Instead of looking at the topping, take a moment to focus on the vinegared rice (shari). This shari is made of a blend of red and white vinegar.
When the Edo style sushi first appeared, red vinegar (made from fermented sake lees) was used for the sushi rice. Approximately 200 years ago Matazaemon Nakano, founder of Mizkan (a condiment manufacturer) invented red vinegar, which circulated and was used throughout Edo. At the time, red vinegar was used because it was more inexpensive than vinegar made from rice (white vinegar).
Instead of looking at the topping, take a moment to focus on the vinegared rice (shari). This shari is made using only white vinegar.
Nowadays the more fragrant rice vinegar (white vinegar) is used nearly exclusively but increasingly more shops have rediscovered the full-bodied but mild red vinegar and are using it in their dishes. Various restaurants have even come up with new ideas such as blending multiple vinegars or using different vinegar depending on the fish. Ultimately the sushi chef can exercise their own ingenuity in matching topping flavors with white or red vinegar.
Related contents: TYPES OF VINEGAR
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Revision date: April 27, 2017
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2 thoughts on “What type of vinegar do sushi restaurants use?”
Is it just me or does it seem like no restauarant uses vinegar in their sushi rice? I can’t remember any time where I noticed even the slightest hint of vinegar in sushi I’ve purchased from a restaurant. When I make sushi rice at home the rice vinegar is always apparent even when using very small amounts relative to commonly found online recipes.
At home, it is normal to use rice vinegar.