To explain a bit about what Finding Food Fluency can represent, I’d like to introduce to everyone today’s meal, mehari-zushi (sushi becomes zushi, depending on the preceding sound), coming to us from Japan.
Mehari-zushi – 目張り寿司 – is one of the oldest recorded fast foods in Japan, dating back hundreds of years to Kumano city in Wakayama prefecture (source, in Japanese: https://gurutabi.gnavi.co.jp/a/a_613/). At the time, Kumano was in a state called Kishuu (紀州), which comprises of parts of present-day Wakayama and Mie prefectures. Mehari-zushi is simply a ball of vinegared rice enveloped in pickled mustard leaf. That’s right, no fish, no bait, no mayonnaise, just two major components.
The origin of the name is amusing; since the mehari-zushi clumps used come quite big – with each one intended to be a snack for hungry workers – the Japanese name roughly translate as “sushi that makes your eyes open wide,” since opening your mouth wide does the same for the eyes (見張る/みはる).
Although it’s much more common in the Kansai area of Japan (where Wakayama, Osaka, and Kyoto are), a new mehari-zushi restaurant, めはりと鶏天みふく (Mehari to Chicken Ten Mifuku) opened on April 20th in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo.
As a huge fan of Japanese food and Tokyo, I can’t wait for international tourism to restart, particularly in Japan. Knowing that mehari-zushi aren’t so easy to find in the capital makes me want to add this take-out shop to the endless list of places to try.