Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saba sushi (Mackerel sushi)

Sushi topped with mackerel. さば寿司。

Saba sushi are delicious and these days available in all the better supermarkets. They belong to the category of bo-zushi or "stick sushi" where the ingredients are wrapped around the sushi rice (although in the case of mackerel, the fish stays more on top than being wrapped). In that sense they are the antithesis of maki-zushi or "roll sushi" where ingredients are rolled inside the sushi rice.

The mackerel is vinegared and usually a strip of kelp is added. Mackerel is available from September until January.

Saba sushi
[Photo Ad Blankestijn]

Saba-zushi is a typical Kyoto dish. Kyoto lies inland, but mackerel was brought here over the so-called Saba Kaido, the "Mackerel Highway" between Kyoto and the fishing port of Obama in Fukui.

The mackerel was transported at night over the 75-kilometer long road, in order to arrive in Kyoto in the morning. The Saba Kaido ended in Kyoto's Demachiyanagi.