In honour of International Sushi Day today (18 June), we’ve scoured the internet for our favourite Japanese related fun food facts – Tanoshimu (enjoy!)

  1. The pufferfish fugu, a Japanese delicacy, is so poisonous that the smallest mistake in its preparation could lead to the death of the person eating it
  2. Japanese cuisine is one of only three national foods recognised by the UN for its cultural significance – last December, the United Nation’s cultural organisation added traditional Japanese cuisine into its Cultural Heritage list, meaning that the preservation of this way of eating is vital to the survival of the traditional culture
  3. It might just be rice and raw fish to you, but in Japan it takes at least a 10-year apprenticeship to become a full ‘itamae’ [pronounced ‘it-a-my’] or sushi chef
  4. The popular Japanese food Yakitori (grilled meat skewers) began in the 1800s when meat became more acceptable in the country. However, as touching meat with your hands was still considered a no-no, street vendors made skewers and covered the smell of the grilled meat – also considered unpleasant – with a sweet and savoury sauce and by cooking it on coal to mask the smell and give it a smoky taste
  5. Nori, the seaweed used to wrap sushi, was once scraped off of wooden pier legs and even undersides of boats. It was then pressed into sheets and dried in the sun. Today, Nori is cultivated and farmed
  6. Japanese cuisine has a much higher ratio of plant-based foods than is typical in the U.S., but it is still hard to eat completely vegetarian. This is because many traditional dishes are cooked in fish broth or are sprinkled with bonito flakes