How sushi went global?

Japan is probably the first country to introduce sushi, and it became popular there as Buddhism spread. As a result of the Buddhist dietary practice of abstaining from meat, many Japanese people turned to fish as a food source. It demonstrates that the tuna trade is an excellent example of the globalization of a regional industry, with intense international competition and thorny environmental regulations; centuries-old practices combined with high technology; realignments of labor and capital in response to international regulation; market changes; and dissemination of culinary culture such as tastes for sushi and bluefin tuna, spread all over the world (link Anon nd np). Just because sushi is available, one way or another, in the exclusive restaurants of Fifth Avenue, in the baseball stadiums of Los Angeles, in the snack carts of Amsterdam airports, in an apartment in Madrid (by motorcycle) or in Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv or Moscow, does not mean that sushi has lost its status of Japanese cultural property.

Some of New England's best tuna can make it to New York or Los Angeles, but through Tokyo it was validated as top quality (and superior price) by the decision to send it to Japan by air to sell it in Tsukiji, where it can be purchased by one of the few Tsukiji sushi exporters that supply chefs sushi expatriates in major cities around the world. I didn't realize how much sushi was being fished before this, or really how big an industry was. In his detailed and highly localized accounts of restaurants, chefs, fishermen, middlemen, markets and appetites, Issenberg presents sushi as a shining example of the potential of globalization. In fact, it seems that sushi is being offered in every popular restaurant in an attempt to attract customers and, consequently, make a profit.

Due to technological advances and increased efficiency within transatlantic food trade, sushi has become a staple food in most parts of the Western world. A Texan-Chinese American restaurateur told me, for example, that he had converted his restaurant chain from Chinese to Japanese cuisine because the latter's prestige factor meant that he could charge a premium; his customers couldn't distinguish between Chinese and Japanese employees (and often couldn't notice that some of the chefs behind of their sushi bars were Latino). Since then, it has become a favorite part of American cuisine, from sushi bars to take-out sushi sections at airports. Averaging between 300 and 600 pounds, bluefin tuna, with its deep red fleshy meat, is in high demand for sushi.

In addition to its fatty veining, fish belly meat is incredibly prized for sushi due to its high fat content. At sushi bars from Boston to Valencia, a simple greeting from a customer in Japanese can cause chefs to panic (or lead them to the other end of the counter). The appeal of Japanese design's high-concept aesthetic also helped prepare the world for a sushi craze (pp. The author goes on to tell how the emergence of sushi in the United States helped drive tuna sales in Japan and, subsequently, sales in the United States.

The sushi establishment in the United States is often described as a small group of key players, but it underestimates the role of a complex network of factors that contributed to its success.