6 Reasons Why Sushi Can Be Expensive

Why is sushi so popular?

Sushi’s history dates back thousands of years, specifically to the rice fields of Asia and China. You might find this surprising considering that the majority of people believe sushi originated in Japan. This is not the case, though. While Japan is undoubtedly the home of sushi and is credited with popularizing the cuisine among tourists, narezushi, a Chinese dish, is where sushi first appeared. This dish included salted fish and fermented rice. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t salted and fermented to add flavor. The dish’s earliest recorded history dates to the second century BC, making it over 2,000 years older than refrigerators. For this reason, narezushi was actually a highly useful food. The rice and fish were salted to keep them fresh and prevent the growth of bacteria when stored without any kind of refrigeration.


Sushi in Western Culture

By the early 1900s, sushi had been introduced to the West as a result of Japanese immigration following the Meiji Restoration. Only the wealthy found it appealing, and when Japanese immigration decreased in the late 1900s, it became considerably less widespread. A few years after World War II ended, Japan reopened its doors to outside trade, tourism, and business, and sushi started to gain popularity in the United States. The middle class in America started sampling sushi for themselves in the 1960s, and they fell in love with it. This trend started to take off in America in earnest at that point. It’s actually impossible to pinpoint exactly which restaurant introduced sushi to Western diners, as is the case with other aspects of food history, thus there is a lot of discussion in this area. However, the Los Angeles establishment Kawafuku Restaurant, one of the first to serve sushi, is frequently given credit for this distinction. However, as you might expect, the idea of eating raw fish in America took some time to catch on. However, by the late 1960s, sushi had become fashionable, and new sushi restaurants were popping up all over the nation. Many restaurants started experimenting with novel flavor pairings and sushi rolls in an effort to help Americans get acclimated to the idea of eating sushi. The now-ubiquitous California Roll, an inside-out makizushi roll with cucumber, crab meat (or fake crab meat), and avocado with white rice, was one of the rolls that gained the most popularity among Americans. Customers were drawn to this flavor combination right away, and because the crab meat was cooked in the roll, they didn’t have to be concerned about eating raw fish. As they grew accustomed to the idea, they were able to try more conventional sashimi and nigiri meals. Sushi eateries quickly spread across the country.

See more: Noob’s Guide to Sushi


The Future

Looking to the future, we can expect the number of restaurants serving sushi to continue to grow. While many people love the classic rolls, the best place to try something new is the sushi bar. At the sushi bar, you can try a variety of different rolls and other dishes like nigiri. Whether you’re looking for something light or something more filling, the sushi bar will be able to provide it.

Sushi is an art form in itself, but it’s not just about creating beautiful looking plates of food. Sushi is much more than that. It’s a culture and art form. There are many different types of sushi, and each one is a beautiful example of the Japanese culinary art. While it’s true that there are many emerging new types of sushi rolls out there, the traditional sushi roll is still the most popular, and for good reason.


Why sushi is expensive?

There are a number of reasons that can make sushi expensive, but most often, it’s the cost of raw ingredients. There is a huge amount of labor involved in making sushi, and this labor is usually paid by the piece. This is why there are some great deals on sushi, but the quality of the food is usually poor. It is one of the most expensive foods to produce and to transport. Read on as I am going to be outlining the 6 reasons why sushi is expensive.


1. Sushi Ingredients Are Expensive

Sushi’s ingredients are one of the key factors in its high cost. Rice and pricey, premium fish are required for sushi to taste excellent. For instance, the price of a pound of excellent sushi rice can range from $12 to $15, while the price of a pound of fish might reach hundreds of dollars. In addition, sushi uses imported ingredients rather than locally produced ones, which greatly raises the cost.

Sushi restaurants offer a variety of rolls with diverse ingredients, all of which must be readily available. Shrimp, fish, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, tuna, salmon, mackerel, flounder, swordfish, sea bass, eel, and other seafood are some of the most often used ingredients in sushi. A restaurant may purchase scallops and sea urchins from Japan, tuna from Europe, and amberjack fish from Australia or New Zealand, for example. Restaurants are also required to order each component from a separate region.

It’s not only seafood in sushi that is expensive. Some of the mushrooms that are used in sushi are avocado and matsutake. To make sushi really delicious, these ingredients need to be imported and only used fresh. The sushi price cannot be low because all sushi ingredients are graded.


2. A Lot of Preparation

Making sushi is a genuine art form, and art costs money. Chefs spend a lot of time producing only one roll of sushi since it takes a lot of preparation (marinating, chopping, frying, and boiling various components). Sushi is prepared in several steps that take a lot of time, which considerably increases the cost. Therefore, chefs must multitask while making sure all components are fresh to provide you sushi that tastes as good as it looks. Additionally, chefs must employ pricey instruments to prepare sushi, including spatulas, rolling mats, pots, pans, rice pressers and molds, thermal rice warmers, rice barrels, fish scale removers, tweezers, and spatulas.


3. High Labor Costs

To produce authentic Japanese sushi that is both tasty and safe to consume, it takes years of practice. When producing sushi, chefs keep a lot of factors in mind. They need to know how to handle all the components to prevent bacterial contamination and food poisoning. Making a batch of sushi rolls can take a chef hours since the technique is so time-consuming. In addition to making rolls with various components, chefs must plan their workflow to make better use of their time and minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

Sushi chefs at high-end restaurants are compensated well for their abilities, experience, and knowledge. Each sushi roll is regarded an art form, therefore they cannot be inexpensive. Fish must be fileted, shrimp must be cooked, chilled, and deshelled, avocado must be finely sliced, and sushi rice must be correctly boiled to provide the desired texture. Restaurants do not want to lose highly trained cooks (particularly Japanese chefs) to competition, thus they must financially support them.


4. Sushi Are Perishable

Sushi must be eaten fresh, within hours of being prepared, thus if the roll is not consumed within a day of being prepared, it is discarded. Because sushi includes raw fish, eating it the next day can spread germs and cause food poisoning. Sushi ingredients have a short shelf life, therefore sushi businesses waste a lot of already costly food.

Furthermore, all sushi ingredients must be stored properly. Fish, for example, must be maintained at specific temperatures to prevent spoilage, and various fish require different temperatures (some fish needs to be refrigerated, and some frozen). As a result, restaurants must invest in costly equipment (fridges, freezers, thermal rice heaters, and so on) to keep sushi ingredients fresh and flavorful. All of this makes fish shipping and storage a costly procedure that determines the price of sushi.


5. Import Fees and Taxes

Since almost all sushi ingredients are imported, there are huge transportation fees and taxes that increase the already high sushi price. Restaurants need to organize their logistics to find the best suppliers and get the freshest seafood. Top tier restaurants get daily delivery from Japan, Australia, and the Mediterranean. Some restaurants located on the coast can use local ingredients and lower the sushi price, but fine dining restaurants that use the best ingredients from different parts of the world have to keep the price high to profit.


6. High Demand

Sushi restaurants are always packed (at least the good ones), which drives up the price. Even a few days in advance, it is not uncommon to have difficulty booking a sushi restaurant. Sushi prices are unlikely to fall as demand exceeds supply. Its so high demand, that even vegans are actually now researching whether a sushi can be vegetarian-friendly. Here’s an article to find out more Vegan Sushi: Does It Exist?