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テークアウトの寿司 Or TAKEAWAY SUSHI (Ciao wouldn't allow me my Japanese title.....)
I love sushi and I also love the Marks and Spencer's Food Hall for the odd treat here and there. The Fish Roll, Nigiri and Makri Sushi Selection is one of my favourite occasional treats and I just love it!
First a little bit about sushi:
Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish which began centuries ago as a method of preserving fish. Cleaned, raw fish and rice were pressed between layers of salt and weighted with a stone. After several weeks, the stone was removed and replaced with a light cover, a few months after that, the fermented fish and rice were considered ready to eat.
Today there are many different types of sushi, traditionally served with raw fish, sometimes wrapped in seaweed sheets which are known as yaki-nori and/or containing a variety of other vegetables. Sushi rice (sushi-meshi) is made with Japonica rice, also called 'sticky rice' which has a different consistency from the rice we commonly eat in the Western World. It's stickiness means that the grains can easily be manipulated in to shapes, usually using a rolling mat. Sushi rice gets its flavour and shine from a mixture of rice vinegar and water called sushi-szu which is added during the cooling process.
The Marks and Spencer's pack
is presented in an oblong black plastic tray with a clear plastic lid to enable admiration of the contents. It is sealed simply with a plastic sticker and is easy to open. The sushi doesn't particularly smell of anything, it doesn't smell fishy, just fresh.
The pack consists of:
**2 x's Tuna California Rolls**
California rolls are the most commonly known type of sushi. They have a tuna, mayonnaise, red pepper and cucumber centre, with the rice rolled around this mixture and a light coating of sesame seeds on the edge. These are my personal favourite in the pack. There isn't too much mayo, in fact you can hardly taste it although the flavour of the tuna is prominent. The sesame seeds add a subtle but nice nutty taste to the rolls, which is a little different.
**2 x's Smoked Salmon Nigiri and 1 x's Prawn Nigiri**
Nigiri are a little different from typical sushi as they are not rolls. They are a slab of rice with a topping of either king prawn or a piece of smoked salmon. Very simple but very effective. Although it is hard to bite into the topping and I find that it is easier to eat the topping first followed by the rice or vice versa.
**4 x's Smoked salmon makri**
Makri are the smallest of the selection and are wrapped in the seaweed sheets discussed earlier. If you have never eaten seaweed before, don't worry because it really doesn't taste of very much. The makri have a smoked salmon and cucumber centre and are probably my least favourite in the pack as they could do with a little more filling.
To compliment the sushi the pack contains the following:
A little fish shaped, twist top bottle of soy sauce, called Sohyu in Japanese. The sushi should be lightly dipped into the soy sauce but try not to over do it as it is very salty and this can ruin the sushi.
Some small pieces of finely shaven picked ginger which are traditionally known as 'Gari'
A condiment known as 'wasabi' which is a unique Japanese spice also called green horseradish with a similar taste to the horseradish we have with beef.
Adding these items is optional, according to personal preference. I like to have a little soy and maybe a little ginger but I can't stand horseradish so I leave the wasabi well alone. Be warned that the ginger and wasabi both have a real kick to them so be sparing with them.
As this is a takeaway selection and sushi should be eaten with the fingers then a small hand wipe also included, although really sushi isn't that messy to eat at all.
The pack costs £3.60 and the total weight is 210g. This is relatively expensive but so is everything else in M&S and salmon and prawns are expensive ingredients.
The sushi is 57% rice, so if you aren't a rice person then I doubt this is for you. The product does not actually contain raw fish, as is the case with most other takeaway sushi packs, in order to appeal to Western tastes. Admittedly more fish would be a benefit, particularly in the makri rolls which are a little plain. II love sushi as it tastes so wholesome and natural. I adore rice and this is a really rice alternative to sandwiches!
What's more sushi is very good for you. The pack contains just 315 kcal and 4.8g fat (13.7g protein, 54.2g carbohydrate, 3.9g of which sugars). However adding all of the soy sauce means that the product is quite salty. If you use it all that is a total of 1.14g of sodium which is quite a lot.
Marks and Spencer's sushi can be kept for up to three days after purchase when kept in the fridge.
In addition to this selection Marks and Spencer's also do a number of other takeaway sushi packs, although I can't say that I have tried them. These include vegetarian sushi, which substitutes fish for items such as asparagus and mini omelette and 'Sushi to Share' which is a bigger selection similar to that described above for £5.50. If you aren't sure if you like sushi you can also try smaller packs containing just a California roll and a couple of makri together with the condiments.