Category: Media & Culture / March 8, 2013 6:56 PM EST
Sushi chefs from countries around the world showed off their ideas and skills in making the Japanese traditional food on Friday (March 8) as they competed in the first Sushi World Cup held in outskirts of Tokyo.
Eight teams from Belgium, Moldova, Singapore, Sweden, Romania, Ukraine, Uruguay and the United States manifested their originality in making nearly 2,000 nigiri sushi (pronounce: nee-ghee-rhee sushi), a style that tops a piece of raw fish on a fistful of sweet-and-sour rice, or the modern-style roll sushi during the four-round competition.
A team from Sweden rolled out with a colourful nigiri sushi in the final round featuring pumpkin mousse and dried pumpkin seeds on top of their local ingredient - the Scandinavian salmons.
"The main concept is to show to Japanese that Norwegian salmon is the best," said the Swedish chef Pontus Johansson, who runs a sushi restaurant in Malmo, Sweden.
A Romanian chef, Georgiu Gavril, materialized the cultural heritage of his country by making a sushi with blood-red tomato-garlic sauce atop a Romanian cheese roll, which he called "Dracula Roll."
Moldavian chef Alexandr Tkachuk made a simple nigiri sushi - but not with slice of fish but roasted wild duck.
No contenders, however, beat the Uruguayan Japanese chef, Toshihiko Ochi, in being unusual as he made "Chivito Sandwich Sushi," a roll sushi with grilled bacon plugged on top and cream cheese, avocado sauce running down.
"It tastes strange," a 43-year-old Japanese businessman Yukio Kondo reacted to the Uruguayan sushi.
Another visitor Tamotsu Fukuoka, 44, agreed with the naming.
"It actually tastes like a small sandwich rather than a sushi."
A businessman from Norway, Henrik Andersen, complimented the originality of the sushi dishes.
"The creativity and the skill level of these guys are amazing."
Organizer of the competition and a veteran sushi chef in Tokyo, Masayoshi Kazato, said the event is all about showing visitors the imagination and possibility of sushi.
"We try to bring sushi dishes that reflect the originality of the food cultures of countries around the world so that visitors here can experience a sushi world tour," Kazato said.
Visitors and the evaluation commission voted to give the Swedish team the honour of the "most outstanding sushi restaurant."
Organizers said more than 2,000 people visited the event; many of them were nearby office workers who enjoyed their lunch there.
The history of sushi dates back in Japan two centuries when residents of what was then Tokyo took to eating fresh raw fish on rice on the go - just as fast food. Now sushi has taken on a more respectable and cultured aspect.
Traditional Japanese sushi differs from the westernised sushi rolls made popular in the United States but is considered more difficult to make.
Molding the rice at exactly the correct size and consistency is believed to be a technique that requires lots of practice and talent. The texture and cut of the raw fish, being more visible, is also a selling point.
(Video Source: REUTERS)