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Old 12-15-2011, 10:43 AM
Location: Toronto
3,338 posts, read 5,798,635 times
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Nowadays, sushi as a food is something that a lot of Americans in this generation are familiar with, not something "exotic" or too unheard of. It's even stereotyped as a trendy thing for hip, liberal, cities, just like going out for a coffee at Starbucks, but also more broadly can be popular all over the US too.

I remember in the early 90s even, when I was in grade school, sushi wasn't necessarily familiar to most people, and often the reaction to the idea of eating raw fish/seaweed might've been "it's gross!". But later on, a decade or two, I noticed an explosion in popularity. People I went to college with or co-workers often asked "wanna go out for sushi?"

What was it about sushi that made it become so "hip" and rose to popularity so fast?

I realize that it happens with "ethnic" foods which become trendy (because it's associated with being urban and cosmopolitanism), but it seems sushi in particular has almost become a cultural marker. How'd it get that way?

Old 12-15-2011, 10:58 AM
Location: The City
22,341 posts, read 32,187,488 times
Reputation: 7744
better qaulity and access. People like it
Old 12-15-2011, 11:35 AM
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Sushi was getting popular where I grew up on the California Coast in the 1980s. When I was a kid my mom would take us, but my brother and I would just order American-style maki roll creations like California Rolls and so on. I think it wasn't until we were in our teens when we started taking a liking to nigiri and sashimi. It seemed pretty trendy and adventuresome in the 1980s, but by the time I was in high school in the late 1990s it seemed pretty average--at least in places where I lived.

Sushi's just easy food to make basically. I mean the top sushi chefs make an art of it, but at the same time it's not that difficult to get fish, rice, and seaweed and make passable sushi nigiri or rolls. It's an easy snack to include at a deli. I think though that the American creations of differnet maki rolls with different ingredients(Hawaian Rolls with macadamian nuts, California Rolls with avocado, Philadelphia rolls with cream cheese, and other fusion-type rolls) made sushi a little more accesible and easy to try than simple sashimi and nigiri. Personally though I love nigiri more--everything from escolar(white tuna) to uni(sea urchin).
Old 12-15-2011, 12:59 PM
Location: Boston
1,082 posts, read 2,492,251 times
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I can't recall it ever not being popular, but then I've always lived in fairly cosmopolitan locations. My awareness of it certainly became stronger in the mid-eighties, but I think that's more a reflection of me being a teenager and becoming interested, not that society as a whole was just discovering it.
Old 12-15-2011, 01:39 PM
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There are a lot of factors I'd say that made sushi accessible: Benihana made Japanese food, in general, familiar; the '70s began a food movement of simpler, more direct food; also that era's fascination with the East.

But why is sushi considered so urbane? I'd say it's simply the fact that you need very high quality fish if you're to eat it this way. In other words, its cachet is it's expensive.
Old 12-15-2011, 02:40 PM
189 posts, read 559,382 times
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Well since alot of Americans are "health conscious" and "weight watchers", they thought sushi is a good food to include in their healthy diet. It actually is, it's just that Japanese sushi is so different than the American sushi.
So when they found out sushi is mostly rice, fish, veggie and fruit, alot of Americans got crazy over it. American food servings are so huge compare to ours in Asia. And sushi being a small bite size, caught American people's attention.
Old 12-15-2011, 02:49 PM
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Even in Iowa we were going to sushi places with Japanese chefs in the late 1990's. Now there are multiple sushi places in Iowa City and a lot more in Des Moines.

There are of course tons of places in Chicago, some of them really good. I go for sushi about twice a week, and almost always stick with sashimi. I kinda want to go tonight actually

Better quality is one thing. Even away from the coasts they can ship extremely fast and fresh to interior places.
Old 12-15-2011, 03:46 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,446 posts, read 2,291,392 times
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Sushi was fairly uncommon in Alabama in the 1980's. Sometime in the mid or late 1990's it started becoming much more common and popular and by the 2000's it was pretty much everywhere.

Thai food is also something that seemed relatively uncommon in the 1980's and became much more so in the 1990's.

Maybe some of the older posters on the board can inform us if other ethnic food went through similar trends. For instance, when did Chinese, Italian, Mexican, etc foods become easily available?
Old 12-15-2011, 04:12 PM
Location: Alabama
1,068 posts, read 1,514,538 times
Reputation: 934
why people not getting sick after eating raw fish? i wont even touch sushi wit a 6ft pole

asians have the most disgusting foods
Old 12-15-2011, 04:22 PM
7,385 posts, read 13,245,278 times
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Originally Posted by TreasuredJewel View Post
why people not getting sick after eating raw fish? i wont even touch sushi wit a 6ft pole

asians have the most disgusting foods
How ridiculously racist and ignorant.

There's more to Asian foods than just Sushi. There's more to Japanese food than just sushi. There's more to sushi than just raw fish. FWIW, not that you care, the raw fish in the sushi (such as sashimi) been deep-freezed, so all the bad bacteria's been killed off.
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