The Vinegar Behind the Sushi

If you’re an avid sushi fan, you’ve probably realized that the rice used in your favorite food at our Japanese restaurant in Seattle is more than just plain old steamed white rice. Indeed, rice needs a special ingredient to become proper sushi rice, and this ingredient is known as sushi-zu.

Sushi-zu, which translates to “sushi vinegar”, is a mild form of vinegar designed to not overpower the subtle flavors associated with sushi. Many sushi chefs will prepare their own vinegar themselves, and the recipe can vary from place to place. They typically start with rice vinegar, which is then mixed with salt and a sweetening agent, usually sugar or rice wine. Some places will add kelp to the mix for a little extra flavor. The final product is sprinkled over cooked rice and mixed in to give the rice the proper consistency to support the sushi we all know and love.