Sushi supplies can be divided into ingredients used to make sushi, and the equipment utilized in the process of making, presenting, and serving sushi. Most sushi supplies are readily available from Asian markets, and in some major cities, regular grocery stores may stock basic supplies. For people who love sushi, learning to make sushi at home and stocking up on supplies can save money in the long run by reducing costly bills at sushi restaurants.
In Japanese, “sushi” actually means “vinegared rice,” although Westerners refer to dishes made with this rice as “sushi,” which can get confusing. Sushi is technically an ingredient which can be used to make makizushi, nigirizushi, and other dishes. In addition to the rice, cooks also work with various fish and vegetables, dried seaweed known as nori, and condiments like shoyu, pickled ginger, and wasabi. The imagination is the limit when it comes to ingredients.
In addition to ingredients, certain kitchen implements are critical sushi supplies, starting with a bamboo mat for rolling sushi, and a hanigiri, a tub for mixing the seasoned rice. While it is possible to use a glass or wooden bowl, the hanigiri tub, which is made from bamboo, is traditional. Cooks also need sushi paddles for working with the rice, and a very sharp knife for cutting individual pieces of rolled sushi, preparing fish, and chopping vegetables.
For service, sushi plates are extremely useful, although regular plates can be used in a pinch. Other sushi supplies for serving include small dishes for condiments and dipping, along with chopsticks for eating, and chopstick rests so that guests can put down their chopsticks during the meal. In restaurants, people are usually presented with a warm moist towel when they start their meal, and some people like to incorporate this tradition at home, in which case a number of plain white towels should be kept handy.
Kitchen supplies should be of high quality so that they can last for many years and through numerous uses. Poorly made sushi supplies can be frustrating to work with, and they can also cause problems, as for instance in the case of a sushi mat which splinters and leaves pieces of bamboo in the sushi. Sushi supplies for serving are traditionally seasonally coordinated in Japan, and they are usually minimalistic so that they complement the sushi without drawing attention to themselves. Especially bright colors and bold designs can distract from the sushi eating experience.