices. It contains less salt than other seasonings. Mayonnaise has 0.3 g of salt per tablespoon, the lowest amount of salt among the major seasonings, compared to 0.6 g of ketchup, 3 mg of soy sauce, and 2 mg of miso. Despite its low salt content, the full-bodied mayonnaise can add a lot of flavors to ingredients even in small amounts, and may be considered a good choice for dieting.

Does eating mayonnaise make me fat?

Usually, a tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 kcal. One hot dog has about 289 kcal, so three tablespoons would be the same calories. It is certainly a high-calorie food. It is a very oily food, but the vinegar makes it surprisingly refreshing, which is one of the reasons why we tend to eat a lot of it. We should not eat too much of this food just because it tastes good but try to eat about 1 tablespoon per meal. It is not harmful to your body even if you continue to eat it every day, but only if you know how much to eat. It is not recommended to eat so much that you can’t see the salad. Instead of worrying about gaining weight, one should try to eat a well-balanced diet by eating green and yellow vegetables together.

Pairing mayonnaise with other foods

The range of uses for mayonnaise is unlimited. Please listen to this article without preconceived notions that mayonnaise would not be suitable for such foods. First of all, in the case of Japanese food, it is difficult to find foods that mayonnaise does not go well with, such as broiled eel, tempura, yakitori, oden, chilled tofu, soba noodles, and so on. Other than that, it goes well with all kinds of food such as gyoza, ramen, shumai, spring rolls, bibimbap, kimchi, tom yang kung, beef stew, omelets, curry rice, minestrone, edamame, banana, apple, orange, apple pie, pudding, chocolate, donuts, and many others. It can soften the aroma of stinky foods, freshen oily foods with its acidity, and deepen the flavor of overly light foods with the richness of eggs.

The emergence of polyethylene multi-layered containers

When Mayonnaise was launched in Japan, it was in glass bottles. In the 1960s, plastic was developed, polyethylene containers appeared, and bottling containers were quickly converted to polyethylene containers. Glass bottles were used because oxygen permeation would oxidize the mayonnaise oil and form peroxides, which would gradually ruin the flavor. However, the ability to squeeze out without using a spoon seems to have been significant, and it seems to have been replaced.

The difference in preservation effect on mayonnaise between polyethylene containers and glass bottles was that polyethylene alone had the disadvantage of poor preservation compared to bottling due to its oxygen permeability.

In the 1970s, technological advances made it possible to improve the oxygen permeability of polyethylene. A three-layer technology was developed, with polyethylene on both sides and an oxygen-impermeable plastic-like eval resin in between.

The three-layer polyethylene-eval resin-polyethylene container is used today for most food containers. This has greatly improved the shelf life of mayonnaise and has made bottled and polyethylene multi-layer containers nearly identical in terms of quality.

Bottled mayonnaise is more prone to oxidation after opening because of the large area exposed to air when the lid is opened. Polyethylene multi-layer containers have become the mainstream in Japan because of their advantages such as easy squeezability, no risk of breakage, lightweight, and low container cost.


Here is a summary of the characteristics of Kewpie mayonnaise.

The main ingredients of Kewpie mayonnaise are also oil, eggs, and vinegar. Of course, each of these ingredients should be carefully selected and good ones used, but the strange thing about mayonnaise is that it does not taste perfectly delicious on its own.

What became clear in Kewpie’s laboratory is that what is important is the compatibility of vinegar and oil, and vinegar is a major key, especially in terms of umami. Surprisingly, vinegar and oil go together better when they are both strong. If one of the habits is weak, the other will win out and instantly become unbalanced.

Let’s look at the history of the oil used in Kewpie mayonnaise. In the postwar period when mayonnaise became popular, cottonseed oil from cotton seeds was mainly used. Since this oil has a strong habit, it was combined with malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and other vinegar with strong characteristics. However, with the development of synthetic fibers in the 1960s, cotton cultivation decreased and cottonseed became scarce. This made it difficult to secure cottonseed oil, and other oils with weaker characteristics were used instead. Kewpie has changed the vinegar to match the oil.

These days, Kewpie uses a blend of vinegar made from sake lees and grains. The ingredients of oil that are good for the body are generally considered to be oleic acid, linoleic acid, and α-linolenic acid in the ratio of 60:32:8. Rapeseed oil, for example, is close to this ratio, and Kewpie uses salad oil that is also close to this ratio.

Although oil accounts for the largest proportion of ingredients, vinegar can be said to be the key to flavor. Taste preferences are said to change over time; for example, Kewpie mayonnaise was sourer in the past. The percentage of vinegar is said to be less now than in the past. In the past, there were few homes with air conditioning, and people sweated a lot. Therefore, mayonnaise with a lot of vinegar and a strong flavor was preferred. On the other hand, today, air conditioning is available everywhere, and people do not sweat as much, so the amount of vinegar is less than in the past.

Compared to mayonnaise made overseas, Japanese mayonnaise generally contains almost double the amount of vinegar. This is because mayonnaise is a unique egg yolk type of mayonnaise in Japan, and cannot be heat sterilized like other foods because it decomposes when heated. In addition, mayonnaise with high yolk content is prone to spoilage, and to prevent this, a lot of vinegar, a natural preservative, was used. This ultimately made Kewpie mayonnaise tastier.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 15, 2024

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What is sushi or sashimi grade fish?

sushi or sashimi grade fish photo
Do you know when this fish was caught?

