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Category Archives: Culinary

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

In the basement of a Tokyo office building, 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono works tirelessly in his world renowned restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro.

As his son Yoshikazu faces the pressures of stepping into his father’s shoes and taking over the legendary restaurant, Jiro relentlessly pursues his lifelong quest to create the perfect piece of sushi.


Sushi: The Global Catch

Sushi is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice sushi-meshi ( “sushi rice”) combined with other ingredients (neta), usually raw fish or other seafood. Neta and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is vinegared rice. The rice is also referred to as (shari and “sumeshi” (“vinegared rice”).

Raw meat (usually but not necessarily seafood) sliced and served by itself is sashimi. Many non-Japanese use the terms sashimi and sushi interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Sushi refers to any dish made with vinegared rice.

The original type of sushi, known today as nare-zushi  was first made in Southeast Asia, possibly along what is now known as the Mekong River. The sushi cuisine then spread to Southern China before it was introduced in Japan.

The term sushi comes from an archaic grammatical form no longer used in other contexts; literally, sushi means “sour-tasting”, a reflection of its historic fermented roots. The oldest form of sushi in Japan, narezushi, still very closely resembles this process, wherein fish is fermented via being wrapped in soured fermenting rice. The fish proteins break down via fermentation into its constituent amino acids. The fermenting rice and fish results in a sour taste and also one of the five basic tastes, called umami in Japanese. Contemporary Japanese sushi has little resemblance to the traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Originally, when the fermented fish was taken out of the rice, only the fish was consumed while the fermented rice was discarded.

The strong-tasting and smelling funazushi, a kind of narezushi made near Lake Biwa in Japan, resembles the traditional fermented dish. Beginning in the Muromachi period (AD 1336–1573) of Japan, vinegar was added to the mixture for better taste and preservation. The vinegar accentuated the rice’s sourness and was known to increase its shelf life, allowing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. In the following centuries, sushi in Osaka evolved into oshi-zushi. The seafood and rice were pressed using wooden (usually bamboo) molds. By the mid 18th century, this form of sushi had reached Edo (contemporary Tokyo). (source:  wikipedia.org)

(Watch Sushi: The Global Catch Trailer)