Where Did Sushi Come From?

Love sushi as much as we do? Become the ultimate sushi master with our quick history lesson below

Ahhh sushi! It’s what we’re famous for and we seriously can’t get enough of the stuff. Give us some nigiri, dragon double crunch or some fresh AF salmon. We’ll take it any way we can get it. And for those fanatics just like us, take a quick history lesson with us and immerse yourself in the land of sushi below.


Before we get started on where it came from, we just wanted to get one thing straight. The term sushi doesn’t actually mean raw fish or rice dish, but literally translates to ‘sour-tasting”, which referred to the sour taste of vinegar that was used in the rice. (more on that next)

A plat of colourful salmon sushi on a pink table


According to Eat Japan, Sushi; believed to have been invented around the second century, was invented to help preserve fish. Originating out of Southeast Asia, narezushi (salted fish) was stored in vinegerated or fermented rice for anywhere up to a year! When ready to eat, the rice was discarded and the fish enjoyed unspoiled. A quick fourteen centuries later this dish evolved to be known as namanarezushi – which meant keeping the rice to eat instead of throwing it away.

Nigiri Sushi

A couple more centuries later (around the 19th), a gentleman named Hanaya Yoshi had a stroke of genius and completely changed the entire ball game. Instead of wrapping the fish inside the rice like everyone else, he decided to place the fresh fish on top of an oblong shaped rice ball. And alas, Nigiri was born and grew to be one of the most popular types of sushi available throughout Japan and also the world.

A white round plate with fresh sushi nigiri, garnihsed with fresh tomato

Sushi v Sashimi

A common misconception is that sushi means raw fish. This is definitely not the case. Sashimi – a Japanese delicacy, consists of incredibly fresh but raw fish or meat that is sliced in to small pieces. The literal translation of sashimi is pierced body. Ouch!

Got you a little peckish for some of our fave rice rolls? Take a look at your options here