Fish is not only cooked and eaten as grilled or boiled fish but also eaten raw as sushi or sashimi. Naturally, the way to eat fish depends on individual tastes. But in fact, the way we eat fish depends on the time frame after we catch it.

Fish that is still alive or freshly dead is ideal for sashimi. In this case, you should enjoy the elasticity of the flesh, or texture, rather than the umami of the fish. Only the freshest fish is suitable for sashimi. The fish will go rigor mortis within a few hours at the earliest, and within a few days at the latest. The period leading up to rigor mortis is the time when the umami component increases, making it ideal for sushi.

On the other hand, the flesh becomes softer, so it is the sushi chef’s job to find the right balance between the umami and the chewiness of the fish. Of course, for those who prefer fish with more umami, it can also be served as sashimi. The rigor mortis of the fish is eventually dissipated and it gradually begins to decompose, so it is consumed as sashimi or sushi until a certain point in time.

The chef’s job is to determine when the fish cannot be used as sashimi or sushi. After that, the fish will be consumed as grilled or boiled fish. Eventually, the color, taste, and aroma of the fish will change dramatically, and it will reach the so-called putrefied state, making it inedible. The chef’s job is to determine when the fish cannot be used as sashimi or sushi. After that, the fish will be consumed as grilled or boiled fish. Then the color, taste, and aroma change dramatically, and the fish reaches the so-called putrefied state and becomes inedible.

A variety of conditions exist before rigor mortis sets in. Ideally, the fish should be properly processed and cooled as soon as possible after it is caught. Without this, rigor mortis will set in immediately, shortening the time until the rigor mortis is dissipated and speeding up the decomposition process. In other words, it will affect the length of time the fish can be enjoyed.

It is difficult to judge whether fish can only be used for grilled or boiled fish. It is not a simple matter of how many hours after the fish has died. Even if the fish is in sushi or sashimi grade, you can imagine that some are in good condition, and others can only be used almost exclusively for grilling or boiling.

Look around the world and you will see fish being sold around fishing ports as soon as they return from fishing. The fish is truly freshly caught and could not be fresher. Usually, the fish is cooked by dinner at the latest, so the loss of freshness is not a concern at all. People call fish in this state very fresh. To be more precise, it takes a few hours from the time the fisherman catches the fish to the time it is on the market, or at most 12 hours before it is served for dinner. This is what we call sushi or sashimi grade. However, because the fish is not caught in large quantities, it is not distributed to supermarkets in urban areas. This is limited to fishing with small boats.

Large vessels use large nets and other equipment to catch large numbers of fish. When the nets are raised on deck, many of the fish are live. They are quickly sorted, cooled with ice or other means, and placed in refrigerated or frozen storage. Some of the larger fish are stored after Ikejime, etc. Once fishermen go out to fish, they are not allowed to return for at least three days and as long as several months.

Although refrigeration and freezing technology have advanced considerably, freshness is not the same when the fish is caught as it is when it returns to the fishing port. And by the time the fish reaches the supermarket, which is a long way from the fishing port, it is arguably even less fresh. It has already been almost 24 hours since the fishermen caught the fish. It will then spend several days in the supermarket enduring temperature changes and drying out. One wonders if this can be called sushi or sashimi-grade fish.

So far, we think you can understand that this is a typical situation in countries other than Japan.

The situation in Japan is a bit different.

Regardless of the size of the boat, the fish are not allowed to get out of control, Ikejime and other processing is done. And cooling is always done. That is what even the average fisherman does as a matter of course. In other words, it is recognized that keeping fish fresh means delaying the time until rigor mortis.

On top of that, a distribution system has been established to deliver the caught fish to markets and restaurants while keeping them alive. Not only are the fish kept alive, but the know-how to reduce stress during fishing and transportation is shared among fishermen. For example, fish are transported by truck to the consumption area in a state of suspended animation to prevent them from getting out of control. In other cases, fish are not shipped immediately from the fishing port, but are allowed to calm down in a fish tank. By trying to keep the fish as close as possible to the state in which they were swimming in the sea, the fish can recover their original amount of adenosine triphosphate. This is because adenosine triphosphate is the source of umami, which eventually converts to inosinic acid.

In other words, a system is in place to distribute fresher and tastier fish. As a matter of course, it is safe to say that the fish is delivered from the fishing port to the place of consumption and then displayed in supermarkets within 12 hours.

The minimum requirement is that the fish must be usable for sashimi. The words sushi or sashimi grade do not exist in the market. Who caught the fish? What time and minute it was caught? How was it processed? Whether the fish was caught by fishing or by netting, and other details are required. These things change the price of the fish in the market.

In summary, there is no legal definition of sushi or sashimi-grade fish. When seafood is labeled as sashimi grade, it means that the seller, such as a supermarket, has determined that the fish is suitable for sushi or sashimi, based on its evaluation of criteria such as bacteria levels, temperature, parasites, appearance, odor, taste, display method, and time since catch. It is very vague and does not state that they are responsible for any problems that may occur, such as food poisoning. In the extreme, it is merely a marketing term for sales promotion purposes. Above all, they say nothing about actual quality or taste.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 1, 2024

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