Sushi from Nara, Wrapped in a Delicate Persimmon Leaf
What could be hiding inside this carefully folded persimmon leaf? A Kakinoha-sushi, or sushi from Nara. A sushi which is no different to the rest in terms of shape: it consists of a slice of raw fish on top of some rice. The difference, however, becomes clear when it’s eaten: it has a lightly sugary taste, a result of the contact with the leaf it’s wrapped in.
This practice dates back to the Edo period, where the trick was used to preserve sushi without covering it in salt, which quickly made it inedible. As Nara is relatively far from the sea, people had to find a way to preserve food for the journey to what was the capital of Japan between 710 and 784.
Sushi with a delicate sweet flavour
This tradition of using leaves continues today, in part due to its aesthetic quality but also the taste it creates. We see all kinds of Kakinoha-sushi today, but it’s customary for them to be prepared with salmon or mackerel, because the latter absorbs the flavour from the persimmon leaf. The packaging is elegant, too: they’re placed in a wooden box before being enjoyed. And there’s one final detail, and an important one at that: the persimmon leaf is not edible, and only serves as a casing.
This sushi is primarily found in Nara and the surrounding area, but can also be found in some big shops in Tokyo, such as Tokyo Foodshow in Shibuya district.
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