- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
Salmon, sushi rice
- History/origin/related events
Salted sushi, a local delicacy for special occasions, originated in Yonezawa City. It is pressed sushi made from salted salmon, and could be made even in inland Yonezawa City, where fresh fish was not available in the past. The red color of the salmon and the white color of the rice used to make a reddish-white color, and so the dish was prepared for weddings and other celebratory occasions.
Yonezawa City is located in a basin surrounded by mountains, and in the days when transportation systems were not well developed, opportunities to eat fresh seafood were rare. Fish was mostly freshwater fish such as carp and river fish, or processed products such as cod, herring, and salted salmon, but it was still a feast.
Generally, salted fish is called shiobiki, but in Yonezawa City, shiobiki refers to salted salmon. Salted salmon has long been a familiar foodstuff, and during the year-end and New Year's holidays, many "shinmaki-zaké" (salted white salmon) were hung in front of fishmongers' stores as gifts, but the number of such gifts has been decreasing in recent years. In the early Showa period (1926-1989), both "Niimaki Salmon" and beautifully colored "Honben Salmon" were used for sushi, but "Honben Salmon" was very expensive, so "Niimaki Salmon" was generally used. Even in recent years, it has become difficult to obtain domestically produced salmon with just the right amount of oil and saltiness, and foreign salmon with high oil content is also used.
In the past, wooden crates were used to make pressed sushi one by one, but nowadays a large mold is sometimes used to cut the pressed pieces. Few of the old-fashioned wooden crates remain in the local area.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Salted sushi was always prepared for celebratory occasions because of its festive red and white coloring, and even today, it is often served on special occasions. Even today, it is often served at festive occasions. Sushi restaurants and other restaurants serving local cuisine will make it to order, and it can be eaten at any time of the year.
- How to eat
Salted salmon is salty, so it is sliced into thin slices of about 2 mm, placed in a wooden frame with sushi rice (vinegared rice), and pressed into sushi. Since the salmon is salty, eat it as it is without soy sauce. It also goes well with sake.
When making it at home, the process of cutting the salted salmon into thin slices is difficult, so it is best to freeze it and then cut it when it is half thawed.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
After the war, it declined for a while, but in recent years, it has come back to be eaten again. It is not limited to celebratory meals, but is also served at ryotei (Japanese-style restaurants) and local restaurants, and appears at entertainment tables and dinners. It is sometimes made at home, but is also sold at sushi restaurants and supermarkets.
source : Hiroko Saito, Yamagata Prefectural Yonezawa Nutrition University