Chawan-mushi (Savory steamed egg custard) is made from eggs and dashi (soup stock) and garnished with shrimp and ginkgo nuts. It is steamed in a cup and often served as a cold or hot appetizer. It is a standard item at the sushi restaurant.
Unlike other egg custard, it is not sweet but it has a savory flavor packed with umami from dashi and topping ingredients. It is velvety feeling on the palate is irresistible.
Then why do sushi restaurants serve chawan-mushi?
That is because sushi is a cold dish, so they basically serve something warm as a garnish.
Another reason is that the ingredients used for chawan-mushi, such as shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, and kamaboko, are either used daily at sushi restaurants or are readily available at market stores that sell sushi items.
We hope this information will be helpful.
Revision date: January 20, 2023